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You guys know me well enough to know that cooking is not my forte. It’s not that I can’t and not that I don’t like to on occasion. It’s just that it seems senseless to struggle away over a meal only I will end up eating. Because Colton is way too picky for his own good.

But recently, I’ve been thinking about really going healthy with my food choices. This decision is made even easier since I’m determined to eat from my own garden, expanding on the tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and herbs and taking things to the next level. I’d probably even get egg-layin’ chickens, a cow and a pig if I thought I could get away with it.

Some of you may think it’s too early to think about gardening. But let me assure you that there’s nothing quite like the defeated feeling of going to a garden center for asparagus crowns in May only to find out they sold out in February. So you’re just gonna have to trust me on this one…

Anywho, I’m hoping to start sharing some really cool, super simple meals that get extra points for being healthy. As you probably already guessed, this will be a work in progress. Nevertheless, let’s start the quest today!

The recipe I’m going to give you is not my own – let’s be clear on that up front. It comes from Lucinda Scala Quinn, one of my new favorite chefs, whose show, Mad Hungry, airs on the Hallmark Channel. Check her out – you won’t be disappointed. When I saw her preparing this, it seemed to hit everything Kate and I try to accomplish. It’s easy to fix, low in the number of ingredients, and (here’s the best part) requires no cooking. That’s right – no need for an oven or stove – not even a microwave! Well, that is, unless you serve it over pasta. You may want to cook that…

So here’s today’s “Liz wants to eat healthy and she’s starting with make-ahead tomato sauce” recipe, courtesy of Mad Hungry!


* 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 2 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
* 6 medium tomatoes
* 6 garlic cloves, crushed
* 1 tablespoon dried oregano
* 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
* Coarse salt
* 1 pound pasta (fusilli or spaghetti)
* Parmesan cheese, for serving


1. Make chile oil: Stir together 1/2 cup oil and 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes. Let stand at room temperature at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
2. Make sauce: Core tomatoes and tear into bite-size pieces directly into a serving bowl. Add garlic, remaining 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, the oregano, basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and remaining 1/2 cup oil. Lightly crush together using a wooden spoon. Let stand at room temperature 1 to 8 hours.
3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt to taste. Add pasta; cook until al dente. Drain. Add hot pasta to tomato mixture. Discard garlic cloves. Serve with Parmesan cheese for grating and with the chile oil for drizzling.

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