Thursday, March 30, 2017

Penne, Peas + Pesto

Say that three times fast.

I just cannot stop with the pesto. It's becoming a weekly staple and we are eating it on ALL OF THE THINGS. With Spring and Summer right here at our doorsteps, I'm already thinking about all of the creative pestos I can whip up with all of the fresh herbs and spices. My friend Rachel introduced me to parsley pesto awhile ago and I've spiraled out of control since. Last week's batch of pesto didn't last long, as I ended up using it as a daily dip for my afternoon snack. Plantain chips, carrots, radishes. Pesto is the new hummus in my house apparently.

I went back to basics with this simple pasta side dish this past weekend and everyone was in love. Sometimes all you need is easy...and pesto pasta is always so easy to love. A little pasta goes a long way. Having it as a side dish is a great way to get the pasta fix! We served this with grilled chicken thighs, grilled eggplant and salad. 

This petite penne is perfect for a pasta side like this one. It's Barilla brand and is labeled as "mezze penne". I used my arugula pesto recipe as a guide but used all basil instead of the arugula and added another handful of walnuts for a thicker pesto. I'm loving walnuts for pesto, by the way! They are meaty and rich and give a great consistency to the pesto- and way more budget friendly than pine nuts. Adding peas gave the dish an extra pop in each bite and is the perfect addition to Spring cooking. The best part about this pasts is that it can be served warm, room temperature or even cold. Toss in grilled chicken or shrimp, or top with roasted salmon to make this a complete meal. 

Pesto, Peas + Penne

1 lb. mezze penne (small penne)
2 cups frozen organic petite peas
Pecorino Romano, grated

Cook penne according to instructions on the package. Once pasta is al dente, drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. 

Transfer hot pasta to a bowl and add frozen peas. The peas will thaw and warm with the pasta. Add pesto, a heaping spoonful at a time, until penne is covered with the desired amount. Grate parmesan cheese on top and toss while pasta is still warm. Serve warm or at room temp.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Friday Faves: Five on Friday

Linking up with April and the Five on Friday girls this week for my Friday faves! 

March 23 has come and gone and as it seems every year, each birthday is better than the last. I slept in a little and started my day with my family (and a giant cup of coffee). I enjoyed my favorite ever latte with a favorite friend and our little ones, a visit from the one who brought me into this world (my wonderful mom) and a nice long run in the gorgeous weather WITHOUT a stroller. My little family had dinner at Ilios Noche and we came home and celebrated with birthday cupcakes from Gigi's. Everyday should be a celebration but yesterday was extra special. And Will thinks we are going to Target so that he can buy me a new Paw Patrol pup...he said he's going to share with me! Ha! Oh little buddy, birthdays are way more fun with you and your sister.  

How cute is this stationery!? Check out Perfect Peanut Cards on Etsy. Ashley is one of my oldest and best friends and one of the most creative people I know. Her designs are one of a kind and just the cutest! 

This Everything Bagel seasoning from Trader Joe's is, well, everything. I cannot get enough and may need to start stock piling. It's great on eggs, avocado, roasted vegetables and most recently roasted chicken that we added to Mediterranean Kale Bowls the other night. The addiction is real. Will even loves it sprinkled on top of his hummus

I'm super late to the Podcast life but now I see what all the obsession is about. I just finished Making Oprah and loooooved it. The end of her show was the end of an era and I loved listening to how it all evolved. 

And closing out with a picture of my two little lovies because I'm so glad I snapped this before our gorgeous Azaleas died. The wonky weather totally ruined our bushes before they were in full bloom. Our neighborhood is gorgeous when all of the azaleas are in full bloom and it doesn't look like it is happening this year- womp womp. 

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

How to Roast Spaghetti Squash

Veggie noodles are all the rage right now and we love this healthier way to enjoy our favorite pasta sauces and dishes. We've been eating spaghetti squash on the regular over here and and it's been a nice change from all of the zoodles we normally have. These squashes can seem hard to prepare but I've finally found the perfect, fail-proof method that ends in deliciously cooked spaghetti squash EVERY. SINGLE. Time. I will never prep it another way. 

With a quick 5-10 minutes of prep, you can cook this ahead of time, or while you're making your dinner. 

