Tortellini Salad with Pesto and Broccoli

Michelle shared a pasta salad recipe in line with the summer theme in the South Arm Community Center Older Adults Community Kitchen.

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This pasta salad can be served warm for dinner and cold for lunch the next day or two.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pound broccoli florets, cut into short length
  • 250g (about 1/2 pound) fresh tortellini
  • 3 tablespoons pesto (homemade or store-bought)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (we used red wine vinegar)
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved

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Source: bbcgoodfood.com

Serves 2
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Smoky Chicken, Peppers and Spinach Pasta Salad

Since I’m not free on the last week of May, I asked Michelle if I could attend the South Arm Hungry Men Community Kitchen instead of missing the session for women. Most of the times, the recipes are the same for both kitchens.

Here is my observations of the Hungry Men Community Kitchen; they are eager to learn to cook and they socialize well with one another. They are helpful with the clean up too. I wish the men in my home are the same. They only need extra guidance  with some basic kitchen skills and more complicated recipes ((in term of many steps) .

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For this kitchen, the main course is a Smoky Chicken, Peppers and Spinach Pasta Salad. This salad can be served hot or cold.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces rotini pasta, cooked according to package directions (vegetable rotini is preferred)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil for sauce + 1 tablespoon for cooking chicken
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper,or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional and to taste
  • about 1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into bite-sized pieces and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups (2 heaping handfuls) fresh spinach leaves, sliced thinly (chiffonade)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced small
  • 1 large orange bell pepper, seeded and diced small

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Source: averiecookes.com

Yield: serves 8 generously

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Baked Penne with Cauliflower and Cheese

The main dish for this South Arm Older Adults Community Kitchen is Baked Penne with Cauliflower and Cheese.

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The cream sauce for this baked penne recipe is made with cauliflower. It’s a great way to incorporate vegetables in dishes for picky eaters.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups 1.5 inch cauliflower florets (about 1 pound from 1/2 head)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Fine sea salt or table salt
  • 12 oz. dried penne
  • 2 cups 1% milk
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 oz. coarsely grated sharp white Cheddar (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1.5 oz. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1.5 cups using a grater)

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Source: from Fine Cooking Online

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Pasta with No Cook Sauce

Summer is approaching. Michelle shard this easy summer recipe in the South Arm Older Adults Cooking Club for days that you do not like spending a long time in the kitchen.

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This Pasta with No Cook Sauce is perfumed with basil. Fresh herbs are like nature’s pharmacy. Add them to meals to add depth of flavour and to boost your intake of healthy foods.

From Mercola.com:

Basil is one of the favourites among herbs because it has so many uses. Everything from soups to sandwiches can be made simply better with the addition of its fresh, pungent leaves. It also has been found to contain oils and flavonoids that protect the body from illness and infection. Very small concentrations can kill harmful bacteria, but still be very beneficial, even preventing atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and stroke.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried whole wheat pasta (linguini, spaghetti, etc.)
  • 6 large tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

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Source: this recipe is adapted from Healthy Family Meals

Serves 6 to 8
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Pasta with Veggie Confetti

For this South Arm Older Adults Cooking Club meet, Michelle shared a few recipes rich in vegetables and fruits for a heart healthy meal.  She shared with us that a recent studies reviewed a daily intake of 5 to 7 servings of vegetables and fruits reduce the risk of heart disease by 50%.

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This Pasta with Veggie Confetti recipe utilizes asparagus which is in season.

Ingredients

  • 12 oz dried whole wheat pasta, such as penne
  • 2/3 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 9 medium asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup coarsely shredded carrot
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

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Source: Healthy Family Meals, American Heart Association

Serves 4

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Pasta with Roasted Zucchini and Tomatoes

Michelle prepared a few easy recipes for the South Arm Older Adults Cooking Club during the spring break with a lighter attendance.

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The main course is a Pasta with Roasted Zucchini and Tomatoes.

From medicalnewstoday.com:

One medium tomato (approximately 123 grams) provides 22 calories, 0 grams of fat, 5 grams of carbohydrate (including 1 gram of fiber and 3 grams of sugar) and 1 gram of protein.

