I have had my fair share of failures from TikTok influencer recipes. This one is actually fantastic. It appears to be a re-done Weight Watchers recipe from years ago. The chef/influencer I follow had it down to 173 calories. I, of course, tweaked it and made it less healthy by just a smidge.
I used low fat vanilla Greek yogurt that has 180 calories for 3/4 of a cup. The suggested Fat Free Greek yogurt had 170 calories. I figured if the recipe was a bust, I’d have yogurt I’d never eat, taking up real estate in the fridge. So I bought vanilla low fat Greek yogurt. Marginal calorie increase.
The original recipe also allowed for strawberry jam. I don’t think this necessary. I went jam free and did not regret that decision. I used the suggested sugar free cheesecake instant pudding. It was good. I probably won’t use the sugar free again. The recipe only calls for 1 tablespoon of the pudding powder. I think if you skip the jam and suggested 1/2 broken up graham cracker, you will be just fine.
It does not taste EXACTLY like cheesecake, but it was very tasty. I think you could use any instant pudding flavor. I used the cheesecake pudding and made three variations. One bowl was the yogurt, instant pudding mix and freeze dried strawberries. This was fantastic. The next one was similar, but I replaced the strawberries with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter/chocolate powder for an added 50 calories. Next time I will top it with some fresh banana. It was really good. My original was the yogurt, pudding mix, graham cracker crumbs and fresh blueberries. I didn’t have graham crackers, just the crumbs from a past cheesecake. I don’t think it brought anything exciting to the bowl. I would skip the graham cracker.
I made this, each time, for lunch. It was very filling. I had it with my mid-day coffee. Perfect pairing!
Here’ is the original recipe. I suggest you make it your own, and experiment.
170 g (3/4 cup) Fat Free Greek Yogurt
7 g (1 tbsp) sugar free cheesecake instant jello pudding.
12 g strawberry jam
1/2 graham cracker.
I measured out the yogurt and added the instant pudding into that measuring cup and stirred until it was completely mixed. I placed it in the fridge for about 5 minutes. Then I transferred it into a bowl, so I could gussy it up.
Give it a try! You can make this healthier by adding protein powder as well.
Snowy winter days bring carb cravings. This recipe will satiate those cravings. I can’t even pretend it’s healthy but it’s delicious. You can add a salad on the side. I prefer to serve it with sausages. Since it’s a simple recipe with few ingredients, buy the best ingredients. Splurge on the pasta, buy a creamy ricotta, toss in fresh baby spinach and grate your own parmigiano-reggiano. Honestly, I often double the sauce recipe. Also, this recipe takes about 30 minutes in total.
I’m a believer of prepping before you cook. Fill the pasta pot with water and put it on the stove. Put an inch of water in a second pot for the spinach, I use a 10 inch fry pan, and place it on the stove. Dice your onion and place it in a bowl. Pull out the your butter and measure the ricotta and cream. My whole nutmeg tends to get pushed into the back of my baking shelf, so I take it out and find the grater. Once I get cooking I don’t want to be slowed down by having to search for ingredients. Being organized makes the cooking experience more pleasant.
6 ounces fresh baby spinach
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound penne
3/4 whole-milk ricotta
1/3 cup of heavy cream
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Bring your pasta water to a boil.
Bring the spinach water to a boil. Add about a teaspoon of salt. Once it’s boiling, toss in the spinach and stir it. It will greatly reduce, so if your pan is small, you add it a little at a time. The spinach should take about 5 minutes to cook. Once it’s completely wilted, drain in a colander. Let it cool for a couple of minutes. You can use the back of large spoon to squeeze out the water or you can use your hands. Transfer the spinach to a cutting board and finely chop it.
Melt the butter in a large skillet and add onions. I like to cook my onions at a low temperature to soften and caramelize them
When the water for the pasta is boiling, add two tablespoons of salt and the penne. Cook per directions on package. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water in case you need to thin out you ricotta sauce.
