Orecchiette Pasta with Brussel Sprouts and Pancetta

I like to pair orecchiette pasta with pancetta and roasted brussel sprouts for easy and tasty dish. I’ve seen heavier variations of this dish online and I wanted to make a simpler and lighter version.

I found out the pasta’s round, concave shape led to its name, which means “little ears” in Italian. ! You can enjoy it as a main dish or side dish. It goes well with a lot of things and is a great side dish as well. . It also tastes great reheated the next day for leftovers.

Ingredients for 4 servings

8 ounces orecchiette pasta
8 ounces brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pancetta chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1/3 cup Grated parmesan cheese

How to make it

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain while reserving 1 cup of pasta water. With a sharp knife or mandoline, slice brussels sprouts very thinly.

Cook pancetta over low heat until browned and crisp. Remove from pan and set aside reserving drippings. Add garlic and olive oil. Cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove garlic so it doesn’t burn.

Add brussels sprouts and 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese and cook for 2 minutes. Add in pasta and heat through and add pasta water

Season with salt & pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

chef tip: Use shaved Brussels or cut them in think slices to let them cook faster. I think it makes it more palatable for people who don’t like them.

Quick Wine-less Chicken Bolognese !

A hearty big bowl of pasta and sauce. Is there anything better sometimes?

This lighter and healthier alternative is so easy to make if you have tomato sauce already at home. By leaving out the wine it saves on calories and time in the process because the wine doesn’t have evaporate so the dish is done faster.  I decided to substitute it for chicken broth . I’m sure red wine adds a tasty element to this sauce, but its not necessary to get a sauce with flavor.

This version is also very lean because it uses ground chicken instead of beef. I’ve used ground turkey also, but a little dry. I suggest combining the chicken and turkey to get a more flavorful sauce if you have to.

I also use a homemade tomato sauce. You don’t have to but it does taste better in my option. Any plain jarred or canned store bought sauce will also work with this recipe.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound ground chicken
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon of dried tarragon
1 table spoon of dried basil
1 tablespoon of dried parsley
1/2 cup of chicken stock
2 cups of cooked tomato sauce
1 pound pasta
Freshly grated Parmesan for serving

How to make it

Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add in oil. Add onion and and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add chicken.

Cook, breaking into bite-size pieces, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes.

Stir in tomato paste; cook 2 minutes. Add in a bit of chicken stock and boil until almost evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add in the finished tomato sauce and reduce heat and simmer until thickened about 12 minutes.

I serve mine with store made spaghetti and freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top.

chef tip : this sauce freeze well, so I always make more and freeze it.

Bright Bok Choy

Picked up fresh bright green baby boy at the farmers market and new that a homemade Asian inspired dish was on the menu!

But what is boy choy?

Bok choy is part of the cabbage family, mainly used in Chinese cuisine. They are vegetables, and they come in two different sizes, a regular and baby. The baby version I made is called Shanghai. Shanghai bok choy has wide, jade colored stalks shaped like soup spoons and has mild and sweet flavor compared to the regular version.

What I made

I made a version of a simple teriyaki chicken with baby bok choy and garlic. I love the taste of the baby bok choy since it so sweet and tender when it cooks down.

In a large bow add the Chicken breast or boneless thighs cut into small pieces 1/2 cup bottled teriyaki sauce and salt and pepper . Let marinate while the boy choy cooks through first.

Slice the 3 garlic cloves and the boy choy length wise. Saute in olive oil until soft. Add in the raw marinated chicken and sauce and mix well until chicken is done.. Serve on it’s own or with white rice.

Chicken Caprese oh so captivating !

I saw this version of a Skillet Chicken Caprese dish from So Damn Delish food blog.

I love dishes like this because as a home cook make some adjustments to the recipe if you want to . It Came out great and really easy to do. I love that it all comes together in one skillet.

Building incredible flavor in a single skillet isa great trick I’ve learned to appreciate. The dish is done quickly and the clean up is easy to.

Some dishes are not only a colorful and gorgeous to look when done , but are also healthy and quick to make. This is a great quick meal whenever there’s not much time to spare if you have all the right ingredients at home.

Here is her recipe that I followed below.

Link to Recipe

Blueberry Red Wine Spritzer

Have you tried smashed fruit into your wine? Well , wine not? The berry flavor was subtle and really nice doing it this way! I leave the berries pretty chunky but that is up to you. I love the wine flavor with fresh blueberries and bubbles – there just isn’t anything bad about it. If you’re looking for a new drink for the summer this could be it.

How to make it

Fill glass with fresh smashed fruit.
Fill half the glass with wine
Fill remaining glass with club water or plain seltzer

More tips

When choosing a wine to make wine spritzers, the most important characteristic is that you enjoy drinking it on its own. I usually reach for something that has good fruity flavor. As for the fruit, just choose what you like and works best with the wine you are choosing.

Here comes the Zucchini Boats!

If you’re looking for a new way to spice up zucchini , you should make more zucchini boats!

When you use zucchini as a flavor vessel, and fill it with vegetables and and proteins , then tip with cheese and bake the combinations are endless!

