Tag: Bacon

Clean Out the Fridge Chicken Pasta–Don’t Look for This Dish in Italy

Clean Out the Fridge Chicken Pasta–Don’t Look for This Dish in Italy

Over the years, I’ve taught a number of Italian cooking classes, one more enjoyable than the last and no doubt I’ve learned as much as anyone in the groups. A few minutes are always spent discussing the basic courses of an Italian meal while listening to a stellar Italian opera aria or two, though we rarely have time to make them all, more’s the pity. Having traveled to Italy a number of times, I learned it was no secret Italians themselves only have time for such luxurious repasts during special family get-togethers, Sundays, or holidays — much like Americans. In Naples, a tour guide confided to me, “We love just pasta for lunch; it’s a favorite. Or pizza!” It was cool hearing that.

Here in the states, pasta is rarely a first course (“primi”), which it is for that special Italian meal:

Primo / Primi or primo piatto / primi piatti – first plate/s, usually pasta or risotto; you could also have a “bis di primi” or “tris di primi”, where they give you a small portion of two or three different types of pasta so you can sample.

ITALY Magazine

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Slow Cooker Elk Stew for Valentine’s Day Dinner

Slow Cooker Elk Stew for Valentine’s Day Dinner

Date night meals have been unique and even innovative for a lot of folks during the pandemic, mostly because instead of jumping in the car and heading for the nearest $$$$ restaurant, we’ve been forced to plan, create, and cook (clean up/boohoo) at home. Ordering food online or even shopping only once a week to limit time in stores means we must think ahead, deciding on a menu and making sure all of the ingredients are available, ready to use, and even thawed. (I hate thawing.) Not only that, there’s setting the table. Locating a bottle of wine. Turning on some decent music. Maybe finding a movie you haven’t seen. Getting out of your pajamas for dinner. Or not.

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Christmas Breakfast Casserole with a Za’atar Bloody Mary

Christmas Breakfast Casserole with a Za’atar Bloody Mary

Turn on a “Cozy Christmas Coffee Shop … Christmas Jazz Music…” while you read.

Christmas breakfast should be, without a doubt, nearly carefree. That being said, it must also be delectable, desirable, and delightful all the while taking care of itself while you open gifts, listen to A CHRISTMAS CAROL, or zoom with the family or friends. Egg breakfast or brunch casseroles — also known as stratas — fit the bill perfectly and are endlessly adaptable to ingredients on hand. This bacon (ham? sausage? veggie crumbles? chorizo?) version topped with brightly colored chopped peppers (mushrooms? tomatoes? jalapeños? zucchini? fennel?) provides six or eight servings but is also perfect for a smaller group who also might enjoy leftovers. That would be us. Though we are rarely at home alone for Christmas, we are this year as are many people all over the world. We’ll make our brunch dish a day ahead, of course, bake it on Christmas morning, and enjoy it over the whole weekend. We might even freeze a couple of pieces for an easy weekend brunch in January.

Serving one? Halve the recipe, which works perfect in an 8 or 9-inch square casserole dish. Relish for a couple of days, share, or freeze.

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More Time (for) Eggs

More Time (for) Eggs

“What would you like for breakfast?” I asked. “I never met an egg I didn’t like,” said my very dear friend Chris Kliesen Wehrman with a gleam in her eye one morning after she had spent the night at our house.

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Breakfast for Dinner: Apple-Walnut Pancakes with Eggs and Bacon

Breakfast for Dinner: Apple-Walnut Pancakes with Eggs and Bacon

Pancakes are the answer when the question is, “What’s for dinner? I haven’t been to the store and there’s nothing thawed. It’s late and we’re hungry.” My happy guess is you have flour, eggs, milk, and syrup or honey. Maybe, if God is good, you have some bacon in the freezer. Enter the fall breakfast for dinner and why not? It’s not something you do often, but when you do, you think, “THIS is a great idea!” Ok, this might not have fit in the “diet,” but I didn’t overdo. Continue reading “Breakfast for Dinner: Apple-Walnut Pancakes with Eggs and Bacon”

Bacon-Dijon Pork Tenderloin with Grilled Peach and Corn Salsa

Bacon-Dijon Pork Tenderloin with Grilled Peach and Corn Salsa

When summer is at its summit in Colorado, we enter our Palisade Peach and Olathe sweet corn frenzy period.

