Pasta Primavera with spicy turkey sausage.

This is such a wonderfully versatile recipe.  After being away for a long weekend, I didn’t have a chance to run to the grocery store but did make my weekly pilgrimage to the farmer’s market.  I purchased everything for dinner there and it was wonderful.  My kids love turkey sausage and it is a great way to pack a meal with some colorful vegetables.

Bring a large stock pot or Dutch oven filled with water to a boil.  Add some salt to season the water.

I used 1.36 lbs of spicy turkey sausage and grilled it till cooked and then sliced it and placed it in a sauté pan.

While that was cooking, I chopped up all of the veggies that I had purchased.  1 bunch of  asparagus chopped in half, 1/2 c of sugar snap peas, 1/4 of an onion, 2 red bell peppers and one zucchini, sliced.  I added them to the pan with the sausage and covered to steam.  This took about 7 minutes.  While this is cooking, boil your pasta according to package directions.

Once everything is cooked, toss together and I sprinkle with some spicy red pepper flakes.  Drizzle each plate with a tiny bit of olive oil and serve.  Bon Appetit!

 

 

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My healthy chocolate chip, flax, pistachio cookies.

 

These are my go-to cookies that I make each and every week.  I normally use slivered almonds but this week opted for pistachios.  They turned out so good!  I make some without chocolate chips for my husband, who has a cocoa allergy and the remaining part  of the batch is for everyone else.  They make a great after-school snack or just a quick treat without all of the guilt.  You can add dried cherries or cranberries to for a different taste.

1/3 c of all purpose flour, unbleached
1/3 c of whole wheat four
1.5 c of quick cooking rolled oats
2 tbl flax seed meal
1 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of salt
6 tbl of I can’t believe it’s not butter
3/4 c packed light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/4 c of pistachios, shelled
1/2 c of dark chocolate chips or chunks (or more if you like)

Preheat oven to 350°.  Lightly spoon the flours into dry measuring cups and level with a knife.  Combine the flours, flax seed meal, baking soda and salt.  Whisk to combine.  Then melt the butter (I do it in the microwave) and add the brown sugar.  Mix well.  Add the sugar mixture to the flour mixture and blend.  Add vanilla and egg.  Beat well.  Hand mix in the almonds and chocolate chips.

Using a small melon baller – drop cookies on to your cookie sheet leaving ample room around each one.  Bake for 11 minutes and remove from the oven.  Let cool on the baking sheet initially for 2-4 minutes then place on cooling racks to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

 

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Pancetta & fennel encrusted pork tenderloin.

This recipe is always well-received when I make it.  With a little preparation ahead of time, this dish will be a snap when dinnertime rolls around.  Would also be wonderful to make for a dinner party because you can prep it ahead of time and then just bake for an hour & serve.

Pancetta & fennel paste…

1/4 lb of thinly sliced pancetta
12 cloves of garlic
2 tsp of fennel seeds
2 tbl of olive oil
1 tbl of a good balsamic vinegar
2 tbl of a good, drinking red wine
1 tsp of chopped fresh sage
1 tbl of dried rosemary
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of ground pepper

In your food processor, blend all of the ingredients until it forms a paste.

1 boneless pork tenderloin about 2-3 lbs

Trim the excess fat, if any, on your tenderloin.  Cut some random small incisions along the tenderloin.  Then take your pancetta paste and push it into the incisions and coat the meat.  Cover and refrigerate the meat anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours.  Remove the pork for 30 minutes before cooking.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Bake the pork for about one hour.   The internal temperature should be 140 degrees.  When it reaches that point, remove from the oven and tent with foil for 10 minutes.  Slice on the diagonal and serve over a bed of sautéed fennel (with olive oil and wine) or paired with vegetables and a salad.

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Beef Burgundy.

I’ve been on a bit of a crock pot frenzy lately.  Toss in a few ingredients & several hours later… POOF!  Magic in my plate.  I also gravitate towards it because my kids eat at different times due to swim practice so this can be ready when they are therefore making my life so much easier.

1 c of all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2.5 chuck roast, trimmed and cubed
3 tbl of vegetable oil, canola oil or olive oil
2 c of a dry, full-bodied red wine
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
24 baby white onions

Combine the flour and salt in a ziploc baggie.  Shake to combine.  Add the meat and shake to coat.  Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat with 2 tbl of oil.  Brown the meat in batches – should take about 5-7 minutes.  Using tongs, remove and place on a plate with paper towels to drain.  Then add the meat to the crock pot.

Add the wine to the pan and deglaze (scraping up the brown bits).  Stir frequently until it begins to thicken.  Add some salt to taste.  Then add the garlic, thyme and bay leaves.  Pour over beef.  Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.

One hour prior to the stew begin served peel and trim the onions.  Leave them whole but just remove the outer layer.  Over a medium flame, place 1 tbl of the oil in the pan.  Then add the onions.  Cook until browned.  Then add them to the crock pot.

Serve over rice, whole wheat egg noodles etc.  Great on a cold winter night.

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Herb Popovers.

There isn’t much I need to say about this recipe but… delicious!  You can make popovers in a muffin pan or if you have a popover pan – they are even better!

4 large eggs at room temperature (this is a must)
1.5 c of low fat milk
1/2 tsp of salt
1.5 c of all purpose flour
1 tsp of Italian seasoning (you can use whatever seasonings you would like)
3 tbl of melted I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter or regular butter

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Position your rack on the lowest shelf because they rise quite a bit.  Spray your popover pan with nonstick spray.  In your blender beat the eggs, milk and salt together.  Then add the flour & seasonings.  Blend on high until frothy.  Add the melted butter.  Blend again on high.

Pour the batter into the muffin cups, filling them about 3/4th of the way.

