Category Archives: Food Trends

A Family Favorite: Slow Cooker Fettuccine Bolognese

Written by Chris – 

SlowCookerFettucineBolognese

Bolognese sauce is a slow cooked, meat-based sauce for pasta originating in Bologna, Italy. It’s one of my absolute favorite Italian sauces! It’s perfect for a large family or can be easily frozen and kept on-hand for a quick and easy weeknight meal. Serve with a healthy side salad, and you will have one happy family!

Because Bolognese sauce needs to cook over low heat for several hours to develop the deep flavors it’s known for, a slow cooker/crock pot is ideal for this. You can make this with ground beef, or use a combination of meats like beef, veal and pork. That’s what I like to do.

This sauce starts out on the stovetop, and then it gets transferred to a slow cooker. If you have a slow cooker that allows you to sauté, you can skip the stovetop part. And if you want, you can prepare the meat mixture the night before, refrigerate, and then add to the slow cooker along with all the other ingredients the next day.

As you read through the recipe below, you may wonder why I am using NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk. Simply put, it tenderizes the meat. This hearty sauce is best served over a wide cut pasta, so BUITONI Refrigerated Fettuccine will be a perfect match.

Slow Cooker Fettuccine Bolognese

Ingredients for 14 servings (1/2 cup sauce plus 1 cup fettuccine):

Directions:

Slow Cooker Fettuccine Bolognese2

MELT butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, chopped thyme, pinch of salt and pepper; cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 10 minutes or until tender but not browned.

Slow Cooker Fettuccine Bolognese3

INCREASE heat to medium-high; add the pancetta. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until pancetta is golden.

Slow Cooker Fettuccine Bolognese4

ADD the meat a third at a time, stirring and breaking lumps with a spoon between each addition. Cook for about 15 minutes total (this is where this recipe develops so much flavor, so let it cook the full 15 minutes).

Slow Cooker Fettuccine Bolognese5

STIR in tomato paste; cook for about 2 minutes.

Slow Cooker Fettuccine Bolognese7

ADD wine; bring to a boil. With a wooden spoon, scrape all the brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until wine has almost evaporated.

Slow Cooker Fettuccine Bolognese6

TRANSFER mixture to slow cooker along with tomatoes with juice, evaporated milk, water and bouillon; then stir to combine.

Slow Cooker Fettuccine Bolognese8

COVER; cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 6 hours.

PREPARE pasta according to package directions (just make enough for what you plan to serve). Top with sauce, then sprinkle with a little cheese, if desired.

Slow Cooker Fettuccine Bolognese9

This plate is for me, so please excuse me while I eat. If you want to check out additional slow cooker recipes, visit meals.com.

Related Recipes:

TurkeyBologneseNew PumpkinSagePastaNew
Turkey Bolognese with Vegetables Pumpkin Sage Pasta

Celebrating Hot and Spicy Food Day

Written by Cynthia – 

Grilled Shrimp Skewers with Roasted Peppers

Today is Hot & Spicy Food Day, for me… one of the best days of the year! Since I come from Mediterranean descent, we don’t eat anything without a little bit of olive oil and a little bit of spice in it. So naturally, in celebration, I made these Grilled Shrimp Skewers with Roasted Peppers. I’m no expert chef, so what I love about this recipe is that it’s so quick and easy to make. I invited a girlfriend over to help me enjoy the fruits of my labor and boy was she fooled! She was pleasantly surprised at how I came up with such a “tasty and elegant-looking dish in such a short amount of time,” were her words to me exactly.

I started off with preparing the marinade, using BUITONI® Pesto with Basil. I love the taste of pesto – it adds such a rich flavor to pastas, salad dressings and marinades. While the recipe calls for some garlic, shallots and olive oil mixed into the pesto, I also added a small teaspoon of red pepper flakes to give it an extra spicy kick. Of course, you can play around with the measurements depending on how spicy or mild you prefer. I personally prefer extra spicy. Chili peppers can also be part of a healthy diet and are a source of Vitamin C to help maintain a healthy immune system.

