Spinach Artichoke Chicken & Bacon Flatbread Pizza

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Pizza-hero2

If there was one last thing I could eat before my last day on earth yes, it would be pizza. Italian food is one of my favorite things to eat and cook – in fact my Techniques of Italian Cooking course at the Institute of Culinary Education got me hooked on making homemade pizza and pasta from scratch.

Pizza Hero 3


But sometimes making pizza dough at home is time-consuming and labor intensive and all I want to do is eat pizza. Sure, I live in NYC and it’s easy enough to walk downstairs and get a slice or two at the local pizza shop. But when I want pizza but don’t really feel like paying $6 a slice or $25 for a whole pie, I make my own. And, I’m absolutely in love with thin crust pizza and honestly, it’s the toppings and flavor combinations that are so much fun to experiment with. It’s also Summer and beach days are calling, so using up all my carbs and calories with one slice of pizza is no fun. Alas, I discovered FlatOut flat breads. They’re thin and light and bake up into a crispy shell in minutes and are the perfect base for any pizza. And they’re only 130 calories and 2 g of fat in each one. And that’s pretty awesome.

Pizza-hero1

So today I made a Spinach Artichoke, Chicken and Bacon flatbread pizza on one of these cuties. And it’s absolutely delicious. And not too filling. And I don’t feel so guilty eating it that I want to hide under the covers and never put on a bathing suit again. Or fall asleep on my laptop after eating while writing this. I used the Honey Wheat thin flat breads which are perfect for one person, but you could also try another flavor (plain, whole wheat, spinach) or try one of their pizza flat breads which are a little longer and bigger if you’re feeding a crowd.

Spinach Artichoke Dip base

This flavor bomb pizza has a layer of spinach and artichoke dip on the base of the flatbread which I baked for a couple of minutes on the oven rack to get it crispy and lightly browned before adding the dip as a base for the other ingredients.

Onions-Bacon-base

Then I topped it with some crispy bacon, sauteed onions and mozzarella cheese..

Add Chicken

some cooked chicken breast (seasoned with Old Honey Barn Kentucky Seasoning that I bought in Louisville KY),

Top with Grated Cheese

and a touch of garlic powder and a healthy dose of grated parmesan cheese.

Baked Pizza

I popped it in the oven for about 5 minutes until the cheese melted, then topped it off with some chile flakes, green onions and more parmesan cheese as a garnish, and a few cracks of freshly ground black pepper. OMG> so delicious and so easy.

PizzaHero4

I’m thinking this will be my new thing for Summer and I’ve already thought of a million pizza combinations and ideas I’m planning to make. In fact, you could use the same ingredients to make a kick butt quesadilla on the stove or a healthy chicken wrap. Sayonara gut bomb thick crust pizza, hello thin and crispy skinny pizza.

You’ve made my life. ;)

Spinach Artichoke Chicken & Bacon Flatbread Pizza

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Makes 2 flatbread pizzas.

Serving Size: 1/2 flatbread pizza

This flavor bomb pizza has a layer of spinach and artichoke dip on the base of the flatbread (I had some leftover from last night but you can certainly make your own) which I baked for a couple of minutes on the oven rack to get it crispy and lightly browned. Then I topped it with some sautéed onions, crispy bacon, seasoned cooked chicken breast, and parmesan cheese. I popped it in the oven for about 5 minutes until the cheese was melted and then topped it off with some chile flakes, green onions and more parmesan cheese as a garnish, and a few cracks of freshly ground black pepper. OMG> so delicious and so easy.

