Last week was brutal. Our little one was ill and out of school Monday-Wednesday, and then Friday was a half day in anticipation of a 4-day weekend, which meant he went to school, oh, about 8 hours in the course of 11 days. Don't get me wrong, I love spending time with my kids...but, I have reached that point in parenting when I've come to anticipate that my children will be in school at least from 8:15-noon each weekday. I'm not going to lie; that keeps me sane. I have a full plate (get it) between keeping the house in order, cooking 3 healthy meals a day, managing schedules, chauffeuring, attempting to get back in shape, maybe squeezing in an hour-long conversation with a friend on a walk once a week, large volunteer roles and writing this blog. And while I love my "job" and wouldn't trade it for anything, I also love the break in my day that school offers. The kids head off each morning gleeful to get to school, and I am grateful knowing they are engaged, happy and surrounded by people who nurture them. Three years ago, my children were younger and this 5 day/week school gig was a mirage. But now I'm here, and so..... when the school's phone number showed up on caller id mid-morning I could hear the sound of screeching brakes in the distance. A sick child. Again. I quickly glanced up at the cieling and scanned the windows to make sure no one from candid camera was filming me. Surely this had to be a joke. I mean, after all the care and nourishment I provide, still they get sick? But this is not a post about sick kids. Or it is up til now, but that wasn't supposed to be the point. Clearly, that's not something I have expertise in, but figuring out a fabulous dinner after a less than fabulous day? Now that I can help with....
Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Roasted Cauliflower, Red Pepper Pesto, Wilted Greens, Capers and Almonds
As mentioned above, I was perusing fellow blog posts this morning while drinking my tea when I came across this recipe from Cookin' Canuck. The recipe caught my eye because I had just purchased a tub of Roasted Red Pepper Pesto and some feathery mustard-like greens at our town's winter farmer's market yesterday, I happened to pick up a giant cauliflower at the market later that afternoon, and I knew I had capers in the fridge, and almonds and whole grain pasta in the pantry. Plus, it fit neatly into my goal of making more meatless, family-friendly meals. Fortuitous, hmmm? So anyway, without further adieu, here's my take on this simple pasta that came together to make a fabulous, meatless meal with minimal effort:
whole wheat spaghetti (or pasta of your choice)
salt & pepper
roasted red pepper pesto*
mustard greens, washed and rough chopped*
Preheat oven to 425. While oven is preheating, put water on to boil and rough chop cauliflower. Place cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast cauliflower for 10 minutes, then stir and roast it for another 5 minutes. (Set cauliflower aside if it comes out of the oven before your pasta is cooked.) Cook pasta according to package. Drain the pasta, then return it to the warm pot along with the pesto, greens, a handful of capers and almonds. Stir to combine, until greens are wilted and everything is warmed through. You may add a bit of water if the sauce seems too thick. Serve warm, topped with a bit of grated Parmesan, if you'd like.
* I purchased a 7 oz tub of Riverbank Farm's Roasted Red Pepper Pesto at the farmer's market yesterday. Theirs is made with: kale, chard, parsley, basil, garlic, peppers, walnuts, sunflower seeds, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper. So, loaded with good stuff. But you could use any variety of pesto that is your favorite and available by you, or you could go back to Cookin' Canuck's original recipe where she makes her own red pepper sauce. Also, Gazy Brother's stand had these gorgeous little bunches of multi-colored and textured greens yesterday that Alexis Gazy said were similar in taste to a mustard green, and that's what I used. But use your favorite green.