shaved brussel sprouts

Basil-Garlic Shaved Brussel Sprouts

Perhaps it was a need to eat more vegetables to balance my latest intake of sweets, but one way or another I ended up with Brussel sprouts in my grocery cart this week.  I have mentioned before that the only way I can get my husband to eat them is by using my Flash Fried Brussel Sprouts recipe. I have been determined to try other means of cooking them as I don’t always like pulling out my deep fryer, hence this Basil-Garlic Shaved Brussel Sprouts recipe.

The idea of shaved Brussel sprouts has caught my attention since I thought that smaller pieces might minimize the cabbage taste (or just provide more surface area to coat with butter or other toppings to mask the taste).  I decided to keep the mixed in spices simple and classic with garlic and onion as the main flavors and then added basil for a sweet undertone.  The result was a fresh take on the veggie, and one that reminded me of something my grandmother use to make frequently for dinner.  I enjoyed the shaved Brussel sprouts as a side but I can easily see mixing in some other vegetables and protein for a healthy lunch salad.  I also managed to get my kids to eat some, which is always a huge win.

shaved brussel sprouts

Basil-Garlic Shaved Brussel Sprouts

1 ½ pounds fresh Brussel sprouts, trimmed
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons dried, minced onion
½ teaspoon dried granulated garlic
½ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

 

Using a 2 mm disk attachment, shred the Brussel sprouts using a food processor.  Melt the butter over medium high heat in a large saute pan.  Add the shaved Brussel sprouts to the pan and stir frequently.  Cook for 5-6 minutes, until the Brussel sprouts are slightly wilted and bright green.  Remove from the heat and sprinkle the spices over the Brussel sprouts, stir to coat evenly, and serve.

(396)

Stuffed Zucchini

Stuffed Zucchini

Since I am still trying to eat a variety of vegetables daily (despite the fact that I no longer need to track my vegetable intake for my health benefits program) I decided to make a vegetable full, fall inspired dish – Stuffed Zucchini. 

What I love about Stuffed Zucchini (or any other vegetable for that matter, like Stuffed Acorn Squash) is that you can really tailor the recipe to what you have on hand.  I went with the classic mirepoix (carrots, celery, and onions) as my main filler outside of the zucchini and pork sausage since I think it adds great color and flavor. You can just as easily omit the extra veggies – it just means your filling will not be as “full” in the zucchini vessel.

Stuffed Zucchini

My favorite part about this Stuffed Zucchini recipe is that both my kids ate it without a fuss.  Lately they have been picky or crabby and I’m relieved when they eat a good serving of vegetables without a ton of coaxing.  I should also mention that it was a hit with my husband.  In fact, I had to rush to get some photos in so that he could eat the serving I had set aside for my photography. I count that as a successful dinner!

Stuffed ZucchiniStuffed Zucchini


Stuffed Zucchini

4 medium sized zucchini (about 2.5 pounds)
1 tablespoon oil
½ cup diced yellow onion
½ cup diced celery
½ cup diced carrot
1 teaspoon freshly minced garlic
½ cup freshly grated pecorino-Romano cheese
¾ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1 lb hot Italian pork sausage
½ cup shredded mozzarella

 

Preheat oven to 375 °F.  Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, scoop out the center and dice the scooped out zucchini “meat”. Place a saute pan over medium heat and add oil.  Once oil is warm, add the onions and saute for 5 minutes.  Add the carrots, celery and diced zucchini and saute another 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and add to a large bowl, along with garlic, pecorino-Romano cheese, breadcrumbs, and sausage and combine until well mixed.  Evenly divide between the eight zucchini halves and fill the zucchini cavity.  Place stuffed zucchini on a large baking sheet and bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until meat is fully cooked.  During the last five minutes of baking, sprinkle with mozzarella and return to oven to melt cheese.  Remove from oven and serve.

