‘Kale, Tomato & Pancetta Pasta’

Recipe Courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine

Some might gawk at the phrase ‘healthy pasta’, but I am a firm believer in the idea that to be the healthiest, you can and should, eat everything moderation.  Yes, even a lovely bowl of pasta like this one…and even dessert! This pasta would be even better for you if you swapped in a whole wheat pasta variety, but as is, it is hearty and filled with good-for-you kale, garlic and cherry tomatoes. Not to mention buttery pine nuts, a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and cubes of crispy pancetta.  You start by cooking the pancetta for this pasta dish, then you add the cherry tomatoes and kale right into the same pan.  Everything cooks down beautifully, with the helpful addition of some of the pasta cooking water.  A colorful dish when made with multi-colored cherry tomatoes, try serving this pasta with your favorite shape of pasta and a glass of this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau.

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: http://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/kale-tomato-and-pancetta-pasta)

Greek Lamb Meatloaf

Greek Lamb Meatloaf

With lamb on the brain I decided to experiment with a Greek-inspired ground lamb meatloaf. (And boy I’m glad I did, the results were super flavorful!)  Into the ground lamb I added some chopped Kalamata olives, some crumbled feta cheese, dried oregano, and minced garlic.  The meatloaf gets its lovely moist texture from the addition of one egg, some Panko breadcrumbs and from the natural fat ratio of the lamb itself.  Lovely when served with a quick-and-easy Greek yogurt-based sauce studded with chopped, fresh dill and the bright flavor of lemon juice, a nice side dish idea for this hearty main dish would be some roasted potatoes and maybe a fresh cucumber and tomato salad.

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

‘Cod with Shiitake-Bacon Crust & Arugula Salad’

Recipe Courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine

Recipe Courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine

This highlighted recipe from a recent issue of Cooking Light magazine was easy, flavorful and fun to make.  All you need are five easy ingredients: cod, shiitake mushrooms, garlic, bacon and arugula.  The cod is encrusted with a mixture of cooked bacon and mushrooms which gives the fish a really meaty and decadent taste; this baked fish is served on top of an arugula salad with more sliced mushrooms.  Such a great idea, it has me thinking about what other interesting crusts we can come up with for fish…

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/cod-shiitake-bacon-crust-arugula-salad*)

Wheat Berry Salad with Broccolini, Cherry Tomatoes & Pistachios

Wheatberries Broccolini Pistachios

This colorful side dish is filled with healthy ingredients. First you have chewy, nutty wheat berries.  These whole grains are actually an entire wheat kernel that to cook, you cover with either water or a stock and cook for about an hour until chewy.  For this side dish I tossed cooked wheat berries with roasted broccolini, shallots, cherry tomatoes and crunchy roasted pistachios.  A lovely side dish that combines healthful whole foods–perfect as a side to any protein you are craving, or you can even serve this dish its own as a hearty vegetarian main dish.

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

‘Mustard Steak au Poivre’

Recipe Courtesy of Good Housekeeping Magazine

Recipe Courtesy of Good Housekeeping Magazine

No need to make reservations at your favorite steakhouse to enjoy a perfectly cooked filet mignon! Just follow this simple recipe from Good Housekeeping magazine that starts with lean filet mignons coated with mustard and cracked black peppercorns.  Cooked to medium rare in a pan, then finished off with simple sauce made with slightly sweet Brandy and a pinch of fresh thyme to deglaze the pan.  Wonderful when served with roasted asparagus and creamy mashed potatoes.

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/a54/mustard-steak-au-poivre-127/)

Brussels Sprout & Apple Slaw with Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette

brussels-sprouts-apple-slaw-with-maple-mustard-vgtte

I love that the majority of grocery stores these days are selling  bags of pre-sliced broccoli stems and/or brussels sprouts for a healthy alternative to a traditional cabbage slaw.  A lovely idea for a raw salad side dish, I decided to combine some of the sliced brussels sprouts with crispy, thinly sliced sweet apples, sliced dried apricots and crunchy roasted pepitas.  Topped with a flavorful maple syrup and grainy mustard vinaigrette before serving, try variations on this recipe with some of your other favorite fruits and nuts, and whatever tangy vinaigrette you are in the mood for.

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

Blackberry Crème Brûlée with Cassis

Recipe Courtesy of DairyGoodness.ca

Recipe Courtesy of DairyGoodness.ca

A classic crème brûlée is just about as decadent as decadent gets.  A creamy baked custard topped with a crunchy layer of torched sugar…who doesn’t like that?  My favorite thing about a crème brûlée is not only its elegance, but its versatility.  If you are a lemon fan, add in some lemon zest and juice; if you are a chocolate fanatic, add in some melted chocolate of your choice; if you have some berries on hand, add them into your baking dishes before you pour in the custard mixture.  That is what I did here–plump, sweet blackberries add a perfect sweetness to the custard.  And because I love the pairing of blackberries with creme de cassis liqueur (a black currant liqueur), I added that plus some vanilla extract into the custard base as well.

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: https://www.dairygoodness.ca/recipes/blackberry-creme-brulee/)

Baked Plum Tomatoes with Pesto & Goat Cheese

These tender baked plum tomatoes are filled with a homemade basil pesto sauce, creamy crumbles of French goat cheese, and for a bit of crunch–toasted Panko breadcrumbs.  A simple yet super flavorful side dish that works well with a roast chicken, served on the side of your favorite soup, or even a top al dente pasta for a vegetarian dinner idea.

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

‘North African Spiced Salmon over French Lentils’

Recipe Courtesy of Fine Cooking Magazine

Oh what a glorious dish!  Flaky salmon filets coated in a mixture of Moroccan spices that are served over a hearty serving of French lentils.  Salmon and lentils is a classic French pairing, but what I loved about this version are the North African touches. The spice mix (which would also be great on pork, a roast chicken, even a skirt steak) included cumin, turmeric, allspice, paprika, cayenne pepper, ground cinnamon, and ground ginger.  (Can’t you just smell the spice mix already? ) And the lentils were flavored with sweet dried apricots, onions, lemon zest and briny capers.   Such a wonderful updated version of a classic French flavor combination!

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/moroccan-salmon-over-french-lentils.aspx)

Cacio e Pepe Roasted Potatoes

It’s fun to take your favorite combination of flavorings from a classic dish and transfer those flavors over to another dish.  For example, are you a fan of pasta Puttanesca? Well try using the classic ingredients from that dish (tomatoes, anchovies, capers, olives, herbs) on your favorite grilled fish instead of pasta. Or do you just adore veal or chicken Piccata?  Use those same flavorings in a compound butter perhaps to melt over a grilled steak of your choosing.

I decided to get creative with the classic Italian pasta dish called Cacio e Pepe.  A simple, go-to pasta idea made with olive oil, black peppercorns, and grated Pecorino Romano cheese.  But this time, over roasted potatoes not pasta.  This simple combination of ingredients is also wonderful mixed in with soft scrambled eggs, or even a fluffy white rice pilaf.

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)