Meatless Monday: Ricotta Pasta

Ricotta Pasta

And once again we find ourselves at Meatless Monday! I'm going to start my week with 100% honesty. I took one look at this recipe and thought "Really? This is what we're having? Guess it's a diet night." But this dish seriously exceeded appearances! The ricotta gave it a nice creaminess and the mint gave it a nice, simple, unmuddled flavor. (Unmuddled... is that a word? Did I make that up?)

Cooking Light gives you the steps to make your own ricotta, but we went to a local Italian grocery store and bought a nice one. But the choice is yours! Another option: roast the tomatoes in the oven until they're about to burst, then cut them in half. (Wear an apron, they might splatter) 

Ricotta Pasta
serves 4
  • S&P
  • 8 oz fettuccine (fresh is best)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium zucchini (halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise)
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 c cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ricotta
  • 2 Tbsp small mint leaves
1) Bring a pot of water to a boil. When it comes to a boil, salt the water, and cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and reserve. 

2) Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Add zucchini and sauté 2 minutes. Add S&P and garlic. Sauté 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes. Combine with pasta and top with ricotta and mint.


Italian Cream Soda

Italian Cream Soda

Last week, Monday to be exact, I teased you with a sort-of kind-of Meatless Monday post where I told you all about my new favorite beverage. And here you have it! The daringly delicious Italian Cream Soda!!!

I found some Torani raspberry flavored syrup at the local grocery store (although my favorite is blackberry) and I am happy to report that this is just as delicious as at the restaurant! Maybe even better (free refills, hello).

Italian Cream Soda
serves 1
  • Flavored syrup (Torani is good)
  • Sparkling/Seltzer water
  • Cream (or half and half or whole milk)
1) Pour about 1-2 Tbsp flavored syrup into a glass of ice. Fill with sparkling/seltzer water. Top it off with 1 Tbsp cream and give it a stir


Bsketti and Meatballs

Bsketti and Meatballs
(aka: Spaghetti and Meatballs)

If you told the 7 year old me "Hey, kid! We're having spaghetti tonight. Do you like spaghetti?" 7 year old me would yell "Bsketti!!!" And if you asked 7 year old me what my favorite foods are, 7 year old me would tell you with a twinkle in my eye "bsketti and ribbons!" Translation: 7 year old me really loves spaghetti and BBQ ribs. 23 year old me also loves spaghetti and BBQ ribs, but 23 year old me is able to properly pronounce complicated words like "spaghetti" and "ribs." Ah, it's good to be 23. 

Whole wheat pasta, while higher in fiber and other nice things for your health, is just not that good. I would forgo the health benefits of whole wheat pasta for normal white pasta any day. However, I am convinced that we really can have it all. It requires an extra pot, but hey, what's an extra pot for the perfect spaghetti?

And here it is ladies and gentlemen, the revolutionary idea...
Half white pasta, half whole wheat pasta.
Genius, right? Each forkful will be a delightful balance between al dente delicious white pasta and healthy whole wheat pasta. All you have to do is cook whole wheat pasta in one pot and white pasta in another. You could cook them together in one pot as long as you make sure the whole wheat pasta goes in first because it takes longer to cook. I'm not a pasta expert, so I would personally stick to two separate pots.

Granted, I haven't actually tried this yet, but in my head it is perfection.

Spaghetti and Meatballs
  • olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 28 oz can tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 pinch sugar (about 1/4 tsp)
  • basil or dry Italian spices
  • 8 oz ground turkey
  • 12 oz ground sirloin
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 c parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 c panko
  • 1/4 c parmesan, grated
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • S&P
  • spaghetti
1) Make the sauce. Saute garlic and onion in olive oil until soft. Add tomatoes and tomato paste and a pinch of sugar. Let this simmer over low heat (a splatter guard will be a huge help at this point) until it start to thicken. Add some chopped basil and/or Italian spices to taste. Let simmer a bit longer. Add S&P to taste.

2) Meanwhile, prepare meatballs. Put ground turkey, ground sirloin, 1 egg, parsley, panko, parmesan, milk, 1 tsp dry Italian spices, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper. Use your hands to combine the ingredients being careful not to over-mix. Roll into meatballs the size of your choice.

3) Bring a pot of water to a boil. Salt the water. Cook your choice of spaghetti according to package directions.

4) Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place half the meatballs in the skillet and cook until brown on one side. Turn to brown on the other sides until cooked through. Repeat process with the rest of the meatballs.

5) When the pasta is cooked, the meatballs are done, and the pasta sauce is ready, put it on your plate and twirl it around on your fork and eat it up!