I opted to use a broiler instead of a griller this time. Right after preparing the marinade, I started working on cutting and then broiling the bell peppers for about 10-15 minutes and then removing the charred skin after they were cooled. My advice would be to definitely prepare the marinade and shrimp first and stick it right in the refrigerator to give it ample time to marinate, while cooking the peppers. In the meantime, I also prepared a side salad using again BUITONI Pesto with Basil. Can’t you tell I just love this pesto! Check out the entire meal plan for these recipes including a starter and dessert here.

I used wooden skewers to alternately thread the shrimp and peppers. Here’s an important tip: Soak the wooden skewers in warm water for 30 minutes to help prevent them from igniting either on the grill or broiler. The hardest part about this recipe? Waiting for the shrimp to be done while smelling the rich aroma of garlic, pesto and peppers take over your kitchen. Well, I must say it was well worth the wait!

Grilled Shrimp Skewers and Roasted Peppers Basted with Basil Pesto

Ingredients for 2 servings:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons BUITONI Refrigerated All Natural Pesto with Basil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh shallots
  • 8 (about 8 ounces total) large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 bell peppers (yellow, red and green)
  • Skewers (NOTE: If using wooden skewers soak in water for 30 minutes before threading.)
  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread (about 6 inches)
  • Fresh basil sprigs for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Sea salt to taste

Directions:

PREHEAT grill or broiler.

MIX oil, 2 tablespoons pesto, garlic and shallots in medium bowl. Add shrimp; toss to coat. Marinate in refrigerator.

CUT bell peppers in quarters; grill or broil until skins blister. Place peppers in bowl; cover tightly with foil. Cool until peppers can be handled; remove charred skins.

CUT cooled bell peppers into 1 1/2-inch squares.

THREAD bell peppers and marinated shrimp alternately on skewers; discard any remaining marinade.

TRIM ends off of bread and discard; cut bread in four 1-inch-thick slices. Grill or broil until golden and crispy. Spread remaining 1 tablespoon pesto evenly on bread slices.

GRILL or broil shrimp skewers until shrimp are cooked and turn pink.

PLACE 2 slices of grilled bread on each plate. Remove shrimp and peppers from skewers and arrange on top of bread. Garnish with fresh basil sprigs or with an herb bouquet. Drizzle with lemon juice; season with sea salt.

Related Recipes:

Spicy Corn Soup & Citrus Tuna Skewers Crostini Aperitivo Recipe
Spicy Corn Soup & Citrus
Tuna Skewers
Crostini Aperitivo

Nourishing the Soul: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Written by Chris -

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Soup is comforting, especially during the winter months—creamy butternut squash soup warms the body and feeds the soul. Paired with salad and whole grain crackers or freshly baked bread, soup makes a healthy and satisfying meal.

Butternut squash is technically a fruit because it contains seeds, but most think of it as a vegetable. It’s shaped like a large pear, has cream-colored skin, deep orange-colored flesh with a slightly sweet flavor. Roasted and pureed, butternut squash adds flavor and texture to soups. In the soup recipe below, it’s the star ingredient!

I’ve made this soup with three different spices, curry being my favorite. Our test kitchen also tested it with cumin and ground ginger; all delicious. If you make it, let me know what you go with. Start with 1 teaspoon of spice and add more as needed.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients for eight 1-cup servings:

Directions:

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

RINSE squash under cold running water before cutting. Cut squash in half through the stem and remove the seeds (check out the tip at the bottom of this post for roasting the seeds). Drizzle cut edges with oil; season with salt and pepper. Place cut-side-down on a baking sheet.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

ROAST squash for 1 hour or until very soft. Remove from oven; turn the halves over and let stand until cool enough to handle (as shown above). Scoop flesh from shells into a bowl and discard shells.

