Pasta with Bacon Cream Sauce is a family favorite, one I have made for well over 30 years. When I was working and the kids were at home, this was an easy weeknight dinner that pleased everyone. Now that my daughters have families of their own, this is a favorite of the next generation. Feel free to increase the amount of bacon or cheese to your liking.
Pasta with Bacon Cream Sauce
1 lb. vermicelli or very thin spaghetti
1/4 pound bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 tablespoons butter
6 scallions, trimmed and cut into strips
1 cup heavy cream
ladle of pasta water
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Saute bacon until crisp. Remove bacon; add butter and scallions; saute 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in cream, pasta water and pepper. Hold over low heat.
Cook and drain pasta. Add to cream mixture; toss together.
Add all but 1 tablespoon bacon, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese and parsley, toss.
Serve at once, garnished with bacon and remaining Parmesan cheese.
Recipe from long ago and far away…but oh, so good!
Beer Bread is so ridiculously easy and delicious. Friends tell me they made this years ago, so why have I never heard of it? It’s wonderful with soups and out of this world toasted! I’m not a beer drinker but had a few bottles in the frig from friend’s visits. Great way to use the beer and enjoy the tasty results! I love it toasted with peanut butter or jelly!
Unsalted butter, for greasing the pan
3 cups all-purpose flour (see Tip)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 (12-ounce) can beer (the blander the better)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (optional)
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan and dust with cornmeal. For stovetop baking, use a heavy Dutch oven or similar pot that has been greased and dusted with cornmeal but not heated.
Mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar and stir in the beer. Place batter in the pan. Oven baking will take about 35 minutes. For stovetop baking, cover the pan and place it on a heat shield over a low to medium flame and bake until a knife or cake tester comes out clean.
Remove from pan, drizzle with butter if desired and allow to cool completely before slicing. The bread has a texture similar to that of English muffins and tastes best toasted.
Three cups of self-rising flour can be substituted. Omit the baking powder and salt.
This flavorful dish is like a burst of autumn in your mouth. Each bite is full of flavor. The addition of raw apple kicks it up a notch. What a wonderful dish to share at holiday gatherings.
This main dish is delicious on its own but, if you prefer more protein, add a bit of pork, chicken or beef. I had leftover pork roast and added a few slices and thought it added even more to the dish. This has become a real favorite and one I’ll be making over and over again.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts Salad with Maple Butternut Squash, Pumpkin Seeds & Cranberries
1 ½ lb butternut squash peeled, seeded, and cubed into 1-inch cubes (Yields about 4 cups of uncooked cubed butternut squash)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cups pumpkin seeds
1 cup dried cranberries
2-4 tablespoons maple syrup optional
Optional: Add sliced cooked pork, steak or chicken
Roasted Brussels Sprouts:
Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease the foil-lined baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Make sure Brussels sprouts have trimmed ends and yellow leaves are removed. Then, slice all Brussels sprouts in half. In a medium bowl, combine halved Brussels sprouts, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt (to taste), and toss to combine. Place onto a foil-lined baking sheet, cut side down, and roast in the oven at 400 F for about 20-25 minutes. During the last 5-10 minutes of roasting, turn them over for even browning, the cut sides should be nicely and partially charred but not blackened.
Roasted butternut squash:
Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease the foil-lined baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
In a medium bowl, combine cubed butternut squash (peeled and seeded),1 tablespoon of olive oil, maple syrup, and cinnamon, and toss to mix.
Place butternut squash in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once half-way through baking, until softened.
Note: You can roast both Brussels sprouts and butternut squash on 2 separate baking sheets at the same time, on the same rack in the oven.
In a large bowl, combine roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted butternut squash, pumpkin seeds, and cranberries, and mix to combine. (OPTIONAL): For more sweetness, add 2 or 4 tablespoons of maple syrup, if desired – do not add all maple syrup at once, start with 2 tablespoons, then add more, if desired, and toss with the salad ingredients to combine.
Lemon Bars in the Spring and Cranberry Lemon Bars for the holidays! With a bag of lemons and a large bag of cranberries on hand, I decided to make these delicious bars. I forgot to sprinkle with powdered sugar, but I was too anxious to taste them. They are tart with a burst of flavor from the cranberries. The bars were a real hit!
Cranberry Lemon Bars
FOR THE CRANBERRY LAYER:
1 (12-ounce/340-gram) bag fresh or frozen cranberries
Start preparing the cranberry layer: Combine the cranberries, sugar and 3 tablespoons water in a medium saucepan. Zest 2 of the lemons directly into the saucepan; reserve the lemons. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until the berries burst and the mixture is jammy, 7 to 9 minutes. Remove from the heat and reserve.
Make the crust: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with one large sheet of heavy aluminum foil, making sure there are no gaps or holes, then generously coat with cooking spray.