When the onion is ready, add the cooked and chopped spinach to the skillet and saute, stirring often for a few minutes. Add the ricotta, cream, and nutmeg, and cook, stirring, until the ricotta is heated through and the cream has reduced considerably. Taste and season accordingly with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
When the penne is done, drain it well, and toss it with the spinach and ricotta sauce and the parmigiana-reggiano. I pour the pasta into the pan with the sauce. You can mix it in another bowl. If the sauce still seems thick, add a little pasta water and stir. This is handy way of making a sauce creamier.
In December Louise Miller posted her favorite cookie recipes on Twitter including this fudgey brownie recipe from Bon Appetite. It’s part of BA’s best recipes. This recipe makes just the perfect amount of brownies in an 8 X 8 pan. She fancied them up by adding Andes mints to the batter and a chocolate glaze with peppermint extract.
Let’s bake some brownies!
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8 X 8 X 2 glass baking dish with foil, pressing firmly into pan and leaving a 2 inch overhang. Coat foil with nonstick spray; set baking dish aside.
Melt butter is a small sauce pan over medium heat. Let cool slightly. Whisk sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium bowl to combine. Pour butter in a steady stream into dry ingredients, whisking constantly to blend. Whisk in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition. Add flour and stir until just combined, (do not overman). I added a cup of chopped up Andes mints and mixed them into the batter. Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top.
Bake until top begins to crack and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, 25-30 minutes.
Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cool completely in pan. Using foil overhang, lift brownies out of pan; transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares.
Louise recommended a delicious glaze for the brownies. It’s super simple and fancies them up. I added sugar pearls on the top. Crushed candy canes are a festive touch.
4 ounces of butter
8 ounces chopped up semi sweet chocolate or chocolate chips
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler, stirring until melted.
Add the light syrup and extract. Mix until combined.
I leave the brownies uncut and in the pan, in the foil wrap and then add the glaze. Smooth the glaze over the brownies making sure to cover every corner! Add any toppings while the glaze is still warm. Once the brownies are cool and the glaze is set, you can take them out of the pan and foil, then cut the brownies.
Store at room temperature. You can bake these ahead of time, and freeze them unfrosted. I leave them in the foil and then defrosted them in the foil and pan. After they were defrosted, I made the glaze.
Cookies do not bring Christmas cheer. Lies! Fake news! But these cookies are guaranteed to bring you happiness. It’s a King Arthur Flour (KAF) recipe that was brought to my attention on Twitter by a pastry chef/author Louise Miller. This recipe is easy, delicious and stays fresh for several days. The cookies are tender and delicate. After I baked them, I froze half a batch and they were still wonderful.
The original recipe calls for Fiori di Sicilia, a citrus and vanilla flavoring. It’s out of stock at KAF and I successfully used vanilla extract and orange extract instead. The grated orange zest stands out as well. The orange skins were not thick enough for me to use my box grater, so I changed to a zester with better results. I love jams and jellies. I used raspberry preserves. Next time I will use apricot and blueberry preserves. Specific to (KAF) are thumbprint cookie cutters. They make a beautiful cookie but are not necessary. You can roll the chilled dough into a ball and with a wet finger, make an indentation prior to baking. Simple!
The recipe also calls for extra-virgin olive oil and butter. I don’t usually like baked goods with olive oil. These cookies are the exception. You wouldn’t know it was an ingredient. The cookies are very tender. It seems like a lot of fats in the recipe but it works! Don’t let them dissuade you from trying the recipe. Use good olive oil and butter. It’s important to use quality ingredients when you bake.
Let’s bake some happiness!
2 1/2 cups (300g) KAF unbleached Cake Flour
1 cup (113g) confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tsp salt
8 tablespoons (113g) unsalted butter, softened
6 tablespoons (76g) extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 2 teaspoons grated orange zest, to taste
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp orange extract, to taste
2 large egg yolks
jam or preserves
Sift together the flour, confectioner’s sugar, and salt over a medium bowl. I use a mesh strainer instead of a sifter.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter an olive oil until it is fully combined. It’s very important that the butter be very soft, in order to have the fats mix together thoroughly. Mix in the zest, vanilla, and yolks. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Scrape the bowl and mix briefly once more to be sure no dry flour remains. I do use my stand mixer and use a low speed to add the flour.
