RECIPE: Tomato & spinach Penne Pasta Bake

Yes, my obsession with pasta is back!

I’d say I was sorry, but I’m not! I saw this recipe on Pinterest and decided to make it for dinner and boy, was it yummy!! Really simple and EXTREMELY tasty… so there’s cheese on it, it’s still kind of healthy!! 

 

Ingredients (serves 3-4)

400g penne pasta

2 tins chopped tomatoes

1 small white onion, diced

handful of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

handful of spinach leaves, roughly chopped

splash of red wine

splash of balsamic vinegar

1 tsp dried oregano

grated mozzarella (enough to cover the top, so probably half a bag)

tub of small mozzarella balls

Handful of pre-made packet breadcrumbs (enough to create a slight crunch on top)

salt and pepper to taste (as well as 1 sweetener tablet*)

 

Method:

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and throw in your penne pasta, set the oven to pre-heat at gas mark 5.

Whilst this is cooking make your sauce. All you need to do is soften your onions in a lightly oiled pan. I like to add a spoonful of water from the pasta pan, this way the onions don’t actually fry but boil so they just soften. 

Throw in your 2 tins of tomatoes and stir. Next you want to add all of your other 

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ingredients – it doesn’t matter what order. Just splash in a little red wine (however much you want, I like about 3 tablespoons) and then a splash of balsamic (again, 

however much you like, but I use around 2 tablespoons). Add your salt, pepper, 

sweetener and oregano and stir. Finally add the basil and spinach and stir. You’ll 

only want to cook this 

for about 5 minutes once you’re at this stage. Once the sauce starts to boil take it off the heat. 

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Drain the pasta and mix the sauce in. Once the pasta is well covered pour it into a 

baking dish. Here comes the fun part! 

distribute the mozzarella balls on top of the pasta, sprinkle the grated mozzarella onto until the pasta is covered – it’s up to you how much you want to use really – and then sprinkle on breadcrumbs. Again – it’s totally up to you. I just sprinkled about a handful over the top as I only wanted a light crust.  

 

Pop this into the pre heated oven for 20 minutes and serve. The cheese will be all melty and gooey and amazing and it will be delish! Trust me! Here is a photo of the finished thing:

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Let me know if you make this or have any great pasta bake recipes that are easy and healthy. I really want to use more kale in my pasta recipes so watch this space! 

 

As usual, thanks for reading and liking! 

BON APPÉTIT!

Sam

*when making tomato sauces you normally have to put sugar in to bring the flavour out, but I don’t use sugar in anything I make so I use small sweetener tablets)

RECIPE: Quinoa, red pepper & cucumber salad with avocado and lime

This is a great recipe to try if you’re entertaining friends, because it makes a lot of food and it’s easy to make, so you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen. It’s also one of those ones where you can make it in advance – which is always great! 

Ingredients:

(serves 4-6, easily)

salt 

Not my photo – I didn’t take one of my meal, but I will do and replace this ASAP.

1 cup quinoa 

1 garlic clove

1 large shallot – finely diced

1 jalepinio , deseeded and finely sliced

2 limes, juiced

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 medium red pepper, diced

1 medium cucumber, diced

2 ripe avocados, sliced

Method:

Bring a large pan of water to the boil with a pinch of salt. 

Rinse your quinoa under cold water and then add to the pan – you’ll want to cook this until tender. How do you know when it’s ready? I still have trouble being able to tell, because the grain is so small, so I’d just say after 10-15 minutes you should be good to go!

drain the quinoa and spread it out onto a baking sheet to cool – this will help it dry out (you don’t want a soggy salad!) and also cool quite quickly. 

Whilst that’s cooling, take a pinch of salt and your garlic clove and pop into a bowl. If you have a pestle and mortar you can crush these together to make a grainy paste – if you don’t you can do what I do and just use the back of a table spoon to grind it together. 

Next, add this paste, the diced shallots, jalepino and lime juice into a small bowl – season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir. You’ll want to let this sit for about 10 minutes. This will be your dressing. After it’s rested add your table spoon of oil into the bowl and stir. It may not seem like a lot, but you can always add oil later, you can’t take it out if you put too much in!

Next, take your quinoa, the red peppers and cucumber and put them into your serving bowl (I like to use a large glass bowl so you can see it all) and stir in 3/4 of your dressing. You can season to taste again, depending on how salty/peppery you like it. 

When serving, pop your sliced avocado onto the plates, spoon out the quinoa salad and drizzle with the remaining dressing. If you feel you’d like more oil, add it, but I find that it’s not needed. 

This sounds like it will take a long time, but it really doesn’t. It’s all in the prep. 

Serve this with warmed pitta bread (yes, I love pitta!). 

I’d also suggest serving this with olives, humous, and mint yoghurt – it’s great food to pass around in a party and it’s really healthy. For someone who loves eating, I can say I was truly full from this meal, and there was plenty of left overs, even with 5 of us eating it. 

BON APPÉTIT!

Sam