Category Archives: Entrees

Chicken, Spinach & Mushroom Fettuccine Alfredo

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Chicken Spinach Mushroom Fettuccine

I made myself a pledge to focus on being healthier and happier since the New Year has started… getting more sleep, balancing work and life better, focusing on my business and my brand with a revived passion, reaching out to friends and family more often, traveling more, eating healthier and getting more walking around the city in, and just choosing to be happy every day, no matter what. NO EXCUSES.

Chicken Spinach Mushroom Fettuccine

BUT, see the thing is…I hate diets. They never work and I slowly grow tired of counting calories and feeling deprived and end up eating like a maniac and ruining all the good i just did by torturing myself on the diet in the first place. So I’ve decided to go in a different direction by simply cutting sugar out of my diet, eating more healthy lean proteins and fresh veggies and cutting DOWN on carbs, not fully out. It seems to lessen the pain of a diet and I truly feel better and am more conscious of what I eat by tracking the amount of carbs I’m taking in.  So far, so good. 

Chicken Spinach Mushroom Fettuccine

So I decided I wouldn’t fully deprive myself of the carb-laden pasta dishes I crave in the Winter and that I’ve been missing out on, and made a Chicken, Spinach, Mushroom & Bacon Fettuccine Alfredo that’s absolutely to die for. I used some lower-carb fettuccine pasta (Carba-Nada, which I got on Amazon for $10 and it only has 17 grams of carbs in 1.5 cups of pasta...LOVE IT). I sautéed some chicken breasts, shallots, garlic, bacon and added some spinach and mushrooms to make the base for the pasta. Then I made a delicious Alfredo sauce with half and half, unsalted butter, whipped cream cheese and shredded Parmesan cheese, thinned down with some water to make a semi-healthier version of this luscious, velvety (and usually super rich and fattening) pasta sauce.

I hope you’re getting through the Winter OK yourselves, and if not, whip up a batch of this deliciousness. Guilt-Free. You’ll be just fine, I promise. 😉

Chicken Mushroom Spinach Fettuccine

Chicken, Spinach & Mushroom Alfredo Fettucine

Ingredients

  • CHICKEN, SPINACH & MUSHROOM PASTA
  • 1 package fresh or dried fettuccine pasta
  • 4 slices center cut bacon
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound chicken breasts (3-4 pieces)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 shallots, sliced thin
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 package frozen spinach (or a few handfuls fresh baby spinach)
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (baby bella, porcini, chanterelle)
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • ALFREDO SAUCE
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream or half and half
  • 3/4 cup whipped cream cheese
  • 5 ounces shredded parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup - 1/2 cup water, as needed for desired sauce consistency

Instructions

  1. CHICKEN, SPINACH & MUSHROOM PASTA
  2. Cook pasta in salted boiling water according to package directions, drain and set aside. Reserve some of the pasta water to add back in to the pasta sauce later on, for consistency.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy and cooked through. Drain on paper towels, crumble and set aside.
  4. Rinse and pat dry chicken breasts, brush olive oil on and season with kosher salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Drain bacon grease from saute pan and raise heat to medium high. Saute chicken breasts, about 6 minutes per side, until a nice browning occurs and chicken is cooked through. Set aside, and keep warm with tented foil. (NOTE: You may also grill the chicken if desired at the same cooking time).
  6. In the same pan, add 2 tablespoons of butter and saute shallots for a few minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add sliced mushrooms and saute for another few minutes until they are soft.
  7. Defrost frozen spinach in microwave for 5 minutes, drain and then add spinach (you can also add fresh spinach now) to the pan with the shallots, garlic and mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes until all cooked through, add crumbled bacon and season with freshly ground black pepper. Turn heat to low and keep warm while making the Alfredo sauce.
  8. ALFREDO SAUCE
  9. In a medium saucepan, melt butter, cream and whipped cream cheese over medium-low heat.
  10. Add shredded Parmesan cheese and season with freshly ground black pepper. If sauce seems too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water to the sauce to thin it down to desired consistency.
  11. Pour the Alfredo sauce into the pan with the spinach and mushroom mixture, slice the chicken into slices or chunks and add to the sauce and stir together well.
  12. Serve hot over the pasta (or you can mix the pasta into the sauce ahead of serving, whatever you prefer).
  13. Serves 4-6.
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The Most Popular Posts of 2015 :: Happy New Year 2016!

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2015 Happy New Year

So here it is, the last day of the year 2015..oh how time flies, and so much has happened! I’m so thankful for all the wonderful opportunities that have come into my life and the lessons learned along the way.  Here are some of my Top / Most Popular posts from The Artful Gourmet blog this year — and wishing everyone a safe and Happy New Year 2016!

