Cleaning Out My Pantry with a Recipe for Gnocchi Primavera

Sometimes the best last-minute dinners are made by combining staples that have been gathering dust in your pantry, fridge, and freezer. In my case it was lots of vegetables and gnocchi and a few condiments that I tossed together for a fun dinner with friends.

Gnocchi Primavera

Every month we participate in The Recipe Redux cooking challenge, and this month we were told to go through our pantries, cupboards, freezer, and fridge and pick an ingredient or condiment that has been hanging around for awhile. We were asked to give this ingredient the attention it deserves and create a healthy recipe.

Organized Pantry

Liz and I decided that I should tackle this month’s challenge because, well, I have a well-stocked pantry. This is a nice way of saying that I’m a bit of a hoarder. I’m also an overachieving dietitian so I decided to use a dozen pantry items to create a new recipe. Our latest intern, Katy, had done a nice job of organizing our food photography props, but the other side of the pantry had lots of food items to choose from.

Ingredients from Pantry

My sister, Diane, was visiting from Oregon so I convinced her and my friends, Catherine and Maryellen, to join me in this cooking challenge. I showed them these pantry ingredients when they arrived and the consensus was that we would use the gnocchi, anchovy paste, and tomato paste.

Shrimp Crostini

The canned shrimp was a bit past the expiration date and I told my friends we had to use it, so Catherine whipped up these shrimp crostinis with shrimp mixed with cream cheese and hot sauce over crackers. These kept us fueled while we cooked the main meal. :)

Pantry Dinner

We then dug deeper into the freezer and found a partial bag of peas, a bag of snap peas, and some garlic cubes. In the fridge we found half & half cream left over from Easter, a few scallions, some grape tomatoes, an orange bell pepper, and fresh parsley. We decided to use all of them to make a Gnocchi Primavera.

Gnocchi Primavera

We totally made up this recipe as we went along, sipping on wine, and it turned out pretty well, especially for a Friday night throw-together dinner!

Gnocchi Primavera
 
This recipe is so versatile -- you can use any veggies you have in your fridge or freezer. You could add some shrimp or chicken, use pasta instead of gnocchi... the options are endless! If you don't have anchovy paste you can leave it out.
Author:
Serves: 4 to 6
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 frozen garlic cubes
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 orange bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 17.6-ounce package Italian gnocchi
  • 1 12-ounce bag sugar snap peas
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • ½ cup half & half cream
  • Parmesan cheese, optional
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions, garlic, tomatoes, bell pepper, anchovy paste, and tomato paste and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. While the vegetables are cooking, boil the gnocchi; add the sugar snap peas and peas for the last 2 minutes of cooking.
  4. Drain and add to the cooked vegetable mixture, along with the broth and half & half. Stir and heat through for about 3 minutes.
  5. Top with Parmesan cheese as desired.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 370 Fat: 11g Saturated fat: 3.5g Carbohydrates: 58g Sodium: 750mg Fiber: 7g Protein: 12g Cholesterol: 15mg

 

Pantry Dinner Guests

The best part of cooking with friends is sitting down and enjoying the meal afterward with good conversation. We were all pretty tired after a long week. Can you tell? :)  Do you have a favorite throw-together meal using items from your pantry?!

Eggy Asparagus Omelet Pie is Too Cute for Kids to Resist

Celebrate spring with the season’s freshest asparagus, and use it in this playful, savory pie that everyone at your table will love.

Eggy Asparagus Omelet Pie via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

From late March to June, you’ll find fresh, local asparagus at the market. Asparagus contains folate, fiber, vitamin C, and iron, and it’s versatile too. Add it to omelets and quiche, grill it, or steam and then toss with olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper for a simple side dish.

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Cook Once and Eat Twice – Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Becomes Pork Soft Tacos

Slow cooked pulled pork is a favorite recipe here at The Meal Makeover Moms’ Kitchen. Made with lean pork, bell pepper, onion, carrot, and BBQ sauce, it’s delicious and nutritious … and the recipe always makes enough for leftovers, which can easily be turned into these Pork Soft Tacos.

Pork Soft Tacos via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

Cook Once and Eat Twice is the theme of this month’s Recipe Redux cooking challenge, so we took our recipe for Pulled Pork Primavera Sandwiches and morphed it into Pork Soft Tacos.

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Favorite Foods of Spain

Spain is known for many things including flamenco dancers, paella, tapas, seafood, and wine. I was lucky enough to attend a conference in Madrid recently and even luckier to have my daughter, Carolyn, fly over at the end of the conference to travel with me for several days. Here are some of the highlights from the trip.

Slicing jamon in Madrid

I arrived in Madrid the day before the conference to explore the city with Kate Geagan and Chris Mohr, two fellow registered dietitian nutritionists. Our first stop was to a tapas bar called El Miajón de los Castúos where we enjoyed the first of many nibbles of fresh-sliced jamón and Manchego cheese. Amazing!

Spanish lunch

Next, we feasted on a six-course lunch, courtesy of Chris’ colleague, Luis, who lives in Madrid. I won’t even attempt to describe all these dishes, but the clams were the best I’d ever eaten. The octopus was, um, interesting!

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It Just Keeps Snowing and Slow Cooker Barley & Bean Soup

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Barley & Bean Soup via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

It’s been a wild few days here in New England. With 20 inches of snow on the ground and more in the forecast, I’ve been cooking up some nutritious new soup recipes for my resident snow blowers, Tim (crazy dad removing snow from roof) and Simon (helpful teen making sure crazy dad doesn’t fall off ladder).