(287)

Individual Egg Souffle Stack

Individual Egg Soufflé Stacks

Changing work schedules and the start of the school year has resulted in a desire (and need) to simplify prep of weekday meals and snacks.  Consequently, when I was reminded about muffin tin eggs I thought I should give a variation of the recipe a try. Since I had just found hash brown patties the same size as my mini loaf pan I knew that I just had to make an individual stacked egg soufflé.

 

Individual Egg Souffle Stack

Using the muffin tin method of cooking the eggs lends itself to individualization of the mix-in ingredients.  If you don’t happen to be a fan of tomatoes or onions – no problem! Swap in your favorite veggies.  The recipe I used as my guide suggested 12-15 minutes for muffin tin cooking, but I found I needed 20-25 minutes to set the eggs in the larger min loaf pans.

Individual Egg Souffle Stack

The layering of the hash brown patties, honey ham, and egg soufflé was a great balance of rich flavors in a manageable personalized portion.  The presentation and built-to-suit egg soufflés were also a hit with my guests!


Individual Egg Soufflé Stacks

8 large eggs
4 tablespoons butter, melted
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup diced baby tomatoes
¼ cup diced green onion
8 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese blend
4ounces thinly sliced honey ham lunch meat
4 hash brown patties

 

Preheat oven to 350 °F.  Spray a small cookie sheet and a mini loaf pan (8 mini loaves) with nonstick spray.  In a large bowl, stir together the eggs, butter, salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Evenly divide the tomatoes and green onions between four of the mini loaf pans. Then, evenly pour the egg mixture over the tomatoes and green onions, and then top each with 2 tablespoons of cheese.  Place one ounce of honey ham in each of the remaining loaf pans, and place the hash brown patties on the cookie sheet. Place the loaf pan and the cookie sheet in the oven.  After 10 minutes, flip the hash brown patties and return to the oven.  Continue baking both until the eggs are set, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and then plate by topping each hash brown patty with one ounce of ham and one mini egg loaf.  Serve warm.

(358)

spinach and salmon salad

Spinach and Salmon Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

A few weeks ago on my post about popcorn I mentioned that my family had visited a specialty oil store in June.  One of the other items I picked up during this trip was blueberry balsamic vinegar. What I love about flavored vinegars is that you can often make a simple, extremely flavorful vinaigrette of only oil and vinegar, which is what I did for a Spinach and Salmon Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette.

spinach and salmon salad

This salad is a powerhouse of good-for-you ingredients: spinach, blueberries, salmon, and onions.  The feta and nectarines, as well as the blueberry vinaigrette, add great color and balance the salty and sweet flavors.  For convenience and to keep the dish light, I opted to use salmon packaged in a pouch. I really like the latest trend of foil packaging instead of cans of salmon (and tuna) which eliminates the mess of draining water or oil.

spinach and salmon salad

This Spinach and Salmon Salad is extremely easy to prepare.  In fact, the hard part for me is picking which flavored vinegar I want to try. Do you have favorite flavored vinegar?

spinach and salmon salad


Spinach and Salmon Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

4 cups fresh, baby spinach
½ cup fresh blueberries
½ cup diced Vidalia onion
½ cup crumbled feta
2 nectarines, pitted and cubed
5 ounce package of boneless, skinless pink salmon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons blueberry balsamic vinegar

 

Evenly divide the spinach between two plates, then evenly sprinkle the blueberries, onion, feta, and nectarines between both plates. Evenly divide the salmon and place on top of both salads. In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil and blueberry balsamic vinegar. Evenly pour the dressing over both plates and serve. Makes two salads.

(379)

Corn Gazpacho

Corn Gazpacho

Gazpacho is one of my favorite summertime meals. A refreshing soup that helps you beat the heat, it is also a light dish that packs in quite a few servings of vegetables. Instead of the tomato based version I enjoyed in my youth, or the my zucchini gazpacho, I decided to make a Corn Gazpacho the last few weeks.

 I stocked up on fresh corn on the cob, roasted them on the grill, and then cut the kernels off the cob to use in both the soup base and as filler.  Tomatoes, green pepper, and onions add great flavor and texture to this summertime soup.