MELT butter over medium heat in large saucepan. Add shallots; cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the squash flesh, water, bouillon and curry powder; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover; cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until squash is broken down.

COOL squash mixture for about 5 minutes before adding it to a blender. Working in batches, puree until smooth, transferring the mixture to a saucepan as you work (if you have an immersion blender, it works great with this recipe). Stir in evaporated milk and sugar. Season with pepper; cook a few minutes over medium heat to combine the flavors. Ladle soup into serving bowls; swirl in a dollop of sour cream. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.

Storage tip: If you have any leftover soup, and don’t plan to eat it within a couple days, freeze it. I like to freeze soup in individual portions. Ladle in to small containers, cover tightly and freeze. When ready to enjoy again, simply defrost and reheat before serving.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Ok, now for those remaining seeds… seeds from butternut squash can make a great snack food, and can be prepared in the same way as pumpkin seeds. Once scooped out from inside the squash and separated from the pulp, you can place the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet to dry. Once dry, toss them with a little oil and season with a little salt or seasoning of choice. Lightly roast them in a preheated 275°F oven for 15 minutes or until seeds are golden brown and begin to pop.

I hope you like this soup as much we do! 100 calories never tasted so good! Nutrition information can be found online.

Enjoy!

Chris

Links:

Related Recipes:

Cream of Chicken and Vegetable Soup Recipe Butternut Squash Soup Recipe
Cream of Chicken and
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Election Day: A Comforting Pumpkin Sage Pasta Recipe

Written by Chris -

Pumpkin Sage Pasta Recipe

Happy Tuesday!

Election Day calls for comfort food, don’t you think? I’m not sure about you, but I know I will be following all of the election coverage. I find this Pumpkin Sage Pasta to be incredibly comforting. Perhaps it’s the clingy sauce… Or how the pumpkin and sage meld together… Or maybe it’s the Gruyère cheese… This is what I know for certain; one party will be in need of comforting this evening.

Do you add pumpkin to your savory recipes? A little pumpkin goes a long way to making your favorite dishes tastier and more nutritious. It adds extra flavor, fiber and Vitamin A, while cutting down on fat and sodium.

On those busy school nights, I often add pumpkin to my tomato sauce (works great in homemade and store-bought). The pumpkin adds a little extra body to the sauce, which I love! All you need to do is stir in 3/4 to 1 cup LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin into 3 cups (about 26 oz.) of your favorite pasta sauce.

Or…

If you are ready for a change of pace, might I suggest you give this Pumpkin Sage Pasta a try? It’s a bit more elegant and the flavors are a little more distinctive. I think you might just love it! This recipe works best with short cut pasta such as trottole, spirals, penne or bow tie; the sauce really clings to it! And it’s ready in 30 minutes! Garnish with fresh sage leaves for an extra flavor dimension and eye-catching appeal.

You can check out the recipe video here and see just how easy it is to put together.

Pumpkin Sage Pasta

Ingredients for 6 servings:

Directions:

MELT butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots; cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and sage leaves; cook, stirring frequently, for about 1 minute. Stir in wine; cook for 2 minutes or until reduced slightly. Stir in water and bouillon; cook for 2 to 3 minutes to infuse flavors. With tongs, remove and discard sage leaves.

STIR evaporated milk and pumpkin into skillet; heat through. Stir in Parmesan cheese and Gruyère cheese until melted. Add cooked pasta to skillet; stir to coat and heat through. Season with pepper. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese. Garnish with fresh sage leaves, if desired.

Links:

Related recipes:

Ravioli Pumpkin Casserole Recipe Baked Ziti with Pumpkin & Sausage Recipe
Ravioli Pumpkin
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Pumpkin & Sausage

Pumpkin Post: Spiderweb Pumpkin Curry Soup

Written by Liz -

Spiderweb Pumpkin Curry Soup Recipe

I love soup. I eat soup for lunch almost every day, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. There’s something so satisfying in this steaming bowl of broth, cooked vegetables, meats and just plain nourishment for the soul. Especially when it’s cold or rainy outside (or over-air-conditioned inside) and the soup has been cooking all day.

