Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wishing for Spring: Tortelleni with Pistachio Pesto

  Hello all! Happy Wednesday! I am really enjoying my week off and trying to get everything ready for my trip to France. The show went fabulously. I will post the great review we got and some pictures later. In preparation for my Europe trip, I am getting inspired by cooking Italian. I have a special love for Italy. My husband lived there for awhile and I got to go visit him a couple of times. I have traveled with the dance company there as well. Anyways, I got an exciting email from Foodbuzz awhile back announcing a cooking contest featuring Barilla Tortellini. The prize: an amazing trip to ITALY!!!

Here's an excerpt from the email:

"Barilla is challenging Foodbuzz Featured Publishers to imagine an Italian-inspired recipe or meal created with Barilla Tortellini. Barilla Tortellini is an authentic taste of Italy, made of the finest all-natural ingredients. While, it’s sometimes thought of as a special occasion food, tortellini is an easy and versatile dish that allows you to whip up plenty of healthy, delicious recipes to share with friends and family."

I think that's totally true about tortellini. It's simple to cook and easy to add ingredients to make a healthy meal. When I think about Italy some things that comes to mind are Gelato and Pesto! They are definitely weaknesses of mine! My favorite gelato flavor is Pistachio. So I decided to try a pistachio pesto! My dad was just asking if I have made my pesto that way. Since I hadn't, what a perfect day to try! I didn't have basil on hand so I used arugula and cilantro which I think gave it a great spicy flavor! I love challenges like this, because it makes me feel like I am on Iron Chef America......Hope you enjoy! Ciao!

Tortellini with Pistachio-Pesto

~Cheese tortellini with feta cheese & sun dried tomatoes in a pistachio-pesto sauce

1 1/2 cups arugula
1/2 cup cilantro
1 cup shelled dry roasted pistachios
2-3 garlic cloves
1/4-2/3 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese

1 package BARILLA  Three Cheese Tortellini, Family Size
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1 cup sliced baby portobella mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes (packed in oil)
2 1/2 cups arugula
1 cup feta cheese

1. Put all ingredients for pesto in food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Add olive oil as needed. Set aside.

1.  Add oil to skillet and saute onions 15-20 minutes until onions are a dark golden brown. Next, add in mushrooms and saute until tender about five minutes. Add sun dried tomatoes and stir to incorporate. Finally, add in arugula and saute until slightly wilted.  Set aside with pesto.

2. Meanwhile, prepare tortellini as directed by package. Turn on oven broiler to low. After draining the pasta, stir pesto into tortellini. Then add sun dried tomato-mushroom mixture and 1/2 cup feta cheese. Gently toss together. Spread out into a 13x9 inch dish. Top with remaining (1/2 cup) feta cheese. Place in oven and broil on low for 10 minutes or until browned lightly.
The sun dried tomato-mushroom mixture


Delicious final dish!

Dish it up!

Friday, April 22, 2011

It's Show Week Again!

I am right in the middle of our last show of the season! So there is not a recipe connected with this post. Next week I have off before packing and preparing mentally for a 7 week tour to France with the company. I usually make some meals for Jake that can be put in the freezer for him to eat while I'm gone. I'm such a nice wife huh!! If you are in SLC come see our show. We have some dancers leaving the company this year for other endeavors so it might be the last time to see them on the UT stage for awhile. It's an evening of works by Alwin Nikolais. He was a choreographer that led the way for the likes of Cirque du Soleil, Pilobolus, Momix just to name a few. He is no longer with us but this year is a celebration of when he would have been 100 years old. Come and see a visual feast for the eyes!!

The Poster for the Show

I'm the second one from the left! We have metal discs strapped on to our right
foot. It's one of the hardest pieces I've ever done!
photo by: Fred Hayes


Monday, April 18, 2011

Yukon Gold Love

Once again, it's been too long! I didn't think that the end of our season would be so busy but IT IS!!! We've been prepping for our last show of the year in Salt Lake City. Having Saturday rehearsals and working new repertory has made my body so tired that when I come home I go straight for the pajamas and watch a TV show and go to bed. There have been a few good recipes but not too many blog worthy menus lately. I promise after my seven weeks in France there will be more!

