Butternut Squash Penne With Bacon, Corn and Sauteed Broccoli Greens

6 10 2014

I can’t help but feel like I knocked dinner out of the park tonight with this luscious, Alfredo-like pasta dish that’s healthy to boot! I didn’t use cream, butter or flour – but still achieved the rich and silky consistency we’ve all come to love from Alfredo, thanks to roasted butternut squash puree. I recommend making the puree over the weekend (it’s super easy, just will take an hour or so)…this way you can whip this meal faster during a busy weeknight.

Butternut Squash Penne With Bacon, Corn and Sauteed Broccoli Greens

The following serves 4-6 (adapted from Cuisine at Home):

  • 1 butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed
  • Olive oil
  • 8 strips of bacon, diced
  • Chopped broccoli greens from 1-2 heads of broccoli (alternatively, you could also use kale, about 1.5 cups worth or so)
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 13 oz whole wheat penne or fettuccine pasta
  • 2 ears of sweet corn, kernels cut off the cobs
  • 1/2 cup minced shallots
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup dry Marsala
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used skim, while the original recipe called for heavy cream – use what you have)
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup toasted chopped nuts like walnuts or hazelnuts
  • Grated parmesan
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet or casserole dish with foil. Lightly coat the squash halves with olive oil on both sides. Place squash, flesh side down on pan. Add 1 cup of water to the pan. Bake squash until tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Scoop flesh from the squash and puree in a Vitamix or blender, discard the skin. At this point you can cover and store the puree in the fridge until you’re ready to make this meal.

In a large non-stick skillet, cook bacon until crisp and remove to a paper towel lined plate. Discard most of the bacon grease, but leave a little in your skillet. Add the broccoli greens or kale and saute until wilted a few minutes. Season with salt to taste and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Remove to paper towel lined plate.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season liberally with salt. Boil pasta in salted water according to package directions, cooking to al dente. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, add the corn kernels. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then strain pasta and corn.

To the skillet you used to cook the bacon and greens in, add a Tbsp or so of olive oil and heat over medium-high. Add shallots and cool until soft, a couple of minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Deglaze skillet with Marsala and cook until nearly evaporated.

Stir in squash puree (about 2 cups worth, but no worries if you have a little less – the sauce will still be great). Next add the milk and broth, stir to combine and season with salt to taste.

Stir in the pasta and corn, along with 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Add a little at first, then more as needed to reach your desired sauce consistency. Toss the pasta and corn with the sauce over heat for a minute or two. Add sautéed greens and most of the bacon, reserving a little for garnish, and toss well. If your sauce seems a little loose, remove from the heat and allow it to sit for a few minutes which will thicken it up.

To serve, dish out the pasta and garnish with toasted nuts, parmesan, parsley and black pepper to taste.

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Blackberry Oatmeal Crisp

25 08 2014

This is such a bright and yummy dessert, packed with beautiful organic blackberries from Fresh Fork Market! You could use any other berry you have or even a mix…blueberries, raspberries and/or black raspberries would all be equally delicious in this crisp.

Blackberry Oatmeal Crisp

The following serves 6 (adapted from Food Network Magazine):

  • 6 cups blackberries (about 2 pints)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup and 3 Tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp and a pinch of kosher salt
  • 6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 375. Butter a 2-quart baking dish, you could also use non-stick spray.

To make the filling, toss the blackberries with the granulated sugar, lemon zest and juice, 3 Tbsp flour and a pinch of kosher salt in a medium bowl. Transfer to your prepared baking dish.

To make the topping, combine the brown sugar, 3/4 cup flour, oats, nuts, cinnamon and 1/2 tsp salt in another bowl. Using your fingers, work the butter into the topping mixture until coarse crumbs form. Scatter the topping over the blackberry mixture.

Set the dish on a baking sheet and bake until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

Serve with a dollop of homemade whipped cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.





Asian Lo Mein and Snow Pea Slaw

7 07 2014

Lots of great Fresh Fork Market veggies featured in tonight’s meatless Monday supper including snow peas, cabbage, kale, green onions and garlic scapes! I love quick Asian dinners like this that can also serve as a fab potluck or picnic item. You can save yourself time day-of by doing most of the prep ahead of time, like all the chopping and shredding that’s needed. If you have leftovers, be sure to enjoy them for lunch the next day!

Asian Lo Mein and Snow Pea Slaw

The following serves 4-6 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat and taste love & nourish):

  • 1 quart snow peas, ends snapped and string removed
  • 10 oz package lo mein
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice (about 1 really juice lime) and zest of 1 lime
  • 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger (save time, use the minced tube kind!)
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2-3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded kale
  • 1 cup shredded/matchstick carrots
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic scapes, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/2 cup almond slivers, toasted

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add snow peas and blanch for 1-2 minutes. Remove with a spider or small strainer and set aside. Make sure the water is still boiling and add the lo mein (the water will be green from the peas, but no worries that just adds flavor). Cook according to package instructions. Mine took 4 minutes. Drain and run cooked lo mein under cold water. Drain well.

In a large bowl, whisk the soy sauce, lime juice and zest, ginger, vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, olive oil and salt. Add the snow peas, cabbage (start with 2 cups, if you end up having enough dressing you can add the last cup), kale, carrots, green onions and garlic scapes to a large bowl. Mix well. Add the cooled lo mein and toss everything together, making sure the lo mein is coated in the dressing. Store in the fridge 20-30 minutes.

Mix well and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and almonds before serving.





Green Onion Brats With Red Orzo, Roasted Beets and Greens

1 07 2014

This is a gorgeous dinner, made with Fresh Fork Market beets, brats and snow peas! Once again, belonging to a CSA is forcing me to use new veggies, as I’ve never worked with fresh beets. I’ve not been a huge fan, but having to get creative with them and making a super tasty meal like this, I think I may be coming around!