Neapolitan Pizza

The Secrets to Making Neapolitan Pizza like a Master Pizzaiolo –http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/08/11/neapolitan-pizza-making-with-the-pros/

Crab Salad

Refreshingly Light Get in My Bikini Salad – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/05/21/refreshingly-light-get-in-my-bikini-crab-salad/

Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2011/11/02/classic-comfort-food-beef-stroganoff/

Homemade Rustic Pizzas

Homemade Rustic Pizzas: Chicken, Spinach, Garlic & Sundried Tomato Pizza & Pepperoni, Ham & Sautéed Veggies Pizza – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/10/02/homemade-rustic-pizzas-chicken-spinach-garlic-sundried-tomato-pizza-pepperoni-ham-sauteed-veggie-pizza/

holiday dinner menu

An Intimate Gathering Holiday Dinner Party Menu: http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2010/11/28/an-intimate-gathering-holiday-dinner-party-menu/

Chicken French & Lemon Broccolini

Rochester-Style Chicken French & Lemon Broccolini – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/03/17/rochester-style-chicken-french-lemon-broccolini/

Mario Lopez & Avocados from Mexico

Food Styling for Mario Lopez and Avocados from Mexico – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/12/17/food-styling-mario-lopez-avocados-mexico-nbc-live-bethenny-shows/

pasta fagioli soup

Big Pot O’Goodness: Pasta Fagioli – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2011/12/11/big-pot-o-goodness-pasta-fagioli/

Truffle-Pancetta-3Cheese-Pasta

Truffled 3-Cheese Pasta with Pancetta and Garlic – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2011/10/25/crazy-good-truffle-oil-pancetta-three-cheese-pasta/

BDTChowder

Black Dog Tavern’s Quahog Chowderhttp://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2011/09/24/a-taste-of-marthas-vineyard-the-black-dog-taverns-quahog-chowder/

Asparagus-Garlic-3-Cheese Tart

Baby Asparagus, Garlic & Three Cheese Tart – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/11/24/asparagus-three-cheese-tart/

Spicy Cajun Chili
Spicy Cajun Chilihttp://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/11/09/spicy-cajun-chili/

Shrimp Scampi Pasta

Shrimp Scampi Pasta with Lemon Butter Sauce – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/05/13/shrimp-scampi-pasta/

Spinach Artichoke Pizza with Cauliflower Crust

Spinach Artichoke Pizza with Cauliflower Crusthttp://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/06/03/spinach-artichoke-ricotta-pizza-with-parmesan-garlic-cauliflower-crust/

Recipes Worth Sharing Cookbook

Recipes Worth Sharing: A Collection of Favorite Regional Recipes – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/03/21/recipes-worth-sharing-a-collection-of-favorite-regional-recipes/

Sun Noodle Ramen Lab

Top Ten {Things I Love} :: Spring 2013 – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/04/07/top-ten-things-i-love-spring-2013/

Southern Feast

A Dose of Southern Comfort & Down-Home Recipes – Part 1 – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/05/08/a-dose-of-southern-comfort-down-home-recipes-part-1/

spicy fish tacos and wine

Cool off with some Spicy Fish Tacos & Summer Wine Pairings – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/06/01/cool-off-with-some-spicy-fish-tacos-summer-wine-pairings/

Hope you enjoyed these posts and looking forward to sharing more fun stories with you in the New Year!

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Classic Comfort Food :: Beef Bourguignon

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Beef Bourguignon

So Old Man Winter is finally back in town, despite the crazy warm weather we’ve been having lately in New York City. Temperatures drop and there’s nothing better than a big pot of comfort food and a bottle of red to make a girl happy, right? Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that make everything OK…(*sigh). So I did just that this weekend, and made a huge batch of some classic Beef Bourguignon..you know, the classic French braised beef stew with veggies and red wine that Julia Child made famous.

Beef Bourguignon

I made it in a large 6-quart ceramic Dutch oven (KitchenAid brand is my fav!), and it’s chock full of savory deliciousness – sautéed pancetta, braised beef, shallots, garlic and carrots sautéed into a roux with some flour, flambeed brandy (my secret ingredient!), a whole bottle of red (yes, really!) and some beef stock, along with a bouquet garni of fresh herbs (1 bay leaf, 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, 3 sprigs of rosemary wrapped in cheesecloth) slow cooked in the oven for 2 hours.

Beef Bourguignon

The finishing touch of mushrooms and caramelized Cippolini onions sautéed in butter are added in at the end to add tons of buttery, savory flavor to the stew. YUM.

Beef Bourguignon

I don’t think I’ve ever tasted anything so delicious in my life – and I’m quite sure if Julia was still alive, I would make her damn proud, if I do say so myself.

Beef Bourguignon

It’s a flavor bomb in a bowl, my friends, and perfect for a lovely  holiday dinner party for a crowd. Serve in big bowls garnished with fresh Italian parsley over mashed potatoes, polenta or egg noodles, of course accompanied with a bottle of red (Pinot Noir or Burgundy) and some crusty French bread to mop up the sauce. All around a big table of friends and family to partake in all the goodness.

