We eat family dinners at the (vege)table!
While my dad and Sally were in town, I knew they wouldn’t have many extravagant home-cooked meals with their single burner stove-top and college dorm size mini-fridge at the resort. Since I’d cooked for my dad once, and we all went out to eat once, it was only fair that I made something special for Sally this time. Plus, I’m very adamant about cooking real food and eating AS A FAMILY at the table as often as possible. I know it’s difficult when family members have different schedules and a lot of work or activities, but there’s always a way to find some time to spend together over a meal. So, we wanted to include her in some of that quality time. I actually don’t mind cooking with vegetables, in fact I love it! The hard part was coming up with something tasty and filling enough for all four of us (Ryley, Jeremiah, Sally, and myself) that was comprised of ALL vegetables. However, I always love a good food challenge, so off I went to search the databases.
I knew Giada wouldn’t let me down, and I found Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables (there’s your link, go try it out!). Perfect! I bought a bag of whole grain penne from Fresh and Easy, plus the veggies I was missing for the recipe (although I generally have most of those at any given time). I thought I had red peppers but didn’t, so I just used the yellow and green ones from my fridge rather than make a second trip to the store. I also used half red onion and half yellow (leftovers), and bought regular mozzarella instead of smoked. The fontina would provide enough of that heavier, almost nutty flavor, and although I absolutely love all cheeses, I didn’t want them to overpower the fresh veggies in this dish. I also skipped the peas entirely because they didn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the ingredients. Maybe I’m totally confused, but last time I checked I believe I saw that summer squash is that big yucky orange one that tastes like a midget pumpkin. I might be wrong, but either way I opted for yellow squash with the zucchini instead. Lastly (sorry, you know me!), I had half a package of button mushrooms from another meal so I simply substituted those as well. Oh! And ACTUALLY last… I grated probably 2 or 3 times as much Parmesan, because you can never have too much Parmesan!
After slicing, dicing, and all that jazz, I spread the veggies out on my Large Bar Pan and lightly spritzed them with olive oil (the Kitchen Spritzer lets me use much less oil). Then I used the Garlic Peeler and Slicer Set (last last last change, I promise. Maybe…) to layer some sliced garlic with the Pampered Chef Italian Seasoning Mix over the vegetables before roasting. After boiling the noodles, I pulled them out with the Scoop ‘N Drain (when the colander is dirty, it drains just as well) and threw them directly into my Large Stainless Mixing Bowl to toss with the veggies. I added all the shredded cheeses and marinara sauce (not home-made this time, sorry) to the mix before pouring the entire dish into my Deep Covered Baker. It was the perfect size, plus, I was able to simply put the cover on and take the whole Baker with us to the room at the resort.
It was such a delicious pasta that I didn’t even think about the fact that there was no meat. I thoroughly enjoyed having this dish both the first and second times (there was more than enough for another meal), and I will absolutely go veggie again, even if just for one meal. 😉