Bacon and Swiss Chard Pasta

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It has been one of those weeks – work is crazy busy, my youngest has a birthday party and it seems like I have no time to cook. We needed something healthy and satisfying in a hurry – what is better than pasta? Bacon and pasta, oh yeah and some veggies for good measure.

Ingredients:

10 oz pasta
4 oz bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 bunches Swiss chard, chopped w/o stem
Red chili flakes
1/4 c white wine
1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
3 TBSP olive oil
2/3 c Parmesan, grated
Burrata, if you have it

Cook pasta according to package.

In a 12 inch skillet cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon, add onions and pepper flakes to dripping and cook, add wine if the pan starts to get you dry. Once soft, add chard and 1/2 c pasta water and cook over medium heat until wilted. Stir in pasta and cheese cook for 2 minutes, add more pasta water if too dry 1/4 c a time.

Serve topped with a couple slices of burrata cheese.

Serves 4.

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Strawberry Cupcakes

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At the request of my youngest, I baked Strawberry Cupcakes for him to take to daycare. These are about as healthy as you can get, low fat, low sugar and most important tasty!

Ingredients:
2 c flour (I used 1/2 reg & 1/2 whole wheat)
1/2 c sugar (coconuts palm sugar)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 1/2 c diced strawberries
1/4 c canola or coconut oil
1 c milk
2 tsp vanilla

Frosting:
8 oz low fat cream cheese
1/2 – 1 c powdered sugar
1/4 c strawberries

Preheat over to 350. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Whisk together dry ingredient. Whisk together wet ingredients. Combine. Fill cupcake tins 3/4 way. Bake for 18 – 22 minutes – when tester comes out clean.

Combine frosting ingredients in a food processor, process until combined and smooth. I only use about a 1/2 c sugar, add more to taste.

Makes about 18 cupcakes.

Spinach, Strawberry & Halloumi Salad

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This is a great summer salad, salty and sweet – two of my favorite combos. Top it with a little balsamic glaze and its out of this world.

Ingredients:
1 bag baby spinach, washes
1 pint strawberries, quartered
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1 TBSP lemon juice
1/2 TBSP olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
Black pepper
1 package Haloumi cheese, sliced 1/4 inch thick
Balsamic Glaze

In a small jar combine oil, lemon, salt and pepper. Toss spinach, onion and strawberries in a large bowl, toss with dressing and set aside.

Heat a non-stick skillet over high heat, add cheese and cook for 2 – 3 minutes until brown, flip and repeat.

To serve, place salad on plate, top with cheese and decorate with glaze.

Serves 4.

Eggplant Spread

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On the weekends I like to cook up something healthy to eat for lunch during the week – this one fits the bill! It’s super low-fat and wonderful spread on a piece of multigrain bread.

4 small eggplants
1 tsp cumin
2 cloves garlic
1 TBSP toasted sesame seeds
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 450.

Poke eggplants all over with a fork or knife. Place on pan and roast until soft and collapsed, about 25 minutes.

Remove, cool, scrape insides out and discard skin.

In a blender of food processor combine all ingredients and pulse until smooth.

Makes 3 cups.

Eggplant Daube

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Have I mentioned how much I love Patricia Wells!?! This recipe is amazing! The hint of orange is what really sets it over the top. This recipe is from Vegetable Harvest. Leftovers are heavenly!

Ingredients:
2 TBSP olive oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
5 small Asian eggplants, cubed
4 tomatoes, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Bouquet Garni (parsley, celery leaves, thyme)
Zest of 1 orange
2 c white wine

Combine oil and onion in a 12 skillet, sweat over low heat for 3 minutes until soft. Add remaining ingredients, stir to combine. Cook, covered over the lowest heat possible for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until soft. Remove bouquet Garni and serve.

Serves 6.