Happy Holidays! 

Beef Bourguignon

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

This is a delicious heartwarming French Beef Stew made with beef chuck, red wine, brandy, fresh herbs, shallots, garlic, cippolini onions, carrots and pancetta. Perfect one-pot dish for Winter or the holidays!

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds beef chuck, cut into medium-large cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound pancetta, diced
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 5 large shallots, finely diced
  • 3 large carrots, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 bottle dry red wine (Pinot Noir or Burgundy)
  • 4 cups beef or veal stock
  • 1 bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, 2 sprigs thyme, 3 sprigs Italian parsley)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (divided)
  • 5-7 small to medium Cippolini onions, quartered
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced (White button or Cremini)
  • Flat leaf Italian Parsley, minced, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place beef in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and season with a couple teaspoons of Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Heat a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat for several minutes to get it hot.
  4. Add pancetta and cook until crispy and browned, drain on paper towels and set aside.
  5. Increase the heat to high and add the beef in to the pot in a single layer and brown on all sides, turning with tongs (be careful not to crowd or overfill the pot as you will need to cook beef in batches to get a nice browning).
  6. Place the browned beef back on to the baking sheet and set aside.
  7. Add the oil and diced shallots and carrots to the Dutch oven and cook for a few minutes. Lower the heat to medium-high and continue to saute until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes.
  8. Add the brandy and flambe (light it in the pan with a long lighter or match) and let the flames keep going for as long as possible, until they go out to burn off alcohol.
  9. Reduce heat to medium, add flour and stir together with the vegetables for a few minutes to make a roux base for the stew.
  10. Next deglaze the pan by pouring in the red wine, a little bit at a time, stirring well to incorporate and remove any lumps, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan (these babies are full of flavor!)
  11. Add 3 3/4 cups of the stock, browned meat and bouquet garni and bring to a boil over high heat.
  12. Remove pot from the heat, cover and cook the stew in the oven for 2 hours, until meat is fork tender. (The meat should shred/fall apart easily when you pierce it with a fork - if not, place it back in the oven for another 15-20 minutes).
  13. While stew is cooking, caramelize the onions in a medium saute pan with 1 tablespoon of butter and salt and pepper, until the onions are lightly browned.
  14. Add the remaining 1/4 cup stock and cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and glazed and liquid is evaporated.
  15. Transfer onions to a bowl and set aside.
  16. In the same pan, turn the heat up to high. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter, the mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste, sear over high heat until mushrooms are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and mix into the caramelized onions, set aside.
  17. Remove the stew from the oven and gently stir in cooked pancetta, mushrooms and onions. Adjust seasonings (salt and pepper to taste).
  18. Serve the stew in bowls with a sprinkling of fresh parsley over mashed potatoes, polenta or egg noodles, with a glass of red and crusty bread to mop up the sauce of course!

Notes

Recipe adapted from Mother's Best Comfort Food Cookbook.

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Beef Bourguignon

Other Beef Bourguignon recipes you may enjoy:

Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon

Slow-Cooked Beef Bourguignon The Kitchn

Martha Stewart Beef Bourguignon

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Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole for Game Day!

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Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole

 

It’s finally Fall (Yay!) and football season is in full force which means fun tailgating and parties with friends mixed with lots of delicious football party food and drinks! My favorite time of year.

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole

I’ve partnered with Mission Foods to create a delicious Game Day recipe for serving a crowd with their awesome flour tortillas, and I present to you my Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole.

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole

 

It’s made with ground beef and taco seasoning, onions, garliccorn, jalapeños, chopped tomatoes, beef broth and LOTS of cheese, all baked in layers of spicy, cheesy, ooey-gooey goodness with the flour tortillas in a 9-inch pie pan. Then it’s served cut into wedges and topped with some fresh green onions. You can also serve it with some sour cream and cilantro for extra garnish, if you like, on the side.

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole

 

I love making casseroles and one-pot dishes in the Fall, and especially for parties with friends because they’re easy to make and easy to transport and serve, and they are usually a huge hit on the food table! This one will disappear fast so you might want to double the recipe for a big crowd – trust me!

Group8_Soft_Flour_Tortillas

I’m also hosting a giveaway for my readers to win 2 packs of Mission Foods Tortillas – all you need to do is leave a comment and your email below telling me how you would use the tortillas to make a delicious recipe for your Fall Football party! A winner will be chosen at random.

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole

Hope you enjoy my super yum recipe and enter for a chance to win tortillas to make your party more delicious and fun too!

Mission Foods Football Party Food

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole for Game Day!

