Pasta con ceci (and white beans)

Pasta con ceci (and white beans) | Me & the Moose. This one-pot, 30-minute, vegan-optional meal is healthy, simple, cheap, and uses pantry staples that you likely already have. #meandthemoose #healthydinnerrecipes #30minutemeals #pastarecipes #veganrecipes #vegetarianrecipes

A one-pot, healthy, vegan optional pasta dinner full of beans and veggies that comes together in less than 30 minutes? Oh, and it’s made with things you likely have in your pantry right now (or could easily get on the cheap)? Yes and yes.

Take me to the recipe!

This dish started with Victoria Granoff’s wonderful Pasta con ceci from Food52. It’s easy, fast, inexpensive, and shockingly complex considering the petite ingredient list and short cooking time.

However, that quick cook left the chickpeas a little too raw, in my opinion. And while I love a healthy fat, the original recipe calls for lots of olive oil and I wanted to lighten it up a bit. I suspect that the larger amount of oil masks the chickpea taste a bit, but I like the idea of replacing fat with fiber and not the other way around.

Pasta con ceci (and white beans) | Me & the Moose. This one-pot, 30-minute, vegan-optional meal is healthy, simple, cheap, and uses pantry staples that you likely already have. #meandthemoose #healthydinnerrecipes #30minutemeals #pastarecipes #veganrecipes #vegetarianrecipes

I tried to swap in white beans for the chickpeas entirely, but they cooked down too much. Half and half white beans and chickpeas, though, proved the winning combination: Some bite from the chickpeas and some creaminess from the white beans marries perfectly.

Use whole wheat pasta and throw in some julienned kale at the end and you have a rounded, healthy dish full of fiber and protein.

Even M, who’s been in an extended picky phase, gobbled this up and we didn’t even need to put other “safe’ foods on the table.

All that to say, MAKE THIS FOR DINNER TONIGHT!

Pasta con ceci (and white beans) | Me & the Moose. This one-pot, 30-minute, vegan-optional meal is healthy, simple, cheap, and uses pantry staples that you likely already have. #meandthemoose #healthydinnerrecipes #30minutemeals #pastarecipes #veganrecipes #vegetarianrecipes


Pasta con Ceci (and white beans)

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 large cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/3 cup tomato paste
1½ teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed  
1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1½ cup uncooked orecchiete pasta (or another small shape)
3½ cups stock or water
1 parmesan rind (optional)
½ bushel Tuscan (also called Lacinto or Dinosaur) kale, julienned (about 1½-2 cups) 

For serving: red pepper flakes, more parmesan,

Heat the oil in a large pot over a medium-low flame, until hot, but not crackling.

Add the smashed garlic (it should sizzle in the pan right away) and cook until it’s deeply tanned, but not dark brown. Adjust the temperature as needed to avoid burning.

Add the tomato paste. It should also sizzle when it hits the pan. If not, increase the temperature. Cook, stirring and hearing the sizzle, for 30 seconds to a minute.

Add the white beans, pasta, water or stock, and salt. Bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low and add the cheese rind, if using. Let simmer uncovered (you should have a decent simmer going and see bubbles popping throughout the cooking. If not, increase the temperature) for 15-20 minutes or until the sauce has thickened to your liking and the pasta is cooked.

Turn off the heat and toss in your kale. Stir a few times to let the residual heat wilt the greens.

Serve.

Yield: 4 servings

Pasta con ceci (and white beans) | Me & the Moose. This one-pot, 30-minute, vegan-optional meal is healthy, simple, cheap, and uses pantry staples that you likely already have. #meandthemoose #healthydinnerrecipes #30minutemeals #pastarecipes #veganrecipes #vegetarianrecipes

Sheet pan dinner: Chicken, potatoes, poblanos, and scallions

Sheet pan dinner: chicken thighs with poblano peppers, potatoes, and scallions.

Guys, this is one of the fastest, easiest dinners you can make. As long as the chicken is defrosted (always dicey in our house as I am notorious for leaving things in the freezer), this can be on your table about 30 minutes. Ready...go! 

Fresh poblano peppers and scallions mellow considerably when roasted.

