Tag Archives: bacon

Creamy Orzo with Bacon and Peas

Getting back into a groove after the holidays can be rough. I know I’ve felt a little off my game. And with it getting dark so early and quickly, it seems like it magically is dinner time RIGHT NOW every night. Any one else?

I’ve resorted a lot to quick meals. This one is nice because it is enough like macaroni and cheese that my kids will eat it; has bacon so my husband likes it; and has vegetables and is delicious so I like it. Wins all around. And it cooks in 1 pan. So easy clean up. Enjoy!

Creamy Orzo with Bacon and Peas (Serves 4)

Creamy Orzo with Bacon and Peas

4 ounces bacon, chopped
1 small onion, diced
2 cups orzo
3 ¼ cups water
1 cup chopped tomato
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 eggs
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon pesto

1. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until mostly browned. Add in onion. Sauté 2-3 minutes.

2. Add in orzo; cook until toasted. Add water. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until water is almost absorbed.

3. Stir in tomatoes and peas; cook 2-3 minutes.

4. In a small bowl, whisk eggs and parmesan together.

5. Turn off heat. Stir egg/parmesan mixture and pesto into pasta until well combined and creamy. Serve warm.

Recipe notes: I turn off the heat but then keep it on the burner to make sure the eggs actually cook. You could also cook it on low. You just want the eggs to cook slowly or you’ll have scrambled eggs.

Nutritional Information (amount per serving):

Calories: 366
Protein: 18 g
Fat: 23 g
Saturated Fat: 9 g
Cholesterol: 133 mg
Carbohydrates: 22 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sodium: 708 mg

Source: lightly adapted from Giada de Laurentis

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Kale and Butternut Pasta Bake

Christmas is coming. I hope you don’t feel like you are getting as fat as the proverbial goose. Treats and snacks and parties abound this time of year, which often leads to weight gain. While I don’t think you should go on a “diet” right now or work hard to lose eight, avoiding weight gain is a great goal. Trying to stay balanced is important. I posted last year about some great tips for eating at parties.

The holidays are full of family and friends being together. Food is usually an important part of these get togethers. I remember my mom always trying to avoid meals that required her to spend excessive time in the kitchen for cooking and for clean-up. This dish does require a bit of prep, but it can all be done well ahead of time. It isn’t difficult and will fill up any cold, hungry crowd. Enjoy!

Kale and Butternut Pasta Bake (Serves 6-8)

Kale and Butternut Pasta Bake

5 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash (about 1 small squash)
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon black pepper
12 ounces uncooked whole wheat short pasta (penne or ziti work well)
4 cups chopped kale
2 bacon slices
2 cups thinly sliced onion
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups lower-sodium chicken broth, divided
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 ounces fat free cream cheese
½ cup shredded smoked Gruyere cheese, divided

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Combine squash, oil, and black pepper in a large bowl; toss well. Arrange squash mixture in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 20-30 minutes or until squash is tender.

3. Cook pasta one minute short of al dente directions on package. Add kale during last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain pasta mixture.

4. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble.

5. Add onion to drippings in pan; cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally.

6. Bring 1¾ cups broth to a boil in a small saucepan. Combine remaining ¼ cup broth and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture and red pepper to broth. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat; stir in cream cheese and ¼ cup Gruyere until melted and sauce is well combined.

7. Combine squash, pasta mixture, bacon, onion mixture, and sauce in a large bowl; toss gently. Place pasta mixture in a 13×9 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle evenly with remaining Gruyere cheese. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until bubbly and slightly browned.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 311
Protein: 14 g
Fat: 9 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g
Cholesterol: 14 mg
Carbohydrates: 49 g
Fiber: 7 g
Sodium: 222 mg

Recipe Notes: You can use any pasta shape or dark leafy green you want. Regular Gruyere works, but I like how the smoky Gruyere accents the flavor of the bacon. If you can’t find Gruyere, you could substitute another type of Swiss cheese.

Source: adapted from Cooking Light

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BELT Sandwich

I like Wednesdays almost as much as the camel in the Geico commercials. The feeling of the week being half over makes me feel like I just might make it. My daughter loves going to the story time at our local library, which she talks about nonstop for the rest of the week. I grocery shop, which I honestly don’t love, but I get fresh produce which always makes me feel more alive. AND… we eat breakfast for dinner. I could honestly eat breakfast food just about every meal of the day and not be sad.

I recently fell in love with these sandwiches. So in love, we ate them three weeks in a row for breakfast for dinner. I can’t think of much not to love. They were fast, required only one pan, filled me up, included vegetables (which can be a trick at breakfast), were delicious, and my daughter ate it. Granted, on that last point, hers was deconstructed and sans vegetables. But we were all happy.

Enjoy!

