Spicy Sausage and Mustard Green Soup

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It’s finally starting to feel like winter here in California, which means time to make some soup! Add the rind of Parmesan really adds a depth of flavor to the soup.

Ingredients:
1 lb spicy Italian sausage, removed from casing
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 quart chicken stock
1 piece of Parmesan rind
2 bay leaves
1 TBSP fresh rosemary, chopped
4 c mustard greens, center rob removed and chopped into bit size pieces

In a large stock pot, cook sausage over medium heat until it start to brown, breaking up with a spoon as it cooks. Add onions and garlic, cook for 3 – 4 minutes, then add mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add stock, bay leaf and rind, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 20 – 40 minutes. Add mustard greens and cook for 20 more minutes.

Serves 6 – 8.

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Poached Eggs with Truffled Kale

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I am obsessed with baby kale. Tonight baby kale gets fancy with a little truffle oil, a poached egg and some home baked bread. You can skip the truffle oil and truffle cheese and just use a good olive oil and a mild cheese such as fontina.

Ingredients:
8 oz baby kale
1 TBSP olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 eggs, poached
Truffle salt
Espelette pepper
Truffle oil
1/4 c truffle cheese, shredded

In a 12 inch skillet, hear oil over medium heat, add garlic and cook for 3 – 4 minutes. Add kale, cook for 2 – 3 minutes until softened. Add truffle salt and espelette pepper to taste.

Serve kale topped with truffle cheese, poached eggs and drizzle with a little truffle oil.

Serves 2.

Truffled Pasta with Crab

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I love truffles, but let’s face it they are expensive so I settle for truffle oil and truffle salt. The slight tang of the creme fraiche pairs nicely with the sweet crab. If you don’t have truffle pasta, regular pasta will work.

Ingredients:
8 oz truffle pasta
8 oz creme fraiche
8 oz crab meat
1/4 c parley, minced
Truffle oil
Truffle salt
Espelette pepper

Cook pasta according to package.

In a 12 inch skillet heat creme fraiche and cram over low heat. Toss with pasta, season with truffle salt and espelette pepper.

To serve top with a little truffle oil and parley.

Serves 2 – 4.

Hazelnut, Chocolate & White Chip Bar Cookies

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I love quick and easy cookies – especially when I have to whip something up for school.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c unsalted butter, melted
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c white chocolate chips
3/4 c chopped hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine crumbs and butter. Press into bottom of a 9″ x 13″ pan. Pour condensed milk over the crust. Sprinkle with chips and hazelnuts on top of milk. Bake for about 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cut into bars and enjoy.

Kale Salad

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When I find baby kale at the farmers market I buy as much as I think I can possible eat! Even my hubby likes it. The roasted chickpeas add a nice crunch.

Ingredients:
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 TBSP olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 TBSP olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp
1/4 tsp pepper
1 5oz Bag Baby Kale
1/2 c shaved Parmigiano-Regianno

Preheat oven to 425° F.

Place the chickpeas on the prepared baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, alpeppo, salt and pepper. Roast for 10-12 minutes, stirring once, until the chickpeas are slightly shrunken and crispy. Let cool.

In a large bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Add the greens and toss until evenly coated. Arrange on plates and top with Parmigiano-Regianno shavings and crispy roasted chickpeas.

Serves 2 -4

Light Chocolate Pudding

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Even when I’m watching my weight, I need dessert. This is a quick and easy pudding that will satisfy any chocolate craving.

Ingredients:
1/4 c cornstarch
2 TBSP sugar
3 TBSP unsweetened cocoa
1 oz dark chocolate, chopped
2 1/2 c fat-free milk

Heat all the ingredients except for the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly. Continue to stir until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and transfer to small dessert cups.

Bacon and Brussles Sprouts Frittata with Gruyere

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So I had gum surgery yesterday and was in need of soft food, and this frittata for the bill. It was inspired by F&W Mag, though I made a few changes to lower the fat and calories by swapping most of the eggs for egg whites and reducing the cheese while upping the veg. The result – yummy!

Ingredients:
1/2 lb bacon, diced
4 shallots, halved and thinly sliced
1 lb shredded Brussels sprouts
Salt and pepper
6 egg whites
2 eggs
2 TBSP milk
1 c shredded Gruyère
1/4 cup snipped chives

Preheat oven to 400.

In a 12-inch nonstick ovenproof skillet, cook the bacon over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the shallots and cook, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the brussels sprouts, season with salt and pepper and cook, tossing occasionally, until crisp-tender and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the eggs with the milk, salt and pepper. Stir in the cheese and snipped chives.

Pour the egg mixture into the skillet. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake the frittata until the center is just set about 10 minutes. Run a rubber spatula around the edge of the frittata and slide it onto a serving plate.

Serves 4.

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Beef and Quinoa Meatballs

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These are some tasty meat-a-balls! I made a quick Pomodoro sauce to go with them.

Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef
1 c cooked quinoa
3/4 c parmigiano-reggiano, grated
1 egg
1/2 c parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper

pomodoro Sauce
28 oz can tomatoes, crushed
1/4 c olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced

Combine ingredients for Pomodoro sauce in a medium sauce pan, cook over low heat while making and cooking meatballs.

Preheat oven to 400. Spray a baking dish.

In a large bowl combine all the meatball ingredients with your hands. Form into 2 inch balls.

Bake 20 – 25 minutes.

Spoon sauce over the meatballs and sprinkle with cheese.

Makes about 12 meatballs.

Baby Kale and Pasta

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I love baby kale and what could be better than adding to pasta for a quick and healthy weeknight meal? The anchovies and lemon really give the dish it’s flavor so don’t skip these ingredients.

Ingredients:
8 oz baby kale
5 TBSP olive oil
1 c breadcrumbs
3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
3 TBSP butter
4 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Juice of 1/2 lemon
8 oz pasta
3/4 c grated Parmesan

Cook pasta according to package.

Heat 3 TBSP oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add one-third of chopped garlic and cook, stirring often, until breadcrumbs are golden, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a plate.

Heat butter and remaining 2 TBSP oil in the same skillet over medium-low heat. Add anchovies, red pepper flakes, and remaining two-thirds of chopped garlic; cook, mashing anchovies with a spoon, until a paste forms, about 2 minutes. Add kale and 1/4 c pasta water. Cook, stirring often, until kale is warmed through, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add pasta to the kale mixture, stir in cheese, lemon juice and cook for 1 – 2 minutes adding more pasta water if needed.

Serve topped with breadcrumbs.

Serves 2 – 4.

David Lebovitz’s Racines Cake

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This cake is pure indulgence! A rich flour less chocolate cake from the amazing David Lebovitz!

Ingredients:
10 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 oz butter, cut into pieces
1 TBSP espresso
1/2 tsp vanilla
6 eggs speedsters
1/4 c sugar
Cocoa Nibs

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9 inch springform pan and dust with cocoa.

In a large glass bowl combine butter, chocolate, and espresso. Microwave in 30 – 40 sec intervals, stirring between runs until melted and stir in vanilla.

Beat egg yolks with sugar until creamy about 1 minute. Fold into chocolate mixture.

Best egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold 1/2 into chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining egg whites be careful not to over mix.

Scrap batter into pan, top with cocoa nibs and bake 25 minutes, until just set.

Cool completely and release from pan.

Serves 12.