Snow blowing in New England

Just another day in the neighborhood … Read more

Chicken Veggie Stir Fry + a GIVEAWAY for The Pre-Diabetes Diet Plan {Podcast #260}

Eating for overall good health and diabetes prevention just got a whole lot easier with this family-pleasing recipe for Chicken Veggie Stir Fry.  

Chicken Veggie Stir Fry via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #diabetes

Over 80 million Americans of all ages have prediabetes, which puts them at risk for developing type 2 diabetes—a disease that can lead to blindness, kidney failure, and blood vessel damage. Obesity, inactivity, a low fiber diet, and a high intake of sugar-sweetened beverages are common risk factors for diabetes.

Hillary Wright making Chicken Veggie Stir Fry via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #diabetes

To the rescue is registered dietitian, Hillary Wright, M.Ed, RD whose new book, The Pre-Diabetes Diet Plan outlines simple eating and exercise strategies aimed at reversing and preventing diabetes. She joins us this week on Cooking with the Moms Episode #260 to share a veggie filled, health-enhancing recipe along with invaluable advice for stopping prediabetes in its tracks.


 

 LISTEN TO COOKING WITH THE MOMS HERE! And don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to our show on iTunes.

Chicken Veggie Stir Fry via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #diabetes #carrots #zucchini #broccoli

As part of her pre-diabetes diet plan, Hillary recommends filling half your plate with non-starchy vegetables, 25% with a lean protein food, and the remaining 25% with a starchy veggie or whole grain. She’s not anti carb, but instead, she emphasizes the Two Qs: quality (whole grain) and quantity (not too much).

Chicken Veggie Stir Fry via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #diabetes

We served our stir fry with brown rice—a whole grain—and stuck to a 2/3 cup portion.

4.8 from 6 reviews
Chicken Veggie Stir Fry
 
As a rule, Hillary recommends between 45 to 60 grams of good quality carbohydrate per meal. We achieve that goal with non-starchy vegetables (carrots, broccoli, zucchini) and whole grain brown rice. This recipe was adapted from a favorite recipe of Hillary's found in Cooking Light.
Author:
Recipe type: Poultry
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • Juice of 1 lime, divided
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon expeller pressed canola oil
  • 2 carrots, cut into very thin rounds (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cups bite-size broccoli florets (from 1 small bunch)
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and then cut into ¼-inch-thick half moons (about 2 cups)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 green onions cut into ¼-inch pieces (white and green parts)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • ¼ cup sliced fresh basil
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Brown rice, optional
Instructions
  1. Place 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, ginger, juice of half a lime, and 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil in a large zip-top plastic bag or bowl. Add the chicken pieces, seal the bag, and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
  2. When ready to make your stir fry, heat the oil in a large wok or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and the marinade and stir fry for 1 minute.
  3. Add the carrots, broccoli, zucchini, garlic, green onions, and jalapeno pepper and stir fry 7 more minutes, or until the chicken is done and the vegetables are crisp tender.
  4. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, remaining lime juice, and the remaining sesame oil. Before serving, stir in the basil and cilantro.
  5. Serve with brown rice as desired.
Notes
When ⅔ cup brown rice is added to each portion, you get 370 calories, 41g carbohydrate, and 5g fiber. And thanks to all the veggies in this dish, each serving has a whopping 140% vitamin A and 80% vitamin C. ** If you have little kids at home, this recipe will serve 5.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 220 Fat: 9g Saturated fat: 1.5g Carbohydrates: 11g Sugar: 3g Sodium: 380mg Fiber: 3g Protein: 26g Cholesterol: 65mg

The Pre-Diabetes Diet Plan by Hillary Wright

If you or someone you know has prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, this is the book for you. One  blog reader or podcast listener can now enter to win a copy of The Pre-Diabetes Diet Plan (U.S. only please).

TO ENTER post a comment here and tell us your diabetes story and/or why you want to win the book.

We will enter you into the giveaway additional times if you …

> Tweet about the giveaway with a link back to this post.

> Share the giveaway news with your Facebook fans and friends with a link back to the post.

> Follow us on Pinterest.

> Follow The Meal Makeover Moms on Facebook and Twitter (@MealMakeovrMoms)

Giveaway ends February 6, 2015 and our winner will be picked using Random.org. Good luck!

Smoky Salmon Tacos with Greek Yogurt Sauce – Recipe Redux Challenge

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Smoky Salmon Tacos with Greek Yogurt Sauce via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #fish #seafood #tacos

Sunday dinners at my house often revolve around some sort of fish taco recipe. This weekend Josh was home from college, so I wanted to make something satisfying, nourishing, and super flavorful before he headed back to school; the food he eats at school is none of the above. My new creation for Smoky Tacos with Greek Yogurt Sauce met all three criteria.

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Homemade Tamales with Guacamole

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Colorful bell peppers via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

Rich in vitamins C and A, peppers are versatile, crunchy, and filled with big flavors. You can slice them and serve with our Rainbow Veggie Dip, saute and add to pasta dishes, soups, and tacos and wraps …

Corny Bean Bell Pepper Boats via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #bean #vegetarian

… or use them as the foundation for these fun-to-eat Corny Bean Bell Pepper Boats.

Our stuffed pepper recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free, and if you leave out the cheese, it’s also vegan.

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