Wednesday, December 22, 2010

MN Hotdish

This recipe courtesy of my friend Jeanelle. We did a dinner swap (vs. the usual cookie exchange) in December. I really liked this dish.

1 lb hamburger
4 diced carrots
4 diced potatoes
1 medium onion
can tomato soup

brown hamburger & onion
partially boil carrots & potatoes
mix together with can of tomato soup
bake one hour at 375 degrees

Friday, December 3, 2010

My Own Potato Soup

1 1/2 T. butter
1/4 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped celery
1 chopped carrot
1+c. chopped mushrooms

1 can chicken broth
2+c. chopped potatoes

I also put in some meatballs"
and a "dollop of Daisy" sour cream

It turned out good.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Whole Wheat Muffins

I found this recipe:

And modified it to the following:
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 c. orange juice
1/2 c. canola oil
1/2 c. honey

Blend two mixtures
(I put some chocolate chips in half the batch)

Bake in prepared muffin pan (well greased, or lined with paper baking cups) at 375 for 25+ minutes.

They were good. We ate them cold, and I think they would have been even better warm.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Debut Tomato Soup from "sratch"

Saute in olive oil, until tender
1 c. finely chopped carrot
1 1/2 c. chopped celery
3/4 c. coarsely chopped sweet onion

2 c. canned tomatoes (mostly drained)
2 c. rice milk
1 t. dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring to a boil, then simmer.

Verdict: good

Sunday, October 31, 2010


I used this as my guideline:

But, here's what I did:

3 shredded carrots
4 stalks of celery hearts, diced
4 small yellow potatoes, shredded
3/4 rutabaga, peeled and shredded
1/2 yellow/sweet onion, minced
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 T. parsley
1 lb ground beef (80/20 - when I usually go for 93/7)

I made 5 pastys from this mixture.

Baked at 375 for 1 hour.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Potato Pancakes

3/4 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. white flour
2 1/2 c. potato flakes
4 t. baking powder
2 t. salt

Separately, mix:
5 c. milk
4 T. oil
4 eggs

Combine mixtures

Heat griddle to 350-375, make pancakes with 1/4-1/2 c. batter, turning once.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pulled Pork Sandwiches and Broccolislaw

I put a pork roast in the crock pot with about 1 c. water and left it on "low 8 hours"

In the evening, I took two forks and shredded the meat, then added some barbeque sauce. I served it with whole wheat dinner rolls and broccolislaw.

preheat oven to 350 and toast until golden brown:
a 3 oz. package of ramen noodles, crushe
10 oz. almond or cashew pieces

in a large bowl, combine:
16 oz. coleslaw or broccolislaw mix
1 bunch green onions, chopped
toasted noodles and nuts

whisk together in small bowl/measuring cup:
1/2 c. (or less) white sugar
1/2 c. (or less) oil
1/4 c. (or less) cider vinegar
1T. soy sauce

toss two mixtures together and serve

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Jeffry isn't home for dinner during the week any more. : >( So, meals are more haphazard with just the kids and I.

Tonight: Tortellini

I cooked a package of frozen cheese tortellini per the directions on the bag.

I shredded 3 zucchini into a saucepan and added a jar of ready-made pasta sauce (I keep forgetting I have some homemade stuff in the freezer - oops!)

That was it. Not terribly exciting, but tasty.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bean Nachos

I like Tostitos brand multi-grain tortilla chips.

I served them with black beans, sliced black olives, diced tomato, diced avocado, some leftover taco-seasoned tofu from last week, shredded cheese and sour cream.

We just microwaved them once we were done setting them up.

Another fairly easy, customizable, yet tasty meal.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Eggy in a Basket

Sundays are still "breakfast for dinner".