Ingredients

  • 2 FlatOut 100% Whole Wheat flatbreads
  • 1 cup Spinach and Artichoke Dip (homemade or store bought)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ½ large onion, chopped
  • Seasoned salt or Kentucky Chicken seasoning
  • 1 pound thin chicken cutlets (or breasts pounded thin)
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
  • Dash of red chile flakes
  • ½ cup green onions, sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place two FlatOut flatbreads on a cookie sheet (or directly on oven rack for crispier crust). Bake crust for two minutes. You can also grill the flatbread with a little olive oil in a grill pan or on the grill for a couple of minutes.
  2. Remove flatbreads from the oven and spread the spinach and artichoke dip onto the flatbread and sprinkle with half of the mozzarella cheese.
  3. Cook the onions in some olive oil over medium heat and remove from sauté pan. Add the additional tablespoon of oil into the pan and season the chicken breast. Cook chicken for about 5-6 minutes until cooked through, cut into strips or large chunks. Meanwhile, fry the bacon until crisp, then drain and crumble, and set all ingredients aside.
  4. To make the pizzas, sprinkle the cooked onions, chicken and bacon on top of the cheese. Sprinkle with garlic powder, parmesan cheese, more mozzarella cheese and chili flakes.
  5. Bake for 5 minutes until cheese is melted. Remove flatbread from the oven, and top with sliced green onions, red chile flakes, freshly ground black pepper, and additional grated parmesan, to taste.

Notes

You can substitute any flatbread you like for this pizza or even use real pizza dough if made super thin.

Feel free to experiment with the toppings too - the sky is the limit!

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/06/02/spinach-artichoke-chicken-bacon-flatbread-pizza/

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Happy Memorial Day + Some Favorite Recipes

Happy Memorial Day
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Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day! A time to reflect all of those brave soldiers and military servicemen and women who have sacrificed their lives and families for the safety of ours.  Big applause and respect goes out to them and grateful we have a safe and secure country to live in because of them.

Memorial Day Cake


In honor of the holiday, I rounded up a few of my favorite recipes to celebrate. Wishing you all a lovely holiday, hopefully filled with family and friends, food and drink and grateful hearts to our heroes.

Dr Pepper Ribs

Spicy Dr. Pepper Ribs

Beach BBQ Burger

Beach BBQ Burgers

Thai BBQ Shrimp

Thai BBQ Shrimp

Sambal Chicken Skewers

Grilled Sambal Chicken Skewers

Lobster and Potato Chip Rolls

Lobster and Potato Chip Rolls

Coffee Marinated Steak

Coffee Marinated Steak 

Grilled Corn and Poblano Salad

Grilled Corn and Poblano Chile Salad

Watermelon Feta & Mint Salad

Watermelon Feta & Mint Salad

Roasted Garlic Potato Salad

Roasted Garlic Potato Salad

Summer Berry Shortcake

Summer Berry Shortcake

Happy Memorial Day

Hope you enjoy the weekend and here’s a few more links to Memorial Day recipes and menu ideas!

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2017/05/26/memorial-day-recipe-guide/

http://www.foxnews.com/food-drink/2017/05/29/memorial-day-weekend-barbecue-recipes-best-dishes-for-summer-cookout.html

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/holiday—celebration-recipes/memorial-day-recipes

http://www.foodnetwork.com/holidays-and-parties/packages/memorial-day/memorial-day-picnic-

Lemon Garlic Shrimp w/ Spaghetti Squash

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Lemon Garlic Spaghetti Squash

So we are well into the New Year, and it’s definitely time to up my game and start smashing my fitness and healthy cooking and eating goals for this year.

I’ve joined a new gym, hired a Personal Trainer and committing to doing Yoga, Pilates, Barre and weight training plus lots of walking at least 4 times a week from now on. I’m also focusing on lower carb eating for a while – cutting out sugar, processed foods, carb loaded foods. And drinking more water, getting more rest and taking my vitamins. The list goes on! Gosh, getting healthy and in shape is not easy.


Roasted Spaghetti Squash

I decided to make a lighter version of Lemon Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti that’s normally loaded. I swapped out healthy spaghetti squash roasted with olive oil, sea salt and pepper instead of pasta to lighten up the carbs and calories.

Spaghetti Squash

Then I simply shredded it into spaghetti strands with a fork…

Sautéed Lemon Garlic Shrimp

and sautéed some sliced fresh garlic and shrimp in olive oil, butter, red chile pepper,  fresh parsley and a big splash of fresh lemon juice. YUM!