Weekend Fun and the Friendly Burger

The Friendly Burger

Okay, I realize today is Monday and normally I would tell you all about the meatless meal we had. But I didn't take any pictures. I know! I didn't get home until late and was so hungry when I got in the door that I just devoured the sandwich my mom had ready for me before it even occurred to me that it was Meatless Monday! It was like "omg food now big bites napkin omg SO good my mom is the best is that goat cheese on this sandwich yes yes yum om nom camera, what?" 

So, once again, I offer a substitute. I'll clue you in on my weekend happenings. Let's start with pictures, shall we?

 Above you will find the weekend's characters. Colin, blue drink with special things (Don't worry, nothing illegal here. The special things are just sprinkles.), delicious burgers, the blanket for outdoor lounging and me, Laura, and Beth (with Luxury Cat).

By the way, when I say weekend, I mean a Thursday afternoon. We haven't been out of college long enough to think Thursday isn't part of the weekend.

Beth and Colin treated Laura and I to delicious cheese burgers with sweet potato fries and pickles, all nestled in those cute red plastic baskets lined with wax paper! Beth and Colin are truly the best hosts.

All in all, my weekend was divine. Snacks and drinks outdoors, tree climbing, a big styrofoam airplane, and great friends. You just can't compete with that.


Pesto + Pasta

Mmmm, pesto. So fresh. So delicious.

This dish is simple. Pesto, pasta, grilled chicken, parmesan. It really couldn't be much simpler.

Pesto Pasta

  • 1/8 c walnuts
  • 1/8 c pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 1/2 c basil
  • 1/4 tsp salt plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 1/2 c parmesan cheese
  • penne pasta
  • chicken breast

1) Whir the nuts and garlic for 15 seconds in a food processor. Add basil, salt, and pepper. With processor on, stream olive oil in through the top. Add parmesan and give it a quick whirl. Use it right away or put a piece of plastic wrap over it laid directly on the pesto. 

2) Cook some pasta.

3) Grill a chicken breast that has been seasoned with S&P. Let it sit for a minute before you cut it. Cut into strips or cubes.

4) Drain pasta, add pesto and chicken. Add some pasta water if the pesto needs to be thinned out. Sprinkle some parmesan on top and eat it!


Summery Veggie Pasta

Summery Veggie Pasta

We live on a lake here at home, which means come summer time we will be out on the lake until the sun goes down. You may notice that means we're out on the lake until 9 or 10 pm. Totally fun, but drinking on an empty stomach is a bad idea! Which is why we need to have an arsenal of make-ahead, minimal maintenance meals to take on the boat.

This Summery Veggie Pasta is a great side dish or meal with the addition of grilled chicken. It's easy (cook pasta, cut veggies, make vinaigrette, combine, done), it's nutritious (hello, vegetables!), and it's delicious cold. Perfect for throwing in a small cooler with a few forks to gobble on the back of the boat.  You don't even have to pack napkins! Let's face it- if you drop some pasta on your bathing suit you can just jump in the lake.

For those of you that aren't living the aquatic life, this is for you, too! You didn't think I would leave you out, did you? You can use whatever veggies you prefer and as much or little as you want!

Summery Veggie Pasta
veggie to pasta to dressing ratio is completely subjective

  • big bowtie pasta (or little if you prefer)
  • 1 carrot, cut into bite sized bits
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into bite sized bits
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, cut into bite sized bits
  • 1/2 red onion, cute into bite sized bits
  • 3 c baby spinach
  • 1/4 c asiago cheese (or parmesan or another hard cheese), grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp white wine or tarragon vinegar
  • S&P
1) Cook bowtie pasta according to package directions (don't forget to salt the water!). 

2) Meanwhile, cut your veggies into bite sized bits. 

3) Prepare the dressing. Combine garlic, vinegar, and S&P in a small bowl. Whisk in olive oil. Taste the dressing and adjust the proportions accordingly. 

4) When bowties are finished cooking, drain and place in a large bowl (or back in the pot). Stir in baby spinach and let it wilt. Add dressing and grated cheese while the pasta is still hot. Add veggies and serve warm or cold.


Meatless Monday: Sort-of Kind-of

We didn't do Meatless Monday last week. It just wasn't in the cards this time, so we went out. We went to Johnny Carino's because it's local and OMG did you know you can get the family sized portions for half off on Mondays?!?! It's pretty much the best deal ever.

Since Meatless Monday was sort-of kind-of cancelled last week, here's what I can offer you: a beverage and some almost meatless sushi. 

Besides the amazing deals at Carino's, my favorite thing about it is the Italian Cream Soda. I'm pretty sure they just put some of those flavored syrups in the bottom of a glass, fill it up with soda water, and top it off with cream (just like the kind you put in your coffee). I might be salivating as I type this. 