Green Onion Brats With Red Orzo, Roasted Beets and Greens

The following serves 4 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat and Food Blogga):

  • 1 bunch of red beets and leaves, stems removed
  • 4 green onion bratwurst, or plain brats
  • 1 quart snow peas, ends snapped
  • 1 cup whole wheat orzo
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Zest and juice from one small lemon
  • Chopped parsley
  • Reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese
  • Toasted pine nuts
  • Green onions, chopped

Preheat oven to 400.

Separate the leaves from the beets. Wash and dry the beets. Place them on a large piece of foil, drizzle with a little olive oil and wrap tightly. Roast on a baking sheet for 50-60 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and cool. Rub off skins and cut into small pieces. If you think you have too many beets, save some stored in the fridge and use in a smoothie.

Add some water to a large skillet. Add the brats, cover and cook over medium-high heat until plump and partially cooked. Remove brats from the water and pat to dry. Preheat grill to medium-high, add the brats and grill to finish cooking through and to get a char on the outside. Remove from the grill and allow to rest a few minutes.

Meanwhile, wash and dry the beet leaves, removing any large stems. In a large skillet over medium-high, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil and add shallots. Saute for a few minutes until shallots soften. Add beet greens and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste and turn heat down to low.

Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Add the snow peas and blanch for 2 minutes. Using a spider or small mesh strainer, transfer the snow peas to the skillet with the beet leaves.

Using the same water you used to blanch the snow peas, cook the orzo. Season water with salt and add orzo. Cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain and add orzo to the skillet with the beet leaves and snow peas.

Whisk the vinegar, lemon zest and juice and parsley with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the dressing to the orzo and greens, toss to combine. Finally, gently mix in the roasted beets.

To serve, dish out the orzo, top with feta, some pine nuts and green onions to garnish. Place grilled brats on top and enjoy.





Nutty Fruit Smoothie

20 03 2014

After years of salivating over owning a Vitamix, I finally closed my eyes and handed over my credit card. One of the best kitchen purchases I’ve ever made, and one I know will pay for itself! But I digress…..this smoothie is deliciously fruity and packed with protein. By using a combination of water and nuts, you’re essentially creating your own nut milk. You could use almond milk instead, however.

Nutty Fruit Smoothie

Nutty Fruit Smoothie

The following makes 2 cups (adapted from Vitamix Whole Food Recipes):

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 2 Tbsp walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp almonds
  • 1/2 Tbsp agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup ice cubes

Place all ingredients in a blender, if using a Vitamix place in the order listed, and secure lid.

Blend for 1 minute on high, or until desired consistency is reached. Adjust ice for a thicker smoothie if needed.





Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding

1 03 2014

Found this gem in my Food Network Mag and was eager to give it a try, and it did not disappoint! Chia seeds are packed with fiber and antioxidants, making this pudding perfect for a protein-rich breakfast, mid-day snack or even a healthy dessert.

Look for chia seeds where they have the healthy flour (like almond or coconut flour) in your grocery store, or in health food stores.

Chia Seed Pudding

Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding

The following serves 4 (adapted from Giada De Laurentiis):

  • 1 cup vanilla-flavored unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup low-fat strawberry Greek yogurt (you could also use plain)
  • 2 Tbsp organic maple agave syrup (you could also use pure maple syrup)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and chopped (you could also use frozen strawberries, just thaw and drain them first)
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts, sliced almonds or any other nut of your choice

In a medium bowl, gently whisk the almond milk, yogurt, 2 Tbsp maple agave syrup, the vanilla and salt until just blended. Whisk in the chia seeds; let stand 30 minutes. Stir to distribute the seeds if they have settled. Store in a sealed tupperware container in the fridge overnight. The chia seeds will expand, thickening the mixture into a pudding.

This Girl’s Tip: I made this late on a Sunday night so that I could portion out snack sizes for the week. However the next morning it wasn’t thick enough. So I added another sprinkle of chia seeds, mixed it up and put it back in the fridge (tightly covered) and let it sit for the remainder of the day. By the time I came home from work, it was good to go. So just note if it’s not thick enough after sitting overnight, just give it a bit more time to hang out. 🙂

I recommend tasting it, and if you’d like a bit more sweetness you can toss the strawberries with 4 tsp of the maple agave syrup and then toss with nuts. I felt it was sweet enough so I skipped the extra syrup step and just topped the strawberries with nuts.

To serve, spoon the pudding into bowls or tupperware and mound the berry mixture on top.





Grandma Ferritto’s Keebler Dessert Crackers

19 12 2013

These are my Grandma Ferritto’s famous dessert Keebler crackers that our family enjoys at the holidays. A lot of people ask for the recipe because they are simple, but leave a lasting memory….just like Grandmas do! I’ll need a little more practice to get mine to taste like Gma F’s though 😉

Grandma Ferritto’s Keebler Dessert Crackers

Grandma Ferritto’s Keebler Dessert Crackers

The following makes approximately 45 crackers (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 box of regular Keebler Club crackers (green box)
  • 1 and ½ sticks of butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup slivered almonds with skin, broken up

Preheat oven to 350.

Put foil on a large cookie sheet and spray with non-stick spray. Place crackers side by side, until you fill up the whole tray.

Gradually melt the butter in a pan. Next, add the sugar to the melted butter and cook until it bubbles. Remove the butter/sugar mixture from heat and pour over crackers, spreading with spoon/spatula to make sure all crackers are equally covered. Sprinkle the coated crackers with the slivered almonds (break them up a little with your hands first).

Bake at 350 for 8-10 mins.

Remove from the oven and cool completely right on the cookie sheet. When the crackers are cold, lift with a spatula and store in tupperware (covered) in the fridge.