Corn Gazpacho

 If you don’t have the fresh ingredients on hand (or are just feeling lazy, which was my case last week) this Corn Gazpacho can be made with frozen ingredients. Frozen, diced onions and green peppers make for a super easy addition.  Just make sure that if you use the frozen vegetables that you do cook the soup as my recipe suggest, as there have been too many contaminated frozen food stories lately and it is best to follow packaging instructions for heating. While I know this means that you have to turn on the stove briefly, the fantastic flavor will outweight the minimal cooking time.

Corn Gazpacho

Corn Gazpacho

12 small/medium ears of corn or two, 12 ounce bags of frozen corn
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced green peppers
2 teaspoons  Mrs. Dash(R) chicken grilling blend
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons oil
4 roma tomatoes, diced (~1.5 cups)
Microgreens (optional)

 

Heat a grill to medium/high heat.  Remove the husks from the corn and grill, turning frequently, for 15 minutes or until cobs are roasted to desired doneness. Let the cobs cool, then cut from the cobs and chop the kernels.  Add half of the kernels to a large pot and add the vegetable stock. Blend with an immersion blender, then add in onions, green peppers, remaining corn, Mrs. Dash,  salt, garlic powder,tomato, and oil. Refrigerate until ready to serve; garnish with microgreens if desired.

If using frozen vegetables: Add one bag of corn and the vegetable stock to a pot and bring to a boil. Blend with an immersion blender, then add in onions, green peppers, remaining corn, Mrs. Dash,  salt, garlic powder, and oil.  Bring to a boil then remove from heat and let cool. Stir in tomatoes. Refrigerate until ready to serve; garnish with microgreens if desired.

(313)

Hot&Spicy Hero Salad

Hot and Spicy Hero Salad

My latest cooking contest challenge was to use any one of the Fortune Asian noodles in a cold salad or casserole for their Blogger Recipe Challenge. I chose to go with their Hot & Spicy noodles for a cold salad creation, hoping to capitalize on the built in flavor of the sauce.  After some kitchen tinkering this Hot & Spicy Hero Salad was born, which is a cold salad version of the classic hero sandwich.

Hot&Spicy Hero Salad

The salad is stocked full of colorful mix-ins that add tons of flavor: mild pepper rings, pimentos, red onions, tomatoes, baby spinach, mozzarella, and chicken.  The star of the salad is the hot & spicy sauce, which is used in the dressing as well as in to cooking of the noodles.

Hot&Spicy Hero Salad

While this may sound complicated, it is really easy to put together.  The Fortune brand noodles are precooked and only take an additional 3-4 minutes to prepare. Similarly, the popcorn chicken pieces only take a few minutes to cook, which means cooking really only consists of a bit of chop and stir time.

Hot and Spicy Hero Salad

Hot&Spicy Hero Salad

Fortune has many other noodles to choose from, and some other great recipes being submitted for the contest.  You can find the recipes and other details on JSL food’s facebook page or their twitter page.  Many big grocery stores carry the Fortune noodles, including Safeway, Albertson’s, Shaws, Star Markets, Tom Thumb, and Target. I encourage you to give them a try!


Hot and Spicy Hero Salad

½ cup mayonnaise
One 7.7 ounce package of Fortune Brand Hot & Spicy Yakisoba stir fry noodles
4 ounces frozen popcorn chicken pieces
½ cup diced red onion
½ cup quartered baby tomatoes
¼ cup jarred mild pepper rings, drained
¼ cup jarred pimentos, drained
2 ounces fresh baby spinach
¾ cup shredded mozzarella

 

Place the mayonnaise in a small bowl, then add two teaspoons of the sauce package from the noodles, reserving the remainder of the sauce package.  Stir the mayonnaise until the sauce mix is completely incorporated; set aside.  Place the noodles and the remaining sauce in a microwave safe bowl along with ¼ cup of water.  Microwave on high for 4 minutes, stir, then drain and let cool. Place the popcorn chicken pieces on a microwave safe plate and microwave on high for 2 minutes.  Once cooked, cut chicken into bite size pieces.  Roughly cut the noodle in quarters then add to a large bowl, along with the red onion, tomatoes, pepper rings, and pimentos.  Pour the mayonnaise over the noodles and stir to coat. Add the spinach, chicken, and mozzarella and stir gently until everything is coated with the dressing and the ingredients are mixed.  Divide between two plates and serve.

