Pasta Carbonara

This is one of my favorite meals to make. It is so simple and quick to pull together and it is always a crowd pleaser.  Another fantastic thing about this meal, is that it is super easy to modify the amount of ingredients to make it as a single serving or for a full family.

Pasta Carbonara


Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients
1 pound thick spaghetti
1/2 bag frozen peas
1 Tbs olive oil (plus extra to pour over pasta)
8 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
6 eggs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1- In a large pot bring enough salted water to cover pasta to a boil.

2- While water is boiling, cook bacon (I use a microwave) until crispy and set aside. Put one Tbs olive oil in pan and cook chopped onion until translucent. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add chopped bacon.

3- Prepare eggs by cracking and mixing in with salt and pepper. ALL INGREDIENTS MUST BE READY TO GO AS SOON AS PASTA IS OUT OF WATER. IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT THE PASTA IS STILL HOT WHEN YOU ADD THE EGGS.

4- Cook pasta according to directions to al dente. With one minute left, drop frozen peas into boiling water with pasta. Drain and immediately return to same pot you cooked it in. Pour enough olive oil over so the pasta does not stick. Quickly mix in the bacon, onion and garlic. Add Parmesan cheese and then immediately pour the eggs over. Stir to mix completely. Serve immediately.

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We paired this meal with a Cabernet Franc from Lang and Reed in Napa California. The is a lighter body Cab Franc so it did not over power the meal. In addition, the smokiness of the bacon was ideal to bring out the earthiness flavors of the wine.

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Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage

I’m at it again. Well, honestly, once you make one pumpkin dish, you need to make a second since the pumpkin puree can is so large!

Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage

INGREDIENTS
2 pieces of sausage (sweet or spicy, your choice); sliced
2 tbs. olive oil
1 can chicken broth (14.5 oz)
1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz)
3 cloves of garlic; chopped
1 small onion; chopped

1/2 pound shaped pasta (I used Campanelle)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top
salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

1- Cook pasta according to directions. Drain when done.
2- In a large pan, warm oil and cook sausage until browned. (I actually grilled the sausage first, then sliced them and browned in pan)
3- Remove sausage and cook garlic and  onion until onion is translucent.
4- Add chicken broth and pumpkin puree and cook until boiling.
5- Add cooked pasta to mixture and coat. Return sausage to pan and stir.
6- Salt and pepper to taste.
6- Serve immediately. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

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Wine pairing suggestions:
White – Pinot Grigio, crisp Chardonnay, Riesling from Alsace
Red – Syrah, lighter Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, Malbec

Pumpkin Rice

Oh yeah! It is Fall. This is my favorite season of the year. The leaves begin to change color, its the perfect weather to take a long hike, and it is PUMPKIN season!  I am a pumpkin fiend. Well, I’m a weird pumpkin fiend. I love pumpkin food, but I don’t like pumpkin pie or pumpkin drinks. I know, I’m weird!

Pumpkin Rice


INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cans of chicken broth (14.5 oz. cans)
2 tbs. olive oil
2 tbs butter
1 chopped onion
3 cloves garlic; chopped
2 fresh sprigs of thyme
1 1/2 cups white rice
1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz can)
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top
salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS
1-In a large, deep pot, add the olive oil and butter and heat over medium  heat.
2- Once the butter is melted, add the onion, garlic,and thyme, stirring occasionally. Cook until the onions are translucent.
3- Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter and oil.
4- Add the broth and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally.
5- Add the pumpkin puree and stir to incorporate. Add the spices and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6- Serve warm, sprinkle with as much Parmesan cheese as desired.

