Asparagus Garlic-Lemon Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas

Asparagus Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas
My theory on pasta is — if you are going to eat it, might as well mix in lots of veggies and healthy add-ons! I’ve had a bag of frozen asparagus in my freezer for awhile, and I’ve been looking for a way to use it. Then I happened to see this Asparagus Pasta Salad from Just a Taste and the bow-tie pasta looked oh-so-delicious with the bright green asparagus! I wanted to add some protein to the pasta, and use a different sauce, and I ended up with this recipe, which we will be making again and again! Asparagus Garlic-Lemon Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas.

Asparagus Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas
Draining, rinsing, and drying the chickpeas.

Asparagus Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas
Asparagus Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas
Asparagus Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas
Asparagus Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas
Look at these healthy little beans, packed with protein!
Asparagus Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas
Juicy cherry tomatoes, which give the dish the perfect amount of sweetness.Asparagus Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas
Asparagus Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas
Asparagus Garlic-Lemon Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas [ Recipe by Neshikot.com ]

Ingredients:
1 lb Farfalle pasta
2 boxes of precooked Chickpeas (I use Whole Foods organic chick peas, 13 oz each)
1 bag of frozen asparagus (I use Whole Foods organic frozen asparagus, 12 oz bag)
1 container cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup garlic olive oil
1 cup grated parmesan
2 tablespoons lemon juice
A few tablespoons shredded parmesan (optional)
For the roasted chickpeas:
1.5 teaspoons garlic olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
A dash of garlic salt

Directions:
Drain the chickpeas and rinse well. Transfer chickpeas to a large plate, covered in paper towels. Use another paper towel to blot the chickpeas dry. You may need to do this many times, in order to get them dry. During this process, the peels of the chickpeas will start to come off. You can either remove them (which I do) or you can leave them on (which my Mom does!). Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, toss the chickpeas with garlic olive oil, garlic powder, and a dash of garlic salt. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and lay the chickpeas on the sheet in one layer. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes. You can continue baking longer, if you would prefer them to be crunchier.

Cook pasta according to the directions. While pasta is cooking, rinse the cherry tomatoes and slice in half. Cook the frozen asparagus according to the directions, and chop each stalk into 3 even pieces.

When pasta is done, drain and pour into a large bowl. While pasta is still hot, mix in the garlic olive oil, lemon juice and grated parmesan cheese, making sure all of the pasta has been coated. Then, mix in the roasted chickpeas, the cherry tomatoes, and the apparatus. Top with a few tablespoons of shredded parmesan cheese.

Inspired by:
Just a Taste and Chop Suey/AllRecipes

Asparagus Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas
Asparagus Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas
Asparagus Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas

Raspberry Lemon Oat Muffins with White Chocolate Chips (Egg Free)

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These are THE easiest, quickest muffins I have ever made, and SO delicious to boot! They are sweet — filled with delicious raspberries, lemon flavor, and oh-so decadent white chocolate chips. Although they’ve got some healthy going for them (raspberries are filled with antioxidants! Oats are a healthy alternative to white flour!), they’ve also got plenty of indulgent ingredients. And my favorite part? There are no eggs in the recipe, so you there aren’t any worries about undercooked eggs, or any of the drama that preparing eggs brings along. (Okay, not that much drama. But I still prefer to cook without them!)

When you make them, promise me you will eat one (or two… or three… I don’t judge) while they are warm. They are so moist and scrumptious, they truly melt in your mouth! These muffins are so tasty that my toddler calls them “cupcakes” when he eats them!

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Egg-Free Raspberry Lemon Oat Muffins with White Chocolate Chips [ Recipe by Neshikot.com ]

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1 cup quick oats
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup milk (I use 1%)
1 cup whole milk yogurt (I use YoBaby Organic Whole Milk Yogurt)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1.5 cup frozen raspberries (not thawed)
1/3 cup mini white chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12 muffin cupcake tin with cupcake liners.

In a large bowl, mix together the flor, oats, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together the melted butter, milk, yogurt, vanilla extract, and lemon juice. Gently mix wet mixture in with dry mixture, making sure not to over-mix. Add in the white chocolate chips, and lastly, the raspberries (raspberries should be added frozen, not thawed).

Pour batter into cupcake liners, making sure not to go higher than the liner, since they will puff up a bit while baking. Bake for 25-30 minutes total, rotating the pan once during baking the ensure they are baked evenly (I rotate around the 15 minute mark).

Remove pan from oven, and let muffins cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before removing them.

Notes:
To prevent the raspberries from bleeding into the batter, toss berries in a bowl with about 1 tablespoon of flour, prior to mixing into the batter.

