Newton Food Pantry

It’s Pastapalooza!


Well, we love pasta here (any shape, any sauce, any day), so it’s really always pastapalooza here, but seeing as I was asked to invent a recipe for a contest  by Dreamfields Pasta, in their #Pastapalooza competition, the heat is on, as it were.

Now this is no ordinary competition (although do think Chopped only at home, without having to be filmed, thank goodness). Dreamfields is using this fun and creative initiative to make a difference. Five bloggers will create and share a new recipe using the same ingredients and Dreamfields will make donations to local food pantries (to be named by the competing bloggers) which is nothing short of fantastic. The winning blogger’s recipe will reap a donation of $1000 to their local food pantry.

As I’m sure you know, there are many, many families that are food insecure and the numbers only rise in the summer months, so this is an especially important and timely initiative right now. Read more about ways you can help on Dreamfield’s blog.

There are so many great organizations working to stop hunger, it was difficult to choose, but I went with my local food pantry,

the Newton Food Pantry.





And I also want to give a shout out to the following wonderful organizations, so go check them out, too.

Boston Medical Center Preventive Food Pantry

Greater Boston Food Bank

Lovin’ Spoonfuls





So the challenge? Incorporate pasta, cumin or Za’atar or Harissa, garlic, legumes, chutney and citrus. I have to say, the chutney gave me pause. Luckily I remembered seeing some gorgeous tomato chutney at the market last week and, in the serendipitous way that things sometimes happen, met the owner of this lovely company, The Backyard Food Company, at Getting Gorgeous this past week and they have a terrific, not-too-be-missed tomato jam. It would be great in this dish, because it’s great on a spoon.

Here is my (winning?) recipe:

(photo credit to my daughter)


Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

1/2 box Dreamfields Elbows
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons tomato chutney or tomato jam
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cans (15 ounces each) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 medium-size ripe tomatoes, diced (see note)
3 Persian cucumbers, diced
Chopped parsley (optional)

Cook pasta according to package directions. Place pasta in large bowl; set aside. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, chutney, cumin and garlic; set dressing aside.

Add chickpeas, tomatoes and cucumbers to pasta; toss to combine well. At serving time, add dressing; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

Note: 1 1/2 cups diced grape or cherry tomatoes can be substituted for regular tomatoes.

Nutrition information (1/4 of recipe): 580 calories; 20 g protein; 89 g carbohydrates;

19 g total fat; 2 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 340 mg sodium; 17 g total dietary fiber.

This is a great side salad – add a protein or feta cheese to bump it up a little.

Go vote for this fantastic recipe here. Just by voting you could win a family pack of Dreamfields pasta and a $1,000 donation to your local food bank, too. And there are plenty of places that could put that donation to good use (see my suggested list above).

So join me – just click here to vote for your favorite Gourmet Market Basket recipe, even if it’s not mine. Really. Voting begins tomorrow (Thursday) morning. Maybe I am just a little excited about this. Maybe.

More ways to connect with Dreamfields Pasta







I was chosen to be part of the Dreamfields Pastapalooza Middle Eastern Market Basket Challenge. I was compensated for this post and the local food pantry (Newton Food Pantry) will receive $200. All opinions and recipes are my own. Also, all of the other recipes are really good, too. But vote for mine anyway.


Scones, muffins…are you in the know? Local area food donations go…? this is where you come in.

How do you help in your community?  I do a little bit but think I can do more.  The following was in this week’s  Newton Tab and  it was my husband’s idea to post it on my blog (thanks, honey). It also ties in with a project I am working on with two friends.

The Newton Food Pantry needs help.  It is a great organization run by volunteers in the basement of the (former) Waban branch libary (the building is now run by the Waban Improvement Society).  The Village Bank ( a local Newton bank) is partnering with the Newton Pride Committee  to re-stock the shelves of the food pantry.  Donations are welcome from April 5-19 in collection boxes at Village Bank locations throughout Newton and at the Newton Cultural Center in Newtonville.  If you are in the area, they are looking for donations of non-perishable foods, toiletries, diapers and cleaning products.  Many thanks.

This leads me to the project.  One day, while talking with two friends, the question came up about what happens to stuff at local bakeries at the end of the day.  We each chose a bakery, now that we have places that are willing to donate, we are looking at how to get the food to places that need it. 

New York City has City Harvest which is  a  “food rescue organization”.   It started with a group of volunteers (25 years ago) who “connected and a handful of neighborhood restaurants to food programs serving meals to those in need”.  So far the response has been overwhelmingly positive and we haven’t even gotten to restaurants yet.

I know about Community Servings in Boston and the Greater Boston Food Bank , two wonderful organizations. Is there already a City Harvest model  in Boston? Is there anything like it?

Do you know anyone who has started something like this? Any help would be appreciated. Please feel free to send this along.

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