Bake the popovers for 20 minutes and then turn the oven to 350 for an additional 12 minutes.  Do NOT open the oven door to peek at them while they bake.  Remove & stick the tip of a sharp knife into the top of each one to release the steam.  Serve immediately.

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Slow Cooker French Tarragon Chicken.

This is a classic French chicken dish.  We actually had something quite similar when we were in France several years ago and this recipe was inspired from that dish. This recipe is so easy and honestly fabulous.  Another positive… you can pop it in the slow cooker and enjoy it when you’re ready.

1 c of all purpose flour
1 tsp of salt
1 lb of chicken (I used breasts)
2 tbl of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter
2 tbl olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 c of white wine
1 c of chicken stock
6-8 sprigs of tarragon

Combine the flour and salt in a ziploc baggie.  Add the chicken and shake to cover.  Meanwhile, heat you sauté pan over medium heat with the butter and olive oil.  Add chicken to brown on each side for a total of 10 minutes.  Transfer to a plate with paper towel to drain. Then place on the bottom of the slow cooker.

Set the sauté pan over medium to high heat and add the onion and 2 tbl of flour.  Saute, stirring, for about 10 minutes or until browned.  Add the white wine.  Deglaze the pan by scraping up the brown bits.  Add the stock and cook for 15 minutes.  The sauce should be fairly thick.   Pour the sauce over the chicken and add lay the sprigs of tarragon on top.  Cover and cook on low for 3-5 hours.

 

 

 

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Turkey Sausage with Garlic & Orecchiette.

My girls LOVE this dish!  They both asked for it so I had to indulge them.  I always purchase fresh turkey sausage from the Farmer’s Market and it is so good.  This recipe is super easy.  I cook the sausage on the stove or grill – cut it up into bite size pieces.  While cooking, cook your pasta according to package direction.  When the pasta has 4-5 minutes remaining, toss in the cut up asparagus to cook.  Drain it all and set aside.  In your serving bowl, I chop up 3 cloves of garlic – and add about 1/4 c of olive oil.  Add the pasta and the sausage.  Toss to coat.  Top with parsley, red pepper flakes and fresh ground pepper.  Serve and enjoy!

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Baked Kale Chips.

 

These are remarkably easy and so delish!  I know you might be reading this and thinking – no way but seriously give it a shot!  I got an entire bunch of organic kale at my local grocery store for $1.  I can’t resist and my girls love baked kale chips.

Start by washing the leaves.  Remove the back, hard spine.  I like to fold it over and run the knife up the edge of the hard stem.  Then tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.  I give them a run through my salad spinner (washing and then dry really well).  Lay the pieces out on a cookie sheet and spray with a butter flavored Pam spray or mist with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt or garlic/onion salt and bake. Bake at  350 for 10 -12 minutes.  Remove when crunchy but not burnt.

Serve immediately!

 

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Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Flax Cookies

 

These are my go-to cookies that I make each and every week.  I make some without chocolate chips for my husband, who has a cocoa allergy and the remaining part  of the batch is for everyone else.  They make a great after-school snack or just a quick treat without all of the guilt.  You can add dried cherries or cranberries to for a different taste.

1/3 c of all purpose flour, unbleached
1/3 c of whole wheat four
1.5 c of quick cooking rolled oats
2 tbl flax seed meal
1 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of salt
6 tbl of I can’t believe it’s not butter
3/4 c packed light brown sugar
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/4 c of slivered, toasted almonds
1/2 c of dark chocolate chips or chunks

Preheat oven to 350°.  Lightly spoon the flours into dry measuring cups and level with a knife.  Combine the flours, flax seed meal, baking soda and salt.  Whisk to combine.  Then melt the butter (I do it in the microwave) and add the brown sugar.  Mix well.  Add the sugar mixture to the flour mixture and blend.  Add vanilla and egg.  Beat well.  Hand mix in the almonds and chocolate chips.

Using a small melon baller – drop cookies on to your cookie sheet leaving ample room around each one.  Bake for 11 minutes and remove from the oven.  Let cool on the baking sheet initially for 2-4 minutes then place on cooling racks to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

 

 

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Whole Wheat homemade pizza.

 

Every Friday, typically without fail, I make pizza for my family.  Everyone enjoys it and making it fresh is so much better than going out or delivery.  I put a healthier spin on it because I use whole wheat flour.  I’m a huge advocate of my kids participating in the kitchen – seeing how food is made and adding a bit of their own creativity to the mix.  If you prepare the dough… they can top it with whatever they like or just experiment with different seasonings, veggies etc.

    • Ingredients: 1 c whole wheat flour
      1.5 c all purpose flour
      1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast
      1/2 tsp of sugar
      1/2 teaspoon salt
      1 cup warm water
      1 tablespoon olive oil
      cornmeal, for sprinklingDirections:Mix the sugar into the warm water. Stir to dissolve. Then sprinkle the yeast on top and let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Pour into your mixer bowl. Then add flour, salt and olive oil. Combine. Knead the dough (with your mixer attach the dough hook) for 8 minutes. Then place the dough in a bowl that has been sprayed with a nonstick olive oil spray. Let rise for one hour. Punch down. Then divide the dough in half. Turn out onto a flour surface and roll until you achieve the desired thickness. This crust is great rolled out really thin. Top with sauce and your favorite toppings. Sprinkle the cornmeal onto your peel before you place in the oven for easy sliding. Please note: I preheated my oven at 500 degrees for one hour with my pizza stone. I baked for 10-12 minutes. Keep an eye on it, of course so it you get the desired crunchiness that you prefer. If you don’t have a pizza stone, turn the temp down in the oven to 425 and prebake the crust for 10 minutes. Remove and then top with sauce/toppings. Return the pizza back to the oven for another 10-18 minutes.
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