Lemon Garlic Roasted Spaghetti Squash

It’s so light and delicious i don’t even miss the pasta or bread (truly!) This lovely dish is also low in calories and high in protein – two staples to losing weight. Not to mention staying full and energized without the sugar highs and lows from eating all those heavy carbs.

You can also add more veggies to the dish if you like..try sautéing some mushrooms, zucchini, cherry tomatoes or bell peppers and adding them to the mix. I absolutely love the possibilities of this dish! Who needs pasta when you have delicious buttery strands of squash instead? Please add your comments below on how you would make or alter the dish – creativity is good!

Hope you enjoy the recipe and here’s to happy and healthy New Year to all of you. xx

Lemon Garlic Shrimp w/ Spaghetti Squash

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: Makes 4-5 cups Spaghetti Squash and approximately 3 cups of Lemon Garlic Shrimp, serving 2.

This light and healthy dish is made with roasted spaghetti squash topped with sautéed shrimp, garlic, olive oil, chile flakes, lemon and parsley. Super easy and tasty and low on the carbs!

Ingredients

  • Roasted Spaghetti Squash:
  • 1 (3-pound) spaghetti squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon Garlic Shrimp:
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (16-20 ct)
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Pinch of red pepper chile flakes
  • 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Roasted Spaghetti Squash:
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds and inner membranes. Drizzle and rub squash with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the halves, cut side down, in a large baking dish and roast squash for 35-45 minutes until tender.
  5. Remove squash from oven and turn side up, letting it cool for about 10 minutes.
  6. Scrape the inside of the squash with a fork to make spaghetti strands and serve with the Lemon Garlic Shrimp.
  7. Lemon Garlic Shrimp:
  8. Heat oil and butter over medium-high heat in a skillet until shimmering, then add the sliced garlic and cook while stirring constantly, about 1 minute.
  9. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring constantly, until shrimp are slightly cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. Add the lemon juice, red pepper flakes and parsley; toss to combine.
  10. Season to taste with salt and pepper, serve immediately over roasted spaghetti squash.
  11. Garnish with additional fresh parsley and grated parmesan cheese, if desired.
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http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/01/31/lemon-garlic-shrimp-w-spaghetti-squash/

Chile Chocolate Braised Short Ribs

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Short Ribs

There’s nothing more comforting and heartwarming on a crazy cold day than braised short ribs with roasted veggies and mashed potatoes. Can we say heaven in a bowl?

These short ribs take a while to make but they’re worth the wait (I promise!) – I made them a little bit spicy with dried chile peppers, garlic and onions, fresh rosemary and thyme, and a chipotle infused olive oil (I love 7 Barrels brand!) along with a dash of cocoa powder (the super intense Dutch red kind made by Guittard is my fav). They’re braised in broth, a full bottle of red wine (you’re welcome), and topped with fresh parsley.


Once they’re done cooking they will be falling off the bone – then I made a reduced sauce with a knob of butter at the end to make it super silky and delicious. I served these with roasted brussels sprouts and cauliflower (simply roast them in olive oil and sea salt on 375 for about 45 minutes, tossing them every 15 minutes until crispy and delicious), but I recommend serving them with some creamy mashed potatoes or egg noodles as well (or even some crusty French bread) to mop up that delicious spicy-savory-chocolate-chile-wine sauce. OMG.

Go ahead, indulge. You can always work it off tomorrow. Besides, a big bowl of comfort food and Netflix is more fun anyways 🙂

Chile Chocolate Braised Short Ribs

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours

Yield: 6-8

A classic Winter comfort food dish, these delicious braised short ribs are made with chile peppers, chocolate, red wine and lots of fresh garlic, onions and herbs. Super savory and tasty, served with roasted veggies, and either mashed potatoes or egg noodles.

