Quinoa with Sausage, Zucchini and Crimini Mushrooms

3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cup water
8 oz. sausage
1 red sweet onion
12 crimini mushrooms
1/4 cup sun-dried tomato
Olive oil

1. In a large sauce pan, bring water to a boil. Add quinoa and let simmer for 12 minutes.
2. Dice zucchini, mushrooms, onion and sun-dried tomato.
3. In a saute pan, heat olive oil. Add sausage and cook until no longer pink. Add vegetables and saute for 5-7 minutes.
4. Add quinoa to pan and toss well. Add olive oil as needed if dry.

Serves 2-3

Ratatouille Inspired Pasta

Usually I go to the store with a plan -- a meal I saw in a magazine, in one of my numerous cookbooks or while perusing blogs online. But every once in a while I let spontaneity rule my shopping trip and yesterday, while at the market I couldn't help but be inspired by some colorful fresh vegetables. Immediately I thought of ratatouille. Since I wanted a light meal, instead of using it as a side dish, I decided to toss it over pasta. So much bright color and flavor, packed into a really simple dish. And what's even better about this dish, if you have leftover vegetables, they'll work great mixed into scrambled eggs or tossed with meat and soy sauce for a 2-minute stir fry.

1 small onion
1 orange bell pepper
2 zucchini
7-10 baby bella mushrooms
1 large tomato
3 tbsp. olive oil
Italian seasoning
1 1/2 cups pasta

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. When al dente, rinse and set aside. 
2. Dice onion, bell pepper, zucchini, mushrooms and tomatoes into roughly 1/4 in. pieces.
3. In a large skillet, heat 3 tbsp. olive oil, and add onion and bell pepper. Saute until onions are translucent.
4. Add zucchini and saute for about 5 minutes, tossing so all sides will lightly caramelize. 
5. Add Italian seasoning and mushrooms, cooking for an additional 2-3 minutes until mushrooms are soft. 
6. Lastly, add pasta and tomatoes, stirring until tomatoes are heated through, about 2 minutes. 

Serves 2-3

Summer Market Pasta

2/3 cup grape tomatoes
2 zucchinis
Parmesan cheese
Italian herbs
Olive oil
2 cups dry pasta

1. Boil pasta for 6-9 minutes, until al dente. Drain and set aside.
2. Dice zucchini into 1/4 in. pieces, and cut tomatoes in half.
3. In a large pan, saute zucchini in olive oil and until slightly browned. Add tomatoes and Italian herbs, and simmer for 5-7 minutes. 
4. Combine vegetables and pasta in pan, then toss well. 
5. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Serves 2-3