This week: Eggy in a Basket

I was first intrigued by these watching "V for Vendetta". They are good

So, here's what I do:
  • heat a skillet (to 350 or so)
  • use a glass to cut holes in however many pieces of bread I'm using (I've saved these for some cute French Toast)
  • butter one side of the bread (if you can do both sides, more power to you)
  • place hole-y bread, butter side down on the skillet and break an egg into the hole
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • try to butter the unbuttered side of the bread, or at least melt some butter on the skillet and ...
  • flip once

For this batch, I topped them with cheese. I debated about trying to make Eggy-in-a-Basket-Grilled-Cheese, but figured that was a bit out of my league for the moment.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Kielbasa and Cabbage Mashed Potatoes

I grilled the Kielbasa. Or, more correctly, charred it. Jeffry liked it while the kids and I ate around the charcoal.

I sauted a package of shredded cabbage with some onion while boiling the potatoes (skins on). Once everything was soft, I mashed them together. It's a great way to hide some vegetables in dinner - if you like to do that.

Buttermilk, Maple, Pecan, Apple Pancakes

A new flavorful idea....

While skillet is heating, mix together:
2 eggs
2 c. flour (probably about 1/2 c. white, and 1 1/2 c. whole wheat)
1 1/2 c. milk
1+ T. lemon juice to make the milk buttermilk
2 heaping T. brown sugar, packed
4 T. canola oil
2 T baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. maple flavoring
large apple, chopped
about 3/4 c. pecans, chopped

Pour 1/4-1/2 c. onto griddle and flip when bubbles start popping on the surface.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bread and Cheese

On the rare night we get the kids in bed late and have a later dinner just to ourselves ... we often have bread and cheese.

Italian bread and usually Muenster cheese, although we've moved to Provolone now. Tonight, we had Raspberry-Jalapeno jam to go with it. Not a bad jam.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Baked Potatoes

A family favorite - even Jack, who has not liked potatoes in the past ate his tonight.

Bake potatoes in the microwave (I know, they're better wrapped in foil and left in the oven - maybe another [less busy] day)

Serve with:
ham or other meat
steamed broccoli
sauted onions
sauted mushrooms
shredded cheese
sour cream
and anything else you might like

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Spaghetti and Meatballs

I've made them before, using my Betty Crocker cookbook, but these meatballs were from the frozen section of the grocery store. However, I did add shredded zucchini to the jar of ready-made sauce so I didn't have to serve another vegetable with dinner.

It seems that anything with meat is a hit now that we only have meat every other day or so. And with kids, spaghetti noodles are always a hit (then a rather sticky mess, but hey, dinner is fun).

Monday, October 18, 2010

Taco Salads

The Taco Salads were just regular salad with some taco-seasoned tofu, olives, avocado, tomato and shredded cheese. A little variation to my usual salad

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Steaks and more

On the grill:
steaks (No Name brand)

On the grill, on greased tinfoil:
sliced zucchini, mushrooms and onions


Monday, October 11, 2010

Vegetarian White Chili

Today's concoction ...

In the crock pot, on low for 8 hours:
1 can butter beans
1 can northern beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can chicken broth
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
2 t. minced garlic
2 t. ground cumin
2 t. parsley
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 t. chili powder

Good! Leesha and her friend both had seconds. Jack and Maggie ate some too.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Debut Stuffed Peppers

I've never eaten stuffed peppers, so here are my ...

Debut Stuffed Peppers

2 peppers; tops, seeds, etc. cut out

Mix separately:
1/2 c. cooked, mashed squash
1/4 c. chopped sweet onion
1/4 c. chopped mushrooms
1/4 c. chopped broccoli
2 slices of bread, torn
1 egg

Stuff mixture into peppers
Place in shallow ceramic dish, cover with foil

Bake at 350 for 50 minutes

cover with cheese and bake an additional 15 minutes

Needs more flavor. Salt and more cheese improved them. Without a doubt, meat would add to the flavor as well.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Spaghetti Sauce from scratch

Saute in olive oil:
* remember, this is approximate *
1 1/2 c. celery
1 c. onion
5 cloves garlic

a "whole bunch" of cut up tomatoes
some Italian seasoning

It's okay. If I was really into making my own sauce, I'd work on tweaking it, but this was just to use up some tomatoes.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Chicken Salsa Chili

Okay, tonight is "no recipe night". Here's what I did:

In large pot, heat some olive oil and browned 1.5 lbs. chopped boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Adding in whatever order I copped them:
3 tomatoes
1 yellow bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 onion

As well as:
1 can of corn
1 can of black beans
1 package of fresh cilantro
minced garlic
juice of two limes

(dinner is served with blue corn chips)

very good!

I wouldn't have touched this with a ten foot pole 6 months ago. Meatless March had an effect on me.

I'd like to try purple or sweet onions, some jalapenos (Trader Joe's didn't have any) and chicken broth or tofu just to do a meatless variety. More beans would be fine too. For those that like them, a green pepper would certainly add something.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Spinach, Mushroom, Onion and Muenster Quiche

Jeffry loves pie, and he loves breakfast food, so Quiche is the perfect meal. I wasn't a big fan of Quiche before I met him, but it's grown on me.

I use a ready-made crust (uncooked) because I find pastry a pain, and the filings are up to my whims. I've tried crabmeat and swiss cheese, bacon, or veggies - including broccoli.

The rest is mostly Betty Crocker;

Line pie plate with pastry, arrange fillings of your choice in pastry

Mix separately:
1 3/4 c. whipping cream
3 large eggs
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/8 t.. cayenne pepper (again, I use paprika because it's what I have on hand)

Pour egg mixture into pastry.

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 300 and continue for at least 30 min (it always takes longer for me), until knife comes out clean.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Spinach Salad, Bread and Cheese

One of my favorite meals! Italian bread and Muenster cheese. Jeffry and I will often have this on nights when Leesha isn't home simply because I don't consider it a "balanced meal". The bread and cheese tradition started even before Jeffry was a part of my life.
I served it with a fresh spinach salad - not from a bag, but a bunch from the regular produce part of the store. I added some cucumber, cauliflower, avocado and cheese.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Friday night leftovers to clean out the 'fridge before getting groceries. Usually an interesting combination.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Omlets and Buttermilk Banana Nut Muffin Bread

After visiting the Farmer's Market, we had a lot more onions on hand that are usually in the 'fridge. So our omlets had onion, mushrooms, peppers, gyro meat, and crumbled blue or feta cheeses. When I've done omlets in the past, I've added some water to the eggs while whipping them. This time I didn't, and they turned out much better.

I used my basic sweet muffins recipe to make the bread.

Preheat oven to 400
Grease pan you're going to use

Mix in small bowl:
1 1/2 c. flour (I usually try to use at least 1/2 whole wheat flour)
1/2 c. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt

Mix separately:
1 slightly beaten egg
1/2 c. milk (I added a bit of vinegar to make this "buttermilk")
1/4 c. vegetable oil

Combine two mixtures until flour mixture is moistened (overmixing causes peaked muffins).

Add mashed bananas, nuts, chocolate chips, blueberries, etc.

Spread in pan and bake 15-20 minutes for muffins, longer for bread.

Baked Sweet Potatoes

Baked potatoes are a favorite of ours - or at least mine ...

Last night, for some variety, I did baked sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes. Not bad, but not worth writing home over (obviously, it's worth blogging over though).

I served them with steamed broccoli, ham chunks, sour cream, butter and cheese.

For dessert we had milkshakes.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Chicken Caesar Salad and Rhubarb Crisp

Growing up, I thought chicken was only done when it was dry and stringy. Now I know better.

I used olive oil to fry some chicken for our salad tonight, seasoning it with only salt and pepper. Since I had a bunch on hand, I served the salad with tomato as well as some sauteed sweet onion and mushrooms.

With the rhubarb growing in the garden, I figured it was time to use up some of the stuff from last year that was still in the freezer. I've taken to making just a small amount of "crisps" for dessert.

This recipe adapted from my Betty Crocker cookbook ...