As for the sushi, that was a bit more involved than the Cream Soda.

First you have to make sushi rice and let it some to room temperature. Then you prep your sushi fillings and get rolling! I kept it simple with cucumber, avocado, and crab (in various combinations). I'm going to spell out the steps, but I really can't call it a recipe. It's more of a process description.

I'm a huge fan of this making sushi at home thing because I love sushi, but it's not cheap. If you make it at home, you can make a whole bunch for cheap and totally pig out!

Sushi Rice
(about 3 rolls worth)

  • 1c rice (uncooked)
  • water
  • 1/3 c rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
1) Rinse 1 c rice until the water runs clear. Place in a pot with about 9.2 oz water (if you can get that exact measurement, more power to you). Put over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the water comes to a boil. When it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low, cover, and let it cook about 6-8 min. 

2) While the rice cooks, heat vinegar, sugar, and salt over medium heat until the solids dissolve.

3) Check rice. If there is still water in the pot, recover and check every minute. If there's no water, it's done! Put in a bowl and pour the vinegar mixture over top and stir it in. Let this rice come to room temperature.

Sort-of Recipe...

  • nori
  • sushi rice
  • fillings
    • avocado
    • cucumber
    • crab
    • avocado
    • carrot
    • anything else you want
  • rice vinegar
1) Get all of your ingredients arranged on your work surface. Cut vegetables into sticks. Prepare a bowl of 1 c water mixed with 1 Tbsp rice vinegar. Have a dry dish towel by your side.

2) Lay a sushi rolling mat (available at Japanese markets and even some run-of-the-mill supermarkets- or a magazine) on your work surface. Place a nori sheet on your rolling mat, shiny side down. 

3) Spread a thin layer of rice on top of the nori, leaving the top 2 cm edge of the nori clear. Place your sushi fillings on top of the rice, not quite in the center (closer to you). 

4) Watch this video on how to do the rolling. It's not too tricky, but learning from example can't hurt!

5) Cut your sushi roll into about 6 pieces and enjoy!

6) Watch this video to make an inside-out roll.


Sole meunière (aka: heaven)

Sole meunière
(from Ina Garten)

This might be my new favorite dish. It's so easy and delicious and sort of does that melt-in-your-mouth thing that people are so fond of. I've often said that you could put lemon on anything and I would probably love it. This is one of those lemony things I love. The ingredients are pretty simple and you probably already have them in your pantry, so stop by the grocery store on your way home from work and pick up some sole! Or hey! Maybe you're having a special someone over this weekend and you'd love to impress them without inflicting any sort of garlic breath. Well, this is your dish. Or maybe you're your own special someone... nothing is standing in your way of the most amazing fish you've ever had.

Sole meunière
serves 2

  • 1/2 c all purpose flour
  • S&P
  • 4 fresh sole fillets (3 to 4 oz each)
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 6 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
1) Preheat oven to 200℉. Have 2 heat-proof dinner plates ready.

2) Combine flour, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper in a large shallow plate. Pat the sole dry with paper towel and sprinkle one side with salt.

3) Heat 3 Tbsp of butter in a large saute pan over medium heat until it starts to brown (be careful not to burn it!). Dredge 2 fillets in seasoned flour on both sides and place in the hot butter. Lower heat to medium-low and cook 2 min. Turn carefully with a metal spatula and cook another 2 min. While the second side cooks add 1/2 tsp lemon zest, 3 Tbsp of lemon juice to the pan.

4) Carefully place the fillets on the ovenproof plates and pour the sauce over them. Keep the cooked fillets warm in the oven while you repeat the process with the other 2 fillets.

5) When all the fish is cooked and on the plates, sprinkle with parsley, S&P and serve immediately.

Lemony salmon with cherry tomato couscous

Lemony salmon with cherry tomato couscous

And now a recipe from Nigella Lawson, the most sensual eater ever...

We had this beautiful piece of salmon in the fridge just waiting to be turned into a delicious dinner. It was getting to be 7:30 and we still didn't have a plan for it, so I scoured my cookbooks and found this recipe from Nigella! Nigella Lawson is one of my idols. When you watch her on TV you can feel her passion for food and for life and it's really very inspiring. Plus, she's beautiful. 

This ended up being the perfect recipe because we had everything on hand, it came together pretty quickly, and it's really pretty healthy. I sort of think you could put lemon juice on anything and I would like it, but this dish really did have some excellent yet simple flavors going on.

We served this with some simply prepared asparagus that was roasted in the oven with EVOO, S&P. (So many abbreviations!)