Ingredients

  • 2 large dried chile peppers, stemmed and deseeded
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 5 1/2 pounds center cut short ribs, on the bone
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chipotle olive oil (or regular EVOO if you prefer less spicy)
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons Dutch red cocoa powder (Guittard)
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3 small onions, chopped
  • One bottle red wine (Pinot Noir or Merlot or Cab Sauv)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • A few sprigs of fresh herbs (rosemary and thyme)
  • Knob of unsalted butter (1-2 tablespoons)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
  • Roasted cauliflower and brussels sprouts, for serving
  • Mashed potatoes or egg noodles, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Adjust rack to lower third.
  2. Cover chopped chile peppers with boiling water and let sit, covered for about 20 minutes until soft.
  3. Meanwhile, sprinkle short ribs on both sides generously with kosher salt and pepper and let rest to room temperature about 15 minutes while peppers are soaking.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and cook short ribs in batches, searing evenly on both sides until golden brown crust forms (about 7 minutes per side/15 minutes per batch).
  5. Once all short ribs are seared, place on a platter tented with foil and set aside.
  6. In a blender or food processor, add the chiles, water, stock, tomato paste, cocoa, garlic, onions, and a little dash of salt and mix thoroughly together until smooth.
  7. Pour the red wine in the Dutch oven and scrape the brown bits up from the bottom of the pan (deglazing the pan) and turn heat up to high bringing to a boil for 2-3 minutes, then reducing heat to a simmer, letting wine reduce by half (about 20 minutes).
  8. Add the pureed chile-onion mixture, balsamic vinegar and fresh herbs to the pot and boil together for a few minutes. Return the short ribs to the pot, cover tightly with a lid and braise in the oven for about 2 1/2 hours until meat is tender and falls off the bone.
  9. Place the ribs back on to a large platter and tent with foil to keep warm while making the sauce.
  10. Put the Dutch oven on the stove and heat over medium-high for another 10 minutes or so until sauce thickens and reduces. Remove from heat and add a knob of butter into the sauce to make it extra silky and smooth.
  11. Add the ribs back into the sauce and coat thoroughly. Serve on plates with sauce on top along side roasted veggies and mashed potatoes or egg noodles. Garnish with fresh parsley and additional salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

You can also substitute hard cider or a dark lager beer for the red wine.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/01/24/chile-chocolate-braised-short-ribs/

 

Happy Holidays! A few of my favorite holiday recipes

Happy Holidays
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Happy Holidays

Well the holidays have finally arrived – my favorite time of year! I love having some time to rest and relax and enjoy quality time with friends and family, especially around the table sharing delicious food and wine. So to celebrate the season, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite holiday recipes that I’ve created over the years – either for myself or a few of my clients (KitchenAid, Colavita and Seven Barrels), that I wanted to share with all of you. From appetizers, to salads, to desserts, entrees and cocktails, they all have that special magic touch perfect for the holidays.

I’d love to hear in the comments below what some your favorite holiday recipes are too – feel free to post them and share a link below, and if you want to share my recipes online please include a link back to my site and credit to Kristen Hess / The Artful Gourmet and @artfulgourmet on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr).


Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a joyous and prosperous New Year 2017!

 

BloodOrangeCake_StrawberrySauce

Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake with Strawberry Chocolate Sauce 

PumpkinPearTart

Pear and Pumpkin Tart

Mini Holiday Tarts

Mini Sweet and Savory Holiday Tarts

Roasted Squash Salad

Roasted Squash Salad with Spiced Pecans

Holiday Brunch Strata

Holiday Brunch Strata

Almond Cookies

Almond Shortbread Cookies with Blood Orange Glaze

Parmesan-Garlic-Artichoke-Dip

Hot Parmesan Artichoke Dip with Homemade Pita Chips

Maple Walnut Pie

Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie

Swedish Meatballs

Braised Swedish Meatballs

Butternut Squash Ricotta Tart

Three Cheese Butternut Squash Tart with Bacon

Choc Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Truffled Pancetta 3 Cheese Pasta

Truffled 3-Cheese Pasta with Pancetta and Garlic

Whiskey Sour and Stuffed Mushrooms

Holiday Cocktail Party! Appetizer and Cocktail recipes 

Sweet and Spicy Asian Chicken Bites

Sweet and Spicy Asian Chicken Bites

Brussels Sprouts

Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Shallots and Balsamic

SpinachSalad-Vinaigrette

Spinach Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette

ChocolateChipotleShortRibs

Chocolate Chipotle Braised Short Ribs

3-Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon
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3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

It’s the holidays and we all know what that means..time to cook and bake, and eat all the delicious treats of the season..like this savory
3-Cheese Butternut Squash Tart with Bacon. Can we say yay?