Preheat oven to 375

Grease pan you're going to use (this varies with the size of crisp you want to make)

Cut up fruit (or in my case, veggies) and arrange in bottom of pan

Separately, mix:
2/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. oats (I use old fashioned despite the recipe calling for quick cooking)
1/3 c. stick margarine or butter (soft or melted)
3/4 t. ground cinnamon
3/4 t. ground nutmeg

Spread mixture over fruit (or veggies) and bake for 30 minutes (or until the "crisp" starts to brown)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Pita Bread

I finally tried making pita bread! It's pretty easy. I found the recipe on Here's the link:

For the first batch, I tore the dough off in handfulls and rolled them out pretty thin. I did not let them rise before baking them. The recipe says to bake them for 8 minutes, but this produced frisbees that ended up out in the yard. So, I tried baking them for only 3-4 minutes on my stone and that went better.

For the second batch, I didn't roll them as thin, and let them rise a bit before baking. This produced the "pocket".

A recipe that I will now use more often.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes

We had a frozen meatloaf which only required thawing and re-heating.

I served it with cabbage mashed potatoes.
For these, I sauteed fineley chopped cabbage (add onion and mushrooms if you'd like) until soft, then added the boiled potatoes and mashed them all together.

This was a meal Leesha had requested and she wanted it served with corn. I don't usually serve corn and consider it a vegetable, but with the cabbage, we had our serving of veggies. Leesha didn't even notice the cabbage.

Stir Fry

I love the bags of frozen stir-fry vegetables and bottled sauce - a much easier way to enjoy stir-fry.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Veggie Lasagna and humus

A new venture!

A disclaimer:
In all honesty, I rarely measure. So, measurements are usually approximate.

It's nearing the end of "Meatless March" at our house. The month has gone well, I'd say. Leesha came home from her dad's saying she'd had a burger on Saturday and felt like throwing up afterwards. We'll see how we take to meat again next week.

So, today, I wanted to roast garlic to make some more humus. I decided I'd try to roast the onion too. As long as I was at it, I roasted some tomato for our veggie lasagna for dinner.

I set the oven to 405, wrapped the unpeeled garlic cloves in foil, put some olive oil on the sweet onion and quartered tomato and let them bake for 40 minutes (the tomato was only in for about 20 minutes though).

The lasagna:
sauce: (I let this simmer for a while after mixing)
generic store bought spaghetti sauce
a little bit of steamed cauliflower
3 shredded zucchini
1 roasted tomato
some roasted sweet onion
a few cloves of roasted garlic, mashed

Cheese mix:
about 10 oz. soft tofu
15 oz. ricotta
2 c. shredded mozarella
2 eggs
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
enough parsley to add some color
(I've tried spinach in this mixture, but have finally learned my lesson that I don't really like frozen spinach - maybe I'll try again in the future)

Layer uncooked lasagna noodles, sauce and cheese mixture until you run out. Add 1/2 c. or so of water to help noodles cook.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 for about an hour.

blend in food processor:
1 can of garbanzo beans (drain, but save liquid)
1/2 cup tahini (for Twin Cities folk, this is super cheap over at Holy Land)
2 T lemon juice
1/2 roasted sweet onion
5 cloves roasted garlic
2 t. olive oil (for Twin Cities folk, this is cheap at Trader Joes, and probably Holy Land too)
2 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. paprika (my recipe calls for cayenne, but I haven't gotten that yet)
1/2 t. salt
enough of the liquid saved at the beginning to give it a good consistency

When I made a batch on Sunday, I used a package of pine nuts which I'd roasted, as well as raw onion (half sweet, half white) and that batch was good.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Not a big hit, sorry, Kraft has my vote on this dish.

from Betty Crocker

heat oven to350

Boil to desired tenderness, then drain:
2 c. elbow macaroni

While pasta is boiling, in 3 qt. saucepan, over low heat, melt
1/4 c. butter

Stir in:
1/4 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 t. dry mustard
1/4 t. Worcestershire sauce

Stir and cook over low heat until mixture is smooth and bubbly, remove from heat.
2 c. milk
Heat to boiling, stirring constantly, boil 1 minute.

