wait, hummus in pasta?!?!

So, my boyfriend has developed with weird obsession with hummus, especially the sabra kind you get at costco, so you can imagine his dismay on our last bulk food trip to find it had gone out of stock! Then, just yesterday we discovered that hummus had returned to costco, so of course he had to buy some, despite the fact that we are leaving next week for an outrageous 3 week trip and all our food will go bad! Now, since I really hate wasting food and there are only so many times I can eat hummus and pita chips, I decided I would see if I could use hummus in another way. After some searching online I discovered that some people have used hummus as a pasta sauce base, and figured I would give it a try!

Now, since I have a lifelong love affair with dairy products, I tend to make cream-based sauces, i.e. mustard-cream sauce, vodka sauce etc. However, I am aware of the fact that (a) not everyone considers cream to be a staple they should always have in your fridge and (b) cream may possibly not be the greatest thing in the world to consume in large quantities … maybe …

In any case, I decided I would try a healthier version of my blush sauce using hummus as the base and including Mediterranean flavors. The pasta tasted very good, but I have to say the hummus flavor was not super strong (that might be a good thing, not sure I want my pasta sauce to taste too much like hummus). Basically, it ended up being a healthier blush sauce with a hint of that hummus flavor. And, the whole meal took less than 20 minutes to make, which was crucial after a long day of research!

hummus pasta

Ingredients (serves 4)

1/2 large zucchini
1 medium yellow onion
1 small orange pepper
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup original hummus
1/2 pound linguini or other pasta
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

– Boil water and cook linguine (or other desired pasta shape) according to package directions.

– While water is boiling, slice pepper and onion into long, thin strips. Slice zucchini into half rounds. Add olive oil and all vegetables to a large pan and cook over medium heat until veggies are just soft, but not mushy, about 5 minutes.

– Add hummus and diced tomatos in juice to sauté pan, stir to combine. Add garlic powder, oregano, salt and black pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes or until pasta is done.

– Drain pasta and add to sauté pan. Toss pasta to coat with sauce and serve, making sure to grab some veggies that probably fell to the bottom of the pan!

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speedy and delicious beef stew

Upon arriving back at my apartment after Thanksgiving break, I was faced with an empty refrigerator and a need for something NOT horribly bad for me, namely vegetables! It was off to the store for some delicious winter veggies, carrots, brussel sprouts, squash you name it. That resulted in a couple of great meals, but then, since I can never make up my mind about anything, I got a craving for, you guessed it, meat! Stumbling upon beef stew meat at Trader Joes (where, I would just like to add, I normally never buy anything but cheap milk & eggs since all their premade meals aren’t really my thing), I knew that that was what I wanted to make! And, since my boyfriend, who is frantically trying to finish his PhD thesis before the looming december filing deadline, would be home late after biking through an unnaturally cold (for California) night, I thought that stew would be the perfect late night comfort meal.

One minor problem – only 1 hr to cook and eat before I had to leave for a holiday movie night at a friends house, so no all day boeuf bourguignon à la Julia Child! But, since I can be painfully stubborn once I make up my mind about something, I decided I would go for it anyway. And, since I already had my aforementioned winter veggies to go along with my newly acquired meat, I figured I could just cut everything small and I would be fine. Turns out it was delicious, and I now have my new favorite easy meal to share with you!

Now, as you may have guessed given the few number of free hours in a grad student’s life, I like to chop and cook all at the same time. I’m writing this recipe how I did it, but obviously you could prep everything beforehand if you are more comfortable with that.

beef stew

Ingredients (serves 6)

1 large russet potato, peeled and cubed
2 medium yellow onions, chopped large
3 carrots, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
1.5 lbs beef stew meat, chopped into bite size pieces
6 Tbs olive oil, devided
3/4 cup flour
1 cup red wine
4 cups water
1/4 cup ketchup
1 Tbs mustard
1 Tbs Worchestershire sauce
1 Tbs garlic powder
1 Tbs dried rosemary
1 tsp dried sage
1 Tbs ground black pepper
1 Tbs salt, or as desired

Directions

– Preheat oven to 400F. Peel and cube potato, toss with 2 Tbs olive oil, 1 tsp rosemary, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp garlic powder, and 1 tsp pepper. Bake on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.

– While potatoes are cooking, chop onions and carrots into large, but still bite-sized, pieces. Sauté vegetables in a large pot with 2 Tbs olive oil until slightly softened, approximately 10 minutes (the amount of time it took me to prep the meat!).

– Chop meat to bite-sized pieces (if you are rushed for time as I was, make them especially small!). Combine flour and remaining spices, then pour over meat and toss to coat.

– Crush and chop garlic, then add to the pot along with 2 Tbs olive oil. Then add all of the meat/flour mixture. Stir and cook until meat has browned and flour has been absorbed.

– Add the red wine and let sit for 1 minute, then add the water, ketchup, mustard and worchestershire sauce.  Stir and simmer for 20 minutes, adding the potatoes once they are lightly browned. Taste and season as desired. Just a note not to skimp on the wine, it really gives this dish great flavor and body!

I ate this after about 20 minutes of simmering (with some delicious sourdough) and found it delicious. I then left it on super low for an hour so my boyfriend could have something warm when he got home, and he also loved it. Hope you enjoy!