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Jun 052014
Spinach pasta

Spinach pasta


We are winding up the kitchen for a 7 week long trip to the Indian subcontinent. Though we are excited about the trip as I will get to meet with my family after 3 long years, it is also a daunting task. The most daunting of it all ? Clearing the fridge and pantry or storing the pantry items properly so they don’t go bad. But that’s not all. Not buying more stuff until the day we leave, is the hardest.

Spinach pasta-3

Just yesterday, while taking stock I was muttering to myself why I have all the stuff that could feed a dozen people for days. But today, when I was prepping up to make something for Ina Friday, I just didn’t seem to have enough of anything. I had to stop myself from heading out to the grocery store to buy stuff so I could make the dish I wanted to.

Instead, I improvised (feeling so virtuous). I looked through a bunch of Ina recipes and decided that Penne with spinach sauce was the one I could easily do as I happened to have some spinach. I also had a tub of roasted garlic herb epicurean butter that my friend Barb from creative- culinary had brought over to share with me sometime back. I did not have any goat cheese. That is one cheese that surprisingly just vanishes from my fridge. I don’t really know who eats it. Snacking does not count as eating, does it? Oh it does? Ok so it is me who finishes the goat cheese. (turning beetroot red)


Spinach pasta-2

I did have some cream cheese and some pecorino – so I decided to just wing it and make the dish. But then there was no penne. Or any Pasta!! I looked deeper in the pantry and out peeked some gluten free quinoa pasta. Oh hello Mister! Thank you for showing up! You are getting a cheesy makeover!!

The result ? The Quinoa pasta with spinach and cheese! I am sure Ina would be proud of me. It was melt in the mouth delicious. So while this may not be her original recipe, I am still posting it with Ina Fridays. Because more than her recipes, I like Ina for her love for cooking and inspiring people to cook good food.

Do stop by to check what other Ina Friday Bloggers have cooked up! It is always a Party on the first Friday!

If you’d like to participate on a monthly basis, email Alyce at   If you’d like to join in occasionally, just follow the prompt for the “linky” or blog hop and add your post – Ina Garten recipes only, please.

Quinoa Pasta with Spinach and Cheese – Ina fridays

Quinoa Pasta with Spinach and Cheese – Ina fridays


  • 15¾ oz (450g) quinoa pasta (or any other pasta)
  • 1tsp Roasted Garlic Herb butter from epicurean or use some garlic and butter
  • 2 tbs pecorino grated
  • 1 oz cream cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 oz fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook until it is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the goat cheese, cream cheese,garlic butter, some pepper and half of the spinach leaves. Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy; set aside.
  3. Place the remaining spinach leaves in a large bowl. Drain the pasta. Spoon the pasta atop the spinach leaves in the bowl.
  4. Scrape the cheese and spinach mixture over the pasta mixture and toss to coat. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt and pepper.
  5. Add in the grated pecorino and serve.

May 042014
Pea salad

Pea salad


 And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.

—P B Shelley

It’s finally spring like in Colorado. Balmy sunshine one day and almost freezing the next and some high speed winds thrown in in-between. My life these days is almost like Colorado spring time weather. Peaceful and quiet now, full of high energy sometimes and bracing the winds at others. But I am not complaining. It’s just that when life has other plans, I don’t get to blog as much.

A couple of weeks ago my daughter fractured her foot. She has been brave about the injury and doesn’t complain much and has tried to stay as active as she can. Unfortunately the injury means that her spot in the Final Show of her Aerial Dance is in jeopardy. It’s the biggest show of the season and she worked all year towards it. She cried (A LOT) the day the Doc told her she has a fracture. When he asked if the fracture was hurting, she told him, “Well ya it is, but what hurts most is that you will put me in a cast and I won’t be able to perform in my show.” He then had to really work hard at earning her acceptance to go ahead with the cast.