Add and stir until melted:
2 c. shredded cheese

Combine cheese mixture and pasta. Turn into ungreased 2 qt. casserole dish. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Vegetable Soup

from my friend Jeanelle

Combine in slow cooker:
1 can black beans
1 can corn
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 can Minestrone soup
package frozen mixed vegetables

Cook on High3-4 hours, or longer on low

Monday, March 15, 2010

Esau's Lentil Soup

or Mjeodrah
from my "Fix it and Forget it" cookbook

Saute in 1 T. olive oil:
1 c. chopped carrots
1 c. diced celery
2 c. chopped onion
(I usually use a lot more veggies)

When these veggies are soft, transfer them to the slow cooker.

Using the same skillet and another 1T. olive oil, brown until dry
2 c. brown rice
add to slow cooker

Finally, add and stir:
6 c. water (I use prepared bullion)
1 lb. rinsed and drained lentils

Cook on High 6-8 hours

The cookbook suggests it be topped with a garden salad and vinaigrette. I like it plain with some fresh Roti or Nan from an Indian restaurant, or I'll make whole wheat pitas.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Egg Salad

Hard boil however many eggs you think you'll need. Chop these and add enough mayonnaise to make it spread-able. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I usually serve with bread and lettuce (if I've got some on hand).

Seeing as how it's called salad, I'm sure there are other things that can be added, such as; onion and celery.


or Puffy Oven Pancake
according to Betty Crocker

Heat oven to 400

Beat slightly:
2 large eggs
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. milk
1/4 t. salt

melt 2 T. butter in a pie plate and tilt pan around to spread the butter all over. Add mixture and bake 25 -30 minutes or until golden brown.

Top with fresh fruit, sauteed veggies, meat, cheese, etc. One of my favorites is strawberries, sour cream and brown sugar.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Another "no big deal" as I used canned, condensed tomato soup, only using milk instead of water.

I generally use American slices with whatever bread we have on hand to make cheese sandwiches which I then butter on the outside, then heat in a skillet until and cheese is melted and bread is browned (or black, depending on how much attention I'm paying to my cooking). I did wonder recently how it would work to just grease the skillet with butter and fry the bread in order to avoid the awkwardness of trying to butter the outsides of the bread. If I try it at some point, I'll try to remember to blog about it.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Black Bean Soup

from my WIC cookbook

2 cans black beans with liquid
1/2 c. prepared salsa
1 T. chili powder
2 c. broth (vegetable, chicken, prepared bullion)

Heat to boiling over medium heat.

Serve with toppings such as shredded cheese, onion, cilantro, avocado, sour cream.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


beans - black, pinto, etc.
rice (I try to flavor this with lime and cilantro like Chipotle, but fail every time)
shredded cheese
sour cream

top tortillas with fillings of choice, roll and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Nothing exciting here, I used frozen ravioli and prepared sauce. I just shredded zucchini into the sauce before cooking it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Veggie Burgers

from my WIC cookbook

I think I was surprised by how easy and tasty these were. Leesha even liked them.

In skillet on medium heat, cook until tender:
1 T. oil
1 large onion, chopped
Add, and cook until boiling:
1 1/4 c. broth/bullion
1/2 c. dry lentils which have been rinsed
Reduce heat to med-low, cover and cook 30-45 minutes until lentils are soft. Drain any excess liquid and let cool.

Beat in medium bowl: (I've used my food processor for this step)
2 eggs
Add and mix well, then shape into patties:
1/2 c. dry bread crumbs/crushed crackers
1/2 c. quick cooking oats
lentil mixture

cook patties in greased skillet on medium heat until brown on both sides.

Variation: add 1/2 t. salt and 1/2 t. sage

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Potato Pancakes

Heat griddle/skillet to 375 (med-high)

Mix well in large bowl:
3/4 c. flour (I've used whole wheat and white, or just white)
1 1/4 c. potato flakes
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt

In medium bowl, mix well:
2 1/2 c. milk
2 T. oil
2 large eggs

Combine two mixtures until dry ingredients are moistened. Add minced onion or shredded carrot, if desired.