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 6-8

Serving Size: 1 wedge

This Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole is a super easy and tasty dish to make for Football season! Made with Mission Foods flour tortillas, all layered with a spicy enchilada beef, mixed with onions, garlic, corn, tomatoes, broth and jalapeño and lots of cheese in the layers and on top! Garnished with scallions, sour cream and cilantro if desired...and DIG IN!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 cup petite diced tomatoes and juice (or 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 4 large Mission Foods flour tortillas
  • 1 6-ounce package shredded Mexican Blend cheese (Colby, Monterey Jack and Cheddar)
  • 1-2 scallions, sliced, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, for garnish (optional)
  • 2-3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and onion to pan and cook for about 5-6 minutes until browned and crumbled.
  3. In a separate medium saucepan, melt the butter and sauce the garlic for 1 minute until lightly golden, sprinkle with flour and stir, cooking for 30 seconds.
  4. Add broth, taco seasoning, tomatoes, corn and jalapeños to the saucepan and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add 1 1/2 cups of the tomato-corn-jalapeno mixture to the cooked ground beef and onions in the large saute pan, mixing together and reserving the rest for the top layer of the casserole.
  7. In a 9-inch pie plate, place 1 tortilla on the bottom. Top with 1 cup of the beef mixture, and sprinkle with a layer of the shredded cheese. Repeat layers 2 more times, ending with the 4th tortilla on top.
  8. Spread the reserved tomato mixture over the tortilla and top with the rest of the shredded cheese.
  9. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes until cheese is melted and golden.
  10. Let cool slightly, then cut into wedges and serve with sliced green onions, and sour cream and cilantro (if desired).

Notes

You can also substitute ground turkey or chicken for the ground beef. For a large crowd, I suggest doubling the recipe to make two casseroles as this one will disappear fast!

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STEP-BY-STEP PHOTOS

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Check out Mission Foods website for all their great products!
Mission Foods

Join Mission Foods Insiders Club for special deals and rewards:
Mission Insiders!

Disclosure: I’m required to disclose a sponsored partnership between our site and Mission Foods. I have been compensated in exchange for this post in the form of payment, product or experiences. #spon

 

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Zucchini & Sweet Potato Pancakes w/ Homemade Apple Sauce

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Zucchini Sweet Potato Pancakes

Now that the fall season has finally arrived, it’s time to start cooking with seasonal ingredients that are richer in color and warmer in flavor. One of my favorite dishes to make in the fall are Potato Pancakes, served with applesauce and sour cream, just like my Grandma used to make.

KitchenAid Juicer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I recently got a KitchenAid® Juicer and Sauce Attachment for my Stand Mixer and decided to do a twist on this traditional family recipe by making Homemade Applesauce and making the pancakes out of zucchini and sweet potatoes to add some healthy color and fall flavors to the dish. I used my KitchenAid® Stainless Steel 3-Quart Saucepan, which was perfect for cooking the applesauce in, and a fantastic KitchenAid® Copper Core 12″ Nonstick Skillet, great for cooking the pancakes with it’s large base and even, quick heat distribution.

Homemade Apple Sauce

Homemade Apple Sauce

Zucchini Sweet Potato Pancakes

Zucchini and Sweet Potato Pancakes with Cinnamon Sour Cream

Healthy, delicious and super easy to make!

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL RECIPE ON THE KITCHENAID BLOG

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Cheesy Skillet Beef Goulash

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Cheesy Skillet Beef Goulash

 

It’s summer and OH. SO. HOT. And I honestly haven’t really been in the mood to cook  or do anything lately except lie down in the AC or chill on the beach – but a girl’s gotta eat, right?

Cheesy Skillet Beef Goulash

I’ve also been a bit blue because my Dad is in the hospital and having double bypass heart surgery on Monday morning which is a bit scary..and too much to deal with.

Kristen and Dad

So I decided I needed a dose of some comfort food this weekend to cheer me up and bring me a little closer to home with Dad. 🙂

Cheesy Skillet Beef Goulash

I had a few samples of RedPack petite diced tomatoes on hand and thought they would be perfect for a comforting baked pasta dish – something that reminded me of what Mom used to make for us for dinner.

Cheesy Skillet Beef Goulash

So I whipped up a Cheesy Skillet Beef Goulash – made with ground beef, tomatoes, onion, garlic, elbow macaroni and three cheeses – all cooked together in one skillet, then baked into a pot of bubbly, cheesy goodness.

Cheesy Skillet Beef Goulash

Super simple to make and definitely comforting at that. I think I’ll get through the weekend and Dad’s surgery just fine…after I have some of this deliciousness..and maybe a nap in the A/C. 🙂

Kristen and Dad

Cheesy Skillet Beef Goulash

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6-8

This is a classic cheesy baked pasta dish made with macaroni, ground beef, diced tomatoes, onion and garlic, topped with Parmesan and shredded cheddar cheese.