Whisk the flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk the vanilla into the butter, then pour over the flour mixture. Stir until the dough comes together in a mass. Press into an even layer in the prepared pan. Bake until golden brown around the edges and dry and golden on top, 17 to 20 minutes.
While the crust bakes, begin preparing the lemon layer: Squeeze the juice from the 2 reserved zested lemons. You should have 1/2 cup. Squeeze the juice from another lemon, if needed.
Whisk the sugar, flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add the eggs and whisk gently just until incorporated. Add the lemon juice and stir gently with the whisk just until smooth.
Let the crust cool for 5 minutes, then spread the cranberry mixture evenly over the crust. Carefully and slowly pour the lemon mixture on top to create two distinct layers.
Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is set, 18 to 22 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, then refrigerate until cold and firm, at least 2 hours. Using the foil, slide the bars out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Cut into 24 squares, wiping your knife between cuts for clean slices. If desired, sift confectioners’ sugar over the tops just before serving.
Harvest Bowl is one of my favorite recipes of all times. There are a multiple of flavors and textures to enjoy. I added bits cooked pork roast, a delicious addition. However, the bowl with a meat addition is equally delicious. The best temperature for serving is slightly warm. Leftovers are great for 3-4 days, slightly warmed in the microwave. This the first time I’ve cooked with fig jam and I loved it. For a different twist, it could be interesting to try apple butter. Anyway you make it, you’ll love it!
Wild Rice Harvest Bowls with Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 cup wild-brown rice blend (I recommend Lundberg)
1-3/4 cup gluten-free chicken broth
3 cups 1” butternut squash cubes (about 1 small squash)
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/8 teaspoon each garlic powder, chili powder, cinnamon
salt and pepper
9 oz thinly shredded brussels sprouts
1 large or 2 small apples, chopped
3 oz white cheddar cheese, cut into cubes
1/3 cup sliced almonds or pepitas
1/3 cup dried cranberries
For the Fig Dressing:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, microplaned or minced
2 Tablespoons fig jam
salt and pepper
Add rice and chicken broth to a small saucepan then bring to a boil, place a lid on top, then turn heat down to a simmer and cook for 40-50 minutes or until rice is al dente (verify liquid amount and cooking method with rice package directions.) Set aside to cool slightly – can be done a day ahead of time.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a half sheet pan with a silpat or foil then spray with nonstick spray if using foil. Add butternut squash cubes, 1-1/2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, garlic powder, chili powder, cinnamon, salt, and pepper then toss with your fingers to evenly coat. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until squash is tender, stirring halfway through. Set aside to cool slightly – can be done a day ahead of time.
Meanwhile, line another half sheet pan with a silpat or foil then spray with nonstick spray if using foil. Add shredded brussels sprouts, remaining 1-1/2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper then toss with your fingers to evenly coat. Add to oven after stirring the squash then roast together for 8-10 minutes or until brussels sprouts are tender and golden brown.
For the Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette: Combine ingredients in a bowl or jar with a tight fitting lid then whisk or shake to combine (might need to microwave for 15-20 seconds to help melt the fig jam.) Taste then add more salt, pepper, and/or fig jam if desired.
In a large bowl combine cooked rice, butternut squash, brussels sprouts, apples, cheese, almonds, and dried cranberries. Drizzle Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette on top then toss to coat and serve. Leftovers are good for 3-4 days.
Zucchini abound this time of year as do my Sungold cherry tomatoes. Combine these two ingredients with basil, garlic, shrimp…WOW! You could easily adapt this to regular pasta, but why? I topped my meal with a sprinkle of Parmesan as well. Deliciouso!
Garlicky Tomato-Basil Shrimp with Zoodles
4 small, straight zucchini, ends trimmed
salt, garlic salt, pepper
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
5 large fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
1lb jumbo shrimp (16/20 count,) peeled and deveined
1 large clove garlic, minced
Spiralize zucchini using the fattest noodle blade then add to a colander set atop a bowl. Lightly salt then toss with your fingers to coat. Cover then place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour to drain excess liquid.
Add tomatoes and basil to a large bowl with 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil then season with salt and pepper, stir to combine, and set aside.
Heat 1-1/2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pat shrimp very dry between paper towels then season tops with garlic salt and pepper. Add half the shrimp to the skillet seasoning-side down then sauté for 2 minutes per side, or until cooked through, then transfer to bowl with tomatoes and basil. Heat another 1-1/2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in the skillet then sauté remaining shrimp. When shrimp have 30 seconds left add garlic then sauté until fragrant, and then add to the bowl and stir everything to combine.
Meanwhile, remove zoodles from refrigerator then pat dry with paper towels. Heat remaining Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in the skillet then add zoodles. Season with salt and pepper then sauté until crisp-tender, 2-3 minutes. Plate zoodles then top with garlicky tomato-basil shrimp and serve.