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon


It’s so easy to make with some store-bought puff pastry because who has time to make their own with so many goodies to make and presents to wrap? And delicious holiday food to eat?

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

It’s got a gorgeous crispy, buttery crust topped with ricotta and Parmesan and Gruyere cheese, roasted butternut squash with maple syrup and of course, bacon. Then it’s topped with a drizzle of balsamic glaze and some fresh thyme along with some sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Sounds pretty perfect to me. 

Roll Dough

First, defrost and roll out your dough. Cut 1/2 inch strips around the edges to double up to make a pastry border and brush it with egg wash. Pop it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

RoastSquash

Next, drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper, and some garlic powder over the butternut squash, then drizzle it with some maple syrup and roast it for about 15 minutes.

Bacon

Cook that delicious bacon, drain and set aside to crumble on the tart later.

Ricotta

Whip up your ricotta with an egg, salt and pepper and some shredded Parmesan cheese.

Add Ricotta

Spread it on top of the tart pastry evenly. (Repeat all steps with the second pastry throughout.)

Add Cheese

Top it with some of that luscious grated Gruyere cheese.

Top w/ Squash

Place the roasted squash on top along with the bacon. Sprinkle some fresh thyme on top.

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

Then simply bake it for 30 minutes on 375 F, then drizzle it with some balsamic glaze, cut into squares and devour!

3 Cheese Butternut Squash & Bacon Tart

Yield: Makes 2 tarts, serves 12.

Serving Size: 1 tart square (6 per tart)

This delicious savory tart features three luscious cheeses (ricotta, gruyere and parmesan) along with crispy bacon and roasted butternut squash and thyme. It makes a great appetizer for the holidays!

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 14 ounces frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 packages butternut squash, precut into 1-2" cubes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 6-8 slices bacon
  • 1 pound fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk or cream
  • 2/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
  • Balsamic glaze, for garnish
  • fresh thyme, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Roll out 1 piece of puff pastry into a large rectangle. Cut a 1/2 inch border around the edges and place the strips on the edges of the pastry sheet to create a border crust. Prick holes around the pastry to avoid puffing.
  2. Beat 1 egg and brush the pastry edges and repeat same procedure with second pastry sheet; chilling both for 1/2 an hour in the fridge.
  3. While pastry is chilling, preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  4. Cut the butternut squash into small chunks and drizzle with olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper and garlic powder.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes and set aside.
  6. Cook bacon according to package directions and drain on paper towels. Crumble once cooled and set aside.
  7. Reduce heat in oven to 375.
  8. Mix the ricotta cheese with one beaten egg, parmesan cheese and additional salt and pepper.
  9. Remove pastry from the fridge and spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the tops of both.
  10. Sprinkle with shredded gruyere cheese and crumbled bacon.
  11. Top both pastries with the butternut squash and sprinkle with some fresh thyme.
  12. Bake for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and puffed around the edges.
  13. Cut into squares after cooling on a rack and serve warm.
  14. Garnish with a drizzle of balsamic glaze on top and additional fresh thyme if desired.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2016/12/14/3-cheese-butternut-squash-tart-w-bacon/

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

Gosh I love the holidays.

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

Wishing you a great one!

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

Now back to that tart I just made… 😉

Mini Vegan Chocolate Donuts w/ Salted Caramel Pumpkin Spice Glaze

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Mini Vegan Chocolate Donuts

Fall has arrived my friends, and we all know what that means. Pumpkin Spice. Everything. In the spirit of the season, I’ve decided to make some Mini Vegan Chocolate Doughnuts with Salted Caramel Spiced Pumpkin Glaze.