Ingredients

  • 1 package elbow macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3-4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1- 28 ounce can RedPack petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the macaroni, drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, In a large nonstick skillet, add oil and heat until it's shimmering. Add onion, and cook over medium heat until onion is soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the ground beef and brown until no longer pink, stirring and breaking it up as you cook.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce to the skillet and stir. Cook the mixture for about 5 minutes or so until heated through.
  5. Stir in the cooked pasta and Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, mixing well. Adjust seasonings to your taste buds accordingly...:)
  6. Top the pasta mixture with both shredded cheeses and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  7. Top with additional grated Parmesan cheese if desired and serve hot immediately.

Notes

Goes great with a green salad and garlic bread and a crisp white wine like Pinot Grigio or a light fruity red table wine.

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Veggie, Bacon & Cheese Tarts in a Toasted Quinoa Crust

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Veggie, Bacon & Cheese Quinoa Tarts

I love making savory tarts and pies, but unfortunately I don’t love the carbs and calories that come along with them. It’s also Summertime, and I’m trying to cook and eat lighter than usual…and the Fall season will come soon enough with all that yummy comfort food!

Quinoa Tart 1

I’ve been experimenting lately with alternatives to pasta and dough – things like zucchini, cauliflower, almond flour, and quinoa. Not only are they lighter, but also , gluten-free and less carbs than traditional flours and equally as satisfying and tasty!

Veggie, Bacon & Cheese Quinoa Tarts

I found a recipe on Cooking Light for a savory Fall tart made in a toasted quinoa crust and decided to experiment a little with the crust, fillings and flavors. MISSION ON.

Toasted Quinoa

I love the flavor of the nutty toasted quinoa, which is done in the oven and gives a nice depth of flavor and crunch to the tart crust.

Toasted Quinoa Tart Shells

I mixed in some Bob’s Red Mill almond flour, corn starch, Parmesan cheese and an egg for binding the quinoa, then added a little garlic salt and olive oil to bring it all together for the crust. Then I pressed the quinoa mixture into four small tart pans and baked for about 10 minutes before filling them and baking again.

Mascarpone & Cheddar

While the tart crusts were baking, I made a savory filling with mascarpone and cheddar cheese and spooned in this delightful cheesy goodness on to the par-baked crusts.

Crispy Cooked Bacon

I also cooked up some crispy gorgeous bacon in the oven while the tarts were baking..(for about 20 minutes or so)..

Top with Crispy Bacon

then chopped it to pieces and layered it on top of the cheeses. HELLO PRETTIES. Come to me.

Blanched Cauliflower and Peas

Next I started filling the tarts with my blanched cauliflower and baby peas,

Veggie Tart fillings

more Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil,

Ready to bake the tarts again

popped them back in the oven..

Tarts Cooling

and baked these cuties for another 5-10 minutes and let them cool on a wire rack for a few…

Tarts cooling

the anticipation of these delicious things in my mouth is MOUNTING.

Cooked Quinoa Tarts

Once the tarts were cooled a bit, I garnished them with some fresh chopped basil, chives and freshly cracked black pepper and a few red pepper flakes. Mini Green Goddesses!

Veggie, Bacon & Cheese Quinoa Tarts

And Oh Holy Delicious.

Veggie Bacon & Cheese Tarts in a Toasted Quinoa Crust

This is a great base recipe for any savory tart really – feel free to substitute different fillings for the tarts depending on the season..butternut squash and spinach in the Fallcorn, tomatoes and zucchini in the Summer… roasted carrotspotatoes and Gruyere in the Winter..asparagus and leeks in the Spring…oh, the ideas are endless!

Veggie Bacon & Cheese Tarts in a Toasted Quinoa Crust

Veggie, Bacon & Cheese Tarts in a Toasted Quinoa Crust

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: Makes four 4 5/7-inch tarts

Serving Size: 1 tart

This is a gluten-free tart recipe made with a toasted quinoa crust, filled with a savory filling of mascarpone and cheddar cheese, bacon, cauliflower, peas topped with Parmesan, and fresh basil and chives.

Ingredients

  • Toasted Quinoa Tart Crust:
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup almond meal flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Cooking spray
  • Tart Filling:
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup baby green peas, frozen
  • 4-5 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (Cheddar, Jack, or Gouda)
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced chives, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Make the Toasted Quinoa Tart Crusts:
  2. Preheat oven to 350°.
  3. Place quinoa on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until golden brown; cool.
  4. Place half of quinoa in a food processor; pulse 30 seconds.
  5. Transfer to a large bowl. Add remaining toasted quinoa, almond meal, cornstarch, and salt to bowl; stir to combine.
  6. Add oil and egg; stir until mixture is crumbly but holds together when pressed.
  7. Press into bottom and up sides of four 4 5/7-inch removable-bottom fluted tart pans coated with cooking spray.
  8. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until golden, but not completely cooked (you will put them back in the oven later after you fill them with the veggies, bacon and cheese.)
  9. Prep the Tart fillings:
  10. While the tart crusts are baking, chop the cauliflower into small florets and measure out the baby peas.
  11. Blanch the veggies in boiling water for about 2-3 minutes, then drain and rinse them in very cold water or shock them in an ice bath, set aside.
  12. Cook the bacon and drain, chop into small chunks, set aside.
  13. Measure out the mascarpone, Cheddar and Parmesan cheese, and chop basil and chives, set aside.
  14. Fill the Tart Crusts:
  15. Spread the mascarpone cheese evenly in bottom of each tart crust.
  16. Top each tart with shredded cheese, then crumbled bacon.
  17. Arrange cauliflower and peas evenly over cheese and bacon mixture on the tarts and drizzle with some olive oil, Parmesan cheese and black pepper.
  18. Bake tarts for another 5-7 minutes in the oven.
  19. Remove tarts from the pans; cool completely on a wire rack.
  20. Garnish with fresh chopped basil and chives, serve warm.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, Nov 2014.

