Pasta with Portobello Mushrooms and Sun Dried Tomato Pesto


I’m not sure why, but I rarely think to serve pasta as a side dish, unless of course it’s pasta salad.  That being said, it has to be done to drown out the boredom that comes from alternating rice and potatoes.  There’s only so many times you can eat oven fries, even though they are quite amazing.

This dish can be served hot, warm, luke warm, cool, or cold and still be delicious; and as a side dish or a main course.  It’s so versatile that it’s hard to find a reason not to like it.  You could even just try the pesto as a sandwich spread, which will take a boring turkey sandwich to the top of the lunch pyramid.  That may sound a bit dramatic, but I dare you to try it then hold in your excitement.  #Notpossible #Soyummy

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Pasta with Portobello Mushrooms and Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
3.5 ounces sun dried tomatoes and oil
1/2 c basil
2 tbs walnuts
1 garlic clove
salt and pepper
8 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, quartered
2 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 c white wine
1/2 c chicken/veggie broth
1/2 lb spaghetti

In a food processor combine sun dried tomatoes and oil, basil, walnuts, 1 garlic clove, salt and pepper.  Pulse until smooth like pesto, set aside.

Cook spaghetti according to package instructions, reserve 1/2 c of starchy pasta water before draining.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add mushrooms, shallots, and thinly sliced garlic.  Cook until mushrooms start to brown, 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, and turn heat to high.  Add wine and broth, let sauce reduce by half. Take skillet off the heat, add cooked spaghetti and pesto.  Use reserved starchy pasta water to loosen pesto as needed.

Pork Burgers with Carmelized Onions, Mushrooms and BBQ Sauce


There’s a burger spot in Boston where I love to get what’s known as the Adopted Luke.  It’s a burger topped with mushrooms, caramelized onions, smoked gouda, and bbq sauce.  And believe me when I say it’s good, because it really is.  Since I had some leftover ground pork in my frig, I thought I should make it at home by substituting the pork for beef.  And of course to make it dairy free I left out the smoke gouda, but with all the pork flavor trapped in the onions and mushrooms you won’t miss it.

I served mine with tater tots and a side salad, you know to keep it reasonable.  To keep it healthy you have to find room for greens in every meal, even if it’s on the side.

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Pork Burgers with Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms and BBQ Sauce
1/4 c onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup ketchup
1/4 c dijon mustard
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs molasses
1/2 tbs worcestershire sauce
1/2 c water
1 lb ground pork
2 onions, sliced into half moons
8 baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp thyme
4 whole wheat burger buns

For the bbq sauce heat olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic, cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add ketchup, dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, worcestershire sauce, and water; bring to a simmer.  Let sauce reduce for 20 minutes.  Let cool then pulse in a blender until smooth; keep warm.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Form the pork into 4 even patties then place into hot pan.  Cook covered for 4 minutes then flip and cook until just cooked through about another 1-2 minutes.  Remove from pan and keep covered.  Add onions, baby portobello mushrooms, and thyme.  Saute until veggies start to brown, about 5 minutes; remove from heat.  To make burger: place pork patties on top of whole wheat bun then top with onion/mushroom mixture and slather with bbq sauce before topping burger.  Enjoy!

Coffee Rubbed Strip Steak


When most people think of cooking in the summer they think of grilling, but you don’t need a grill to make great steaks.  With just a simple frying pan you can achieve a great crust just like you would from a grill, and who doesn’t have a frying pan?  Just add a burst of flavor like this coffee rub to add some great flavor and the rest is simple, 3 minutes per side and a little rest before slicing.  Sound easy?  It is.

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Coffee Rubbed Strip Steak
1 tbs chili powder
1 tbs ground espresso
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp ginger
2-1/2 lb strip steaks

In a small jar add chili powder, ground espresso, brown sugar, oregano, cocoa powder, salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and ginger.  Close jar and shake to combine.

Season strip steaks with 1 tsp seasoning each, set the rest aside for later use, let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.  Preheat olive oil in a grill pan over medium high heat.  Grill steaks for 3 minutes per side then remove from heat to cutting board, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.