Vegan ingredients


They’re a perfect fall dessert, and healthy too! These doughnuts are made with all natural vegan ingredients – red kidney beans, unsweetened soy milk, vanilla extract, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, flour and baking powder – and you wouldn’t believe how good they taste.

KitchenAid Mini Donut Pan

They are so delicious (and cute!) and easy to make with the help of my KitchenAid® Diamond Blender and Mini Doughnut Pans – and they bake in only 10 minutes in my Convection Countertop Oven!

Glazed Mini Donuts

The glaze is super easy to make too – made in my KitchenAid Stainless Steel sauce pan with fresh pumpkin puree, coconut cream and coconut sugar and pumpkin pie spice all cooked into a gooey luscious caramel sauce then topped with flaky sea salt – it’s the most lovely combination of Fall flavors in one tiny bite!

mini vegan chocolate donuts

ooh…aren’t they lovely and delicious? Oh, and they’re vegan and gluten-free too! Isn’t that wonderful.

bet you can’t have just one bite! 

CLICK HERE TO SEE STEP-BY-STEP RECIPE ON THE KITCHENTHUSIAST BLOG!

Cheesy Baked Pasta w/ Sausage & Summer Veggies

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Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

Ah, it’s almost the end of Summer and I keep thinking, where has it gone? Along with Summer comes lots of fresh veggies like zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms and yellow squash that I just can’t get enough of!

Colavita


I recently received a lovely care package from my client Colavita, who sent me some delicious pasta, sauces, olive oils and vinegars to sample, which inspired me to make this Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies. 

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

It’s a tasty and healthy twist on traditional Baked Ziti, using Colavita Fusilli pasta with sweet Italian sausage and lots of colorful summer veggies like zucchini, squash, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions and garlic. I sautéed everything in Colavita Extra Virgin olive oil with a splash of Colavita Chardonnay White Balsamic vinegar for some extra sweet and tangy flavor.

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

I used their Colavita Tomato Basil sauce mixed in to the pasta and veggies along with fresh oregano and basil. AND it has three (3!!) cheeses: ricotta, parmesan/asiago and mozzarella to make it super creamy and cheesy – all baked into a big pot of bubbly goodness.

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

Look. At. This. Cheesy Baked Pasta Goodness. YUM.

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

It’s the perfect dish for a quick and healthy weeknight dinner – and is great served with a green salad and some crusty Italian bread (dipped in Colavita olive oil and vinegar of course!) Enjoy!

Cheesy Baked Pasta w/ Sausage and Summer Veggies

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6-8

This is a tasty and healthy twist on traditional Baked Ziti, using Colavita Rotini pasta with Italian Sausage and lots of colorful summer veggies like zucchini, squash, mushrooms, onions and garlic! It also features Colavita Tomato Basil sauce mixed with three cheeses: ricotta, parmesan/asiago and mozzarella to make it super creamy and cheesy baked into a big pot of bubbly goodness. Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner served with a green salad and crusty Italian bread.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Colavita Fusilli pasta, uncooked
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, ground
  • 2 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Colavita Chardonnay White Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 cup zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-16 ounce jar Colavita Tomato Basil sauce
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Parmesan/Asiago cheese, grated
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (add more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (add more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions (about 9 minutes for al dente), drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Cook sausage until no longer pink, drain fat and set aside.
  4. Add additional tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, and add squash, zucchini, mushrooms and bell pepper. Saute for 5-7 minutes until soft. Add minced garlic and balsamic vinegar and cook for another minute or two. Add the cooked sausage back into the pan.
  5. Stir in the tomato sauce, 1/2 cup of mozzarella and 1/2 cup of Parmesan/Asiago cheese and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes until cheese is melted.
  6. Meanwhile, add the ricotta cheese to a mixing bowl and stir in beaten egg, fresh herbs, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
  7. Place the cooked pasta in a large pot and add the sausage-veggie-tomato sauce mixture, stirring well. Fold in the ricotta-egg-herbs mixture until thoroughly combined.
  8. Spoon the pasta mixture into an 8x8 square glass or ceramic baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan/Asiago cheese evenly over the top.
  9. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes until cheese is bubbly and browned.
  10. Let cool for a few minutes, serve hot with a green salad and crusty Italian bread.

