Tag Archives: whole wheat

Pasta with Bacon & Brussels Sprouts

After a particularly stressful week at work, plus a long battle with a cold, I was very ready for Friday to arrive. All I wanted to do was spend a restful, relaxing night at home. And I did just that. As soon as I walked into my apartment, I changed into pj’s, turned on some music, and just lay in my bed, decompressing from the strenuous week.

Two hours of lounging later, I mustered up the energy to whip up some dinner. One good thing that came of this busy week was that my fridge was overflowing with food. I had gone grocery shopping the previous weekend, as usual, but between my cold and getting home late, I hadn’t found a chance to cook. Envisioning myself in an episode of “Top Chef,” I set out to use the ingredients on hand for a delicious Friday night dinner.

Going through the fridge, I found some brussels sprouts, a package of bacon, a lemon, parmesan cheese, and whole wheat pasta. I remembered eating the best brussels sprouts a few months back at Father’s Office in LA, which were pan fried with bacon and pine nuts. I thought I could try to recreate that dish (sans pine nuts) with the addition of lemon juice (for acidity and freshness) and whole wheat pasta.

The results were fantastic. Think smoky bacon intermingled with slightly crisp, nutty brussels sprouts and hearty whole wheat pasta, with the occasional burst of lemon juice and parmesan. It was such a simple dish to make, yet it presented such sophisticated flavors and textures. And plus, the ingredients cost under $10 ($5.49 for bacon, $1 pasta, $3 brussels sprouts, $0.79 lemon) and many are pantry staples that most already have on hand.

If you’re a fan of bacon, brussels, or both (like me), then this is the dish for you. Try it on your next Friday night in!

Whole Wheat Pasta with Bacon and Brussels Sprouts

1/2 lb brussels sprouts, chopped in half with ends cut off

4-5 slices of bacon, chopped (can do more depending on your preference)

1 lemon

1/2 of a 14.5 oz  box of whole wheat pasta

Parmesan cheese (optional)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (optional)

1. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water, according to the directions on the box.

2. Boil another pot of salted water. Cook the brussels sprouts in the boiling water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain.

3. Heat a saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the bacon and let it crisp, 7-10 minutes (depending on how crisp you like it). Take the bacon out with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Reserve some of the bacon grease i the pan.

4. Fry the brussel sprouts in the leftover bacon grease over medium heat, until the outside becomes brown and crisp. Add the bacon back in for about 1 minute.

5. Turn off the heat. Toss the past with the bacon and brussels sprouts. Squeeze lemon juice onto pasta and grate parmesan cheese. Add salt, pepper, and olive oil to taste if desired.

Advertisements

Snowmageddon Cooking: Whole Wheat Apple Muffins

Gorgeous icicles adorning my window

Thursday was my third (and last) snow day. Even though the intense wind and snowfall had subsided, I still found it quite difficult to navigate my way outside. Snow still covered the roads and sidewalks, slushy puddles began to form in the walkways, and the already huge icicles outside my window (pictured above) grew even larger and longer. With conditions outside still treacherous, I resigned myself to spending another day indoors.

I had been resisting the urge to bake all week, but with another snow day to keep me indoors, I decided to throw caution (and my “diet”) to the wind and bake up a storm. I wanted to stay semi-healthy though, and found these whole wheat apple muffins on Smitten Kitchen which fit the bill perfectly. Even better, the recipe uses several basic ingredients which I already had in my pantry. The only things I had to buy were whole wheat flour ($3 at Whole Foods) and 2 Granny Smith apples.

The muffins were a cinch to make. The only thing I found worrisome was the ratio of batter to apples. I had WAY more apples than batter, and the batter was really thick–almost like bread dough. To thin it out, I added a bit more yogurt and a splash of milk (but did not change the consistency dramatically).

Despite this, the muffins turned out wonderfully and filled my apartment with warm spiced aromas. They made a lovely afternoon snack with a cup of Earl Grey tea, and made a delicious and hearty breakfast the next day. To stop myself from gobbling up all of them, I took the rest to my office (which was, thank goodness, open the next day), where they were a big hit. I didn’t have a single one leftover!

These healthy yet heavenly muffins should definitely be added to your baking repertoire–I know I’ll be adding them to mine!

Whole Wheat Apple Muffins

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Yield: They said 12, I got 17.

1 cup (4 ounces) whole wheat flour
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed (I used light brown sugar)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (8 ounces) yogurt
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
Splash of milk and extra yogurt, if your batter is too thick

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease and flour 18 muffin cups and set aside.

Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and add the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.Mix in the buttermilk gently. (If you over-mix, the buttermilk will cause the mixture to curdle.) Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the apple chunks.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar on top. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 400°F, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.