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Prosciutto and Asparagus Alfredo Pasta

29 Apr

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This dish made me feel like I was in Rome again! Oh how I wish I was, especially with all of the exciting events happening there this past weekend. But alas, I’m at home nesting like crazy and waiting for our baby to arrive any day now (can’t wait!) so I’ll take a little taste of Italy however I can manage. Also, due to the midwife’s orders, I’m supposed to currently limit my carb intake to one serving a day, so have to make it good!

This is a filling but not super heavy dish that’s perfect for spring. I’ve been on an asparagus kick lately and thought it would be a good match with the prosciutto. I’m not a big fan of salty foods, but the slight saltiness of the prosciutto paired beautifully with the creamy richness of the alfredo sauce. Of course you can make your own sauce, but this time around I decided to use a jar of store bought sauce to save some time and energy.

Enjoy!

Prosciutto and Asparagus Alfredo Pasta

Ingredients:
3 oz sliced prosciutto, roughly chopped
1 lb fresh asparagus, ends trimmed off, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb pasta (I used whole wheat rotini)
2 cups alfredo sauce (I used a 15 oz jar of store bought)
Salt
Black pepper
Grated parmesan

Yield: 6-8 servings

Directions:
Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan and add the asparagus. Cook for about 7 minutes or until tender. Add the garlic and prosciutto and cook for another 2 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Cook the pasta according to the package. Drain and return the pasta to the pan you cooked it in. Add the alfredo sauce and the asparagus/prosciutto mixture and stir everything together until fully incorporated. Season with a little salt and pepper before serving and sprinkle some grated parmesan on top for garnish. Eat while hot and enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Tide and Thyme

Spicy Sausage Pasta

15 Mar

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This week, I was craving some sort of a zesty pasta dish with sausage. After a few searches, I ran across this recipe and knew they were the flavors I was looking for. The smoky turkey sausage with the tomatoes, green chiles, pepper jack cheese, and creamy sauce made for a delicious dinner. And the pasta of course hit the spot – I’ve never met a carb I didn’t like! It was exactly what this pregnant lady was wanting.

What’s even better is, if you have an oven safe pan, you can make the whole meal in one dish! Gotta love less dishes to do after a great simple meal. Also, the original recipe has Weight Watchers info and tips to make this a lower calorie meal. (see the link below) Enjoy!

Spicy Sausage Pasta

Ingredients:
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 of an onion, chopped
13 oz smoked turkey sausage, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/4 cups chicken broth
10 oz can Ro-Tel tomatoes & green chiles
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
10-12 oz uncooked bowtie pasta
4 oz pepper jack cheese, shredded
2 medium green onions, diced

Yield: 6 servings

Directions:
In a large skillet or sauté pan (oven-safe if you have it), add the olive oil and bring over medium heat. Add the onions and sausage to the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes until sausage is browned and onions are tender. Add the garlic and stir. Continue to cook for another 30 seconds until fragrant.

Add the broth, Ro-Tel, half and half, salt, and pepper and mix together. Add the uncooked pasta and stir together until the liquid covers the pasta. Cover the skillet and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and keep covered. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the pasta is cooked.

Set your oven to broil and make sure one of your oven racks is in the top 1/3 of the oven. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in half of the shredded cheese. If your skillet is oven-safe, you may continue to use it in the following steps. If it isn’t or you aren’t sure, transfer the pasta into a baking dish. (either a 7×11 or 9×13 dish would work)

Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese over the top of the pasta. Place the dish in the top 1/3 of the oven and broil for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown (keep checking because broiling can happen really fast!). Remove from oven and sprinkle the green onions on top. Serve while hot and enjoy!

Source: Slightly adapted from Emily Bites

Creamy Italian Tomato Soup

13 Jan

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I’ve had a hankering for a new soup lately and found this yummy recipe that totally fit the bill. The base is a simple creamy tomato soup but then some Italian twists are thrown in. The cheese tortellini makes this soup extra hearty and filling and the sun dried tomatoes add some great color and flavor. The addition of Italian sausage really beefs the whole thing up but is optional – I used a mild sausage, but a spicy or sweet sausage would be delicious too!

Sprinkle on a little parmesan when you serve and this will keep you extra warm and full on a cold winter day!

Creamy Italian Tomato Soup

Ingredients:
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cans of condensed tomato soup (10 3/4 oz cans)
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups chicken stock
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 lb ground mild Italian sausage
9 oz package of frozen or fresh cheese tortellini
Shredded parmesan, for garnish

Yield: 4-6 servings

Directions:
Heat a large stock pot over medium heat and sauté the garlic in olive oil until golden brown. Add the tomato soup, sun dried tomatoes, half and half, chicken stock, and spices. Bring to a simmer.

