Spinach Bacon Pasta

Last time I posted (which has been a while, I know…and I’m sorry!), I posted a recipe for Spinach Dip.  That dip is super delicious with crackers or chips, but you can also use it as a pasta sauce!  How cool is that?  I threw together this pasta dish with that spinach dip, some bacon, and parmesan cheese.  That’s it.  Super simple, but so full of flavor!

Spinach Bacon Pasta

  • 8 oz pasta of your choice
  • 8 strips bacon, cooked crisp
  • 1/4 cup Spinach Dip
  • Fresh parmesan cheese, grated

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and toss with spinach dip.  Chop or crumble the bacon and toss with pasta.  Place into serving dishes and top with fresh parmesan cheese.

Serves: 4

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Sundried Tomato & Fresh Spinach Dip

Spinach.  Do you love it?  Hate it?  Me – I like baby spinach (aka arugala) in a salad.  I like spinach in dishes where it is a ‘backdrop’, not the main ingredient.  But I LOVE spinach dip.  And since it’s key ingredient IS spinach, I consider it healthy, and find myself eating almost half the batch right after making it.  Don’t judge me.  (But seriously…if you use low-fat cream cheese and sour cream, it really is pretty healthy.  Seriously.)

This recipe couldn’t be simpler to make.  Blanch some fresh spinach, chop up some sundried tomatoes and onion and throw it all in the food proccesor with the other ingredients.  Easy peasy.  This recipe is a great party dish, but you can also use it as a sauce for pasta (that recipe/post is coming tomorrow!)

Sundried Tomato & Fresh Spinach Dip

  • 1 bag fresh spinach
  • 1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes (dry packed)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon

Blanch spinach in boiling water for one minute.  Draine and rinse immediately in cold water to stop the cooking.  Squeeze to remove excess liquid.  You should have about one cup of cooked spinach at this point.

Place spinach in food processor along with remaining ingredients.  Pulse until smooth.  Serve immediately, or store covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Broiled Salmon

Mondays.  Who needs ’em?  I don’t know about you, but Mondays are super-crazy-busy for us.  I get up, get ready for work, get the kids up and ready for school, take the kids to school, go to work, pick up daughter from school, go back later to pick up son from tutoring, and a couple of hours later, I take daughter to gymnastics, then we come home and get ready for bed.  Yep.  That’s what our Monday’s look like.  Usually, there is only about an hour and a half between the time we get home from tutoring and have to leave for gymnastics.  And on nights like those, I need quick dinners.  And that usually means fish.  It thaws quickly.  It cooks quickly.  So I can take it from the freezer, throw it in a bowl of water to thaw, cook it and be ready to eat in about 45 minutes.  Exactly what I need on a Monday.  Broiled Salmon is one of my go-to dishes for Mondays. 

Broiled Salmon

  • salmon fillets (1 per person)
  • olive oil
  • fresh lemon
  • salt
  • pepper
  • herbs of your choice

Preheat broiler.  Line a baking sheet with foil and place salmon fillets on foil.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Cut lemon in half and slice one very thin slice for each fillet.  Squeeze juice of remaining lemon peices over fillets.  Season with salt, pepper, and herbs of your choice (although, just  olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper is delish!).  Place one lemon slice on each fillet.  Broil until fish is cooked through and flakes easily – about 10-15 minutes, depending on thickness.

Paw Paw Muffins

About a week ago, I went to a friend’s house to pick up something I had ordered from her.  When I stepped on her porch I could smell this really sweet, fruity scent.  When she opened the door the first thing I said was “what smells SO GOOD out here???”  It smelled absolutely divine.  I can’t even describe it.  She informed me that it was Paw Paw fruit from her Paw Paw tree.  Seriously?  I had only heard of them from The Jungle Book movie!  Is there really such a thing?  Yes, there really is.  She gave me a bag of them to take home and try.  She told me that they are an ‘acquired taste’ for most people, so don’t be alarmed if you take a bite and don’t really like it at first.  So, I took my little bag of Paw Paws home and was anxious to taste one and make something with them. 

First, I just cut one open, and ate a bit of the flesh with a spo0n.  Hmm…she’s right.  I didn’t love it.  But I didn’t hate it either.  I couldn’t decide.  So, I made muffins with a few.  I did like the muffins better than the plain paw paw, but I still didn’t love it.  My husband really liked the muffins though.  Here’s the recipe, in case you ever come across some Paw Paw fruit yourself!