Inspired by:
Our Busy Homeschool and Art of Dessert

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Onions and Cranberries

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This dish is delicious because of the natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes, carrots and cranberries. It’s *almost* like eating dessert for dinner, and it’s filled with so many great nutrients, you don’t have to feel guilty! Between the sweet potatoes and the carrots, it is filled with Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, iron, Vitamin A and many more. It definitely feels like a fall-inspired dish, but I love making it all year round.

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You know this has to be good for you when you see how bright and beautiful your orange veggies are!

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Onions, and Cranberries [ Recipe by Neshikot.com ]

Ingredients:
2 large sweet potatoes (I find them easier to chop if I look for long, thin sweet potatoes)
4 large carrots
1 onion (medium)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup garlic olive oil (regular olive oil will work as well)
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Dash of garlic salt

Directions: 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Wash, peel, and chop sweet potatoes, carrots and onion. Chop the sweet potatoes into slices roughly 2″ x 1″, and try to make them all roughly the same size. Chop the carrots into pieces roughly 1″ x 1″, again aiming to make each piece roughly the same size. Chop the onion into large slices, about 2″ x 1″. Place them all in a large bowl, and pour in the dried cranberries.

In a bowl, mix together the olive oil, garlic powder, lemon juice and garlic salt. Pour mixture over potatoes, carrots, onions, and cranberries. Mix well to ensure all of the veggies are coated.

Lightly oil a 13×9″ baking dish and pour everything into the dish. Cover with tin foil, and bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Remove foil from dish and bake another 15-20 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes and carrots are cooked and beginning to look golden, checking regularly to make sure they aren’t burning.

Inspired by:
How Stuff Works and In Sonnet’s Kitchen

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Apple Crisp with Oats and Cranberries

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Apple crisp is one of my favorite foods in the world. This recipe is my best attempt at using the least amount of sugar/butter possible, and including as many healthy ingredients as possible (apples! cranberries! oats!), while still being a delicious, sweet dessert. It’s easy to make, and a great way to use up some apples if (like me) you always end up buying way too many apples at the grocery when they look so juicy and delicious! The addition of cranberries to this dish makes a sweet dessert even sweeter :)

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Apple Crisp with Oats and Cranberries [ Recipe by Neshikot.com ]

Ingredients: 
4 apples (I used organic pink ladies)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup quick oats
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons melted butter (plus another tablespoon, not melted, for buttering the dish)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Mix together the dry ingredients: oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

Butter a 7.5″x10″ baking dish (an 8″x8″ dish should work as well). Wash, peel, and slice apples. Pour into a bowl and mix in the lemon juice and cranberries. Melt butter and mix in with the dry ingredients. Pour oat mixture over the apples in the dish and mix in well.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, depending on how you prefer your apples. I bake it for about 30-35 minutes because we like the apples to have a little crunch to them, but continue to bake longer if you’d like them a little more cooked, checking periodically to make sure they are not burning. When you take crisp out of the oven, mix in the oats with the rest of the apples and serve.

Inspired by:
Cooks.com and Betty Crocker

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Garlic Parmesan Carrot Fries

Garlic Parmesan Carrot Fries
Garlic Parmesan Carrot Fries
I feel like one of the only people on earth who doesn’t like fries. Everyone seems to love fries and ketchup, but they have truly never appealed to me. Until now! I had never heard of carrot fries, until I passed by a giant bag of delicious, bright orange organic carrots at the grocery, and had so many extra that I had to find something to do with them! I couldn’t be happier that carrot fries are now part of the regular rotation in our house! They are sweet and salty all at the same time. They are nutritious, and make the whole house smell amazing as they bake! Even my toddler loves them, which is a huge bonus for me.

Garlic Parmesan Carrot Fries
Chopping the carrots into 4″ sticks.Garlic Parmesan Carrot Fries
Lining the carrots on a cookie sheet, ready to go in the oven.
Garlic Parmesan Carrot Fries
Garlic Parmesan Carrot Fries
Ready to eat!
Garlic Parmesan Carrot Fries
Garlic Parmesan Baked Carrot Fries [ Recipe by Neshikot.com ]

Ingredients:
6 carrots (medium to large)
2 teaspoons garlic olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Wash and peel carrots. Chop them in half lengthwise, and then into 4″ sticks (I got roughly 8-12 sticks out of each carrot), making sure they are roughly the same size. Place carrots into a bowl and toss with olive oil, garlic powder, and garlic salt.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and place carrot sticks on the paper, making sure there is no overlap. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then remove from oven. Flip each carrot over (be careful, they will be hot). Rotate cookie sheet, so they carrots that were originally baking in the front are now baking in the back. Bake for another 15 minutes, checking every few minutes to make sure they are not burning.

Sprinkle fries with grated parmesan as soon as they are removed from the oven. Or, don’t use the parmesan, and these make a delicious vegan snack!