And I have been working to keep this brave kid in good cheer. She still goes for the practices and conditions her upper body, learns the choreography and is staying positive. In fact her optimism is infectious. Even though I know she needs to have some physical therapy before she can go back up on those silks, I sometimes feel that may be she will pull it off because she is so determined, so focused and so brave.

I am hoping that in two weeks from today, she will be back on those silks and flying high. It just breaks my heart to know she may or may not be on the show and knowing how hard she, her team and coaches worked all year for this show. Hoping and praying that she is back on her feet for the show.

In order to spread some good cheer around the house, I have mostly been baking brownies, cupcakes and the likes in addition to feeding her a bone soup made from a very ancient apothecary recipe, to help her foot heal faster. In addition to that we are including veggies into every single meal. And she loves a pasta salad with vegetables thrown in. So it was a really easy decision when I had to make a dish for Ina Fridays. ( The Friday turned into a Sunday ;))

Pea salad-2

Ina’s Pasta Pesto Pea salad has all the ingredients my daughter loves and she enjoyed this salad very much. I did dial it down on the fat content, but it was still very flavorful and went very well with the spring time weather we have been having for the past couple of days.

Stop in this Friday or beyond  and see what all of our fine writers are cooking up.  All writers will not participate every month, but check out the blogs anyway.  If you’d like to participate on a monthly basis, email Alyce at   If you’d like to join in occasionally, just follow the prompt for the “linky” or blog hop and add your post – Ina Garten recipes only, please.
  •   Alyce @ More Time at the Table
  •   Anna @ Cheese with Noodles
  •   Ansh @  Spice Roots 
  •   Barbara @ Moveable Feasts  
  •   Bhavna @ Just a Girl From AAmchi Mumbai..
  •   Linda,  @ Tumbleweed Contessa
  •   Mary @ The Egg Farm
  •   Minnie @ The Lady 8 Home
  •   Mireya @ My Healthy Eating Habits
  •   Patti @ Comfy Cuisine
  •   Peggy@ Pantry Revisited
  •   Rocky Mountain Woman @ Rocky Mountain Woman
  •   Veronica@ My Catholic Kitchen
    Pasta Pesto and Pea Salad – Ina Firdays

    Pasta Pesto and Pea Salad – Ina Firdays


    • 1 cup bow tie pasta
    • 1 cup Fusilli pasta
    • 1/4 cup pesto (recipe follows)
    • 1 C frozen spinach , defrosted and squeezed dry
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 1/2 C frozen peas, defrosted
    • 2 Tbs pine nuts
    • salt to taste
    • Black pepper to taste
    • Pesto
    • 1/4 cup walnuts
    • 1/4 cup pignoli (pine nuts)
    • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
    • 5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 1/2 cups olive oil


      Make the Pesto
    1. Process the walnuts, pinenuts, and garlic in a food processor for about 20 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Store in an airtight container.
    2. Make the Salad
    3. Cook the fusilli and bow ties separately until they are al dente. Drain and leave to cool.
    4. Blend the pesto, spinach, and lemon juice. Add in the olive oil and blend again.
    5. Add this blended pesto mixture to the cooled pasta and then add the peas, pinenuts, salt, and pepper. Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.
Apr 192010
spinach pasta

Spinut – spinach and nuts ! A name coined by my most enthusiastic fan, my 10 year old daughter.  She always takes a second helping of this dish . And I am glad because having a recipe for wholesome, nutritious weeknight meal that is ready in 20 minutes is like having a magic wand to cook. But I am serious. You don’t need a whole lot of ingredients to make a nourishing meal from scratch. And I will not suggest turning to factory produced sauces for pasta nights. We don’t need all the preservatives and high levels of sodium and all those listed and unlisted chemicals from these bottles. This is a recipe that you can modify as you go. Interchange ingredients, use any other cheese, add some kick with chilies , do whatever makes you happy.

(serves 4) Continue reading »

 Posted by on April 19, 2010 at 11:01 PM  Tagged with: ,