Pasta with Creme Fraiche, Pancetta & Arugula

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Bread crumbs are my new favorite thing on pasta, it adds just the right amount of crunch to this creamy dish. The tart cream fraiche, lemon and arugula really make this dish a flavor party in your mouth, best of all it takes only a few minutes to prepare.

Ingredients:
1 lb pasta
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
4 – 8 oz of arugula
8 oz cream fraiche
1 c Parmesan, grated
1/4 c breadcrumbs, toasted
Salt and pepper
Red chili pepper flakes or espelette pepper

Cook pasta according to package.

In a 12 inch skillet, cook the pancetta until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Add creme fraiche to the skillet and warm over low heat, add lemon, cheese and pasta stir to coat, cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in pancetta, arugula, salt and peppers.

Serves 4.

The Apple Lady Cake

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This is one of my favorite cakes from Patricia Wells “the Paris Cookbook”. Super simple and oh so tasty – you should bake it now.

Ingredients:
1/2 c flour
1/3 c sugar
1 TBSP baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs lightly beaten
2 TBSP vegetable or coconut oil
1/3 c milk
4 apples, cores and sliced thin

Topping:
1/3 c sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 TBSP butter, melted

Preheat over to 350. Prepare a 9 inch springform pan.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt – whisk together. Add vanilla, eggs, oil and milk, and stir until blended. Add the apples and stir to coat.

Pour into pan and bake 25 minutes.

While baking combine topping ingredients until well combined.

Remove cake from oven and pour toppin over the top. Return to oven and bake until deep golden brown and cake feels firm when pressed, about 10 minutes.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the sides on the pan, and release and remove the springform.

Serves 8.

Squash Blossom Pizza with Ricotta

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The early bird gets the squash blossoms! And this week I got most of them since I bought three bags, which means I would have plenty for another pizza!! This time I used truffle oil as a base, topped with a little mozzarella and a bit of ricotta on top – theirs flavors really allowed the blossoms to shine through. I’ve also perfected my technique on removing the stamen so I don’t have spend all afternoon prepping. Simple make a small snip at the base of the blossom and pull – voila stamen and stem free (pics at the bottom).

Ingredients:
1 ball of pizza dough
Truffle or olive oil
20 squash blossoms, stamen and stem removed
4 oz mozzarella, grated
Ricotta

Preheat oven to 500 with pizza stone or baking steel inside (the steel is my fav).

Roll out dough, brush with oil, sprinkle mozzarella, layout blossoms, sprinkle with a tiny bit of mozzarella.

Bake 8 – 12 minutes. Slice, place a little ricotta on each slice and drizzle with tiny amount of truffle oil.

Serves 4.

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White Layer Cake

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Icing a cake is not one of my strong suits, so I usually avoid cakes the require icing. There are certain occasions when I have to suck it up – birthdays being one. This is a moist and easy cake.

Ingredients:
2 c flour
1 c sugar
1 TBSP baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 c butter, softened
1 c milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Frosting:
8 oz butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 c powdered sugar.

For cake:
Preheat oven to 350. Prepare 2 9 inch cake pans.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt with a whisk, set aside.

Combine butter and sugar in a stand mixer, beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Add 1/2 the milk and 1/2 the flour, best until combined. Add the rest, best well. Divide into 2 pans.

Bake 20 – 25 minutes until tester comes out clean.

Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn onto rack to cool completely.

Make frosting:
Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer and best until well combined. Frost your cake.

Serves 8-10.

Okra Corn Cakes

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These are some tasty cakes and a great way to use okra! I added some additional spice to the original recipe as it was a little bland for my taste. They are great the next day for lunch!

Ingredients:
2 c fine yellow cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 c buttermilk
1/2 c water
12 oz okra, sliced in 1/4 inch slices
2 jalapeƱos, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cayenne

Combine dry and whisk together. Combine wet. Combine wet and dry, let sit for 20 minute or so.

Heat a skillet over medium heat, cook 3-4 minutes per side.

Serves 8.