The other thing taking up my time recently was preparing for (not enough) and running my first Half Marathon!!! My husband and I did this together and let me just say it was one of the hardest things I've ever done! We didn't really train that much because of time constraints and busy schedules. The most I had ever run before Saturday's race was 6.5 miles!! So I'm very sore today but we did and it was a great feeling of accomplishment at the end. We finished in about 2:09 and my body definitely knew it never been pushed like that before! My husband was so sweet to stay with me! This was his second time doing this race but his first time doing it in his Vibram Five Finger shoes! I only got one blister on my foot but my calves are killing me today! I wore my pink Nike Free shoes. I'll try to get some pictures of us running eventually.

For now enjoy this quick weeknight recipe for Yukon Gold baked potatoes that have a some added ingredients to make them a little more exciting! I have special love for Yukon Gold potatoes. Maybe it's because I'm from Alaska and since they are originally from Canada, we have that special connection! They have a delicious buttery taste that makes me never want to eat a regular baked potato again. First you make the yummy spinach and t

Mediterranean Baked Yukon Gold Potatoes 
4 servings


  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1  tablespoon  white wine vinegar
  • 1/2  teaspoon  Dijon mustard
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8  teaspoon  salt
  • 3  garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4  cup  vertically sliced red onion
  • 1 package baby spinach leaves (about 9 ounces)
  • 1 cup Fat Free Feta cheese
  • 1 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts, chopped  
  • Parsley, to garnish


1. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Heat vinaigrette in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute 2 minutes. Gradually add 1 (9-ounce) package fresh spinach; toss until wilted.

2. Meanwhile, microwave 4 (6-ounce) Yukon gold potatoes 13 minutes or until tender. Divide spinach among potatoes. Top each with 1 1/2 tablespoons feta cheese, 2 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes, 1/4 cup artichokes. Garnish with parsley.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Off to France: Salad Nicoise

Okay so not off to France yet! That doesn't happen until May when the company embarks on a long tour to Europe. I thought I would get inspired for my trip by making a Nicoise Salad. For an extra bonus I added quinoa and sun dried tomato tuna. You'll love the roasted tomatoes in the salad too!

I don't speak French and since this tour will we my fourth time in France I thought it would be good to try to learn some of the language. I bought one of those French in Five Minutes a Day books and actually opened it up yesterday! It was quite fun to do the worksheets and listen to the CD. We'll see if I can remember any of the actual phrases when I'm there.

On another note, since last Wednesday I have been sick. It's one of those yucky colds where my sinuses feel like they are going to explode! NOT FUN!! My weekend was pretty much spent napping and trying to fight this thing. The worst thing about a cold for a foodie like me is the loss of taste. Plus, I cannot have any wine or beer because if I can't taste it, what's the point?! I did concoct a relaxing hot toddy recipe that I drank the last two nights before I ran out of Bourbon. I'll post that recipe tomorrow! Stay healthy everyone...

Nicoise Salad with Quinoa 

*adapted from Everyday Food Magazine


  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cans (5 ounces each) sun dried tomato tuna, drained and broken into chunks
  • 1 bag/box mixed lettuce (or a head of bibb or romaine)
  • 4 large hard-cooked eggs, halved
  • 6 plum tomatoes, halved (roasted if desired, see below)
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives
  • 1 cup cooked Quinoa
  • Parsley


  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook green beans until bright green and tender, 3 minutes. Drain and rinse under cool water. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, vinegar, shallot, and oil and season with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, combine tuna with half the vinaigrette and stir gently to combine.
  2. Divide lettuce among four bowls. Top with tuna mixture, green beans, eggs, tomatoes, and olives, and quinoa; season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with parsley, and drizzle with remaining dressing. Serve immediately.


    Drizzle 6 halved plum tomatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake, cut side up, at 300 degrees until juices release and tomatoes shrivel slightly, 1 1/2 hours.


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