Tag Archives: The Food Matters Cookbook

Food Matters Project #44: Pasta with Tuna, Tomatoes & Capers

I’m so happy to be the host of this week’s Food Matters Project.  It’s a perfect recipe for our household these days.  Between a new schedule and a new job, our lives have been a bit busy.  Easy, make-ahead and delicious recipes are perfect for us.

A while back I chose Mark Bittman’s Pasta with Tuna, Tomatoes & Capers.  It’s a great recipe that can be changed to what you have in your fridge.  It’s fantastic prepared the night before, and wonderful for lunch the next day!  Check out what other FMP participants did with their recipes here.

I love tuna salad, but I really hate to order it in deli shops or restaurants.  There is always so much mayo in there, it doesn’t have the tuna flavor.  And it’s heavy, loaded with calories.  I loved this pasta salad- served cold, it was perfect for a hot summer day, and it’s still light enough that it doesn’t make you too sleepy after you eat it for lunch!

Food Matters Project: Tuna SaladPasta with Tuna, Tomatoes & Capers
Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook (page 232)

1 lb pasta (type: your choice)
4-5 tomatoes, roughly chopped
3 cans 5 oz can of tuna in water, drained
1 small onion, chopped
3 tbsp capers
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Cook pasta according to the directions on the box.

In a large bowl mix together the following ingredients: cooked pasta, tomatoes, tuna, onion, capers, parsley, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Stir well and serve.

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Food Matters Project #35: Provencal Pasta Sauce

It’s another Monday installment of the Food Matters Project!  Last week we hosted the Rice & Lamb Burgers with Spinach & Tzatziki Sauce, a perfect recipe for the upcoming grilling season.  This week’s host is Nancy, of Funkytown Foodies.  She’s one of three friends that have a food blog together- they all document delicious, healthy and local recipes.

Nancy chose the Provencal Vegetables with Chicken in Packets recipe from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook.  Check out Nancy’s recipe- she made a few changes to the original.  Also, all other ideas from FMP participants can be found here.

Thanks to the weather, I took a completely different take on this recipe.  It’s the second Monday in a row that DC has been gloomy and rainy.  Why Monday?  It’s such a hard way to start the week.  Since it’s cold and blah out, I wanted something comforting and saucy.  And due to poor planning, I forgot to defrost the chicken…had various vegetables that needed to be eaten in our fridge.

So I began chopping up the vegetables, hoping an idea would just pop into my head.  It did, once all of the vegetables were chopped up and mixed together- why not make a sauce to put over some pasta?  Comforting, warm, and full of flavor…making me wish for spring even more!  We didn’t have any parsley in our fridge, but it might be a good garnish on top.  This really reminded me of Sam’s Summer Sauce, and now I can’t wait for farmers market tomatoes!

Provencal Pasta Sauce

Provencal Pasta Sauce
Inspired by: The Food Matters Cookbook (page 464)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium eggplant, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 cup canned chopped tomatoes
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 large red onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup black olives, halved
3/4 cup green olives, halved
1 zucchini, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 cups of water
1/2 lb pasta (we used whole wheat spaghetti)
Parmesan or feta cheese (optional)

Pour the olive oil into a large pot, heat it up.  Once it’s hot add all of the chopped vegetables, the herbs, salt, pepper and water.  Stir well and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, bring down the temperature to low, simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours.

If you prefer chunkier sauce, then leave the sauce as is.  If you’d prefer a smoother sauce, then puree all of it.  If you’re like us, and you want it somewhere it the middle, puree about half of it in a blender or food processor.

Cook pasta per package instructions.  Drain, and divide between the plates.  Then spoon out the provencal sauce, sprinkle with parsley.  If you prefer, top it all off with some Parmesan or feta.

Food Matters Project #14: Black Bean & Corn Salsa

It’s another Monday, so we’ll check out what everyone has made for the Food Matters ProjectAlissa from Big Eats Tiny Kitchen has chosen this weeks recipe.  She chose Mark Bittman’s recipes for Five Quick Salsas for Chips, Dips and Other Stuff from The Food Matters Cookbook.  You can find Mark’s original suggestions on page 46 of his book.  To see what other members of The Food Matters Project did, check out their links in the comments section here.

I’m sure many of us celebrated Cinco de Mayo on Saturday, so we have all eaten a lot of salsa over the weekend.  I hope there were some great margaritas to go with it!  If you need more Mexican recipes, check out what we had made in the past.

I’m a huge fan of chips and salsa, but tomatoes are not in season, so I chose to do a tomato-less salsa.  To fill the void, I opted for some black beans and corn.  Since we didn’t have any chips in the house, I shredded some lettuce and we ate the salsa as a topping for the salad.  It was very refreshing and filling on a hot day.  I also toasted some tortillas and added those to the salad as well.  (*I did add some sunflower seeds to the salad, feel free to omit)

I’ll be back tomorrow with some fun things about the Eat Write Retreat 2012 conference, which I was at this weekend.  I do have something to look forward to this week- some giveaways!!!  Lots of swag from the conference, and I’d love to share my goodies!

Black Bean & Corn Salsa
A Fifth Floor Kitchen original

I cooked dry black beans for this salsa, and I did not use salt when cooking.  So if you are using canned beans, you might want to scale back the salt (or salt to taste).  Fresh corn off the cob would give this salsa a bit more taste, so if it’s in season you should try it.

3 cups of black beans
2 cups of frozen corn, defrosted
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup chopped peppers (yellows and red give the salsa lots of flavor)
2 jalapeños, chopped
juice of 1 lime
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Mix all of the ingredients.  Chill for at least an hour prior to serving, it’ll allow the flavors to blend together.

Serve with chips, toasted tortilla or on top of salads or roasted chicken.

Cabbage Thai Salad

Cabbage Salad

As I have mentioned, I love salads.  Easy salads that take less than 30 minute to throw together and they can be a meal.  Growing up, my mom used to make a chinese cabbage salad, which included Ramen noodles as an extra crunch- and I loved it!  So when I saw this recipe from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook, I definitely wanted to try it to see this salad satisfied my love for the crunchy cabbage salad.  Simililar ingredients, but there are some fun additions.  I did change it just a bit, more of some stuff, less of others- but it is crunchy and refreshing.  My favorite was putting the sesame seeds on it!

Cabbage Thai Salad
Adapted from The Food Matters Cookbook

Juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 fresh hot red chile, minced
1 carrot, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 Chinese cabbage, chopped
2 handfuls of snow peas, chopped
5-7 radishes, chopped
1 handful of cashews
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup of sesame seeds
8 leaves of fresh basil, chopped
6 leaves of fresh mint, chopped

Mix all of these ingredients in a large bowl.  Toss, and refrigerate until ready to serve. Although, this can get a big soggy, so it’s better to eat it right away.