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Other Tart Recipes you might enjoy:

Savory Harvest Fall Tart

Quinoa Tart with Zucchini & Sundried Tomato Dressing

Gluten-Free Tomato Tart

Gluten-Free Spinach and Onion Tart

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Shrimp, Basil & Corn Zucchini Noodles w/ Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce

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Zucchini Noodles 1

Hello Summer! And hello to the season for lighter food and flavors and quality time at the beach and the pool (READ: also time for shorts and sundresses and to lose a few to fit into the bathing suit!)

Zucchini Noodles 10

I’ve been craving pasta lately because i’ve been cutting down on carbs a bit, but I’ve had this cool Veggetti noodle tool in my pantry for a few months and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to make some Zucchini Noodles (AKA “zoodles”), and tie in some fresh ingredients from the season such as shrimp and corn and basil.

Zucchini Noodles 8

This dish screams creamy comfort food, but is balanced out with a clean, citrus-y brightness with a Meyer Lemon cream sauce made with mascarpone cheese, Meyer lemon juice and zest, lemongrass chicken broth, white wine, sweet basil olive oil and garlic. The lightness of these zucchini noodles are also totally amazing, rather than a heavy pasta that will put you to sleep in .02 seconds.

Zucchini Noodles 3

I love Meyer lemons because they are delicate and less sour than regular lemons and almost mimic the flavor of lemon and orange juice mixed together, which you can absolutely do if you can’t find Meyer lemons or they aren’t in season. I ordered mine on Fresh Direct which always has everything in stock and delivers on top of that!

Zucchini Noodles

Prep your zucchini noodles with a Veggetti or Spiralizer on a cutting board or over a large mixing bowl. I suggest squeezing out any excess water from them before sauteing (you can let them sit in a colander to extract water for about 15 minutes or so). You might also want to cut the strand piles in half to make them easier to manage and eat. Sauté the noodles in some olive oil with red pepper flakes and garlic for a few minutes and set aside.

LemonZest-Juice

Zest and juice one Meyer lemon to add to the cream sauce. Look at that vivid color! LOVE.

Prep Shrimp

Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the shrimp and sauté in some olive oil for couple minutes until they are pink and set aside. Don’t overcook them though because you will add them back in to the sauce later on and you don’t want tough rubbery shrimp.

Lemon Sauce Ingredients

Prep ingredients for the Meyer Lemon Cream sauce and add the white wine, chicken broth, Meyer lemon juice and zest to the saute pan with leftover juices from the shrimp. Stir and simmer over medium heat for until the liquid reduces by half.

Meyer Lemon Sauce

Add the corn, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes until heated through. I used frozen sweet corn but you can use fresh corn too which might take a little longer to cook (or you can precook the fresh corn and add the kernels into the sauce).

Add Mascarpone, Shrimp and Basil

Stir in the mascarpone cheese and blend together until it turns into a gorgeous, silky and creamy sauce. Toss in the shrimp and basil. Isn’t that pretty?

Zucchini Noodles 6

Serve over the zucchini noodles with additional basil and lemon zest and get ready to DEVOUR.

Zucchini Noodles 7

Alternatively you can toss the zucchini noodles in to the pan with the sauce and shrimp and corn and mix it all together to serve as a one pot dish. I prefer keeping the noodles separate from the sauce so they don’t get too mushy, personally.

Zucchini Noodles 5

Garnish with some extra basil and lemon zest and serve with a glass of white wine (I particularly like McBride Sisters Truvee Chardonnay who were kind enough to send me a sample which I LOVED), and some crusty bread to mop up that yum sauce, if you wish. Light, bright, healthy and delicious!

Shrimp, Basil & Corn Zucchini Noodles w/ Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

Serving Size: 1 cup of noodles with sauce

This is a super healthy and totally delicious low carb option to pasta. It features sautéed zucchini noodles smothered in a Meyer Lemon cream sauce with shrimp, corn and fresh basil. It's light and bright and the perfect dish for Summer with a glass of white wine and some toasty bread to mop up the sauce.

