Pasta Veggie Toss Up

This is a pretty versatile pasta dish. Mix whatever small to medium shaped pasta (wheat or gluten free) you have on hand, with whatever vegetables you have on hand. Serve either hot or cold with your choice of protein.  Parmesan cheese can also be added.

3 cups uncooked pasta

1/2 large zucchini, diced

1/2 pepper diced

5 small tomatoes, chopped

1/4 c. fresh basil, chopped

2 T. olive oil

1 T. Italian spice mix

salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the vegetables to the pasta water to soften. Drain. Place pasta-veggie mix in a large bowl. Add olive oil, fresh basil, spice mix, salt and pepper and toss together.

Ham Pasta Toss

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Fast and delicious

2 c. cooked ham, chopped

2 c. cooked pasta

2 c. fresh spinach

1 large (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained

1/2 c. water

1 T. dried dill

1 T. Italian herb blend

Parmesan cheese, sprinkle

Combine all ingredients except Parmesan cheese in a large pot.  Heat and stir over medium-low heat until heated through and spinach is wilted.  To make this #glutenfree and/or #lowfodmap,  ensure ham and pasta are gluten free. Makes about 3 cups.  Sprinkle individual servings with Parmesan cheese.

Summer Pasta Salad

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This is very versatile; any combination of vegetables you have on hand can be used.  You can also add cooked chicken or shrimp or, if you are vegetarian, TVP, for a complete meal.

3 c. cooked pasta such as penne (gluten free or other)

1/2 medium zucchini, diced

2 medium carrots, diced

3 mushrooms, chopped

1 c. diced cucumber

1/2 c. frozen peas, thawed

1 T. each walnut pieces and sliced almonds

2 T. sunflower seeds

1/4 c. raisins


1 – 2 T. dried dill

1/3 c. plain Greek yogurt, thinned with a little milk

1/2 package Simply Organic Ranch dip

1 T. creamy cucumber dressing


Combine pasta and remaining ingredients except dressing in a large bowl.  Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl and pour over pasta salad.  Stir well.  Refrigerate until chilled.

Pasta Salad {Gluten Free, Low Fodmap}


Eating low fodmap for IBS is not easy. I slip on and off the low fodmap wagon frequently. After a particularly bad tummy day I made this pasta salad.

1 package Catelli Gluten Free fusilli style pasta. cooked according to package directions

picture from
picture from

1/4 zucchini, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2/3 c. frozen green peas
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
3 green onions, green part only, chopped
1/2 small cucumber, chopped
Dash of rice vinegar
Various dried salad herbs, about 1 T. each (thyme, oregano, dillweed, tarragon, cilantro)
1 T. celery salt
1 T. chili powder
1 T. pepper
1 tsp. salt or to taste
3/4 c. mayonnaise
a bit of olive oil (1 – 2 T. )

Combine in a large bowl and chill before serving. About 8 servings. If you can handle dairy you could add some cubed cheese. Cooked chicken or hard boiled eggs would work also for protein to make this a complete meal.  *Catelli Gluten Free Pasta has corn, white and brown rice and quinoa grains.

Speedy Pasta Primavera


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3/4 lb. pasta, cooked with a little salt and oil in boiling water (I used spaghettini which cooks to al dente in 5 minutes)

1 c.  zucchini cut into thin strips

1 c. carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips

2 c. frozen mixed vegetables

1/2 c. water (stock can also be used)

1 c. half and half or light cream

1/4 c. Parmesan cheese

2 T. dried dillweed

Pinch nutmeg

Saute zucchini and carrots in a large pan or skillet. Add stock and cook until vegetables are done.  Add frozen vegetables, cheese, spices and cream (heat cream a little in the microwave before adding).  Reduce heat to medium. Add pasta, mix well and heat thoroughly.  Serves 6 – 8.



Pesto Chicken Pasta with Peas

English: this is a picture of self made pesto ...
English: this is a picture of self made pesto in a mortar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2 cooked chicken breasts, cut up

1/2 c. pesto

1 cup frozen peas, thawed (you could add to the pasta while it’s cooking during the last few minutes, or rinse the peas under hot water)

4 cups cooked pasta (rotini or broken up spaghetti) (regular pasta or gluten free pasta)

1/4 c. olive oil

Toss all ingredients together in a large pasta bowl. Add Parmesan cheese if desired. Serves four.

A Primer on Anemia

linguini with clams
linguini with clams (Photo credit: stu_spivack)

I’m suspecting I have some form of anemia. I’ve had iron deficiency anemia in the past.  Update: The doctor thought my symptoms were consistent with hypothyroid, even though blood tests show my TSH as within normal limits.

There are three types of anemia linked to deficiency- iron deficiency, folate (folic acid) deficiency and B12 deficiency anemia. From

What are the effects of untreated anemia?

Long-lasting deficiency of vitamin B6, folate, or vitamin B12 can result in anemia. With folate and vitamin B12 deficiency, anemia often causes symptoms such as fatigue, poor appetite, weight loss, and diarrhea. The earliest symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency may be weakness, poor coordination, and numbness or a “pins and needles” feeling in the hands and feet. Mild irritability and forgetfulness are other early signs. A severe untreated deficiency can result in serious damage to the nerves, spinal cord, and brain.

How do I know if I have anemia?

Symptoms usually develop when anemia is moderate to severe, and can include fatigue, weakness, pale skin, chest pain, dizziness, irritability, numbness or coldness in your hands and feet, trouble breathing, a fast heartbeat, and headache. It is important to see your doctor on a regular basis in order to be tested for possible anemia.

I’m definitely dealing with a lot of  these symptoms.  I’ll be asking my doctor for bloodwork to check all levels – B12, folate, and iron. For iron levels, I’ll ask for a CBC (complete blood count) as well as a serum ferritin test, which measures the amount of iron stored in the body.  Sometimes, levels are too low to correct with diet and pills may be necessary.

There are two sources of iron in food – heme and non-heme iron.  Examples of heme iron would be meat, poultry and seafood and is more easily absorbed.  Non-heme iron sources would be grains, vegetables, nuts, and beans. To increase absorption of iron from all sources, including iron pills, take with a vitamin C source such as fruit juice.   Excellent sources of iron are beef, liver, clams and Cream of Wheat cereal.   Good sources of B12 are animal products.  Folic acid is found in green leafy vegetables.

Here’s a recipe from Apple magazine that is high in iron.  Serve with a spinach salad with strawberries for more iron, vitamin C and folic acid.

Zesty Clam Linguini

2 T. olive oil

3/4 c. onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced or 1 tsp. dried garlic

3/4 c. red pepper, chopped

1, 14 oz. can diced tomatoes

5 oz. can whole baby clams, drained

1 tsp. no salt added herb seasoning

1/4 c. chopped green onions

13 ounce (375 g) package whole wheat linguini

Heat oil in medium sized pan on medium.  Saute onion until tender.  Add garlic and saute slightly. Add red pepper and saute two more minutes.  Add tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Simmer 10  – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Meanwhile, make linguini according to package directions.  Add clams and seasoning to tomato sauce and heat through.  Serve on linguini.  Garnish with chives.  Serves four.

Some foods and beverages that interfere with iron absorption include tea, coffee, fiber, eggs, soy and dairy products, according to:

For information on iron-medication interactions, check here: