Fresh Veggies Day à la Summer Solstice

In perfect summer fashion, last Friday marked Fresh Veggies Day. Admittedly, I enjoyed a few of my vegetables on pizza that day (I’m loving SPIN! Pizza’s Melanzane pie with roasted eggplant, caramelized onions, and goat cheese), and I’m still keeping the spirit of this everyday holiday alive in both my home cooking and restaurant dining this month.

In the kitchen, specifically, I’ve been challenging myself to make do with what I have–to avoid excess grocery store trips, while boosting my culinary creativity. With a fabulous farmer’s market less than 100 feet from my front door, I’m attempting to make a weekly practice out of finding what’s fresh and what’s available, then cooking at least one meal without preconceived prep time or recipe-following.

It’s no secret I veer on the type A side, however, I found myself in the kitchen without a plan recently. So, I turned to one of my pantry go-tos: Annie’s pasta…with a twist. For me, this “twist” came in the form of some farmer’s market veggies that I sliced and froze the week before (see previous “type A” comment).

If you’ve never tried any of Annie’s pastas, they are basically organic variations of classic mac and cheese. Very good and super easy! Recently, I’ve found that these pastas make a great base for layering additional flavors and ingredients–resulting in pretty tasty, pretty balanced meals in a pinch.

For this dish, I made the pasta according to the directions on the box and, while boiling the noodles, I sautéed my frozen veggies with garlic, cumin, and red pepper flakes (I used a few chipotle peppers in adobe sauce and fresh veggies the next time I made the dish). Cue “these are a few of my favorite things!”

The chopped leak provides a nice, subtle grounding to the dish, while the squash just feels fun and summery. Because there are so many ways you can “spice up” Annie’s, please share your experimentations below!

Some suggested options:

  • Pea pods
  • Black beans
  • Feta cheese
  • Carrots
  • Dill
  • Eggplant
  • Chipotle peppers in adobe sauce

Have fun and avoid the grocery store…for at least one more day. Happy (Belated) Fresh Veggies Day and Happy Summer Solstice!

Spicy Annie-Pasta

A little play on “anti-pasta,” although fully pasta, this recipe is dedicated to my fellow cupboard scrapers out there.

Time: 15 minutes / / Servings: 2


  • 1 box Annie’s shells and white cheddar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small or ½ large zucchini, sliced and quartered
  • ¾ cup frozen corn
  • 1 medium leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded (optional)

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a clove of garlic, followed by the veggies. Sautée for 5-7 minutes, or until cooked through. Add cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper

To the skillet with veggies, add the milk and enclosed cheese packet, followed by the drained pasta. Stir well.

Serve warm and with Parmesan cheese if desired!

*This site has no formal partnership or agreement with Annie’s, but their boxed shells and white cheddar is my personal favorite!


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