Paw Paw Muffins

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 medium-large paw paws (or 4 small ones), flesh removed
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup walnuts

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In seperate bowl, combine paw paw flesh, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and egg yolk.  Stir just until mixed together.  Add dry ingredients and walnuts to paw paw mixture, stirring just until combined.  Don’t overmix.

Divide evenly into 5 or 6 muffin cups (grease the muffin cups or use papers).  Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes, or until a tester inserted comes out clean.  Cool slightly before serving.

Creamy Tomato Soup

Love tomato soup?  You’ll love this delicious version of the classic.  A grilled cheese on the side and you’ll instantly be transported to your childhood.  Or, top with a dollop of whipped cream or sour cream for your grown-up tastes!  This soup starts with canned tomatoes, but if you have some fresh ones you need to use, throw those in too, as well as that little bit of leftover tomato paste you have hanging out in the fridge.  Extra tomato flavor won’t hurt!

Creamy Tomato Soup

  • 14 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 6 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

 

Heat a large, heavy stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add 1 tbsp of the butter along with the onions.  Cook until onions are soft – lower heat if needed.

Add bay leaf, tomatoes, and tomato paste.  cook over low heat until the vegetables are very soft, about 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in seperate pan, melt remaining butter.  Add the flour, mixing until combined.  Cook over low heat until the mixture starts to turn golden brown and gives off a nutty aroma.  Slowly whish the half-and-half and the milk into the flour mixture.  Bring to a boil over medium heat; reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.   Carefully pour the milk mixture into the pot with the tomatoes and whisk well.  Add 1 cup of heavy cream and simmer another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove bay leaf.

Puree the soup until smooth (use an immersion blender, or blend in batches in a blender or food processor).  Bring soup back to a simmer, and add more milk if soup is too thick.  Serve warm.

 

Blueberry Cheesecake No-Churn Ice Cream

Yes, another ice cream recipe.  My kitchen has turned into sort of an ice cream factory lately.  I just keep thinking of new flavors I want to play with!  Can you blame me?  Smooth.  Creamy.  Just mix it up and throw it in the freezer.  Doesn’t get much easier.  So, when we had a big bowl of blueberries that were reaching their last days, I decided to make a blueberry cheesecake ice cream!  Super delicious.  Seriously.  It was my husband’s favorite so far. 

Blueberry Cheesecake No-Churn Ice Cream

Ice Cream:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup spreadable cream cheese
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup graham cracker chunks

Blueberry Sauce

  • 2-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp cold water
  • 1-1/2 tsp lemon juice

Prepare the blueberry sauce by combining all ingredients in a small saucepan.  Cook, stirring often, until thickened.  Let cool before proceeding.

For the ice cream, whip one cup of the heavy cream to stiff peaks.  In seperate bowl, beat cream cheese with sweetened condensed milk until smooth.  Add remaining cup of heavy cream and vanilla; stir until smooth.  Fold whipped cream into mixture.  Spoon blueberry sauce over whipped cream mixture.  Sprinkle graham cracker chunks over top.  Gently fold in until there are ribbons of blueberry sauce running through – do not overmix.

Pour into a freezer proof, airtight container and freeze until firm.

 

Zuchinni Tart

It’s summer.  And that means that zuchinni is everywhere!  I usually get smaller zuchinni, but when I went to the farmer’s market last week, all I could get was a huge one – I mean, this sucker was 5 inches in diameter and over a foot long!  I had to come up with something to do with all this zuchinni!  I found a recipe for a zuchinni tart/quiche, and decided to give it a try.  It turned out wonderfully.  We had this as a side dish with dinner, but I can totally see this being served for brunch.

Zuchinni Tart

Crust:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp water
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Filling:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 2 cups chopped zuchinni
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese, any type
  • 1/4 cu parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup skim milk

 

Spray a tart pan or springfrom pan with cooking spray.  Set aside.

Prepare crust by combining flour, salt, and baking powder.  Stir in olive oil and water.  Knead to form a dough and roll out into a circle large enough to fit into your pan.  Press into pan and (and 1″ up the sides if using a springfrom pan. 

Beat together eggs and egg whites.  Brush mixture over crust.  Bake crust in  375 degree oven for 8 minutes.  Cool on rack while preparing filling.

For filling, saute onion in a little olive oil until tender.  Add garlic and zuchinni; cook another 10 minutes.  Spread into crust.

Add milk to remaining eggs.  Pour over vegetable mixture.  Pour milk mixture over all and sprinkle with cheeses.  Bake for 45 minutes or until tests done.

 

Serves: 8

Weight Watchers Points + per serving: 5