We paired this meal with an Achaval Ferrer 2012 Quimera which is a blend comprised of:
50% Malbec, Medrano and Luján from Cuyo
24% Cabernet Franc, from Tupungato
16% Merlot, from Tupungato
8% Cabernet Sauvignon, old vines of Medrano and Tupungato
2% Petit Verdot

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Disclosure of wine sample submission:  I received this wine at no cost from Achaval-Ferrrer and Protocol Wine Studio. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are entirely my own. Read more about Malbec here

Brown Sugar Bacon Wrapped Chicken

Brown Sugar Bacon Wrapped Chicken


Author: Jen Nikolaus
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. salt
⅛ tsp. pepper
⅔ cup Truvia Brown Sugar Blend (or and 1⅓ cup light brown sugar)
1½ pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into tenders
bacon, with pieces cut in half

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Generously spray a broiling pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  3. In another bowl, pour in Truvia Brown Sugar (or brown sugar).
  4. Roll chicken pieces in chili powder mixture.
  5. Next, secure a piece of bacon around the chicken using a toothpick.
  6. Now roll in the brown sugar until well covered.
  7. Place on the prepared baking pan. Bake for about 30 minutes or until cooked through.
  8. If you like bacon crispier, place under broiler for a few minutes until bacon is brown and crispy.
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We paired this meal with a 2013 Ehler’s Estate Cabernet Franc. Our tasting notes can be found on Delectable and a detailed post titled, “A Tale of Two Francs” can be found here.

Lori’s Chicken Diane


INGREDIENTS:
1/2 pound thin spaghetti
2 Tbs butter melted
2 Tbs Chef Paul Prudhommes’ Poultry Magic Seasoning
2 Tbs green onions
1 can 13 oz. chicken broth
1 pound boneless chicken breast cut bite size
PROCEDURE:
1. Melt butter and pour over cubed chicken. Add Poultry Magic Seasoning and let marinate for at least an hour.
2. Cook pasta to al dente directions minus 1 minute and set aside.
3. Brown chicken until fully cooked.
4. Add pasta to chicken and pour chicken broth over combination.
5. Add diced green onion and simmer until boiling.
6. Serve hot.
Dracaena Wines

I Finally “Perfected” My DD Pizza Dough

I have been experimenting with pizza dough. I have been tweaking my recipe to try to get a deep dish dough that is delicious, yet can still be folded like us East coasters love to do. I think I have finally done it, so I wanted to share my recipe with you!

NY Style Deep Dish Pizza Dough


INGREDIENTS:
1 Cup warm water
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs melted butter
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup wheat dough
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs milk powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp active yeast
METHOD:
I use a bread machine on the dough cycle, but you could use a Kitchen Aid and let rise for 1 1/2 hours.
1 – Put ingredients in order into the bread maker. Choose dough cycle and let it run its course.
2 – after dough is done in machine (or has risen for 1 1/2 hours, sprinkle table with corn meal and spread dough to the size of your deep dish pan. (my pan is 14″ diameter)
3 – Cover dough (I use the deep dish pan) for at least one hour.
4 – Preheat oven with deep dish pan inside to 500oF.
5 – Remove pan from oven, and place dough in pan, cook for 5 minutes.
6 – Add sauce and toppings. (whatever suits your fancy – but cook the meat prior)
7 – Cook at 500oF for 8 minutes, spinning once.
8 – Cool on cookie rack prior to cutting and serving.

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Colby Jack Mac & Cheese

Colby Jack Mac & Cheese

Ingredients:

4 oz Colby Jack Cheese
4 oz. Sharp Cheddar Cheese
12 oz. shaped pasta cooked al dente
2 Tbs. flour
1 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. dijon mustard
1/4 cup milk
20 oz can whole plum tomatoes
pinch of nutmeg, allspice and clove
breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese for topping

Directions:
1. Make a rue with flour and butter add milk, mustard and spices. Heat until thickened.
2. Drain tomatoes, chop them and add to the seasoned rue. Continue to heat until re-thickened.
3. Add the mixture to the pasta and mix thoroughly.
4. Toss in finely chopped cheese. Stir to mix.
5. Add to greased 9 x 12 baking dish, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and cover with breadcrumbs. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350oF until heated through and all cheese is melted. (approximately 15 minutes)

Dracaena Wines

We paired this meal with a 2012 Ehler’s Estate Cabernet Franc. You can read about the pairing in my post When Will Some Day Be? Open That Bottle Now.

Dracaena Wines

~Sláinte!