Bucatini with Arugula and Parmesan

Bucatini with Arugula Parmesan and Lemon by Natalie Paramore

My go-to weeknight meals usually involve something with one pot and carbs. Oh and cheese too. Every now and then I throw in something green to make myself feel better  it healthier. My old favorite was cilantro pesto pasta with a poached egg. All the yums! Super spicy and comforting. Because spicy food is comforting to me. I just love it. If my eyes are watering, my nose is running and my mouth is on fire, then the spice level is juuuuust right. Yeah, that kind of spice. Recently, I’ve been taking it down just a notch. A little bit of spice, ok ok maybe a little bit more than a little, but not crazy like I used to.

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Grilled Tofu Arugula Salad with Grapefruit and Avocado

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I had the pleasure of making this recipe for my friend Mary, from Mary Makes Dinner, who just had a little bundle of joy arrive! She recruited a few of us blogger friends to post recipes on her site so she can have some much needed downtime while her and the hubs adjust to their new family addition. Mary typically sticks to healthy, vegetarian recipes, so I wanted to come up with something good for her. My first thought was to make a refreshing cous cous, but then I came across a bunch of fresh arugula at the farmer’s market, so that became the obvious choice. I knew I needed something substantial because when you have baby my guess is you don’t have much time to eat, so it better be worth it when you do. I learned a few things about tofu during this little adventure, like that you need to dry it out, hard tofu is better for grilling and you can pretty much make it taste like anything you want. Scared of tofu? Don’t be, its just soybean curd. It’s been a staple in Asian diets for centuries and packs a lot of protein. Just be sure to get some that is non-GMO and you’re in the clear. Ok ready to get started?
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First off you need to dry out the tofu. Start by pressing down on the tofu with paper towels to soak up any of the extra water that the tofu comes stored in. You’ll be surprised how much is in there.

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Slice tofu into about 1 inch thick squares. This is the best thickness for grilling.

 

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Marinated the tofu with two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. Marinated for 30 minutes or up to over night. The longer you marinate, the more flavor will get into the tofu. I only marinated for about 30 minutes, because surprise, surprise that is the only time I had. Place tofu on the grill for about 7 minutes on each side. There is really no time minimum since you can tofu as is.

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Toss 2 cups of arugula with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, juice from 1/2 a grapefruit.

 

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Serve salad with tofu and avocado and any extra grapefruit slices. Enjoy!

Pizza Bianca with Whipped Ricotta Goat Cheese

All this rain and chilly weather really had me craving pizza. Like the amazing Pizza Bianca from Backspace. Which I love Backspace… did you know they are serving lunch now? Who wants to be my date?

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So I dreamed up the idea for a whipped ricotta and goat cheese spread for this number. Creamy, white goodness. Best of all, you get to slather it on with a spatula. It’s really fun actually.

I made the dough using this recipe . I used a pizza stone instead of grilling. The crust wasnt quite as crispy and didnt have that fire roasted taste, but it got the job done on a chilly evening.

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For this recipe you’ll need:

1lb pizza dough (recipe)
3 cups fresh arugula
2 ounces lemon juice
1 cup part skim ricotta
1/2 cup goat cheese
1/4 pine nuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and Pepper

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Whip the ricotta and goat cheese together. I used my stand mixer with the whisk attachment for about two minutes on medium speed. You could also use a hand mixer. You could even do it by hand with a whisk or fork, just might take a while. Use those muscles!

Roll out the pizza dough on the stone and bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees or until the edges are crispy. Be sure to roll the dough out very thin, less than a 1/4 inch thick before baking.

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Slather on the creamy ricotta and goat cheese. Try not to lick the spatula until you’re done.

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Toss the arugula with olive oil, lemon juice, pine nuts, salt and pepper.

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Load the arugula on top of the pizza and eat up! I mean, I personally like a little salad with my pizza, so if you’re into that, this is the pizza for you!

Red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese go very well with this pizza.

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Enjoy!