Tortellini with Broccoli Pesto

Tonight I made the most delicious dinner and it was super fast! At first I wasn’t sure what I thought of it, but I think that’s because in my first bite I was expecting a standard pesto taste/consistency and was surprised by the broccoli (I know, I know).  This was a beautiful dish… I had some amazing broccoli and it was healthy!

Tortellini with Broccoli Pesto
Tortellini with Broccoli Pesto


1 bunch broccoli, trimmed and cut into florets

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1 pound cheese tortellini


Cook the broccoli in a large pot of boiling water until crisp-tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool slightly; reserve the water for cooking the tortellini.

Pulse the broccoli, oil, pine nuts, Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a food processor until finely chopped, 15-20 seconds.

Cook the tortellini according to the package directions, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Drain and return the tortellini to the pot. Add the broccoli pesto and 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking water and toss to combine. Add more water as needed to loosen the sauce.

Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Orange Chicken Stir Fry with Crispy Garlic Dressing

I’ve decided to give clean eating a try… I’ve heard a lot of people talking about it lately and one of my friends has posted pictures of some of the most beautiful food I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m not going all clean (after all, I had In-N-Out for lunch today and there’s no way in hell I could give up pasta), but am going to try to incorporate it into three or four dinners a week. I like the general idea – consuming food in as close to its natural state as possible. Here’s the general guidelines to clean eating – I like it because it’s not a diet plan, you can still treat yourself (seriously, I’m not giving up pasta), and it makes you think about what you’re putting into your body:

Eat the foods made by nature, not man.
Plan to eat five or six meals and snacks throughout the day.
Avoid processed foods (in other words, anything in a box with a label).
Use healthy cooking methods.
Eat before you become super hungry.
Stop eating when you’re satisfied, not stuffed.
Don’t count your calories, fat grams, or points.
Enjoy and appreciate its flavor.

That said, I made a trip to my local Whole Foods and got lots of yummy stuff to cook “clean” dinners over the next few nights. The first up was Orange Chicken Stir Fry, from Clean Eating Magazine’s online recipe bank. The one thing that I did not include was the chickpeas – I bought them dry, not realizing that they needed to be rehydrated and that process takes like twelve hours. So we’re having chickpeas in our salad tomorrow night. This whole healthy cooking thing is harder than it looks!

Mike and I both really liked this meal – brown rice and all. I normally don’t like it because it tastes chewy, but I barely undercooked it and it was delicious! This is definitely going into my recipe book! Enjoy!

Orange Chicken Stir Fry with Crispy Garlic Dressing
Orange Chicken Stir Fry with Crispy Garlic Dressing


2/3 cup brown rice

1 tablespoon olive oil

7 1/2 oz BPA-free canned chickpeas, drained, rinsed and dried

1/4 tsp sea salt

Pinch ground cayenne pepper

1 bunch broccoli, trimmed

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 tbsp rice wine or apple cider vinegar

16 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise

1 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce or tamari

1 tsp ground ginger

1 orange, peeled, segmented and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 green onions, sliced


Cook rice according to package directions.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tsp oil on medium. Add chickpeas and cook, shaking pan occasionally, until golden, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and cayenne. Transfer to a bowl and cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a steamer basket set over a pot of gently simmering water, cook broccoli until tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare dressing: In a small saucepan, heat 1 tsp oil on medium. Add garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, crisp and golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and add vinegar. Set aside.

In a clean skillet, heat remaining 1 tsp oil on medium. Add chicken and sauté for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and add zucchini, soy sauce and ginger. Sauté until chicken is cooked through and zucchini is tender, 5 to 7 more minutes. Stir in broccoli, orange, onions and dressing and heat through. Serve over rice and top with chickpeas.

Cowboy Flank Steak with Sweet & Smoky Beans with Garlic-Roasted Broccoli

This is another Cooking Light recipe that I decided to give a try – Mike actually did the cooking on this one and it was delicious! He said this is possibly his favorite way to cook broccoli!

Cowboy Flank Steak
Cowboy Flank Steak


1 tablespoon  olive oil

1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper

3/4 cup lower-sodium tomato puree

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon molasses

1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 (16-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, undrained

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1 pound flank steak, trimmed


Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add onion and red bell pepper; sauté 4 minutes or until slightly tender. Stir in tomato puree and next 6 ingredients (through green chiles). Cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Heat a grill pan over high heat. Combine paprika and next 3 ingredients (through salt) in a small bowl; rub spice mixture evenly over steak. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add steak to pan; grill 6 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut steak diagonally across grain into thin slices. Serve with beans.

For Garlic-Roasted Broccoli

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place 6 cups broccoli florets and 3 minced garlic cloves in a large bowl. Coat generously with cooking spray; toss to coat. Arrange mixture in a single layer on a jelly roll pan. Roast at 400 degrees for 12 minutes, stirring once.

Beautiful Day!

I decided to spend some time playing in the yard today since the weather was so nice. I’m finally getting smart about living in the foothills (don’t plant early!), so I made it out of Lowe’s this morning without buying a single plant. My plan was for today to be a maintenance day – I pulled weeds, took down cages (my crepe myrtle is ready to be free), and staked my apricot trees. I also installed these cute little birds that have a little spinner on the bottom so that your hose moves around them – basically they go on corners so that you don’t drag your hose over your plants.

Hose Bird
Hose Bird

I love them. I can’t wait for them to get a little dirty and look a little worn. I’ve also been putting in a little time in my vegetable garden. My pride and joy right now is my broccoli – I’ve never grown it before and it’s taken a while for the actual broccoli to show up, but all of the sudden, here it is! They’re still tiny, but I’ve got six of these little heads!


I’ve also pulled together a little kitchen window herb garden. It’s got cilantro, basil, oregano, and thyme.

Kitchen Herb Garden
Kitchen Herb Garden

I love mellow days like this. I am so happy that spring is coming and that I have acres and acres of land to play on! Shadow spent the day out with me (Mike spent the day on his bike), so now it’s time for all of us to plop down on the sofa and mellow out!