Pour onto hot greased skillet/griddle by 1/3 c., turning when bubbles begin to break on the surface.

Serve with applesauce, plain yogurt, or regular pancake toppings.

Waldorf Salad

from Betty Crocker

Mix in medium bowl:
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1 T. lemon juice
1 T. milk

2 medium, unpeeled apples, coarsely chopped
2 medium stalks of celery, chopped
1/3 c. nuts, coarsely chopped

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Grilled Muenster with Carmelized Onion Sandwiches

In skillet on med-high heat:
melt 3 T. butter or margarine

1 medium onion which has been sliced and separated into rings
Cook until tender, reduce heat to low, add:
1 t. brown sugar
Cook 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is golden and glazed; set aside.

while onion is cooking,
spread mustard on 8 slices pumpernickel rye bread

top 4 of these with muenster chese

spoon caramelized onions onto cheese, top with another slice of pumpernickel

spread butter/margarine on top and bottom of sandwich, place in skillet on med-low, cooking until cheese is melted

Friday, March 5, 2010

Tofu Pot Pie

(This was a hit - even for Leesha)

2 pie crusts

Line pie plate with pie crust
spread 1 cup each (more or less depending on space and taste)
meat/tofu of choice

Mix in small microwavable bowl:
1/4 c. mayonnaise (we've started using mayo with olive oil)
3/4 c. milk (try rice milk if you've got issues with lactose)
1 T. flour

Microwave on High 2-3 minutes, stirring once until it starts to thicken, then pour on meat/veggie mixture. Top with remaining crust.

Bake at 400 for 30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Stuffed Shells or Manicotti

cheese mixture:
16 oz. ricotta cheese
(tofu can be added if you like)
2 eggs
1/2 c. dried parsley
16 oz. shredded mozarella cheese
1/2 c. parmesean cheese
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper

boil shells or manicotti according to instructions, rinse and lay out so they don't stick together

use a spoon to put the cheese mixture into the pasta. With Manicotti, I often slice it open to stuff it.

serve with pasta sauce
(I like to shred zucchini into my sauce prior to cooking)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Black Beans and Rice

from my "Fix it and Forget it" cookbook

(another of those recipes that was great the first time and hasn't impressed me since)

soak 1 lb. of dried red beans in water for 8 hours, discard water

Mix in slow cooker:
soaked beans
2 t. salt
1 t. pepper
3-4 c. water
6 oz. tomato paste
8 oz. tomato sauce
4 cloves minced garlic
cook on low for 10-12 hours and serve over rice

Add ham, sausage or other meat to the beans.
Use canned beans and cook on high for one hour, then low for 3 hours.

Note: I've noted that my slow cooker often ends up burning stuff, so adjust the recipe to your slow cooker.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


(a great "do it yourself" meal for kids)

top tortilla chips with any of the following:
pinto, black or kidney beans (drained)
diced chilies
shredded lettuce
sour cream

warm in microwave or oven until cheese melts

Monday, March 1, 2010

Pasta with Ricotta and Vegetables

The first time I had this, I liked it. I've tried it a couple of times since and haven't been impressed - but maybe that's because I haven't used fresh herbs.

Cook 8 oz. pasta, adding these veggies for the last 3 minutes of boiling:
2 1/2 c. chopped fresh broccoli
1 1/2 c. fresh asparagus or green beans in 1 inch pieces

Using a fine strainer over a separate large bowl, cut 2 tomatoes in half and squeeze seeds and juice contents into strainer, then use the back of a spoon to push the juice off of the seeds; finally chop tomatoes and add these to the mixture at the end.

in the large bowl, add the following:
1 c. light ricotta cheese
1/4 c. snipped fresh basil
4 t. snipped fresh thyme
4 t. balsamic vinegar
1 T. olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
(don't forget the chopped tomatoes)

Toss pasta and vegetables with cheese and tomato mixture, sprinkle with parmesean and garnish with thyme