Archive for the ‘Quick 'n Easy’ Category

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Bacon and Tomato Gnocchi

September 17, 2018

20180806 Bacon Gnocchi 03

Just a few ingredients make this a simple pasta dinner. However the bacon packs lots of flavor alongside the fresh tomatoes.

You will need:

  • 1/2 lb thick cut bacon
  • 1 lb fresh gnocchi
  • 2 c cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 c shredded pecorino romano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 c fresh baby arugula

Then you will…

  1. In a large nonsticket skillet, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel. Reserve the bacon fat.
  2. In a small sauce pan, warm 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat over medium heat.
  3. Add the the tomatoes and garlic to the sauce pan and allow to saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the gnocchi according to the package. Drain and reserve 1/4 c of the cooking water.
  5. Add the pecorino romano and reserved cooking water to the sauce pan. Bring to a simmer.
  6. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
  7. In the large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat over medium-high heat.
  8. Add the cooked gnocchi to the skillet and allow to crisp up on each side, about 3-5 minutes all together.
  9. Add the sauce to the skillet and toss the gnocchi to coat.
  10. Remove from heat and stir in the baby arugula.
  11. Chop the bacon and top the gnocchi with bacon pieces before serving.
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Pizza Pockets

August 28, 2018

20180721 Pizza Pockets 02

These are definitely not a fancy treat, but they are quick and easy and perfect for helping toddler hands to put together.

You will need:

  • 2 packages (8 oz each) crescent rolls
  • 1/2 c pizza sauce
  • 8 mozzarella cheese sticks, cut into two shorter halves
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t oregano

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Unroll the crescents.
  3. Spread a spoonful of pizza sauce on the wide end of the crescent.
  4. Place one half piece of cheese on each spoonful of sauce.
  5. Wrap the dough around the sauce and cheese.
  6. Place each dough bundle, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Put the butter in a small, microwave-safe bowl.
  8. Melt by heating in the microwave, roughly 30 seconds.
  9. Mix in the garlic powder and oregano.
  10. Brush the seasoned butter on top of the dough bundles.
  11. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until puffed up and golden.
  12. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at least 5 minutes before serving with extra dipping pizza sauce.

20180721 Pizza Pockets 01

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Double Mushroom Balsamic Pasta

July 31, 2018

Pasta is a wonderful quick meal choice. This dish is hearty thanks to the mushrooms and it gets amazing flavor from the balsamic vinegar. To enhance the mushrooms, I recommend using the truffle balsamic for the double mushroom flavor. This pasta goes great with a fresh crusty bread or a crisp green salad.

You will need:

  • 1 lb dried fettucine
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 16 oz baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced into quarters (6ths if larger mushrooms)
  • 1/3 c truffle balsamic vinegar (or regular if you can’t find truffled)
  • 1/4 c whipping cream
  • 1/3 c grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh cracked pepper

Then you will…

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the fettucine 2 minutes shy of al dente, and save 1/2 cup of the cooking water. (The pasta will finish cooking in the sauce).
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, melt the butter into the olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Add the onion and garlic to the skillet.
  4. Saute until the onion starts to soften, about 5 minutes.
  5. Mix in the mushrooms and allow to saute until they start to brown, about another 10 minutes.
  6. Add the vinegar and let cook down for about 3 to 5 minutes, until reduced by half.
  7. Stir in the cream and Parmesan.
  8. Stir in the fettucine to coat with sauce and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  9. Add some of the pasta water to reach the desired thickness, if needed.
  10. Season with fresh cracked pepper to taste.

20180710 Mushroom Fettucine

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Guava Puff Pastry Pockets

July 17, 2018

I first had pastelitos de guayaba (guava puff pastries) at a little market in San Antonio. Pastelitos are a popular Cuban dessert, and you often find them filled with sticky guava paste and sweet cream cheese. I made a variation without the cream cheese for a summer picnic this month. I loved how portable they were and how well they handled the summer heat. Another bonus: there are only two ingredients!

20180703 Guava Puffs 05

You will need:

  • 1 package frozen puff pastry sheets, defrosted
  • 1 package guava paste (you’ll need about 12 oz)

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
  2. Roll out each piece of puff pastry into a 12 inch by 12 inch square.
  3. Slice your guava paste and place on one sheet of the puff pastry. You want to space them to create twelve pockets of guava.
  4. Top with the remaining sheet of puff pastry. Cut into the twelve pieces.
  5. Use a fork to press the edges together.
  6. Make three small slices in the top of each piece to vent.
  7. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets.
  8. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes.
  9. Allow to cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before eating.

20180703 Guava Puffs 01

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Mocha Chip Ice Cream

June 25, 2018

20180531 Mocha Ice 02

I heart ice cream. I could eat it every day. D loves mocha drinks. He could drink them every day. This dessert combines those two delicious items into a creamy frozen treat. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can still make this in your freezer. Just put the mixture in your freezer, and then stir every hour for four to five hours until desired consistency.

You will need:

  • 1 c 2% milk
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 3 T instant espresso powder
  • 3 T high quality, unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 c whipping cream
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c mini semisweet chocolate chips

Then you will…

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together everything but the mini chocolate chips.
  2. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions. It will be a soft serve consistency at this point.
  3. Stir in the mini chocolate chips and transfer to a freezer-safe container.
  4. Freeze an additional hour or two until it reaches your desired consistency.

20180531 Mocha Ice 01

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Peanut Butter Oatmeal Granola Bars

June 19, 2018

While home with our sweet newborn, I’ve learned having snacks I can eat one-handed nearby is a must. I love these bars chilled, so I recommend keeping them in the fridge and grabbing a slice when you need a delicious break from your day.

You will need:

  • 1 c creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 2 c old-fashioned oats
  • 1 c dried fruit, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c dark chocolate chips, roughly chopped

Then you will…

  1. Line a 9×9 baking dish with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the peanut butter together with the honey and maple syrup over medium-low heat until smooth and well combined. Remove from heat.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the oats and dried fruit.
  4. Stir the peanut butter sauce into the oat mixture.
  5. Stir in the chocolate.
  6. Press the mixture into the prepared dish and refrigerate at least 3 hours or until firm before slicing.

20180605 Granola Bars 03

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Strawberries n’ Yogurt Popsicles

June 9, 2018

Our teething toddler recently discovered popsicles and all their cool yumminess. We found a mini popsicle mold online that makes small popsicles that are just the right size for his cute little hands and mouth. He loves strawberries and yogurt, so we let that inspire these popsicles.

20180601 Strawberry Popsicles

You will need:

  • 16 oz fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 1 c vanilla yogurt (I recommend a thicker yogurt like Greek or Icelandic skyr)
  • 4 T honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 t lime juice
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract

Then you will…

  1. Puree all the ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  2. Pour into popsicle molds.
  3. Freeze overnight.
  4. Enjoy in the sunshine.
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