Tomatoes are a rich source of Vitamins A and C and folic acid. Tomatoes contain a wide array of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants, including alpha-lipoic acid, lycopene, choline, folic acid, beta-carotene and lutein.

Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 small zucchini, diced
  • 6 to 8 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound package pasta of your choice
  • Parmesan cheese, optional
  • Basil, thinly sliced

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Source: South Arm Older Adults Cooking Club

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Kale Pesto Pasta

Michelle shared a Kale Pesto Pasta for the main course at the South Arm Older Adults Cooking Club.

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Here are some facts about kale that Michelle shared with us:

  • Kale has been cultivated for more than 2,000 years. Popular in Europe during Roman times and the Middle Ages, it arrived in the United States in the 17th century.
  • Kale belongs to the same family as cabbage, Brussels sprouts and collards.
  • Kale for snack. Kale chips are a nutritious, easy to make snack.
  • Kale is packed with antioxidants, which help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body. Some research suggests kale helps reduce the risk of certain cancers.
  • One cup of chopped raw kale provides more than 100% of the daily value of vitamins A, C and K.
  • For the best flavour, kale must be harvested after the first frost. This ensures some of the starches are turned into sugars.
  • Types of kales are differentiated by color (green, white, purple, or bluish green) and leaf shape.
  • Kale contains lutein, a type of carotenoid (an organic pigment) responsible for the plant’s color and nutrients. Lutein helps keep eyes and vision healthy. From Webmd.com.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch lacinto kale or other kale or hearty green
  • 10 oil packed anchovies, optional
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone or heavy cream or soft cream cheese
  • 1 pound penne rigate
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup pasta water, to thin

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Source: this recipe is adapted from Gwyneth Palthrow’s My Father’s Daughter cookbook

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Pasta with Broccoli

For the main dish, Michelle shared a Pasta with Broccoli recipe in line with the idea of adding more vegetables in our diet.

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Michelle encouraged the use of whole grain pasta which has higher fiber contents.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz (1/2 pound) chunky, whole grain pasta
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups chopped broccoli
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Extra salt for cooking pasta. Salted water gives the pasta more flavour. Adding a bit of the pasta cooking water to your pasta sauce helps to thicken the sauce and makes it sticks to your pasta better.

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You may experiment with these variations:

  • add one cup cooked edamame or other beans
  • add 1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • top with toasted walnuts or pine nuts
  • add a couple chopped tomatoes at the end

Source: Moosewood for Health

Serves 4

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Spinach Lasagna Rolls

Michelle intended to do a pseudo Italian menu for this South Arm Older Adults Cooking Club kitchen.

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The main course for this kitchen was Spinach Lasagna Rolls. We like the idea that it is in single portion size that can be easily divided.

A little note from Michelle:

Is spinach more nutritious raw or cooked? The answer is cooked. Cooking can actually boost the antioxidant content. Heating vegetables releases antioxidants by breaking down cell walls. Studies have found that eating cooked spinach and carrots versus raw results in much higher blood level of beta-carotene, an antioxidant thought to guard against heart diseases and lung cancer. From Leslie Beck, Globe and Mail

Ingredients

  • 9 lasagna noodles
  • 10 oz frozen chopped spinach
  • 15 oz low fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 32 oz tomato sauce (homemade or store bought)
  • 9 tablespoons (about 3 oz) part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

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Source: this recipe is adapted from Skinnytaste.com

Makes 9

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Pasta with Lentils and Kale

The fall/winter vegetable featured in this recipe is kale. This is in line with the theme of eating food in season for the South Arm Cooking Club for seniors.

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If you do not want to cook the lentils, you can use canned lentils or white beans but rinse them well. Chopped hazelnuts or walnuts or leftover cooked bacon, sausage or chicken can be added for added protein.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup French (small) green lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped (2 cups)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 pound kale (preferably Tuscan; sometimes labeled as “lacinato”)
  • 3/4 pound dried short pasta
  • grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or toasted breadcrumbs for topping

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Source: this recipe is adapted from Gourmet April 2007

Tips:

Lentils and onions can be cooked up to 5 days ahead and chilled. Cool completely and covered before refrigeration. Reheat over low heat, thinning with water as necessary.

Kale can be washed and trimmed 1 day ahead and chilled in a sealed plastic bag lined with dampened paper towels.

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