Consider checking out cookinginthehills.com, a recipe collection from 31-year-old Columbus resident Alyssa Zoellner, who was inspired to start a recipe blog after being laid off from her full-time job in December 2019.
She found the experience so rewarding that she kept up with it after getting another job.
“It’s just something really exciting for me to do,” Zoellner said.
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Zoellner grew up in a family that encouraged experimentation in the kitchen. While she started out pretty picky as a kid—hotdogs and cucumbers were it for most meals—she eventually began trying new things and expanding her palate.
As an adult, her friends encouraged her to start a cooking blog, but she could never find the time. That changed though, once she lost her job.
“I just felt like I needed to be doing something,” Zoellner said.
Zoellner’s recipes are all her own, inspired by a healthy lifestyle (she eats fish, but not meat). She also likes creating dishes based on those she’s had in restaurants.
Her recipe for Pasta Bolognese, which we’re sharing below, was inspired by a craving for a meaty pasta dish. She found lentils, when combined with Italian seasonings, did the job.
Zoellner’s recipe for Pasta Bolognese is below. Have at it!
Meatless, gluten free, dairy free (if you want it to be!)
Prep: 5 min
Cook: 55 min
Total: 1 hour
1 cup green lentils
1 spaghetti squash
Drizzle of olive oil
2 cups water
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 bay leaf
1 jar Carfagna’s Market original pasta sauce
1. Preheat the oven to 375. Meanwhile, sift through lentils to discard small ones and any rocks in the batch, then soak in cold water for about 20 minutes.
2. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place face side down on baking sheet and bake for 45-60 minutes depending on size and texture you prefer.
3. After the lentils are done soaking, rinse them thoroughly in a colander, then add lentils, 2 cups water, garlic, red pepper, paprika, onion powder, and bay leaf to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and immediately turn down to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes and test every 2 minutes after that to check for doneness. You want the lentil to be slightly chewy, not mushy.
4. Drain lentils; then in the same sauce pan, add Carfagna’s Market original pasta sauce; return lentils to sauce pan. Heat on medium/low heat and stir til warm.
5. Remove spaghetti squash from oven and use a fork to shred it. To plate, take some spaghetti squash, top with pasta sauce/lentil mixture, and add cheese and parsley if you’d like.
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