I love a sheet pan dinner for so many reasons. It's fast. The cleanup is easy. Roasting is a simple way to add flavor and texture by using heat to crisp and caramelize everything. And obviously, wrapping things in a tortilla and serving it in a taco truck like this one is a surefire way to get my toddler to eat anything.

AND, this sheet pan is customizable for any dietary need. Want gluten-free? Choose corn or gluten free tortillas. Doing a Whole 30 or following a Paleo diet? Forget the cheese and tortillas altogether or eat this as a hearty salad over greens with avocado and an olive oil and lime dressing. Vegetarian or vegan? Swap in tofu for the chicken or increase the veggies and put the spices directly onto the potatoes. See? Something for everyone.

This Tex-Mex rub is cumin, oregano, chili powder, coriander, garlic powder and salt.

A couple of notes:

  • I've listed two tablespoons of oil in the ingredients, but use the second tablespoon sparingly. The fat that renders from the chicken when cooking is usually enough for the potatoes and other veggies. I spray the parchment with olive oil before adding the potatoes to prevent sticking and then let the chicken fat do the rest of the work.

  • The poblano peppers and chili powder that I've used in this recipe are really mild and fine for my almost-3-year-old. If you're concerned about spiciness, feel free to sub a can or two of roasted poblano peppers that are marked "mild" and don't cook them; just stir them into the hot veggies and chicken at the end. Also, taste your chili powder before using it to gauge its heat. If it feels too hot for your kiddos, swap in an equal amount of paprika or skip it altogether.

Ingredients list: chicken thighs, scallions, poblano peppers, and potatoes. Add olive oil and a Tex-Mex spice mix for a sheet pan dinner that will please the entire family.

Sheet pan chicken with potatoes, poblanos, and scallions

2 lb skinless boneless chicken thighs
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp Mexican oregano (or regular oregano)
½ tsp mild chili powder
½ tsp coriander
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp kosher salt
1 lb Yukon potatoes
2 large poblano peppers
1 bunch scallions

Preheat the oven to 425. Cover a large sheet pan with parchment paper or tin foil and set aside.

In a large plastic bag, combine the chicken, 1 Tbsp of olive oil, and the dry spices. Close the bag tightly and shake and squish around to combine and distribute. I like to mix the spices together in a small jar to avoid any pockets of one flavor, but that’s not strictly necessary. Set aside.

Chop your potatoes into medium-small cubes. Mine are about 1 inch long and ½ an inch wide, but every potato is shaped differently. You want your cubes to be small enough that they’ll roast quickly, but large enough that they won’t turn to mush.

Lightly oil the parchment and then spread the potatoes in a single layer on the parchment-covered pan (see note above). Sprinkle the potatoes VERY lightly with salt. (There's a fair amount of salt and spice on the chicken that will transfer to the veggies during cooking, so don't go overboard.) Remove the chicken from the bag and place the pieces on top of the potatoes.

Roast for 12 minutes.

While the chicken and potatoes are cooking, slice the poblanos into thin sticks. Trim the hairy bottoms and any yucky bits from the scallions. Set aside.

After 12 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and scatter the scallions and peppers evenly over the pan. Using tongs, carefully fish out the chicken pieces and place them on top of the scallions and peppers. Put the whole shebang back into the oven and cook for 5 more minutes until a thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken reads at least 165.

Remove the chicken with tongs and set aside. Continue to cook the vegetables for 5 more minutes or as needed to reach your desired doneness. We're usually set after 5 minutes.

See serving suggestions above, but however you eat this roasted goodness, first SPRINKLE ALL OF IT WITH LIME JUICE!

Yield: 4 servings

This sheet pan dinner is delicious served in a taco or on its own. Use corn tacos for a gluten-free meal either way.
Serve this sheet pan dinner as a salad or rice bowl for another healthy dinner option that can suit anyone at your table.

15-minute chicken

15-minute chicken | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant chicken is made with an instant pot or other pressure cooker and is ready sooo fast. It’s full of garlic and tomatoes and is incredibly savory and rich, but is also clean and simple. #meandthemoose #cleaneating #whole30 #whole30recipes #chickenrecipes #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #quickdinnerrecipes

Ooof. This is the part of Whole 30 in which I just want to take a LOOOOOONG nap. I think my intense holiday cookies-for-breakfast habit is making this first week tougher than any of my other rounds. I haven't wanted to cheat...actually, I totally wanted a slice of pizza yesterday. Nevermind. So, I've wanted to cheat, but haven't because I have the vision of how great I'll feel in a few days dancing in my head.

What helps during these tired, saggy days at the beginning is having a few really fast recipes ready. We also bought a pressure cooker last year, which has been incredible during Whole 30 because we don't even have to "set it and forget it." We can literally forget it and then do it when we panic that there's nothing for dinner. Not that we ever do that.

15-minute chicken | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant chicken is made with an instant pot or other pressure cooker and is ready sooo fast. It’s full of garlic and tomatoes and is incredibly savory and rich, but is also clean and simple. #meandthemoose #cleaneating #whole30 #whole30recipes #chickenrecipes #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #quickdinnerrecipes

This recipe is based on a classic from Gourmet that I found via Smitten Kitchen. We've made the original and it is stupidly easy and GLORIOUS. But it requires a few hours of cooking time and I lack the mental energy for that at the moment. Also, we OD'd on red meat at the end of the year, so we decided to try this with a whole chicken in the pressure cooker. You could definitely make this with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, breasts, or a combination of both, but I wouldn't do boneless, skinless anything because the fat from the skin and bones is what gives the sauce its richness. Also, 3-4 lbs of chicken may seem like a lot, but the chicken, like the meat in the original recipe, is slightly more delicious the next day. I do recommend straining the fat after cooking because there's quite a bit of it. Also, don't skimp on the garlic. You may balk at the idea of feeding a head of garlic to a toddler, but leaving the skin means that the cloves get all mellow and buttery without disintegrating in the sauce and making the whole thing taste overwhelmingly garlicky.  

15-minute chicken | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant chicken is made with an instant pot or other pressure cooker and is ready sooo fast. It’s full of garlic and tomatoes and is incredibly savory and rich, but is also clean and simple. #meandthemoose #cleaneating #whole30 #whole30recipes #chickenrecipes #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #quickdinnerrecipes

We served this with some smashed potatoes that we just chopped, placed in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap, and microwaved for 8 minutes until fork tender and then smashed with a few Tbsp of clarified butter and seasoned with salt and pepper.

15-minute chicken | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant chicken is made with an instant pot or other pressure cooker and is ready sooo fast. It’s full of garlic and tomatoes and is incredibly savory and rich, but is also clean and simple. #meandthemoose #cleaneating #whole30 #whole30recipes #chickenrecipes #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #quickdinnerrecipes

We bought our chicken pre-cut at the grocery store, but you could get your butcher to cut a whole chicken for you or do it yourself at home.

15-minute chicken | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant chicken is made with an instant pot or other pressure cooker and is ready sooo fast. It’s full of garlic and tomatoes and is incredibly savory and rich, but is also clean and simple. #meandthemoose #cleaneating #whole30 #whole30recipes #chickenrecipes #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #quickdinnerrecipes

Pressure cooked chicken with garlic and tomatoes

1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces, about 4 lbs
1 box/large can of San Marzano crushed tomatoes, about 28 oz
1 head of garlic
S/P

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and place in the pressure cooker, largest pieces on the bottom. Take apart the bulb of garlic and remove only the flaky outer skin that comes off easily, leaving on the layer of skin around each clove. Add the garlic to the pressure cooker and space out the cloves to avoid any clumps of garlic. Pour the tomatoes over the chicken and garlic and close the pressure cooker. Set to high pressure and poultry, or 15 minutes. Cook. Let the pressure release on its own once cooking is over.

To crisp the chicken skin slightly, place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes or until you’ve reached your desired crispness. The skin won’t get CRISPY since the chicken is already cooked, but it will firm up a bit. If you plan to remove the skin, skip this step and eat immediately. 

Yield: 2 hearty meals for a family of 2 adults and a toddler, plus extra sauce to strain and use in other recipes, if desired.

15-minute chicken | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant chicken is made with an instant pot or other pressure cooker and is ready sooo fast. It’s full of garlic and tomatoes and is incredibly savory and rich, but is also clean and simple. #meandthemoose #cleaneating #whole30 #whole30recipes #chickenrecipes #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #quickdinnerrecipes