Delicious!!

Ingredients

  • Zucchini Noodles:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (7 Barrels Basil olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Shrimp:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2-3/4 pounds medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Garlic salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce:
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Zest and juice of 1 Meyer Lemon
  • 1/2 cup white wine (Truvee Chardonnay)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (Pacific Foods Lemongrass Bone Both)
  • 2/3 cup Mascarpone cheese
  • 3/4 cup sweet corn kernels (frozen or fresh)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Fresh Basil, for garnish
  • Additional lemon zest, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Make the Zucchini Noodles:
  2. Using a Veggeti or Spiralizer vegetable cutter, cut both zucchini into medium large noodles over a cutting board or large bowl.
  3. Form the vegetable pasta into two piles and cut each in half to create shorter, easy to manage strands.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat and sauté the garlic for a minute or so, being careful not to burn.
  5. Add the zucchini noodles, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes to your desired consistency.
  6. Remove noodles from the heat into a medium bowl and set aside while you cook the shrimp.
  7. Prepare the Shrimp:
  8. In the same sauce pan, heat another tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.
  9. Sprinkle some garlic salt and pepper on to the shrimp, and add shrimp to the pan cooking for about 3 minutes, stirring often so they cook evenly.
  10. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon and transfer to a small bowl while you make the Meyer Lemon cream sauce.
  11. Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce:
  12. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in the same large sauce pan over medium heat.
  13. Add the additional garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.
  14. Add the lemon juice, zest, chicken broth and wine and let simmer down until reduced, about 3 minutes.
  15. Add the corn kernels, salt and pepper and heat through another minute or two, then stir in the Mascarpone cheese until you get a silky, creamy sauce.
  16. Add the cooked shrimp, zucchini noodles and basil; toss to coat. (You can also keep the zucchini noodles separate from the shrimp, corn and basil with Meyer Lemon sauce and spoon it over the noodles in bowls which keeps the noodles from getting mushy in the sauce which is how i prefer serving them.)
  17. Serve with additional basil and lemon zest, and a glass of Chardonnay or dry Italian wine and some crusty bread to mop up the sauce.

Notes

This would also be a delicious sauce over any pasta, and if you're a vegetarian you could substitute the shrimp for another vegetable or legumes for some protein. If you can't find Meyer lemons or they aren't in season, simply mix some orange juice into the lemon juice to give it a similar flavor.

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Zucchini Noodles with Shrimp, Basil and Corn in Meyer Lemon Cream SauceZucchini Noodles 9

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Other similar recipes you might enjoy:

Shrimp Scampi Pasta

Shrimp and Zucchini with Tomatoes 

Basil Shrimp Zucchini Pasta

Shrimp and Zucchini Risotto

Fettuccine with Shrimp and Zucchini

Note: I received a sample of McBride Sisters Truvee Chardonnay for tasting which inspired me to create this recipe and share with my readers. All opinions of the product are my own and I was not compensated for this post.

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Summer Veggie Frittata + Time to Relax.

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Summer Veggie Frittata

Summer is that time of year when we get to take some time off from our crazy busy lives, at least for a little while, to clear our heads, visit with friends and family, go to the beach, have a backyard cookout, or simply lie in a hammock and read a book or take a good, long nap.

Summer Veggie Frittata

It’s also a time when i tend to get a little lazy because it’s so hot outside. Or because I actually have some time on my hands to just, well do nothing. Or sleep in a little longer.

Summer Veggie Frittata 5

Because I’m constantly cooking as a profession, the last thing I feel like doing on vacation is well, cooking. Even though I get to stay at my parent’s house with a huge kitchen and backyard patio that actually has a grill and some room to move. And I always have all these big plans to make all this delicious food when I’m here but really just want to do – well, not much. You know – relax a little bit. 🙂

Summer Veggie Frittata 3

I decided to make something easy for breakfast today. And healthy. All in one big pan. A Summer Veggie Frittata that’s full of spinach and onions and fresh zucchini with some shredded cheese that’s lovely and light and just tasty and good all around. Yes, I threw in a tablespoon or two of cooked bacon because I just can’t help myself but if you’re a vegetarian feel free to leave it out.

Summer Veggie Frittata 4

I think I could get used to these lazy Summer vacation days. Don’t you agree?

Summer Veggie Frittata

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4-6

Serving Size: 1 wedge

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons light cream or half and half
  • 1 teaspoon dill seasoning
  • kosher salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • dash of red pepper flakes
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1-2 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 package frozen spinach, defrosted and drained well (or 2 cups fresh spinach leaves)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (Jack, Cheddar, Mozzarella)
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced

Instructions

  1. Preheat broiler to high.
  2. Meanwhile, combine cream, eggs, salt, pepper, cooked bacon and seasonings in a mixing bowl, whisking well.
  3. Heat a medium-large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add oil or butter to the pan and saute onions for a few minutes until soft and translucent.
  4. Add spinach and cook for a few more minutes until heated through (or wilted if using fresh spinach).
  5. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and cook for about 5 minutes until eggs are slightly set.
  6. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the top evenly.
  7. Top the frittata with the zucchini slices over the egg and cheese mixture.
  8. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and place in the oven.
  9. Broil for about 3-5 minutes until the top is lightly browned and cheese is melted.
  10. Remove from oven and cut into wedges.
  11. Serve with additional fresh veggies or a green salad.

