Tag Archives: cheese

Pasta Carbonara

My sis sent me this recipe and it was delicious and super easy. It’s not going to win any cooking light awards, but we had a small portion with a big serving of salad, and I did not feel even a little guilty afterwards. The other cool thing, is that you probably have most of this stuff on hand all the time. I love pantry/freezer dinners.

On that note, it has been AGES since I went to the grocery store. I think at least a week.  We’ve definitely eaten out a few times, but I am mostly just pulling together delicious, healthy meals from the freezer and pantry.  I need to do a post about that one of these days. Grrrr….

  • 1 large onion, cut into thin strips (half moons)
  • 1/2 pound bacon, cut into strips
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed through
  • 1 (16 ounce) package fettuccini pasta
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir in bacon, and cook until bacon is evenly browned. Remove bacon with slotted spoon and set aside. You need ~ 1 tablespoon bacon fat. Depending on how much fat is rendered, either keep in pan or pour off and measure out 1 tablespoon.
  2. Over medium heat, stir in onion and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and slightly browned. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Before draining, remove ~ 1 Cup pasta water (TIP: put your measuring cup inside your colander in the sink. You’re less likely to forget to save pasta water that way). Drain pasta, then return it to the pot.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, cream, and shredded Parmesan. Pour the bacon and onions over the pasta, then stir in the cream mixture. Thin as needed with reserved pasta water. The mixture will thicken up as it cools, so make it a tad looser than you’d like. Season with salt and pepper.

Stuffed artichoke casserole

This recipe, courtesy of one of my culinary sisters, is one of the weirdest recipes I make. I KNOW it looks odd, but trust me it’s an easy, delicious, healthy pantry dish. It’s also one of my favorite go-to recipes when I need a veggie side and don’t have anything in the veggie drawer or in the garden.

2 cans french-style green beans, drained and rinsed

2 cans Hearts of artichoke (in water), cut in quarters

1 large onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 lemon, juiced and zested

1/4 C water

1/4 cup olive oil

1 1/2 C.  bread crumbs

1 cup parmesan  (3/4 for recipe and 1/4 for sprinkling on top)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon Tony C’s cajun seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

  1. Saute onions in oil. When soft, add  garlic, Tony’s and thyme. Cook for one minute, until fragrant.
  2. Add  green beans to onion and mash it up finely with a fork
  3. Add bread crumbs, 3/4 C cheese and  artichoke. Once mixed, stir in water, lemon juice and zest.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper and pour into pyrex or similar casserole dish (I use an old oval one)
  5. Cover with foil and cook 1/2 hour @ 350
  6. Remove from oven, uncover, sprinkle with cheese and cook until top is browned, about 10 min

Roasted beet salad

I lurve beets + goat cheese. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I think it’s spectacular. The bright, earthy sweetness of the beets, mixed with the creamy tang of the goat cheese. Plus, it is soooo pretttty. That’s “pretty” with 4 t’s.

Anyway, aside from loving the flavor combo/plate appeal, I love this dish because it is easy, impactful and great for serving a group. Check it out:

3  medium beets

3 Tablespoons olive oil

Goat cheese (amount depends on how high you stack them, how much you like goat cheese- just buy a log)

Greens or microgreens (optional and amount varies)

1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

1  teaspoon Dijon mustard

salt and pepper

  1. Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Rinse the beets and trim off any leafy tops. Wrap in aluminum foil and place in the oven. Roast until tender and easily pierced with a knife, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  2. Once cool, remove beets from packets, reserving oil. Remove beet skins by simply scrubbing with a paper towel. It should just slip off. This is messy work, though. Consider gloves. Set aside peeled beets.
  3. Whisk the mustard and vinegar together in a small bowl. Gradually 2 T of the reserved beet oil. Season with salt and pepper. The dressing should be pretty tangy and a pretty color.
  4. Slice the beets into even 1/4 inch slices. Start building stacks by placing a larger slice of beet on the plate. Add a circular slice of goat cheese and press out until roughly the size of the beet. If you didn’t get a big enough slice the first time, just nab a bit more. Top with a slightly smaller beet slice, press down and repeat until you have several layers.
  5. If using greens, toss with a small amount of dressing and a bit of lemon juice and scatter around plate or under beet stacks. Drizzle with remaining dressing and serve.

Carrot mac & cheese

This is the lighter, healthier version. I promise you that you would never guess that this creamy, deliciousness has so little fat and dairy in it. I wish I had a million recipes like this one. Sigh.

3/4 lb carrots, peeled and sliced thin

1/2  Cup orange juice

4  oz sharp cheddar, grated

3 Cups (~9oz) rigatoni or other large pasta

1 T fresh tarragon (chopped) or 1.5 teaspoons dry tarragon

Salt & Pepper

  1. Put carrots and orange juice in a pot with a lid. Add as much water as necessary to cover the carrots. Season with a sprinkling of salt, cover and simmer until carrots are very tender (~30 min). If the carrots start to dry out before tender, just add a bit of water.
  2. Puree carrots and liquid until smooth. Note that steps 1 & 2 can be done 1-2 days ahead
  3. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Season liberally with salt and add pasta. Cook until al dente. Using a pyrex measuring cup or similar, remove 1 Cup pasta water before draining.
  4. Drain pasta. Combine carrot puree and half of water in empty pot. Over very low heat, stir until completely combined and add cheese and tarragon. Stir until combined into creamy cheese sauce.
  5. Add pasta, stir to combine. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Classic mac & cheese

This dish is the naughty version creamy, deliciously decadent. This recipe can easily be halved and is best served with fresh buttered bread crumbs on top. Yum.

2 large eggs
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard , dissolved in 1 teaspoon water
1/2 pound macaroni (I sometimes like rigatoni instead)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
8

4

ounces sharp cheddar, grated (about 2 cups)

ounces mont jack, grated (about 1 cup)

  1. Mix eggs, 1 cup of the evaporated milk, pepper sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, pepper, and mustard mixture in small bowl; set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 quarts water to boil in large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt and macaroni; cook until almost tender, but still a little firm to the bite. Drain and return to pan over low heat. Add butter; toss to melt.
  3. Pour egg mixture over buttered noodles along with three-quarters of the cheese; stir until thoroughly combined and cheese starts to melt. Gradually add remaining milk and cheese, stirring constantly, until mixture is hot and creamy, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately

A tale of two Macs

What fool doesn’t like Mac & Cheese? I get that you might not indulge regularly, but everyone loves it, right? To that point, I have two recipes I rely on.

1) a perfect, traditional guilty-pleasure mac & cheese (seen here with filet and roasted asparagus)

and

2) a ridiculously delicious and much healthier carrot mac & cheese that relies on carrots, orange juice and very little cheese to deliver a serious punch

My crazy husband actually prefers the carrot version. I agree that the healthier version scratches my mac & cheese itch, but prefer? I don’t know. I certainly make it 5x as much, so that counts for something.