Meanwhile, cook the Italian sausage, drain the grease, and add the sausage to the soup.

Once simmering, add the tortellini to the soup and cook then according to the package directions. (or you can cook them separately and add them when done) When tortellini is cooked, ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle a little parmesan on top. Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Mrs. Schwartz Kitchen

Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells

8 Jul

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Pesto sauce has become one of my favorites – between eating it with pasta, using it as a pizza sauce, and spreading it on sandwiches, I can’t get enough! This dish is a favorite simple go-to meal in my house. Just cook some jumbo pasta shells, stuff them with a combination of shredded chicken, mozzarella, and pesto, and bake them for just over 10 minutes. If you have some extra garlic on hand, feel free to add that too. (it’s hard to have too much garlic, in my opinion) You can eat them as they are or drizzle with some extra pesto sauce. Serve with a salad or vegetable and enjoy this delicious meal!

Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells

Ingredients:
12 jumbo pasta shells
2 1/2 cups shredded chicken (about 3 chicken breasts)
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
5-6 Tbsp pesto sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
Salt and pepper
Parmesan and basil for garnish (optional)

Yield: 4-6 servings (12 shells)

Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cook the jumbo shells in boiling water for 9 minutes, or according to the package directions. Drain, rinse, and set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, combine the shredded chicken, mozzarella, pesto sauce, salt, pepper, and additional garlic if wanted. Mix until well combined. Stuff a spoonful of the mixture into each shell. Spray a baking pan with non-stick spray and line up the shells. Bake them for 10-12 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Garnish with grated parmesan, fresh basil, or extra pesto sauce if wanted. Serve while hot and enjoy!

Source: A Beckster Original

Gnocchi with Sweet Corn, Spinach, and Chicken in Cream Sauce

24 Jun

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This meal really serves up a great combination of flavors. You get a little sweetness from the corn, some hearty chicken breast, tender potato gnocchi, a bit of spinach which adds some color and extra nutrients, and a light creamy sauce to bind it all together. You could even toss in extra vegetables like mushrooms or arugula to really beef it up.

This dish is actually quite simple to make. The sauce comes together in about 10 minutes. Just boil some gnocchi and add it to the finished sauce with some frozen corn (or fresh, if you have time!), chopped or shredded chicken, and a few handfuls of fresh spinach and wait for them to wilt a bit. Dish some into a bowl, sprinkle a little parmesan on top, and you have yourself a tasty meal!

Gnocchi with Sweet Corn, Spinach, and Chicken in Cream Sauce

Ingredients:
1/2 bag frozen sweet corn (or you can use fresh corn)
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
3 cups fresh spinach, whole leaves or chopped
1 lb package of potato gnocchi
3/4 cup half and half
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
Parmesan cheese for sprinkling

Yield: 4 servings

Directions:
In large pot, boil water and cook gnocchi according to package directions. Drain the gnocchi, but make sure to reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. (Don’t rinse the gnocchi)

For the cream sauce, combine the half and half, cream cheese, salt, garlic powder, and pepper in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring until the cream cheese has evenly dispersed throughout sauce. Stir in the reserved pasta water. Add the corn and chicken and cook for a few more minutes.

Fold in the spinach and gnocchi until everything is evenly combined. Dish it up while it’s hot and top with shredded parmesan cheese if wanted. Enjoy!

Source: Slightly adapted from Baking with Blondie

Home from Rome

16 Apr

Hello everyone! Sorry for my absence lately – since getting home from our trip to Italy, life has been busy! We had an amazing time, and besides the beautiful religious aspects of the trip, the next best part was the delicious food! (is that a surprise?) We ate plenty of pizza, pasta, and of course, gelato! I could write for weeks about all that we did, and feel free to ask me about it, but here are some photo highlights to give you a taste of what we saw and ate.

cafe photos
(left to right: Nutella focaccia. Sweet shop in Assisi. Cannoli. Prosciutto, mozzarella, and arugula sandwich. Latte and a Nutella croissant. Salami and mozzarella sandwich. Sausage and mushroom pizza. Bakery with HUGE meringues. Fresh focaccia bread from the brick oven.)

rome collage
(left to right: St. Peter’s Basilica. The Colosseum. St. John Lateran. The Pantheon. Pope Francis! The Spanish Steps. St. Paul Outside the Walls. Trevi fountain. St. Mary Major.)