If your are going to use cookie cutters, shape the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap and chill for a least an hour. The dough can be made up to 2 or 3 days in advance. If you are not using cutters, after chilling the dough, make a ball of about 1 tablespoon of dough and make the indentation. If the dough is too crumbly and difficult to form into a disk, you can add a small splash of milk. Measuring the dry ingredients correctly helps prevent this problem. I prefer to weigh my ingredients.
When you are ready to bake, preheat the over to 325 degrees and place parchment paper on two baking sheets.
If you are using thumbprint cutters, on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to 1/4″ thick. Dip cutters into flour and cut out shapes. Press the plunger several times to make the indentation and emboss the pattern. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to the baking sheets. Reroll dough as needed to use remaining dough.
Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, until the edges just begin to brown. Remove from oven and leave cookies on baking sheets. Fill the indentation with the preserves while to cookies are hot. This will help the jam melt and give it a smooth finish. Cool cookies completely before removing from the pan.
Store cookies at room temperature for several days in an airtight container. If you need to stack the cookies, place parchment paper between the layers. You can freeze these, even with the jelly, for a longer storage period.
You can sift more confectioner’s sugar over the cookies prior to serving. Fancy them up a bit.
I copied this recipe from my mother’s recipe box when I was a newlywed. I am certain her index card was not this disorganized. There is a reason recipes aren’t written in paragraph form. The stained recipes cards have the best recipes. But what hasn’t changed is the sweet and moist date nut bread. I like it the second day better than the first. It’s mandatory to refrigerate it for maximum flavor. If you are so inclined, it freezes beautifully and is always a welcomed gift.
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a bread loaf pan. I like to line it with parchment so the bread releases easily after cooling.
1 cup boiling water
1 cup chopped dried dates
1 tsp. baking soda
1 pat butter
2 eggs, room temperature, separated
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped nuts or additional chopped dates (optional)
Preparing the dates: In a, preferably, glass bowl, place one cup of chopped dates, 1 tsp. baking soda and one pat of butter. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over date mixture. Let cool to room temperature, for about 1/2 hour.
Separate the eggs. Place the egg whites in a mixing bowl and beat until stiff. Place the egg yolks in a small bowl and stir them until well mixed.
Into the cooled date mixture, add the egg yolks, sugar, flour, vanilla extra and the nuts/dates, if you desire. You can also leave out the nuts and additional dates. Stir until completely mixed. Fold in the egg whites. Be careful to gently fold them so you don’t deflate the egg whites.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for one hour. I always check at 50 minutes, just in case. When done baking, place on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes. Take the bread out of the pan and cool completely. Once cooled, I place the bread in a plastic bag and keep it in the fridge or freezer.
Winter is a great time for soups. They taste delicious and keep you warm. Today we are experiencing a blizzard and I am soup ready! This vegetable soup is on the stand by for when we lose power. This is what I call TBTND: tastes better the next day. Over the years I’ve added a few things to make it even better. I like to add a small piece of parmesan rind to the soup. As it heats up, the cheese on the rind melts into the soup. I still like to garnish the top of my soup bowl with grated parmesan, but this addition to the simmering pot is a bonus. It adds a creaminess and flavor. After all the ingredients are added and heated through, I like to make a roux, of equal parts butter and flour. I cook it until it’s a dark brown and stir it into the bubbling pot. This adds a nutty flavor and helps thicken the soup.
I love to bake because it’s a precise science but I love to make soup for the opposite reason. It’s a free for all! It’s your time to be creative Soup recipes are more of a guide than a rule. You can add or take away from a recipe, to your liking. The most important part of making soup, is to have enough liquids to cook your ingredients. I like to think of soup as a meal in bowl which includes a protein (usually beans), vegetables, and a starch (potato or pasta).
Let’s make some soup!