(341)

Broccoli Pesto

Fusilli Primavera with Broccoli Pesto

In April I wrote about coming up with creative ways to eat broccoli,  setting a goal of discussing seven different recipes.  Today I want to discuss four more ideas to bring the tally to seven.

First up is my most creative twist – Fusilli Primavera with Broccoli Pesto.  I subbed in steamed broccoli for basil to create a unique and tasty pesto.  It worked great as the sauce for a primavera style pasta that was stocked full of baby tomatoes and summer squash.

Broccoli Pesto

Broccoli Pesto

The next kitchen experiment used a grocery store find I have been waiting to try – sriracha powder. Blanched broccoli and honey roasted peanuts get a kick from a light sriracha mayonnaise dressing.

Sriracha Broccoli Salad

Third up is flash fried broccoli. I used my recipe for flash fried Brussels sprouts, though you only need to fry the broccoli for 2-3 minutes to get a crisp exterior.  This was just as much of a hit with my husband as the fried Brussels sprouts.

Flash Fried Broccoli

As the seventh and final way to eat broccoli in a week I’d be remise if I didn’t go with the classic crudité plate. My dipping sauce these days for fresh broccoli is a poblano ranch dressing.

Phew! Seven different ways to eat broccoli in a week.  Now you are either sick of broccoli or an addict.


Fusilli Primavera with Broccoli Pesto

¾ lb fusilli
½ lb fresh broccoli
½ cup pine nuts
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup grated pecorino-romano cheese
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup chopped baby tomatoes
1 yellow squash, chopped

Cook fusilli according to package directions.  Meanwhile, steam the broccoli for 5 minutes.  Add the steamed broccoli to a food processor and process until finely chopped.  Add the pine nuts and process until mixed, then with the food processor running, pour in the oil.  Scrap down the sides of the food processor if necessary, and blend until smooth.  Remove the bowl from the food processor and stir in the pecorino, salt, and pepper.  One the pasta is done, drain and place in a large bowl.  Pour the pesto over the pasta and stir to coat.  Add in the tomatoes and the squash, stir until combined and serve.

Broccoli Pesto


Sriracha Broccoli salad

½ lb fresh broccoli
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon sriracha powder
¼ cup honey roasted peanuts

Blanch the broccoli,  drain and place in a large bowl.  In a separate small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and sriracha powder until a smooth sauce is formed.  Pour over the broccoli, add the peanuts and stir to coat.  Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

(388)

Caponata Red Lentil Salad

Sometimes I feel the need to infuse more vegetables into my diet, and this week was one of those times.  Perhaps it is the generous amount of jelly beans I have eaten, or it could just be that the jewel like color of the eggplants at the grocery store were beckoning me. Whatever the reason, I stocked up on fresh eggplant, roma tomatoes, and celery.

I also happened to have my 3 year old along for the ride and he wanted to take home a sampling of nearly every bin in the bulk aisle (good thing he happened to be viewing the legume and rice side and didn’t turn around to see the gummy items in the nearby bins). I was happy to obliged and returned home with red lentils, among other dried staples.

red lentils

I decided to pair the vegetables and the lentils together for an easy to sack lunch of Caponata Red Lentil Salad. If you have never had caponata, it is an Italian dish made with eggplant and other vegetables that are coated in a sweet and sour sauce. Typically, onions, celery, tomato paste, and capers are included and the sauce is a sweetened vinegar.  I made my caponata with fresh tomatoes instead of paste to give it a lighter taste, and simply stirred in my al dente red lentils to make the salad.  It has been a refreshing lunch to pack this week, and I feel good knowing that my meal is super healthy!

