Archives for category: Spaghetti Monday Meals

Hmmmm. It was easy. Delicious. The family is full, leftovers are in the fridge, and sundaes await in the freezer–when we recover from the food coma. Today, I attempted stuffed Portobello mushrooms, marinated and breaded pork chops, and corn-on-the-cob. After reading multiple recipes, I decided on the following ingredients for the mushrooms:

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms


  • 4 large Portobello mushrooms, rinsed and stems removed
  • 1 medium leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 yellow zucchini
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, seeds removed and chopped
  • 6-7 fresh basil leaves to taste, chopped
  • sprinkle of parsley or chopped parsley
  • 2 cups spinach, washed
  • handful of shred parm or mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, more to spread on mushroom caps
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2.  Remove the stem of the mushrooms by lightly twisting the stem from the head. Rinse the soil away and pat dry. Set aside.
  3.  Thinly chop the leek until you reach the coarse green of the upper leaves. Finely chop the onion.
  4. In a sauté pan, pour in 2 tablespoons oil. Heat to medium and add leeks. Stir and let sauté until leeks soften slightly. Add onions.
  5. While onions and leeks soften, chop the garlic, zucchini, bell pepper, tomato, basil, and parsley, if using fresh.
  6. When onions are softened, add in zucchini. Allow to brown slightly. Add in basil, bell pepper, tomato, and parsley. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Heat through and remove from heat. 
  7. Add in spinach. Stir in and allow to wilt. 
  8. Stir in cheese. Set mixture aside. 
  9. Pour a very small amount of oil into your palm. Use to coat the cap of each mushroom. Place each mushroom, capside down, onto a foiled baking sheet.
  10. Spoon the vegetable mixture into the caps. Sprinkle with addition cheese and pepper.
  11. Place in the pre-heated oven. Set the timer for 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Enjoy 🙂

It’s day TWO of summer. It’s raining. Again. But before the rain, there is that warm wind. That smell in the air. It is the promise of rain, an electricity. Not that we need any more rain this month, but those moments before the rain are magical.

This truck makes me happy:


 It makes me think of all the places I would rather be. Why? I have no idea. Maybe it’s the color. Maybe the curves. But it’s beautiful. Apparently, difficult to drive, but who would know from the outside?



And this tree, that lives on the file cabinet beside my desk, outgrew it’s shabby little pot about two years ago. I stuffed it into my back seat yesterday, hauled it across the lawn at home, and  transplanted it at 7 a.m. before work. I wedged it back in my lil (creaky and rusty) car and here it is. Back in the corner,all lopsided and Charlie Brown-like, trying to kiss the ceiling and reach for the sunlight.

This makes me happy too:

It’s my lunch. . A pyramid of fruit and veg: a nectarine, raspberries, watermelon, and beautifully sauted and creamy butter beans. I love lunch. It breaks up my day despite the fact I never leave my desk. It is full of color, texture, cold and warm, sweet and tart, and smells divine.

Now…why I did not cook dinner, and how I arrived to work with beans:

I had the very best intentions to cook dinner. But someone beat me to it. Not that I’m complaining. Who can possibly complain to coming home to a kitchen that is heavy with the smells of sauce and the starchy scent of pasta still bubbling away? Thin slices of perfectly baked and crunchy eggplant accompanied our spaghetti along with the most delicious, homemade stuffed shells that I  had in recent memory.

But I was feeling a bit blue. I was looking forward to making a mess in the kitchen. So…I cooked my lunch for Tuesday. I have recently become enamoured by Jamie Oliver’s cooking show and decided to browse his recipes online. Stumbling across his recipe for The Creamiest White Beans and Leeks, I couldn’t resist. Fortunately, all ingredients were on hand, except for the leeks. Scallions provided an easy substitute, and the thyme from the garden smelled incredible as it simmered with the scallions, garlic, oil and butter. I did have to simmer the beans for a bit longer than prescribed, but it was worth the effort. The wine flavor was quite strong, even after a longer time on the stove, but for me personally, I did not mind. I love beans, especially butter beans, and have no qualms about eating them as a meal onto themselves. I did pack some fruit for breakfast and as light snacks (as seen in the pyramid above). Who can resist a sweet nectarine, ripe watermelon, and red red raspberries?

Happy Tuesday! The sun is peeking through the clouds for the first time in days. I’m hoping my poor yellowing tomato stalks will begin to dry out the tiniest bit. Let’s hope!

Another Monday is behind us, and Spaghetti Monday meal prep took a bit longer than anticipated, not that I expected two new recipes to flow seamlessly. In the end, it was worth it! I started with a Spinach and Garbanzo Bean Soup with tiny pasta pieces. The beautiful part of this recipe was that almost everything was already in my fridge and pantry. I ever so slightly adapted this recipe from Vegalicious Recipes. Instead of a regular onion, I opted for the less potent green onion. Because I had chicken stock frozen, I chose to use what I had on hand rather than buy the vegetable stock. I enhanced the chicken stock with a bit of bullion as well. I love a hearty soup, so I chose a larger volume of garbanzo beans and spinach. It was very good (even in my lunch this afternoon!).

 Spinach Garbanzo Bean Soup* 

Adapted from 

  • Olive Oil, 1 tablespoon
  • Green Onions, about 1/2 cup sliced
  • Saffron, just a few threads
  • Turmeric, about 1/4 teaspoon
  • Cardamom, about 1/8 teaspoon
  • Nutmeg, about 1/8 teaspoon
  • Paprika (sweet), about 1 tablespoon
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (I used quite a bit of a of ground black pepper.)
  • Garlic, 1 large clove or 2-3 small cloves, crushed
  • 3-4 cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth, plus additional bullion if desired
  • Garbanzo Beans, 1 (15 ounce) can drained and rinsed
  • Small Soup Pasta, about 1/2 cup
  • Baby Spinach, 6 ounce bag

(*Unless I’m baking, I am not very accurate when it comes to measurements I just add in whatever tastes good.)

In a large soup pan, pour the oil. Heat over a medium flame. Add the green onions and stir to coat with oil. Adjust the oil temperature so the onions do not burn. Allow to soften. Add all of the spices and the crushed garlic. Stir. Add garbanzo beans, coating the beans in the mixture. Brown for about two minutes. Add in the stock and bullion. Bring to a boil. Add the small pasta. When pasta is soft, add in the spinach and allow to wilt. Turn off heat. If you have time, let the soup sit on the stove so that all the flavors can meld. It’s good either way, so serve when you’re ready.


Our main dish was Pasta Primavera. I found this recipe at Smitten Kitchen and just had to make it solely based upon the eye-catching photo provided. It was just too pretty to pass over. The pasta can be served cool, but by special request, I did warm the finished pasta through. I also used the Champagne vinegar, and I squeezed a bit of the lemon juice over my noodles. I rinsed and chopped Kalamata olives and mixed them throughout the pasta. Even the picky eaters in my family couldn’t resist trying them. I was able to use fresh basil and chives from the garden which always makes me happy. And the rainbow of colors did not fail to impress! Served with a freshly bottled batch of Blushing Bride wine and a crusty loaf of bead, our meal was perfectly lovely!