Fresh Peach Ice Cream is a summer dream come true. I’ve made it in the past but never cared for the icy chunks of peach in the ice cream. This recipe appealed to me with the blended peaches, allowing the peach flavor to permeate the ice cream. I added a bit of lemon juice (noted in the recipe below) to add a little citrus kick to the creamy goodness of peach ice cream. I served with fresh raspberries, my favorite combination with peach!
Peach Ice Cream
2 cups chopped peaches (peel removed)
1 1/4 cups sugar (divided)
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
optional: 1/2-1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Mix chopped peaches with 1/2 cup sugar in a medium sized bowl. Allow to set for about 15 minutes so the peach pieces release their juices.
Blend peaches up in a blender or food processor until nice and smooth. (Add 1/4 cup of your whole milk if you need more liquid to blend it up)
In a large bowl combine peach mixture with heavy cream, whole milk, vanilla extract, and remaining 3/4 cup sugar. Set aside.
Get out your freezer bowl and start running your ice cream maker. Pour the peach mixture into the running ice cream maker. And allow to run according to manufactures instructions (Mine is about 25-30 minutes.)
Serve now for soft serve ice cream.
For scoopable ice cream, scoop the peach ice cream into a bread loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the freezer for 6 hours up to overnight. Then scoop and serve.
Making pies and cakes from real dirt was part of my childhood. I gave that up years ago, but this Dirt Cake, made by daughter, Megan, was a real treat. A kid of any age loves this cake. Megan made with real whipped cream–delicious!
Thai food is a favorite, especially if it includes a peanut dressing. I love the IowaGirlEats.com blog and, again, this one did not disappoint. It would be a great side salad, sans the chicken, as well. It’s so yummy! You can make the salad, adding dressing only to the portion you are currently eating. This is a new favorite for my menu planning!
Thai Crunch Salad with Peanut Dressing
3 cups coleslaw mix (green cabbage, red cabbage, carrot mix)
1/2 red pepper, sliced into thin matchsticks
1 chicken breast, cooked then shredded
2 green onions, chopped
3 Tablespoons peanuts, finely chopped
3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
For the Thai Peanut Dressing:
4 Tablespoons smooth peanut butter (I used Smucker’s Natural)
2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons warm water
1-1/2 Tablespoons gluten-free Tamari or soy sauce (dish will not be GF if using traditional soy sauce)
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
juice of 1/2 large lime (slice remaining 1/2 lime into wedges)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
heaping 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, pressed or minced
salt and pepper
Add ingredients for Thai Peanut Dressing into a mason jar or bowl then shake or whisk to combine. Taste then adjust lime juice and/or add water to thin if necessary.
Add remaining ingredients into a large bowl. Drizzle desired amount of dressing on top then toss well to combine. Scoop into bowls then serve with lime wedges.
Tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts and this recipe is heavenly. I followed Chef Lucas during the COVID lockdown. When I saw his Facebook Live featured Tiramisu, I was in! I have found that Ladyfingers from Cost Plus World Market are best, and appropriately crunchy. The ladyfingers from my local grocery store are soft, so I crisp them up in the oven before dipping into the water/Amaretto mixture.
I’d highly recommend a food scale to get the ingredients right, but I have adapted to U.S. measurements below.
130g sugar (4.58 ounces or .5725 cup)
500g mascarpone (17.637 oz. or 2.205 cup)
125g whipping cream (4.40925 oz. or .55116 cup)
100g amaretti cookies (3.5274 oz. or .44 cup)
30g cocoa powder (1.058 oz. or .1323 cup)
1 package lady fingers
1/2 cup amaretto liquor
1/2 cup caffè (coffee) or water
Using a tumbler, fill about 3/4 full with 50% Amaretto (or coffee) and 50% water.
Quickly dip each ladyfinger in the glass; flip to get both sides. Place in 9×13″ glass dish. There should be about 15 ladyfingers per layer.
Crush the Amaretto cookies. Set aside.
Separate the eggs.
Add sugar to the egg yolks. Mix well. Add Mascarpone to the egg mixture. Folding in gently.
Add a dash of water to the egg whites. Beat until stiff peaks.
Fold the egg white mixture into the yolk mixture.
Add Amaretto cookies, crumbled, to the mixture.
Whip the cream until stiff peaks form.
Fold whipping cream into egg mixture.
Spread 1/2 of the cream mixture over the first layer of lady fingers.
Put cocoa powder in a sieve and sprinkle over the cream mixture.
Repeat the dipping of lady fingers in Amaretto and water and place 2nd layer into the pan.
Spread remaining cream on top of the lady fingers.
Chill the Tiramisu.
When ready to service, sift cocoa powder over the top.