Piece of parmesan rind
32 ounces of vegetable or chicken stock
15 ounces cannellini beans (or any bean of your choice)
15 ounce can of diced tomatoes (petite diced is my favorite)
16 ounce package of frozen mixed vegetables
1 large onion, diced
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 can of water
heaping 1/2 cup of uncooked ditalini or 1 large potato, diced or tortellini or uncooked rice
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 celery stalk, diced
1 dried Bay leaf
1+ tsp of seasoning of your choice, such as Umami, Creole seasoning , oregano, etc.
handful or two of baby spinach
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
In a large pot, heat oil olive until it shimmers. You will need about 1 tbsp. You want to cover the bottom of the pan to saute the onions. Add the onions and celery, and sprinkle about 1 tsp of salt over them. Stir. Cook on a medium heat until the onions are almost translucent. Add the garlic cloves and stir for one minute. Add the tomato paste and stir until it’s totally mixed in.
Add the broth, the diced tomatoes and water to the pot and bring to a low boil. Once the pot is boiling add in your frozen vegetable, beans and parmesan rind. You can use a bag of mixed vegetables or chose several bags of the vegetables you like, and use a portion of the bags. If you are inspired, you can chop your own fresh vegetable. Once, it starts to boils again, if you’re using potatoes or uncooked rice, add them now. Add what ever seasonings or herbs you like. Lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir it a few times so the rind doesn’t stick to the pot bottom.
Once the soup base is heated through and the vegetables are cooked, add the ditalini. Stir the mixture until the ditalini starts to soften. It tends to stick to the pot bottom. Let this cook for about 12 minutes or so. Once the ditalini is cooked through, toss in your fresh baby spinch. This will take only a minute to cook. Continue stirring. Taste your soup and add additional seasoning if you’d like.
If you would like to thicken your soup, you can make a roux. In a small frying pan, melt your butter and stir in the flour. Use a medium high heat. Keep stirring as the color darkens. You cannot walk away from this or it will burn. Bring the soup to a boil. Keep stirring this mixture until it’s a dark brown.
Once the roux is done, quickly stir it into the pot of boiling soup. It will sizzle! Keep mixing until it’s incorporated. Lower the heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. The color should have changed and it will have thickened a bit.
I like to serve this soup with a fresh roll, or two! It’s a great bring to work lunch. If you need to feed a crowd, this soup will not disappoint.
Store in the fridge for about 5 days. This freezes well too. When you reheat it, you will need to add some water, as it gets thick when it cools.
You want to bake, but the butter and eggs are ice cold. I know, first world problems. But there’s a hack for that.
To warm your eggs to room temperature, place them in a bowl of warm water from your faucet. Not hot water, just warm. Let them sit for about 10-15 minutes. Voila! Room temperature eggs at the ready.
The butter. It will takes hour on the counter to soften. When you microwave it, some of it becomes puddles of butter, while the rest is still hard. How do you soften it quickly? There’s a hack for that! Fill a heat resistance Pyrex bowl with hot water. I have an electric kettle which makes the process faster. Fill the bowl about half way with hot water and let it sit for 5 minutes. Slice your butter on a heat resistant plate. Dinner plates are usually ok if you can microwave them. Don’t pile the slices of butter on top of each other, like I did. Rookie mistake. I had to do the process twice. Check to make sure the bowl and plate are compatible sizes. Ok. Now, throw in that laundry and fix your “no-show” socks that keep slipping. Empty the bowl, giving it a quick wipe and then place the empty, hot bowl over your plate of single layered sliced butter. Let it sit for about 10-15 minutes. Ok. Now fix those stupid socks again. Prepare your baking pans. Make sure the oven is heating up. Measure your dry ingredients and your wet. This process does not take away time from your baking. Maybe it even lets you manage it better? (insert shrugging shoulders emoji) Check your email and the weather. Butter is ready for baking!
My last hack involves vanilla extract. My measuring spoons have straight sides. No matter how I tip them to pour in the vanilla extract, there is some residual in the spoon. So, I place the empty spoon in the milk. I hate wasting delicious vanilla.
So, what’s your excuse? Get baking! I have a cake to frost. Bye!