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash
olive oil
salt + pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut spaghetti squash in half vertically. Scoop out all of the seeds and clean out any straggly strings. Drizzle each half with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place with the seasoned side DOWN on a baking sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until insides can be scooped out and is a nice 'al dente' consistency.

Top with your favorite sauce, meat, veggies- whatever! 

Here are a few of my favorite sauces:

My family's Al'Amatriciana sauce

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Arugula Pesto

I'm having a moment with Pesto. It's always been my favorite of all the condiments and lately I CANNOT STOP. We always, always, always had homemade pesto on hand growing up and I used to find the small spoons out of the silverware drawer and sneak tastes.

Pesto for breakfast, pesto for lunch and pesto for dinner please. 

For breakfast on eggs and avocado, for lunch on a lettuce wrap and for dinner on naked burgers with a giant slice of ripe tomato and fresh mozzarella. The main components are something green, something nutty (NUTS), a little garlic and a lot of olive oil. Many recipes call for grated parmesan but I've been leaving that out and not missing it one bit- making it Paleo and Whole30 friendly, too! This also makes it better for freezing if you make a bigger batch and don't sneak it by the spoonful straight from the fridge. 

Arugula gives this pesto a spicy and nutty punch alongside the usual suspects of basil and olive oil. I opted for walnuts and added fresh lemon juice to brighten it all up. Pesto forever!

Arugula Pesto

1 cup fresh basil leaves
2 cups baby arugula
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
olive oil
juice of 1/2 large lemon
salt + pepper to taste. 

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the garlic and nuts until finely chopped. Add the arugula and basil. While the processor is going, add the olive oil in a slow drizzle, until you reach the desired consistency. Finish with fresh lemon juice and pulse a few more times. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

#EatMooreDinner, Vol. 4

My meal planning game has been strong lately! I've tried a lot of new recipes recently- many of which I cannot wait to make again. I have said it a hundred times before here, but meal planning really does keep us on track around here. When I meal plan, I usually plan for 4-5 dinners. We almost aways eat out at least one night each weekend, do leftovers another night and have a randomly put together meal based on what I have on hand in the kitchen. With two little ones in our house, too, I like to make things that can be easily "deconstructed" for them if need be. I also add in a few "extras". Egg muffins, paleo bites, healthy muffins for the little ones- plenty of extra things to have on hand.

Another rule I try to stick to is aside from pizza night, if I'm cooking at home, we are eating mostly Paleo friendly meals. This ensures that our weeknight meals are clean and healthy, leaving room for a few weekend splurges to enjoy.

I am LOVING cooking from the new Skinnytaste cookbook, Fast & Slow. Two of my recipes this week are out of this book! Everything I've made out of here so far has been DELICIOUS. We had the Cold Peanut Sesame Chicken and Cucumber Noodle Salad last night and it was beyond good. The dressing was drinkable and because we had ZERO leftovers, I whipped up a quick batch of it for my lunch salad today. 

Here's what's on our menu this week:

Cold Peanut Sesame Chicken + Spiralized Cucumber Noodle Salad (from Skinnytaste Fast & Slow

Salmon + Roasted Baby Potatoes + Grilled Caprese Vegetables (also from Skinnytaste)

For more dinner ideas, search @ninanmoore/#eatmooredinner on Instagram for my food photos!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Whole Wheat Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

Starting this Monday morning early with a giant cup of coffee and these muffins! Who doesn't want Chocolate for breakfast? And because the 3pm snack break is almost always inevitable, these also make the perfect mid-afternoon sweet treat.

Whole wheat flour makes these feel a little less guilty for me and with agave in place of refined white sugar, I'm calling these healthy-ish. Surprisingly, the coconut oil doesn't hide in this recipe and gives these muffins a little nutty kick. Using super ripe bananas take these muffins from great to best ever. I love them and so did the tiny humans in this house. 

Whole Wheat Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

3 very ripe bananas
1/3 cup organic blue agave 
2 large egg, at room temp
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a muffin tin with liners. (these silicone liners are my FAVORITE and I don't know how I ever lived without them)

In a medium bowl, mash the bananas up with a fork. Mash them well! Once they are nice and smooth, whisk in the agave, egg, coconut oil and vanilla until combined.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt together until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until everything is combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. 

Spoon the batter into the liners, filling them all the way to the top. Top each one with a few chocolate chips. Bake the muffins for 5 minutes at 425 degrees. Then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for an additional 13-15 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. 

Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.