Caponata Lentil Salad3

Caponata Lentil Salad

Caponata Lentil Salad

Caponata Red Lentil Salad

¼ cup olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onions
1 cup chopped celery ribs
1 large eggplant, cut into cubes (~1 pound)
1 cup diced tomato, divided
6 ½ cups water, divided
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups red lentils
1 cup chopped green olives
¼ cup capers
¾ cup red vinegar
3 Tablespoons white sugar

 

Add olive oil to a large saute pan and heat over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and cook for 6 minutes, then add the celery and cook for six minutes longer, stirring frequently.  Add the eggplant, half of the tomatoes, and ½ cup of water and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the remainder of the tomatoes and stir for another 10 minutes.

While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the lentils.  Add the 6 cups of water and salt to a 3 quart pan and bring to a boil.  Add the lentils and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the lentils are tender chewy but still remain their shape.  Drain the lentils and add to a large bowl.

Once the vegetables have cooked down, remove from the heat and add to the bowl with the lentils.  Add the olives and the capers to the bowl.  In a separate bowl, stir together the vinegar and sugar and then pour over the lentil mixture.  Stir the lentils to coat and mix evenly with the vegetables.  Chill before serving, preferably overnight to let the flavors marinate.

(491)

Parmesan Jerk Snap Peas

Parmesan-Jerk Sugar Snap Peas

Do you ever get in the doldrums about your vegetable side dish for dinner? Sometimes I think we forget just how easy it can be to whip up a fast, tasty, and – yes – fresh vegetable dish.  My Parmesan-Jerk Sugar Snap Peas are something I pulled together a few years ago, but I just hadn’t made them in a while.  The weather in Colorado is FINALLY getting nicer, and the more frequent blue skies and warm days has made me want to get my grill going and eat a wide variety of fresh veggies, which is why I thought this would be a good recipe to share.

Jerk seasoning is a pre-mixed spice blend that includes allspice and dried red peppers, and typically a few other spices such as cinnamon, brown sugar, green onion, garlic, or thyme to name a few.  The brand I have in my cupboard currently is Archer Farms (the Target brand). It adds a nice kick (and color) to the snap peas, which means you don’t need too many other ingredients to round out the flavor.  A bit of orange zest brightens the dish, and some freshly grated parmesan brings a creamy, and slightly salty balance to the jerk seasoning.

Parmesan Jerk Sugar Snap Peas

A quick boil to bring out the lively, green color of the snap peas and a toss with some olive oil and the seasonings is all you need to create the Parmesan-Jerk Sugar Snap Peas.  Once you try them, I’m sure you’ll be making them for snack time as well as dinner!

Parmesan-Jerk Sugar Snap Peas

Parmesan-Jerk Sugar Snap Peas


Parmesan-Jerk Sugar Snap Peas

8 ounces fresh sugar snap peas
1/2 teaspoon orange zest (~ zest from 1 large navel orange)
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon jerk seasoning
1 tablespoon olive oil
 

Place the snap peas and 2 cups of water in a 3 quart sauce pan.  Place on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil, then boil for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain, then place the sugar snap peas in a large bowl.  In a separate, small bowl, stir together the orange zest, grated Parmesan cheese, and jerk seasoning.  Pout the olive oil over the snap peas and stir to coat, then sprinkle the Parmesan mixture over the snap peas and stir until they are evenly coated. Makes 2-3 servings. Serve immediately. 