BELT Sandwich (Serves 1)

BELT sandwich

2 slices whole wheat bread
½ tablespoon Dijon or horseradish mustard
1 ½ slice bacon
2 eggs
2-4 tablespoons milk
black pepper, to taste
1 ounce slice of colby or cheddar cheese
1 roma tomato, sliced
1 cup mixed greens
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves

1. Toast bread. Spread mustard evenly on each piece. Set aside.

2. In a small skillet or pan, cook bacon until crisp. Let drain on paper towels.

3. Wipe out most of grease from skillet. Whisk together eggs, milk, and pepper. Pour into skillet and cook, keeping the eggs formed to about the shape of your bread. When eggs are almost set, place cheese on top of eggs until it begins to melt. Remove from pan.

4. Build sandwich with bacon, tomatoes, greens and cilantro, eggs with cheese, and top slice of bread. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 532
Protein: 36 g
Fat: 28 g
Saturated Fat: 11 g
Cholesterol: 419 mg
Carbohydrates: 34 g
Fiber: 6 g
Sodium: 839 mg

Recipe Notes: You could use three egg whites or 1 whole egg and 1-2 egg whites. I prefer whole eggs, and an egg or two a couple times a week isn’t going to kill me. Add as much milk as you like to your eggs. This is like scrambled eggs, where you really wouldn’t have to add milk. I just always do. You can really use whatever cheese you have on hand, but I prefer a yellow cheese with eggs. Don’t skip on the cilantro. It is what takes this sandwich from good to great. Promise.

Source: original recipe

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I have a confession to make. I hate green bean casserole. I know this borders on insanity to many of you. I can’t stand canned green beans in any form, honestly. If I’m being completely honest, I hate any sort of green bean that hasn’t been sautéed or stir-fried. I know this is un-American. I’m sorry.

If by some miracle you are also in the anti-green bean casserole camp or are just looking for a different green vegetable side for your Thanksgiving table, I humbly submit these roasted Brussels sprouts. They caramelize into something almost sweet when you roast them. Tossed with a little bit of bacon and parmesan, I think your guests will thank you for skipping the green beans.

Enjoy!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts (Serves 4)

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1 lb Brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon water
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 strip bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 500. Place rack in upper-middle position in oven.

2. Trim stems of sprouts, but keep a little to keep intact. Cut large sprouts in half. Toss sprouts with olive oil, water, and pepper.

3. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread sprouts in an even layer in pan. Tightly cover with another sheet of aluminum foil.

4. Roast in 500 oven for about 10 minutes. Remove foil lid. Return to oven and cook for 10-12 minutes more, until sprouts are tender and lightly browned.

5. Toss cooked sprouts with bacon crumbles and parmesan cheese before serving.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 98
Protein: 5 g
Fat: 5 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 4 mg
Carbohydrates: 11 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sodium: 99 mg

Recipe Notes: This is a pretty straightforward recipe.

Source: only slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Low-iodine adjustment: skip the bacon and cheese. Add ¼ teaspoon of salt to sprouts before roasting. Toss with just a touch more olive oil before serving.

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Zucchini Soup

When I was growing up, my family had a vegetable garden. Unfortunately, the only thing we grew very well was zucchini and yellow squash. I say unfortunately because my siblings and I HATED squash. And we had so much squash. Once, my mom gave a squash to every construction worker building a house in our neighborhood, just to get rid of it.

Thankfully, I have grown out of my hatred of squash, and this soup is one of my favorite ways to eat it. This recipe is great for anyone in my family’s former predicament, too, since it uses a lot of squash. And for your picky palates, it doesn’t taste overwhelming of zucchini, surprisingly.

If you are worried about little kids eating such a green soup, I have two suggestions. First, our family actually calls this snot soup. If that doesn’t gross your kids out, they might think it is funny. Second, I saw a similar soup on a different blog being called “Hulk” soup for kids.

Enjoy!

Zucchini Soup (Serves 6-8)

IMG_5445label

3 lbs zucchini (about 5 or 6 if from the grocery store, probably 2-3 if from home)
1 large yellow onion
½ lb bacon, uncooked
2 cups water
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Plain greek yogurt, optional

1. Cut zucchini, onion, and bacon into large chunks.

2. Add all ingredients to a large stock pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. (Keep lid on pot).

3. Remove from heat. Puree in blender or with an immersion blender. Serve hot, with a dollop of greek yogurt if desired.

Nutritional Information: (Amount per Serving)

Calories: 221
Protein: 9 g
Fat: 17 g
Saturated Fat: 5 g
Cholesterol: 25 mg
Carbohydrates: 11 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sodium: 297 mg

Recipe Notes: I know it sounds gross to boil raw bacon. But it adds a creaminess to the soup that is very yummy. Just ignore how weird it seems and feeling like the mom from Better Off Dead. It won’t seem like enough liquid, but it works. Zucchini has a lot of water in it, so you don’t need to drown all the vegetables.

Source: adapted from a family friend

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