pasta collage
(left to right: Mezze maniche con chianti, speck e zucchini. Risotto radicchio e speck. Pasta cacio e pepe. Fregnacce con broccoli, speck e pecorino. Fusilli panna, funghi e salsiccia. Pasta carbonara. Pasta bolognese. Risotto ai funghi porcini. Gnocchi alla sorrentina.)

pisa florence siena assisi collage
(left to right: In Assisi: St. Francis Basilica. St. Clare Basilica. St. Mary of the Angels. In Pisa: The leaning tower (built as the bell tower for the cathedral!) The beautiful cathedral. The baptistry outside of the cathedral. In Florence and Siena: The cathedral in Florence. The gorgeous dome in the cathedral. The cathedral in Siena.)

gelato collage
(left to right: Strawberry and pistachio gelato. Banana and chocolate combo. Chocolate hazelnut. Dark chocolate. Chocolate rum from San Crispino. Mint chocolate. Kit Kat gelato. Coconut and chocolate combo. Tiramisu gelato – my favorite!)

While we had a great time and would love to visit again, it’s good to be back in Texas and cooking in my own kitchen. Stay tuned for some tasty things coming your way!

Homemade Potato Gnocchi

26 Feb

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I thought this was a fitting post to announce that my dear husband and I are going to Italy next month! This trip started as a dream that we almost laughed off as impossible, but after looking at our vacation fund and rearranging our schedules, the dream became an unexpected reality! We’ll possibly be in Rome when the new Pope is chosen, take a side trip to Pisa, Florence, and Siena, plus we’ll be there for Holy Week and Easter! Can’t wait to share the experience with all of you. 🙂

Besides the awesome religious aspect of our trip, I’m beyond excited for all the great food we’ll get to eat. Although, I gave up coffee and Jason gave up alcohol for Lent. Go figure! We’ve been joking about how on Easter, I’ll be buzzed from espresso and he’ll be buzzed from Italian wine. 😉

Besides pasta and pizza, one of my favorite Italian foods is gnocchi. I’ve always bought it pre-made at the grocery store, but have had it on my try-to-make-at-home list for a long time. Feeling all giddy and inspired by our upcoming trip motivated me to finally give it a try!

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If you’ve never had gnocchi, I encourage you to give it a try! (the store bought variety is so easy to make – you just boil it like pasta) Gnocchi is typically a potato based dumpling that’s light, fluffy, and delicious. With only three main ingredients – potato, egg, and flour – it’s a pretty basic dish to make. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some prep work involved in making the dough, but once you get the gnocchi shaped, the cooking process goes pretty quickly.

This Italian favorite can be paired with pesto, marinara, cream sauce, or just some simple butter and herbs. I usually add some Italian sausage, then have some salad or a vegetable on the side to make a delicious hearty meal. Enjoy!

Homemade Potato Gnocchi

Ingredients:
2 large russet potatoes, halved
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt and pepper
Pesto sauce (or your sauce of choice)

Yield: 4-6 servings

Directions:
Place the halved potatoes in a pot of boiling salted water. Boil for about 40 minutes or until soft. Remove potatoes one by one with a slotted spoon and quickly peel them. Mash the potatoes with a with a fork or a ricer and ensure there are no lumps. Don’t over mash – they should be light and fluffy. Let them cool for about 10 minutes.

Shape potatoes into a mound with a well in the middle. Pour the egg into the well and sprinkle on 3/4 of the flour and a pinch of salt and pepper. Using a metal cutter, mix the flour, potato, and egg by gently chopping and scraping the ingredients together. Chop, scrape, chop, scrape until the ingredients are roughly combined. The dough should be moist but not sticky. If they are too sticky then sprinkle on the remaining 1/4 of flour.

Lightly flour your work surface and then gently roll the dough several times with a very light touch. You don’t want to over mix the dough. It should feel light and airy. Place the dough on a clean surface and cut about 8 logs.

On a floured surface, gently roll each log so that it’s about 2/3 inch thick. Using the cutter, cut off 1/2 inch or smaller pieces. Mark the gnocchi with a fork by lightly but quickly rolling them down the inside of the fork’s prongs. This reduces the bulk of the gnocchi and makes little grooves to catch the sauce.

Bring some salted water to the boil. Have a non-stick pan ready, on medium heat, with 1 tsp of butter next to the boiling water. Place the gnocchi in batches into the boiling water. Remove them with a slotted spoon as soon as they float to the top and then sauté them in the butter for about 1 minute or until they brown slightly.

Place the browned gnocchi into the waiting bowl of pesto and gently toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Source: Slightly adapted from All Things Nice