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Pam’s Sage Pasta with Grilled Summer Squash and Portobello Mushrooms

Pam’s Sage Pasta with Grilled Summer Squash and Portobello Mushrooms

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NEW BAKING CLASS:  Make Your Pie and Eat It, Too!  Basics of American pie baking just in time for Thanksgiving.  Given two Saturdays in November:  November 7 and November 14, 1 – 4 pm.  6 openings for each date.  $55. per student includes pie making ingredients/instruction, dessert, coffee, and digestif (after dinner drink), if desired.  See CURRENT CLASSES above right.

My good friend Pam is a marvelous alto.  She’s a fine cook, too. I know this because she and her husband are in our wine group and I get to sample her tasty fare fairly often. Here she is looking gorgeous and cooking at a house we rented near the Paso Robles wine country a couple of years ago.

IMG_5059This summer I discovered another talent of Pam’s; she, along with her husband, is an avid, generous gardener.  Arriving last week at our house for a laid-back deck burger fest complete with homemade ice cream, she walked in brandishing a bouquet of sumptuous late summer herbs and two bright-as-sunshine summer (yellow) squash. Several very busy days went by and while I had pulled some herbs out for a dish or two, I hadn’t touched the summer squash. I’ve been on a serious diet for months and hadn’t had a bite of pasta all summer long. When I DO make pasta, it’s usually a good-quality whole-wheat variety and rarely white pasta.  But yesterday it was time for a treat; I pulled out the Cipriani’s pappardelle and began grilling the squash with some big Portobello mushrooms.  Try this easily-made-vegan dish for your end-of-summer grilled supper:

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PAM’S SAGE PASTA WITH GRILLED SUMMER SQUASH AND PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS

serves 4

No grill? Cook the squash and mushrooms in a skillet or roasted in the oven.

For vegan version, follow green instructions/ingredients. The large mushroom and squash pieces give this dish a really “meaty” feel. For a vegetarian version, simply leave out the bacon.

  • 3 pieces thick bacon, cooked, drained, and crumbled (Skip for vegan version)
  • 2 summer (yellow) squash, sliced thinly lengthwise
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced thinly lengthwise
  • 3 Large Portobello mushrooms
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 each tablespoon butter or olive oil (2 tablespoons olive oil for vegan version)
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Crushed red pepper
  • 4 tablespoons minced fresh sage (Reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish.)*
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 large tomatoes, small dice (Reserve 1/3 cup for garnish.)
  • 1 cup heavy cream (1 cup rice or nut milk for vegan version)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (Sub with a garnish of toasted bread crumbs for vegan version)
  • 1 pound cooked and drained Pappardelle pasta–Cipriani’s is my favorite (Vegan pasta for vegan version.)
  1. Set cooked and crumbled bacon aside, if using.
  2. Heat grill to medium high. Toss squash and mushrooms with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and black pepper. Grill, turning midway, until grill marks are quite dark and the squash is tender. Remove and set aside.  Slice mushrooms  into 1/4-inch pieces. If grilling indoors on the stovetop in a grill pan, you may have to grill in batches. (Cook pasta now if you haven’t done so already.)
  3. In the meantime, heat butter/oil in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium flame and cook onions until quite soft. Add garlic, a good pinch each of crushed red pepper, salt, black pepper, 2 tablespoons minced sage, spinach, and all but 1/3 cup diced tomatoes. Cook another minute or two, stirring, or until spinach begins to wilt.
  4. Stir in cream or rice/nut milk along with Parmesan cheese, if using.  Lower heat and simmer 2-3 minutes.  Add grilled mushrooms and chopped, cooked bacon, if using.  Taste and adjust seasonings.
  5. Gently add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir. Taste again and adjust seasonings as needed.
  6. To serve, divide pasta between four bowls adding reserved grilled squash along side, on top, or around.  Garnish with the reserved tomatoes and minced sage.    Top with toasted bread crumbs for vegan version.

*Fresh sage is usually available in grocery stores, but if you can’t locate it, stir in 1/4 teaspoon dried, rubbed sage.  Taste and add more if you like.  Skip the sage garnish, perhaps substituting chopped fresh parsley instead.

{printable recipe}

WINE:  White Burgundy  or Chardonnay.

DESSERT:  Sliced fresh peaches with a drizzle of Amaretto or apples with cheese.

Sing a new song,

Alyce