The outcome is just as delicious as you would think. The texture of the zucchini after being roasted will still have a nice bite that stands up to the cheesy gooey filling inside. I like it when I want something a little out of the ordinary, sometimes combining your grains with vegetables and protiens can be boaring. Plus this perfect if you are on a keto, low card like food plan.

My favorite part is when the filling on the inside is just perfect and really comes together with all of the flavors. Yum!

How I make mine

Ingredients:

1 Zucchini, Includes Skin Raw 31 Calories per serving
1/2 cup Cheese Mozzarella Shredded Part Skim
1 cup raw spinach
1 cup watercress
2 tsp Garlic Salt Spice Blends 1 Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup chopped chicken breast meat, cooked then shredded

Steps

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Trim ends from zucchini and slice in half, lengthwise. Use the tip of a spoon to scrape out the zucchini flesh, chop it and set it aside to be added the other vegetables

Cook the chicken first until cooked through in olive oil.

Add the spinach and watercress and the zucchini flesh , garlic salt and mix well.

Spoon the mixture into each zucchini boat. Top each zucchini boat with the shredded part-skim mozzarella

Bake until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown and zucchini is soft and or until heated through about 25 minutes.

chef tip : Pick your own filling ! This recipe includes chicken., There’s a way to adapt this meal for almost anyone by just adding more vegetables to the mix instead of a protein. Be creative, it’s probably what I love most about them.

One Fabulous Frittata

Inside in mine I added mushrooms, bell peppers,onions, fresh chives garlic and onion powder and a 6 whole eggs. Plus one cup of Sargento® Shredded 6 Cheese Italian blend . The pre-packed Italian blend contains shredded Part Skim mozzarella, Provolone, Parmesan, Fontina, Romano and fresh Asiago. Adding the right kind of cheese makes the difference.

Note for meat lovers: I sometimes add in bacon bits to if there are meat lovers coming.

How I make my version.

In very large, bowl beat the eggs with the cheese herbs and spices and set set a side.

Saute any veggies and any meat that you want first in a large cast iron skillet, then pour the egg mixture over the mixture. While still hot, transfer to oven and bake about 20 – 25 minutes until the eggs set. Watch it carefully so the eggs don’t overcook or burn om top.

Pro tip I’ve learned : Don’t over beat the eggs.

I love that you can easily make frittatas for one in the microwave . Just mix and heat eat for 90 seconds. Or for many this way for a large group.

Need a mini version for many people?

Yes, this recipe will also work great to make individual mini frittatas using muffin pans. Just divide the egg mixture among greased muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake at 350 about 13 – 18 minutes. These are great also for pre-made breakfast option on go.

Kale chips. A superb snack!

Kale is the king of super foods. With so many ways to prepare it and to get it’s multiple health benefits. I used it a lot in my cooking at home.

I love buying pre-chopped and cleaned greens. I recommend the Glory Foods brand for your southern style greens.  Explore what Glory has to offer on their website at. The have some great recipes listed to.

Glory Foods

I frequently buy their fresh Kale. I normally just chopped it fine and cook them with a little water salt and pepper and the lid on, I will sometimes prepare them with rendered garlic and onion in good olive oil as well. There are frozen and canned versions which are fine for soups or stews but they never seem to be as good as the fresh chopped variety.

I love that Kale Greens are very versatile and can used in many recipes. I’ve made wonderful kale and nut pesto., had them sauteed for breakfast with eggs, even as a massaged kale salad.

Recently I’ve been making lots of Kale chips. I first preheat the oven to 400°F. I drizzle some olive oil or avocado oil on the kale, add some salt and a spices and bake them for 10-12 minutes until crispy. It makes a great super healthy snack that so addictive! Kale as a. “healthier” chip” ? I’m sold !

A skinny skillet baked chicken parmesan? Yes!

Alright. So when chicken parmesan not incredible, right?

Tender chicken breast pounded thin, a tasty tomato sauce, light breading and with a giant slice of mozzarella and some parmesan cheese.

My remake is of a skillet baked chicken parmesan from Skinny Taste . Thanks to the Skinny Taste blog I found their awesome version. This version of a chicken parmesan is made also with all fresh ingredients and baked instead of fried so it is a great healthy and low-calorie dish with lots of flavor.

Baking the chicken instead of frying it in lots of oil and save on fat and calories without losing any flavor. My key ingredient was to use a homemade rich tomato sauce and good quality mozzarella cheese.

Below is a link to the recipe I followed below.

Link to Recipie

Wrapping melon with Prosciutto

Prosciutto wrapped melon is always a great quick appetizer. I use cantaloupe or honeydew melon and a good quality Italian prosciutto. All you need to do is slice the cantaloupe in thick slices and wrap it with the prosciutto. that’s it! I love the sweet/salty juiciness of the dish.

I cut my prosciutto into strips (lengthwise) use one strip per melon slice. This is like a fancy appetizer that isn’t actually fancy at all. This can hopefully impress your guests or family members without you having to work very hard. Win.

The saltiness of the prosciutto and the sweetness of the melon go well with each other. This Italian specialty is delicious with pretty much anything.