Notes

You can also add a little extra protein by mixing in some cooked ham or sausage. Feel free to substitute the veggies by adding in summer squash, peppers, tomatoes, whatever you have on hand. Goes great with a green salad and a glass of white wine if you're in the mood!

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California Dreamin’ Grilled Cheese

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California Dreamin Grilled Cheese

So this is where I’m supposed to go on and on about how delicious this grilled cheese sandwich is. And what’s in it. And why it’s a rockstar recipe that nobody else has. And why you need to make it now.

But guess what? I just did a food photo shoot for a NYC catering company and bakery for the past 2 days and shot at least 1000 photos that need to be culled through and selected to share with my clients and it’s enough to make your head spin faster than Linda Blair in The Exorcist. AND the fact that the Mad Men finale is coming on in less than 2 hours and I have some catching up to do and some last savoring moments of Don Draper to hold on to while I can.

California Dreamin' Grilled Cheese 3

OK – so now that I got that off my chest, here’s a little ditty of a recipe that I whipped up on Friday afternoon for a grilled cheese contest I entered for Wisconsin Cheese. It’s actually quite lovely and spring-y and full of good things. Homemade Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote, strawberries, granny smith apples, grilled chicken paillards, kale with lemon and parmesan, honey dijon mustard, melted sharp white cheddar and gooey mozzarella cheese – all grilled on a whole wheat pita (actually 2 of them).

California Dreamin Grilled Cheese

It’s called California Dreamin’ Grilled Cheese because all the good things inside remind me of a sunny, breezy day on Pacific Beach in San Diego watching the sunset with a margarita in my hand with my toes in the sand, salty sea mist on my face, while basking in the glow and enjoying everything in life there is to offer. So here you go. Whether I win the contest or not – it’s absolutely fabulous, and will make you want to hop on a plane to the west coast and catch a few rays yourself.

Now back to my Sauvignon Blanc and Don Draper fix. Enjoy and Happy Sunday! 🙂

California Dreamin’ Grilled Cheese

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 whole wheat pitas
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 chicken breast, cut in half lengthwise and pounded thin
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup green apple, sliced
  • 1 cup kale, chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp Wisconsin Parmesan, shredded
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 4 slices Wisconsin Sharp Cheddar, sliced
  • 4 slices Wisconsin Mozzarella
  • 4 tablespoons Strawberry-Rhubarb compote
  • Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote:
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced or chopped
  • 1 stalk rhubarb, sliced into small chunks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water

Instructions

  1. Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote:
  2. Stir strawberries, 1/8 cup sugar, and 1/2 tbsp lemon juice and 1/2 tbsp of water in a small nonreactive pan; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Add the rhubarb, 1/8 cup sugar, and 1/2 tbsp lemon juice and 1/2 tbsp of water back into same pan and simmer for about 6 minutes until rhubarb is tender and soft. Transfer rhubarb to same bowl as strawberries and add all liquid to the pan through a strainer.
  4. Raise heat to medium high and simmer until liquid thickens and reduces to almost half.
  5. Return strawberries and rhubarb to liquid and let cool.
  6. Make sandwich:
  7. Preheat olive oil in a grill pan or sauté pan to medium/high heat.
  8. Mix honey and mustard together in a small bowl and set aside.
  9. Rub chicken with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill chicken pieces for about 6-8 minutes until cooked through, remove from pan.
  10. Spread both pitas on one side with butter.
  11. Spread each pita on reverse side with honey Dijon mustard on a cutting board or piece of plastic wrap.
  12. Top with sliced mozzarella cheese slices.
  13. In a small bowl, toss kale, lemon juice, salt and pepper and place on top of each pita over Mozzarella.
  14. Top one pita with both pieces of grilled chicken.
  15. Drizzle Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote over the chicken.
  16. Layer on the sliced strawberries, apples and top with cheddar cheese slices.
  17. Top the sandwich with other piece of pita bread (butter side up) and place in preheated grill pan.
  18. Smash the sandwich together with a heavy spatula or panini press and grill on both sides until cheese is melted and pita is crispy.
  19. Cut in half and serve with additional Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote and Honey Dijon for dipping.
  20. Makes one sandwich.
  21. Note: you can make the Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the fridge. You can also double the recipe to make more for other uses (great over vanilla ice cream, pancakes, whipped cream or greek yogurt and granola!!)
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