(509)

Spinach and Goat Cheese Steel Cut Oat Risotto

Spinach and Goat Cheese Steel Cut Oat Risotto

I’ve mentioned before that I love when I can use a premixed spice blend as a time saving measuring in my cooking. That is one of the reasons I enjoy the Healthy Solutions Spice Blends Blogger Challenge.  I get my creative cooking thinking cap on and experiment with a new spice mix, with the goal of creating a recipe that blends healthy eating with tasting great while upholding the low salt and low sugar goal of the spices. Challenge accepted!

spiceblends.com

Out of the 16 different blends offered by Healthy Solutions Spice Blends, I chose to use the Encrusted Haddock (which is a mix of garlic, celery, onion, and dried cranberry) since I felt it could be used in a wide variety of dishes. While I think this spice mix would be great for both chicken or seafood, I chose to make a meatless dish as my entry – Spinach and Goat Cheese Steel Cut Oat Risotto.

Spinach and Goat Cheese Steel Cut Oat Risotto

As compared to an Arborio rice risotto, steel cut oats are a much healthier choice. Steel cut oats pack a fair amount of protein, fiber, and iron per serving, making them a great meat substitute for a meal.  I was also able to keep my Spinach and Goat Cheese Steel Cut Oat Risotto true to the theme of low salt/low sugar by using an unsalted boxed stock.  When I surveyed the grocery store most of the unsalted box stocks had only 40-70 mg of sodium per 1 cup, which is well below the cut-off for low sodium items.  Similarly, goat cheese falls into the category of low sodium. See – eating healthy CAN still taste great.

Spinach and Goat Cheese Steel Cut Oat Risotto

Much like an Arborio rice risotto, I ladled stock into the steel cut oats, letting the stock get absorbed before the next addition.  Once all the liquid had been absorbed and the oats were tender-chewy, I stirred in the fresh spinach, Encrusted Haddock seasoning, red onions, pecans, and goat cheese. Simple, yet a healthy, impressive, and satisfying dish. Enjoy!

Spinach and Goat Cheese Steel Cut Oat Risotto


Spinach and Goat Cheese Steel Cut Oat Risotto

4 cups unsalted chicken stock
1 cup steel cut oats
Zest and juice of 1 lemon (juice is equivalent to ¼ cup lemon juice)
2 ounces fresh baby spinach
1 ounce pecan bits
¼ cup diced red onion
1 tablespoon Healthy Solutions encrusted haddock seasoning
4 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
Chopped parsley for garnish, if desired
Additional lemon zest for garnish, if desired

 

Heat the chicken stock in a medium sized sauce pan and keep warm. Add the steel cut oats to a large sauce pan (~ 3 quarts), add one ladle of the warm stock and heat over medium heat.  As the stock is absorbed, add another ladle of stock, stirring frequently.  Repeat until all the stock has been added to the oats, adding the lemon juice with the last bit of stock.  Once the stock and lemon juice have been absorbed and the oats are tender and chewy (about 20-30 minutes), remove from the heat. Next, stir in the spinach until wilted, about 1 minute.  Then stir in the lemon zest, pecans, red onion, Healthy Solutions encrusted haddock seasoning, and goat cheese until well mixed. Transfer the Spinach and Goat Cheese Risotto to two serving bowls, sprinkle with parsley and additional lemon zest if desired, and serve.

(583)

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Skinny Spinach and Artichoke Dip

With the Super Bowl just around the corner, many of us are thinking about what finger food to serve as we gather friends to watch the big game.  An easy go-to is a spread of chips and dip, but all too often this poses a big threat to the renewed resolutions to eat better in the New Year. Why not add a few slimmed down favorites? For example, my Skinny Spinach and Artichoke Dip.

One of my favorite ways to trim down a recipe is with cottage cheese instead of a high-fat content item such as mayonnaise or sour cream.  For example, I have blended it and used it in my 4 State Cheddar, Bacon, and Kale Hash Brown Casserole, and I use it to substitute for ricotta in my lasagna.  I can’t wait to try cottage cheese in these tropical smoothies  created by Wicked Noodle (don’t they look spectacular?) and of course I often use it in dips, such as this one.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

I have used my food processor to puree the cottage cheese until smooth, and then I stir in some chopped up artichoke, spinach, and shredded pepperjack cheese to give the dish some kick. A bit or parmesan is sprinkled on top to give it some extra color and flavor.  A mere 30 minutes in the oven produces a warm Skinny Spinach and Artichoke Dip that is just as satisfying as the higher calorie versions.  Only with this recipe you won’t feel guilty if you scarf down a third of the bowl by yourself (like I did).

