Cavatappi with Prosciutto and Peas

DF

Peas are one of the first signs that Spring has arrived.  Isn’t it weird that plants just know when to start growing again? I think it’s pretty miraculous. So why not take full advantage of nature’s bounty?  This pasta is delicious with fresh peas, but it can also be made all winter long with frozen peas as they are packed at the peak of ripe perfection.

Food 123

Cavatappi with Prosciutto and Peas
1 lb cavatappi pasta, cooked
2 shallots, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
8 slices prosciutto, chopped
3/4 c frozen or fresh peas
1 c grape tomatoes, halved and seeded
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt
1 c cooked rotisserie chicken
1/4 c white wine
1/4 c chicken broth
1/2 c basil, chopped
parmesan for serving if desired

In a large saute pan heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add shallot and garlic, cook until softened about 5 minutes.  Add prosciutto, frozen peas, grapes tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and salt.  Add cooked rotisserie chicken and cook until warmed through.  Add white wine and chicken broth, let reduce by 1/3.  Add cooked pasta and basil, toss to combine.  Add parmesan cheese to taste if desired.

Brownie Cookie Sandwiches with Peanut Butter Frosting

DF, V, VG

If you’re a food fan, you love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter.  It may have started with Reese’s peanut butter cups, but it goes on and on from there.  This time around I took my inspiration from whoopie pies.  Although whoopie pies are normally made with cake, why not use brownies? Seriously, are brownies ever a bad idea? I don’t think so, cook with me and let me know what you think.

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Brownie Cookie Sandwiches with Peanut Butter Frosting

For the brownie cookies:
1 stick dairy free butter (such as Earth Balance)
1 1/2 c dairy free chocolate chips (such as Enjoy Life)
2/3 c sugar
2 eggs or egg substitute
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder

For the Peanut Butter Frosting:
1 stick dairy free butter (such as Earth Balance)
1 c peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 or 2 c powdered sugar
1/3 water

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.

Stir the 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips and butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in increments of 30 seconds until chocolate is melted and smooth.  Remove the bowl and set aside.

Combine the eggs, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat the egg mixture, until light and fluffy.  Add the melted chocolate mixture and mix until well blended. Add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated.  Chill for 15 to 20 minutes to allow the batter to firm up slightly if batter is soft.

Using a tablespoon sided cookie scoop, drop the batter onto the baking sheets, spacing 1 1/2-to-2-inches apart. Bake the cookies until slightly firm, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool the cookies on the sheets.

Using an electric mixer beat peanut butter with the butter until light and fluffy.  Slowly add powdered sugar and water and beat until smooth.

Once cookies have cooled frost one cookie with peanut butter frosting on the flat side then top with another cookie to make a sandwich.  Recipe should make 15 – 20 brownie cookie sandwiches.

Balsamic BBQ Meatballs

DF, GF

I recently made a homemade batch of bbq sauce and realized how much better it is than anything you can buy in stores.  So naturally I’ve added it to a lot of things like BBQ Turkey Meatloaf.  Meatballs are great, but like anything else that you eat a lot you have to find different ways to make them, so why not add some bbq sauce?  It was probably the best decision I made this week; do the same and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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Balsamic BBQ Meatballs (makes 15-17 meatballs)

For the Meatballs:
1.25 lb ground beef
1 egg
1/2 c warm water
2/3 c italian seasoned panko bread crumbs (or 3/4 c cooked quinoa if gluten-free)
3 sprigs of thyme
salt and pepper

For the Balsamic BBQ Sauce:
1/2 c onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2 c ketchup
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1 tbs worcestershire sauce (make sure label says gluten-free)
2 tbs molasses
2 tbs brown sugar
3/4 c pineapple juice
1 c balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large saute pan heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients for the balsamic bbq sauce and bring to a simmer.  Let sauce reduce for 20 minutes.

Dump all ingredient for the meatballs into a bowl and fold together with your hands until just combined.  Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. form meat into 1.5 inch balls (should make between 15 and 17). Bake for 20 minutes, then place meatballs in simmering balsamic bbq sauce and cook for another 10 minutes.