Notes

You can also substitute Colavita penne, shells, farfalle or ziti for the fusilli pasta.

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http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2016/08/05/cheesy-baked-pasta-w-sausage-summer-veggies/

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

Colavita has a great line of Italian gourmet food, olive oils, vinegars, pastas,  condiments and other specialty foods, which makes them one of my favorite brands for quality Italian cooking.

Check out their Facebook page, Twitter page, Pinterest and Instagram pages for more great recipes and cooking ideas!

Note: I received complimentary products from Colavita but was not compensated for this post. All photos, copy, recipes and opinions are my own. Please do not share, distribute or use any content without my permission.

Celebrate National Pi Day w/ some PIEHOLE Whisky Cocktails

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Pi Day

Pi Day, the mathematical holiday, is celebrated on March 14th (3/14) around the world. Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159.

And even though it’s a less common holiday to be celebrated, it’s simply another great reason to whip up a cocktail. And what better to include in your Pi(e) Day drink than PIEHOLE Whiskey?


Piehole Sweetheart Brooke

In honor of the occasion, I’d like to share three delicious spring cocktails, created by the National PIEHOLE Sweetheart (and New Orleans Bartender) Brooke Flaherty.

Piehole_Lucky_Apple

Lucky Apple

1.5 oz. PIEHOLE™ Whiskey with Apple Flavored Liqueur

3 oz. Ginger Beer

A splash sour mix

A splash of lemon-lime soda

Garnish with lime wedge

Piehole_Cherry_Punch

Cherry Punch

1.5 oz. PIEHOLE™ Whiskey with Cherry Flavored Liqueur

4 oz. Ginger Ale

.5 oz. Pineapple Juice

.5 oz. Orange Juice

Juice from half of a lemon

Garnish with a cherry and orange

Piehole_Pecan_Sweet_Tea

Pecan Sweet Tea

1.5 oz. PIEHOLE™ Whiskey with Pecan Flavored Liqueur

1 oz. Orange Juice

Top with Iced Tea

A dash of bitters

Lemon juice

Garnish with lemon wedge

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Find more fun PIEHOLE cocktail recipes online at https://www.pieholewhiskey.com

Almond Shortbread Cookies w/ Blood Orange Glaze

Almond Shortbread Cookies w/ Blood Orange Glaze
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Almond Shortbread Cookies

So February is here and so is National Almond Day! I absolutely love almonds – not only are they packed with tons of vitamins, minerals and fiber, but they also taste amazing! I love toasting almonds for salad toppings, making almond crust for chicken or fish, and best of all baking them into lovely, nutty, scrumptious desserts…especially cookies..mmmmm.

KitchenAid Countertop Oven


I recently got a new KitchenAid® 12″ Convection Digital Countertop Oven, and I am absolutely in love with it! Not only is it a toaster oven, but it’s also a fully functioning convection oven with nine different pre-programmed functions, including Pizza, Bagel, Cookie, Asado Roast and Keep Warm. It has a large capacity with enough room to roast a chicken or make a 12″ pizza, and of course enough space to bake a large batch of cookies. I LOVE THIS THING!

Blood Orange Glazed Almond Shortbread Cookies

Since we are in the dead of winter and in the spirit of National Almond Day, I thought a big batch of cookies was in order. I made some delicious Almond Shortbread Cookies with Blood Orange Glaze. They’re super buttery and crisp with a sweet, tart and refreshing hint of blood orange – perfect for a chilly day with a cup of tea. And they’re really easy to make too..check out the link below for my recipe on the Kitchenthusiast food blog and enjoy!!!

CLICK HERE TO GET THE RECIPE AND STEP-BY-STEP PHOTOS ON THE KITCHENAID BLOG

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