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach Artichoke Dip 4

I’m sure the color scheme of my photos didn’t escape you – how could I not put in a vote of confidence for the local Broncos?

Spinach and Artichoke Dip


Skinny Spinach and Artichoke Dip

24 ounce low fat cottage cheese
1 cup drained artichoke hearts canned in oil
8 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
4 ounces shredded  pepperjack cheese
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
½ cup grated parmesan
Bread, crackers, or chips for serving

Preheat oven to 350 °F.

Blend  the cottage cheese in a food processor until smooth, and pour into a large dish.  Next pulse the artichoke and spinach in the food processor until small pieces are formed. Stir the artichoke, spinach, hot pepper cheese, and Worcestershire sauce into the cottage cheese until well blended. Pour the dip into a 1.5 quart ceramic dish, smooth the surface of the dip and sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top in an even layer.  Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and parmesan begins to brown.  Serve with rye cocktail bread, or chips as desired.

(458)

Lucky Pasta by Experimental Epicurean

Lucky New Year Penne Pasta

The start of the New Year brings renewed, optimistic goals in addition to wishes of good will for family and friends. As I mentioned in last year’s lentil salad post, there are some food dishes that are traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day as a symbol of good luck. One such dish is a combination of black-eyed peas, greens (such as collard greens or another leafy item), and a pork item, such as bacon. While the history of the tradition may be a bit murky, and its true impact on good fortune untraceable, I embrace the opportunity to consume a food item that I haven’t thoroughly explored – the black eyed pea.

Instead of making a traditional Hoppin’ John or salad, I opted for a pasta dish, which I have dubbed Lucky New Year Penne Pasta. I also swapped collard greens for chard and ham hock for prosciutto for an Italian rendition of the prosperity trio.

Lucky Pasta by Experimental Epicurean

I added the black eyed peas to my pasta water prior to the pasta, to make sure they had extra time to soften, and I added the chard at the last minute of cooking to just barely wilt the greens. The pasta gets smothered in a lemon butter sauce that is flavored with onions, prosciutto, basil, and pecorino Romano, giving it a fresh and light taste.

My exploration of a newer food – the black eyed pea – made me realize that I should use it more often. It has a mild taste, which means that it can easily be masked by stronger ingredients while offering a budget friendly way to add needed protein and fiber.

Lucky Pasta by Experimental Epicurean

Whether you try my Lucky New Year Penne Pasta, sample another unique black eyed pea dish (such as this curry from Strength and Sunshine), or opt out of “lucky” dishes all together, may your New Year bring success and happiness!

Lucky Pasta by Experimental Epicurean

 


Lucky New Year Penne Pasta

4 ounces frozen black eyed peas
12 ounces gluten free penne pasta
1/2 cup butter, divided
1 cup diced, yellow onion
½ cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 cups chopped green chard
4 ounces diced prosciutto
½ cup Pecorino romano (plus more for serving)

Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add the black eyed peas and boil for 10 minutes. Add the pasta and boil for an additional 11-13 minutes, or until tender. While the pasta is cooking, melt ¼ cup of butter in a non stick pan, and add onions. Saute onions for 8-10 minutes, or until just begin to brown. Add the remaining butter, lemon juice, dried basil, salt and pepper to the onions and bring to a simmer. During the last minute of cooking for the pasta, add the chard, then drain the pasta once the chard has wilted and turned vibrant green; transfer to a large bowl. Add the prosciutto to the butter sauce, saute for 1 minute, then pour over the pasta and stir to coat. Sprinkle on the pecorino Romano and stir to coat. Serve with additional pecorino Romano, if desired.

Lucky New Year Pasta

(596)