King Arthur Flour (KAF) has done it again. This recipe produces a very soft and pillowy roll that tastes fresh even the next day. They prove again, that technique is important. The vanilla icing is rich and wonderful. As they state, “the result is truly the ultimate cinnamon roll.”
Whenever you bake, it’s important to use fresh and quality ingredients. Make sure your yeast is still fresh, the flour is the correct flour for the recipe and not expired. I sometimes only use a flour once because of a recipe, and it just sits on the shelf until the fateful expiration-date-trash-toss. You can freeze flour if you don’t think you will be using it soon. It’s important to have the right space. If you have to roll a dough, you should have the space to roll it and for excess flour to splash about. I cover counter items with dish towels so I don’t have flour between olive oil bottles and such. Most importantly, you need to make time. Look at the recipe and see if it accounts for the prep, bake, or total time. Add on to whatever time is stated. Professional bakers are more skilled. The equipment they use is not the same as ours. I have started using a kitchen scale to weigh my ingredients. It does make a difference.
I’m not a librarian but I play one in real life. I love to research. So, I approached this recipe with caution. I was glad there wasn’t a “best” snuck into the title. There is no “best.” I follow KAF on Instagram (@kingarthurbaking). They made a video on how make this recipe. Several tips, not included in the recipe, were shown in the video. I was unfamiliar with the Japanese technique, tangzhong. After watching the video, I knew how to do it and what it should look like. Confidence booster. This technique pre-gelatinizes the flour’s starches, which helps them retain liquid, thus enhancing softness and shelf life. Food science! I also followed the suggestion of adding the rest of the milk to the tangzhong, when it was done, to take the chill off the milk. One more trick I learned was to brush the rolled out dough with some milk, to make the cinnamon filling stick. Also, somewhere between the video and printed tips, I learned that rolling it too tightly, makes the center “pop” when it’s cooked. Yes. More information that I needed to stop the cursed mountain-looking roll.
1/2 cup (113 grams) whole milk
3 tablespoons (23 grams) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
2/3 cup (151) whole milk, cold
2 1/2 cups (300 grams) King Arthur Flour Unbleached Bread Flour
1 to 2 tablespoons (14 grams to 28 grams) milk or cream enough to thin to desired consistency ( I like it thick)
To make the tangzhong, combine both ingredients in a small saucepan, and whisk until there are no lumps. Place the saucepan over a medium heat and cook the mixture, stirring regularly, until thickened. It should be thick as paste. If you drag a spoon along the bottom of the pan, the mixture does not cover the drag line. It should take about 1-3 minutes. Remove the pan from heat. Add the 2/3 cup of milk to the pan, to take the chill off. Warm milk helps the yeast rise quicker. Hot milk, over 110 degrees, will kill the yeast.
To make the dough, transfer the tangzhong and milk from the pan into a the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the ingredients to the mixing bowl in the order listed. If you didn’t add the milk to the tangzhong, add the 2/3 cup of milk to mixer, to warm the cold milk.
Mix on low speed of a stand mixer with the dough hook. Once it’s mixed, knead the dough until it’s smooth, elastic, and tacky. This will take about 10-12 minutes on medium-low speed of a mixer. I periodically stopped the mixer and scraped the dough off the hook, and then turned it back on. I wanted to make sure it was getting kneaded.
Shape the dough into a ball, place it in a bowl, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a reusable cover (shower cap!) Let the dough rise until puffy, but not necessarily doubled in bulk. This should take from 60-90 minutes depending on the warmth of your kitchen. I like to turn my over on to 200 degrees, and place the dough near the back of the stove, so the heat from the oven helps it rise. Keep an eye on it. I turn the pan so both sides get some warmth. If the pan seems hot, pull it toward the front of the stove. You don’t want them to cook, just warm enough to help the rise.
To make the filling, while the dough is rising, put the melted butter into a medium bowl and add the rest of the remaining ingredients, stirring until the mixture is the texture of damp sand. I used Vietnamese cinnamon. It’s very strong. I used 3 tablespoons and it was still strong. Next time I will use only 2 tablespoons. If you are using regular grocery store cinnamon, use the recipe recommended amount. You can add less and then add more once you have tasted it. Always taste. Set the bowl aside.
Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment paper. I prefer parchment paper.
To assemble the rolls, transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface and press it into a 10″ x 12″ rectangle. I treated myself to this rolling mat and don’t regret it. It’s made of silicone, so there’s no sticking, no grease to wipe off. I use it when I roll out my pie dough too. Handy but not necessary. For evenly shaped rolls, try to pat the dough into an actual rectangle (with corners). You don’t need a rolling pin for this. I did use one after I patted it into a rectangle.Try to handle it as little as possible. You don’t want it to snap back on you. If it does, give it a rest before you continue. It’s very pliable, so it should be easy to shape.
To help the cinnamon mixture stick, I brushed the dough with a little milk. Sprinkle the filling over the dough, covering all but the 1/2″ strip along one long side.
Starting with the filling-covered long side, roll the dough into a log. Don’t roll it too tightly. This will cause the center to pop out when it’s baking. Pinch the seam together with your fingers. This recipe makes 8 generous rolls. I would not change the size, but you can. I score the log in the middle. Then I score each half, at the half point. And then again to make 8 scores. Using dental floss is the best way to cut the dough into individual rolls. Slip it under the dough, cross it on the score mark, and pull the ends. Voila! The rolls are not squished. Save the minty floss for your teeth. Only use unflavored floss for your rolls. But you knew that!
Place the rolls on your baking sheet. The directions say to space them 2 inches apart. I like to space them closer. I like when they rise and bake to be touching. Pulling apart warm rolls is one of life’s joys. Keeping them close helps keep the rolls from unraveling too. I put them about an inch apart. You can lay them out in a 3-2-3 pattern. If you do space them further apart, to hold the ends in place, you can tuck the ends of the spirals underneath the rolls.
Cover the rolls with a clean dish towel and let the rise for 30-60 minutes (depending on the warmth of your kitchen). The rolls should be puffy and the dough shouldn’t bounce back immediately when pressed. About 20 minutes before you’re ready to bake, position a rack in the top third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Bake the rolls for 14 to 18 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown and a digital thermometer inserted into the center of one roll reads 190 degrees. Bake for the lesser amount of time for extra-soft rolls, and the longer amount of time for rolls with a bit more color and slightly firmer texture.
Remove rolls from the oven, place pan on a cooling rack, and brush the hot rolls with 1 1/2 tablespoons of melted butter. Let the rolls cool for 10 to 15 minutes before icing.
To make icing, combine the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons (21 grams) of melted butter with the remaining icing ingredients in a medium bowl. I sift my sugar through a mesh strainer. Nothing fancy. Mix with a spatula until smooth. I did not divide my butter. I used only one bowl to melt the butter. and brushed enough to coat the rolls. I used the remaining melted butter for the icing. Not quite what the directions said, but it worked out wonderfully. I had to add a little more milk. I like the icing to be thick. When the rolls are warm, thick icing melts a little into crevices, while some stays on top. It’s magical.
If you have any left you can store them at room temperature for a few days, or freeze them up to 1 month.
Next time I may add cooked cinnamon sugar apples to the filling. You can also add raisins.
BACON!! There. I got your attention! Woo hoo. Brussels sprouts! Wait!! Come back! I promise you will love them. I’ve adapted this recipe from my favorite food blogger on Instagram, Diane Morrisey. She’s fab. Her recipes are fab.
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
6 or so pieces of bacon
1 pound Brussel sprouts (fresh not frozen) quartered with stems removed
salt and pepper
The beauty of this dish is the use of bacon grease as a cooking oil, and crispy bits of bacon mixed in with perfectly roasted vegetables, topped of with dried cranberries. Put it in a fancy bowl and you WILL impress your family. It’s so easy. The preparation can be done in steps, which is my favorite approach to anything.