Garlic Parmesan Carrot Fries
Garlic Parmesan Carrot Fries
Garlic Parmesan Carrot Fries
Garlic Parmesan Carrot Fries

Easy Baked Oatmeal with Bananas, Walnuts, and Chocolate Chips

neshikot-baked-oatmeal-bananas-001I am in love with this oh-so-easy, versatile, half-breakfast, half-dessert, baked oatmeal. I make it a few times a week, because it’s so easy to whip together with whatever ingredients I happen to have around, and it’s delicious. You can easily tweak it to meet your needs — if you are looking for something a little healthier, you could reduce or eliminate the sugar and chocolate chips (but really, are you sure you want to eliminate the chocolate chips? I swear, the healthy bananas and walnuts make up for anything bad about the chippies). It is so filling that it will help you maintain energy throughout the day.

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Easy Baked Oatmeal with Bananas, Walnuts, and Chocolate Chips [ Neshikot.com ]

Ingredients:
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted (plus another tablespoon for greasing the dish)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 very ripe bananas (small or medium), peeled and sliced

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter the bottom and sides of a 10.5 x 7″ baking dish. (An 8″x8″ baking dish should also work).

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, walnuts, chocolate chips, and banana slices. Add oat mixture to buttered baking dish. In the bowl, now mix together the milk, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Pour liquid over oats and make sure the liquid has coated all parts of the oats.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until it starts to look golden brown on top.

Notes:
This recipe is easily adapted to whatever ingredients you have on hand. Some ideas: raisins, cranberries, assorted nuts, strawberries, blueberries.

Inspired by:
InspiredTaste and Epicurious

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One Pot Mac + Cheese + Peas

neshikot-one-pot-mac-and-cheese-peas-009I love this dish because it is: easy, fast, and only requires one pot (unless you make your peas on the stove, like me! Then you will use 1 pot for the mac and cheese and 1 pot for the peas). It is a healthier, much more “real” alternative to everyone’s favorite mac-and-cheese-in-a-box (although I still use my Annie’s Bunnies in a pinch every now and then!) Rather than eating powdered cheese sauce from a box, this is made with organic sharp white cheddar, whole milk, and protein-packed peas. And the best part? It doesn’t take any more time than cooking up a box of processed mac and cheese.

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The big difference between this easy peasy dish (get it?) and regular mac and cheese is that the pasta is cooked in whole milk, rather than water. That way, you skip time on draining the pasta, making the sauce in another pan, and then mixing it all together. You’ll first rinse the pasta, then into the pot, mix together: the pasta, the milk, and salt. Bring it to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and stir the mix and pasta mixture together until the pasta soaks up the milk and looks (and smells!) all delicious and creamy. (See recipe below for more specific directions on how to cook the pasta).

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Easy Peasy One Pot Mac + Cheese + Peas [ Recipe by Neshikot.com ]

Ingredients:
2 cups macaroni elbow pasta
2 1/4 cups whole milk, plus more to add during cooking
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar (will work with many types of shredded cheese)
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
1 bag of frozen peas (I used Whole Foods Organic Frozen Peas)

Directions:
Rinse pasta in a strainer for about 30 seconds.

In a large pot, mix together: the pasta, the whole milk, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. When the milk starts to boil, lower the heat a bit, and continue cooking the pasta for another 10-15 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked through and has soaked up most of the milk, leaving just a creamy sauce on the noodles. (See photo above for reference). If the pasta is not done cooking, and the milk has mostly evaporated and it seems like it might start to burn, pour in extra milk while it is cooking (roughly a couple tablespoons each time). Make sure to continue stirring pasta the entire time. It takes me about 10 minutes, and a couple splashes of extra milk, until my pasta is perfect.

When pasta is cooked, remove from heat, pour into a large bowl and immediately stir in cheeses. If the sauce feels too thick, add in some whole milk, a tablespoon or two at a time, to thin the sauce. Place a plate or lid over the bowl to keep it warm, and let it sit for around 10 minutes to help the pasta and milk sauce soak up all of the cheese.

Cook peas according to directions. I prefer to heat them up on the stove in a separate pot, but if you prefer the microwave, that will save on dishes, and will make this a “true” One Pot mac and cheese.

Mix peas in with pasta, sprinkle with some extra parmesan if desired, and serve!

Notes:
It’s very important to continue stirring the pasta while it is cooking, and not to leave the pot unattended.

I kept this recipe on the simple side, because I frequently make this for my toddler! However, it is a great base to add your own touches — I think it would be excellent with some nutmeg, garlic powder, and you could come up with so many more combinations and flavors to make it your own.

Inspired by:
WhiteOnRiceCouple and HeavenlyHomemakers

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