Summer Rotini Salad

Pasta salad is a summer classic. It’s refreshing, filling, and can be healthy as long as you choose the right dressing.

One of my favourite things about making pasta salad is that you can usually enjoy it warm as well as cold. In this salad, all of the vegetables are raw, which means that when you combine them with the freshly cooked pasta, they stay juicy and cold. This creates a nice contrast of textures and temperatures if you’re digging in right away, but this salad is equally tasty once the pasta has cooled completely.

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Green Giant Pasta

When I’m in a hurry to get something nutritious and filling in my stomach after a long day, I often turn to pasta dishes. I tend to load up my bowl of noodles with whatever “extras” I have in my fridge, and most of the time, that includes lots of vegetables! In fact, I try to keep my pasta-to-veggies ratio at about 1:1, so that I’m filling up on vitamin and mineral-rich foods and keeping my carb intake reasonable.

This pasta dish combines fresh asparagus and frozen green peas with loads of fresh basil pesto — it is bursting with flavour and nutrients, and takes a jiffy to prepare! With so much green goodness in my bowl, I couldn’t help but name it accordingly.

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Chicken Pesto Pasta

Pasta meals are a great way to hit every food group while keeping your meal simple and quick. This particular dish combines whole wheat pasta with chicken, spinach, tomato sauce, and cheese, and is hearty and filling. A hint of basil pesto adds extra dimension and flavour to the sauce.

I put the water on to boil and start cooking the chicken at the same time. By the time the pasta is cooking, the chicken is in the sauce and everything is ready all at once. The whole enterprise takes 20 minutes from beginning to end!

Hot, hearty, and healthy.

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Christmas Mac and Cheese!

Looking for something festive to feed the kids — young and old alike — in your life?

Look no further! All you need is a box of your favourite macaroni and cheese, some frozen green peas, and red food colouring. Easy, tasty, and sure to be a hit with anyone jonesing for a bit of extra Christmas cheer at the table. Make this for lunch the day of Christmas dinner to avoid spending extra time in the kitchen.

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Vegetable Lasagna

I have posted about lasagna before, but this recipe merits its own post.

I really like lasagna because it’s a great way to maximize your returns in the kitchen. I tend to make a lasagna every couple of weekends, because I can afford to spend a bit longer cooking and I get 5 to 6 meals out of it (of course, if you’re cooking for more than one person this may not apply to you). And, with Fall firmly setting in here, there’s nothing like a piping hot pasta dish to warm up my soul.

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Dressed Up Mac and Cheese

I think that most, if not all university students will agree that macaroni and cheese is a student kitchen staple. While a lot of my friends go for the good ol’ KD, I grew up on President’s Choice White Cheddar Mac and Cheese (amazingly the box design hasn’t changed in 20+ years), and I’ve never really been able to fully get behind the orangey stuff (although I do eat it and enjoy it once in a while).

When I was a kid, my mom used to add green peas and little bits of hot dog or ham to our macaroni, in an attempt to make it a bit healthier and heartier while staying kid-friendly. When I got to university, I started up the habit again, replacing the meat with canned tuna. It’s a good way to integrate protein and a bit of vegetables into the dish without increasing the prep or cleanup time.

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Spinach and Asparagus Lasagna Roll-Ups

When I was home in Vancouver over the summer, we had my sister’s violin teacher Adrian and his wife Paige over for dinner. I had found this untraditional lasagna recipe and was dying to test it out myself, but of course no recipe I touch goes unchanged, so we made a gluten-free, vegetarian version to accommodate our various diners’ dietary needs. We even made our own tomato sauce from scratch!

The results were undeniably scrumptious. We made a double recipe and had enough to feed the five of us, plus leftovers for my mom, sister, and I for the following two days (as my dad was away for work, he missed out). Adrian and Paige emailed us the next day asking for the recipe. I have been dreaming of it ever since.

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Pasta with Greens, Chickpeas, and Feta

I like to shake things up when it comes to pasta. Sure, a traditional pasta with tomato sauce is always yummy and satisfying, but I’d rather come up with something weird and original using whatever I’ve got on hand.

My friends are often the guinea pigs for my cooking experiments, and in this case it was my friend Justin who tested it out. We both really liked the recipe, although the chickpeas were a bit hard (because I bought a cheap canned brand that I will never purchase again, and which was also responsible for this experiment). Otherwise, it was delicious and nutritious!

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