I start with cooking the bacon on the stove top, low and slow. You want it crispy. Once it’s crispy, put it on a paper towel lined dish. After it cools, you will break it up or chop it, and add the bacon to the vegetables, later. When I am feeling particularly lazy, I use microwave bacon. Don’t judge. It’s still bacon!
The next step is to prepare the sweet potatoes. I peel and dice them. You want them to roast quickly, so make sure they are not too large.
Then I trim the Brussels sprouts. Once the end is cut off, I cut the sprouts in quarters, pulling off the outer leaves. Sometime they are spotted or wilted. Just toss them.
Heat your oven to 400 degrees.
Combine the vegetables in a bowl. Use the bacon grease and some olive oil to coat the vegetables. You’ll have a nice shiny coat. Ha! Add salt and pepper. You can always add more while they are cooking.
Arrange the vegetables on a sheet pan, in a single layer. You don’t want them overlapping. They need to be separated to roast.
Roast them for about 20 minutes. Give them a toss or a stir. They may start caramelizing. You can add a sprinkle or two of more olive oil if needed. You want them in some olive oil to roast and not burn. Just look at the sheet pan. You will know! Cook them for another 15- 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven when all the vegetables are fork tender. Taste some and see if it needs more salt and pepper. I like to add the chopped/broken up bacon and dried cranberries to the sheet pan. Let them all warm up together. You can serve this room temperature or hot.
This is good side dish for chicken, beef or pork. I hope you try this recipe. Roasted vegetables are a fantastic way to introduce vegetables to your family. The leftovers also make a great lunch.
The other day I headed to Trader Joe’s and the lines stretched out past several store fronts. I kept driving and headed to Whole Foods. No lines. I found some frozen scallops and grabbed them. It was meant to be! The day before I found some prosciutto on sale at another grocery store. Dinner. Planned. For the side dish, Cacio e Pepe seemed seemed like the perfect match for the scallops and the cream sauce.
Cruising the web I found a recipe that did not wrap the prosciutto around the scallops. The concept just did not seem right. And it involved cream. And wine.
My only warning, besides be hungry, is to watch how much you salt the pasta water and the scallops. The prosciutto is salty and the pasta has two different salty cheeses. Use salt judiciously. You can always add salt, but you cannot remove it.
Make sure your scallops are dry. I put them on a plate with paper towels on top and bottom, to absorb any water. When they hit the pan, you don’t want hot oil spitting at you. They will also brown better if they are dry. I had about four scallops for each of us as I was also serving pasta. The portions were good.
This dish cooks relatively quickly. I was concerned with making the quick pasta dish at the same time. I made sure I had ingredients for both recipes measured out so I could work quickly. I started cooking the pasta first knowing it goes back into a hot pan with melted butter and then cheese. It would warm up quickly. After I drained the pasta, I started cooking the scallops. It all worked out perfectly. Everything was hot and delectable.
1 tbsp. olive oil
8 oz scallops (about 10 large scallops)
3 oz prosciutto (roughly chopped or just torn into large pieces)
2 tbsp. butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 tsp salt or to taste
1/4 tsp pepper or to taste
First step is to make sure all the ingredients are measured out or ready to be used.
Season the scallops lightly with salt and pepper.
In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over a medium high heat. Add the scallops to the skillet in a single layer and sear them on each side until slightly golden. Remove the scallops from the skillet to a plate and set aside.
In the same skillet add the chopped prosciutto and fry until nice and crispy. Leaving the prosciutto in the pan, add the butter and the garlic to the skillet and cook until butter melts and the garlic becomes aromatic.
Stir in the wine to deglaze the pan. Add the heavy cream and stir while it thickens and reduces. Taste the sauce after it reduces a bit. If you think it needs salt you may add it now. I strongly suggest you taste it first. Cook the sauce until it thickens. I would double the cream. Or triple it. I like to reduce cream sauces until they are very thick. You’ll also want enough sauce to drizzle on the pasta. If you think there’s too much, then don’t use it all. But you will want more! Add the scallops back into the skillet. You can garnish it with fresh parsley.
I like to plate the pasta first, and the put the scallops and sauce on top. Enjoy!