October 28, 2014

Cheesy Penne with Broccoli

by Shannon

I’ve mentioned this before but I’m shocked by how little I eat pasta anymore. When I was a vegetarian, it was all I ate. Which may be why I never lost weight. Now, I appreciate a good pasta meal but I don’t crave it (thankfully). I had some milk and cheese in my refrigerator that I didn’t know what to do with and some lingering penne that just never seemed to go away.¬†This is typically how I decide what foods to make – by looking at what’s left in my fridge/pantry. Because even though I love to cook, I don’t love¬†to spend a lot of money at the grocery.¬†This¬†Cheesy Penne with Broccoli was an easy way for me to use up some leftover staples I had hanging around my kitchen without having to spend a dime.

Cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, and cheddar cheese are all melted into an easy milky cream sauce and poured over cooked penne and boiled broccoli. The result is this hearty dish which will satisfy any pasta craving you have. The cheese sauce, even with it’s three cheeses, it light and thin enough to be a backup singer to this song. And even though I get weak (in a good way)¬†when mustard is added to cheese sauce,¬†the best part (in my opinion) is the broccoli. I mean, broccoli and cheese? Yes please. I have to point out that broccoli being my favorite anything is something that never would have come out of my¬†childhood mouth. My how things have changed. Now, I won’t even consider pasta unless it has a veggie in it.

e

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. During the last 3 minutes of cooking, add broccoli to pan; drain. Place pasta and broccoli in a large bowl.

a

Combine milk and flour in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Cook 5 minutes or until slightly thickened; remove from heat.

b

Add 2 tablespoons Parmesan, cream cheese, Dijon, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cheddar cheese, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

c

Add cheese mixture to pasta mixture; toss.

d

Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.

f

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Whole-wheat penne
  • Whole grain Dijon

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

October 20, 2014

Savory Herbes de Provence French Toast with Chive Butter and Sriracha

by Shannon

Breakfast is what’s for dinner tonight. I can’t imagine not liking breakfast food. I can eat eggs at any time of day or night and often eat hard boiled eggs as a¬†snack or scrambled eggs at dinner. Several months ago, after trying Sriracha mayonnaise, I decided to top a deviled egg with a few drops of Sriracha. I never looked back. That turned into me adding Sriracha to my scrambed, fried, or sunnyside up eggs as well. Just for kicks, I wondered what it would taste like to make a savory French toast and top it with Sriracha instead of syrup. You guys, I can’t even tell you how happy I am with this result: Savory Herbes de Provence French Toast with Chive Butter and Sriracha.

Herbes de Provence are added to the egg and milk mixture which coats thick slices of hearty bread. Cooked until golden brown, these slices are topped with a flavorful chive butter (I used I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Light and didn’t miss the extra calories!) and drizzled with as much (or as little) Sriracha as you want. The result is a mildly herby French toast with a buttery¬†tang and spicy bite. The floral herbes de Provence can easily be replaced with dried thyme or oregano and you can definitely leave off the Sriracha if you’d like (but why would you?). For an even bigger oniony bite, use the chive butter to brown the slices if you desire. Everything about this French toast¬†is savory and perfect for your next breakfast dinner. I’m ecstatic!

12

Savory Herbes de Provence French Toast with Chive Butter and Sriracha (serves 2)

  • 2¬†tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 slices hearty bread¬†(such as French loaf or Artisan Wheat)
  • 4¬†eggs
  • 2¬†tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Sriracha

Combine the softened butter and chives in a bowl. Transfer to plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

14

Over medium-high heat, add remaining 1 tablespoon butter to a large skillet. While butter melts, whisk together eggs, milk, herbes de Provence and salt in a shallow dish. Add one slice of bread at a time and soak, flipping frequently, until saturated with egg mixture.

9

Add 2 soaked slices to the hot skillet and cook until the bread is golden brown; flip and continue cooking, about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer cooked slices to a plate and keep warm while cooking the remaining bread slices.

10

11

Garnish each slice of French toast with one pat of chive butter. Drizzle with Sriracha.

13

October 17, 2014

Banana Pumpkin Smoothies

by Shannon

After all of the cheese and wine I consumed last week in Buenos Aires, I need to get it together. Quite frankly, I’m tired of chicken, have no desire for salads, and can’t eat any more eggs. When I get into an eating rut like this, where I want to eat healthy but can’t stand to eat the same old, same old, I like to replace a meal with a smoothie a few times a week.¬†It’s the middle of October so it feels completely appropriate to break out the pumpkin. This¬†Banana Pumpkin Smoothie is the perfect fall meal that tastes more like a treat and keeps my pants fitting.

Vanilla yogurt,¬†canned pumpkin, orange juice,¬†and¬†frozen banana are the basis of this¬†smoothie which is jazzed up with¬†warm spices and a hint of brown sugar. Right around now, you can find all kinds of recipes for pumpkin pie smoothies but what makes this one unique and different is the addition of the banana and fresh orange juice. I always have slices of frozen banana in my freezer just for smoothies like this but if you don’t, a fresh banana will work fine, you just may want to add extra ice. I never thought to combine orange and pumpkin together but the flavors marry perfectly, giving this drink a light freshness you don’t typically get with fall pumpkin flavors. I’m sold.

4

Combine yogurt, pumpkin, ice, orange juice, brown sugar, spices, and banana in a blender, and process until smooth.

1

2

Garnish with dash of ground cinnamon, if desired. Serve immediately.

3

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

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