This soup incorporates pumpkin and ginger, two healthy powerhouses. Pumpkin is rich in antioxidants, fiber and Vitamin A plus it’s low in fat. It also adds a flavor punch to many savory dishes, from pastas to soups to casseroles.

Here are some of my favorite soups & chilis:

Thai-Style Pumpkin Soup Recipe

Thai-Style Pumpkin Soup (Pictured above)

Pumpkin Chili Mexicana Recipe

Pumpkin Chili Mexicana

White Chicken Chili Recipe

White Chicken Chili


Spiderweb Pumpkin Curry Soup
(Pictured at the top of the post)

Ingredients for 4 Servings:

Directions:

HEAT oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in curry powder, coriander and crushed red pepper; cook for 1 minute. Add water and bouillon; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes to develop flavors. Stir in pumpkin and evaporated milk; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until heated through.

TRANSFER mixture to blender or food processor (in batches, if necessary); cover. Blend until creamy. Serve warm or reheat to desired temperature. Ladle soup into bowls.

PLACE sour cream in small, heavy-duty plastic bag. Cut tiny corner from bag; squeeze to pipe concentric circles onto soup. Using wooden pick or tip of sharp knife, pull tip through sour cream from center to edge of bowl.

PREPARATION TIP: Soup may be prepared the day ahead. Cool to room temperature after adding pumpkin and evaporated milk. Cover and refrigerate. Just before serving, blend then reheat to serving temperature, but do not boil.

Links:

More Pumpkin Recipes:

Pick-Me-Up Pumpkin Latte Recipe Easy Pumpkin-Pasta Bake Recipe
Pick-Me-Up Pumpkin Latte Easy Pumpkin-Pasta Bake

Pesto Pairs Perfectly with Italian White Wine

Written by Liz -

Tortellini with Pesto and Sun-Dried Tomatoes recipe

September 30 is the last day of California Wine Month so I thought I’d pair one of my favorite Italian sauces (as in the Tortellini with Pesto and Sun-dried Tomatoes above) with some California white wines made from Italian varietals. And I added a twist to the pesto that I learned from Luce, one of Bon Appetit’s top 10 best new restaurants in America.

The Food:

Luce Italian restaurant in Portland

Luce is a very small market and restaurant dedicated to simple Italian cooking in Portland Oregon. Every dish on the menu was so simply made that at first glance, it seems too easy, too sophomoric. But after a bite or two, the flavors this kind of cooking imparts transports you to the traditions of Italy. Bon Appetit called it “bare bones…Italian home cooking at its core.”

Luce Italian cooking in Portland

The pesto at Luce was made with basil, avocado, almonds, walnuts and garlic. This is pesto in Southern Italy. And it was incredible! The avocado replaces the olive oil, making the dish lighter, full of flavor and oh-so-good for your skin. To make this easy on me to make at home, I used Buitoni pesto as a base, placing about half the container of pesto in a bowl, then mixing in one whole ripe avocado and serving it over al dente pasta. A perfect late summer meal.

The Wine:

I wanted to pair this with an Italian varietal made in California, and I found 2 wines that worked perfectly. Arneis from Palmina Wines has a bright lemony quality, and enough acid to zip along your tongue with the pesto, cutting the oils and balancing the meal perfectly.

Luce Italian restaurant in Portland

Another wine, Bianchetto from Moretti Wines is a blend of 3 Italian varietals from different regions: Arneis, Malvasia Bianca and Tocai Friulano. You won’t see this blend in Italy, but it’s lovely flowery nose and fruit and acid balance also really enhanced the dish.

Links:

More pesto recipes:

Baked Pesto Chicken recipe
Baked Pesto Chicken Breasts recipe
Insalata Caprese with Pesto Vinaigrette recipe
Insalata Caprese with Pesto Vinaigrette
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