Toasted Israeli Couscous

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I found this recipe on Epicurious to o with a lamb roast. I did make a few tweaks and it turned our perfect. The cinnamon really added something special.

1/4 c pine nuts, toasted
2 TBSP butter
2/3 c finely chopped shallots
1 cups Israeli couscous
1 large cinnamon stick
1 dried bay leaves
1 c chicken broth
1/2 c white wine
1 tsp salt
1/2 c minced fresh Italian parsley

Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until golden. Add couscous, cinnamon stick, and 2 bay leaves and stir until couscous browns slightly, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add broth, wine and salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until couscous is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Stir in parsley and pine nuts. Season with black pepper. Transfer to serving dish.

Serves 4.

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Boneless Leg of Lamb

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I love lamb! This is a great recipe for a Sunday Family meal. And best of all there are plenty of leftovers to enjoy throughout the week.

Ingredients
1 3 lb boneless leg of lamb, tied
8 garlic cloves, peeled, divided
1/2 c whole grain Dijon mustard
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 c dry white wine
4 TBSP finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice

Thinly slice 4 garlic cloves. Insert garlic slices into slits in lamb. Combine remaining 4 garlic cloves, mustard, olive oil, white wine, rosemary, and lemon juice in processor. Blend until coarse puree forms. Place lamb in a roasting pan spread puree over top of lamb. Cover lamb with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

Let lamb stand at room temperature 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 450.

Cook lamb for 1 1/2 – 2 hours until it reaches 130 degrees. I start checking at the 1 hour mark and keep checking about every 10 minutes until it is done.

Let rest 15 minutes. Slice as enjoy.

Pizza with Braised Onions & Padron

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This pizza came about like most of pizzas by cleaning out the fridge before shopping day. This pizza looks a little funky because of the deep red onions, but the flavors are perfect! I had made the onions for another dish and had some leftover, there were a few padrons left and I always have cheese and pizza dough on hand.

8 oz pizza dough
1/2 c braised onions
20 padrons
1/2 c grated Manchego

Braised onions:
3 TBSP red wine vinegar
3 c red wine
4 large onions, thinly sliced
3 springs each thyme, bay leaf and parsley tied together
Salt

In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, combine vinegar and wine, bring to boil. Add onions and herbs, return to boil and cover for 5 minutes. Remove a couple TBSP onions. Cover and reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 3 – 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Add more wine if it starts to dry out. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Preheat the over to 500 with pizza stone in oven for at least an hour.

Roll out pizza dough very thin. Top with onions, padrons and cheese. Bake for about 10 minutes until the cheese starts to brown.

Serves 4.

Alaska Cocktail

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What to do with that bottle of chartreuse we bought, silly question, drink it of course! Found this recipe online and had to give it a try. The juniper berry and pine flavors work really nicely in this one!

2 dashes orange bitters
1 1/2 is gin
3/4 oz chartreuse
Lemon twist
Ice

Combine in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake. Pour into a martini glass.

Serves 1

Caramel Cupcakes

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I love caramel and sometime I forgo low-fat and healthy for something not so healthy but super yummy!! I did use palm sugar in place of brown.

Ingredients:
1 1/4 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c palm sugar
1/2 c butter, softened
2 eggs at room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c milk

Carmel Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/3 c brown sugar
1/4 c heavy cream
1 package reduced fat cream cheese

Preheat oven to 350 and line cupcake pan.

Whisk flour, baking powder & salt in a bowl.

Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beat to combine. Add 1/3 flour, 1/3 milk, combine and repeat.

Divide into cupcake pan, filling about 2/3 way. Bake 20 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack completely

In a heavy bottomed pan cook sugar over medium-high heat until it begins to melt around the edges, about 5 minutes. Stirring with a wooden spoon until melted about 3 minutes.

Carefully pour in cream and stir constantly until smooth. Stir in salt. Pour into a heat proof container and cool completely.

In a small food processor, combine cream cheese and caramel.

Ice cupcakes.
Keep in fridge and bring to room temp before eating.

Makes about 14 cupcakes.

Burrata Cheese and Pasta

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This recipe is adapted from Epicurious. It was super quick and perfect for a weeknight dinner. I cut the recipe in 1/2 and used pine nuts instead of almonds.

1/2 lb pasta
1 TBSP butter
1 TBSP olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 TBSP lemon juice
1 tsp finely grated lemon peel
1 6-ounce package baby spinach
1/4 c toasted pine nuts
1/2 burrata cheese, cut into 1-inch chunks

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, melt butter with oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; sauté until soft, about 2 minutes. Add lemon juice and lemon peel. Set aside 1/2 c pasta water. Drain pasta and return to the pot. Add spinach, pine nuts and hot lemon mixture, toss until spinach is wilted, about 1 minute. Add pasta water 1/4 c at a time if needed. Divide pasta among plates. Top with burrata cheese, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve.

Nectarine & Proscuitto Salad

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This is the perfect summer salad! Sweet, spicy and nutty – I’ll be eating this one all week!

Ingredients:
2 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP shallot
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
1/8 tsp salt
3 TBSP olive oil
8 cups arugula
2 ripe nectarines, cut into wedges
1/2 c Parmesan cheese, shaved
2 oz Proscuitto torn into strips

Combine shallot, lemon juice, honey, mustard, salt & olive oil in a mini processor, process until combined. Toss with arugula, add fruit, cheese and Proscuitto.

4 servings
6 WW PP per serving.

Salmon on a plank

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I love fresh salmon, and we are lucky enough to have a vendor at our farmers market who gets it straight from the source. This recipe would also work in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Plank cooking on the BBQ gives it a nice smoky flavor.

Ingredients:
1 slab of salmon
Canola spray
1/2 tsp fennel pollen
1/2 tsp herbs de provence
Salt and pepper

Soak plank for at least a day in a bucket of water.

Heat grill to medium high with plank on grill.

Pay salmon dry. Spray with canola oil. Spring herbs on top, salt and pepper to taste.

Place salmon on plank and BBQ for about 20 minutes until still a little pink inside.

Serves 2.

Roasted Mini Potatoes

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I found these tiny Peruvian potatoes at the farmers market and ha to try them! I tossed the with a little oil and some
Spices and roasted them – they turned out perfect! Hope I can find some this week.

Ingredients:
1/2 lb mini potatoes
1 TBSP grape seed oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne powder

Preheat oven to 425.

Toss all ingredients together in a roasting pan.

Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until brown and cooked through.

Serves 4.

Zucchini and Avocado Salad

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This is from Patricia Well’s Vegetable Harvest. I just love all her recipes and of all the yummy recipes in her book, this one screams summer! It is perfect for a hot day and tastes amazing. I did not have pistachios so I used pine nuts.

Ingredients:
1 TBSP lemon juice
1/4 c pistachio or good olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
4 zucchinis, sliced thin on a mandoline
1 avocado, sliced thin
1/4 c pine nuts
4 springs of thyme

Combine lemon juice, oil and salt in a jar, shake well. In a large bowl, toss zucchini with dressing, cover with stretch wrap and let marinade for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

When ready serve, arrange zucchini on plate, top with avocado, nuts and thyme.

Serves 2 – 4.