Lemony salmon with cherry tomato couscous
serves 2

  • 1 heaping c couscous
  • 3 tsp kosher salt or 1 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 c boiled water
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 c)
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp garlic flavored oil
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 4 salmon fillets
  • 1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro or parsley (whichever you prefer)
1) Put couscous in a heatproof bowl with 2 tsp kosher salt (or 1 tsp table salt), 1/4 tsp paprika, and all the grated ginger. Give it a mix and pour the boiled water over top. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a plate and leave to one side.

2) In a wide, shallow dish (big enough to hold the salmon), put the zest of one lemon into it. Add remaining salt and paprika and 1 Tbsp garlic flavored oil.

3) In another bowl, combine onion, juice of 1 lemon, tomatoes and 1 tsp garlic flavored oil and mix. Leave to one side.

4) Heat a large frying pan for the salmon. While the pan gets hot, turn the salmon, both sides, in the "zest" dish.

5) Place fillets in the hot pan and cook 2-3 min per side, depending on thickness. You want them still juicy and a vivid coral color in the middle, so check as you cook.

6) Uncover and fluff up the couscous, which should have absorbed all the water. Add the tomato/onion mix. Mix with a fork.

7) Add almost all the cilantro or parsley and stir. S&P to taste.

8) Serve warm and enjoy!


Cooking with Friends

Deep Dark Mocha Cupcakes

Cupcakes are delicious, but making and sharing them with friends is so much better! My friend, Kara, from The Pixel Parlor let me share the love from her Enjoy! gift from Joy the Baker. She had all kinds of adorable stuff! Polka dot and striped cupcake liner things, chocolate sprinkles, edible glitter. Can you imagine anything more fun on a Sunday? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Kara shard a recipe with me for Deep Dark Mocha Cupcakes from Joy the Baker and they were so very delectable! The cupcakes were moist and a little crumbly. The frosting was creamy and delicious. And Kara and I were two very happy girls.

Head on over to The Pixel Parlor for the Deep Dark Mocha Cupcake recipe!


Meatless Monday: Tomato Basil Soup and Grilled Cheese Croutons


Alright, I'm going to be honest with you. I'm recycling this post from my previous blog. I'm pretty sure last week we had black bean soup and quesadillas, but the pictures were pretty boring and I don't want you falling asleep at your computer or something. Keyboard marks on your face just don't work for anybody. The soup was delicious and we did make it using some black beans we had frozen from when we made the Colin Clark Burritos, so that was cool. But maybe you haven't already seen this post and it will win you over way more than a boring photo induced nap on top of your keyboard.

This meal is in the same vein as last week's actual meatless meal, but instead of black bean soup it's tomato basil and instead of quesadillas it's grilled cheese croutons.

Surprisingly, I never ate this as a kid. Maybe it was my serious aversion to tomatoes (except for ketchup, of course) or maybe it was my "I don't like that" phase. It's really nothing short of a miracle that the picky eater that I was turned into such a food lover. Whatever it was, I didn't realize grilled cheese and tomato soup was a "thing" until college.  Yes, I said college. I wasn't into it in college, either, because somehow the cafeteria couldn't make a decent grilled cheese. At some point, though, my mom started making lots of soup. We're a skiing family, and god knows we can't afford to buy lunch at the ski resorts every weekend, so my mom would make soup at home and pack it in a thermos. Every time was better than the last. She was (and is) always finding new ways to build flavor.

Well one day she must have made soup and a grilled cheese and that's how I got hooked. Unfortunately for Campbell's I'm still not into the canned tomato soup. My grilled cheese and tomato soup combo tends to be a bit fancier: Tomato Basil soup and a grilled cheese with red onion and basil. 

I know. 
It's amazing.

Thank goodness for Pinterest or I may never have thought to make grilled cheese croutons! You don't even have to dip- just scoop one up with your spoon. We kept it simple by serving this with veggies and dip, pickles, and fruit salad. Sometimes simple is better.

We kept it simple by serving this with veggies and dip, pickles, and fruit salad. Sometimes simple is better.

Tomato Basil Soup

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • butter or olive oil
  • 2 big cans of tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • chicken stock
  • basil, chiffonade 
  • salt
  • 1 jar roasted red pepper
  • milk, cream, or half and half

1) Saute 1 onion until soft in a pot with a bit of olive oil or butter. Add canned tomatoes, tomato paste, some chicken stock, and basil to the pot. Season with salt to taste. The soup is going to cook down to concentrate the tomato flavor. Feel free to add more chicken stock as needed. 
2) After the tomato has cooked down and seems thicker and has a strong tomato flavor, add some pieces of roasted red pepper. The whole jar may be too much red pepper flavor, so you may want to start with half the jar and add more to taste.
3) Put the soup in a blender or use an immersion blender to make it smooth (or smoothish if you like chunkier soup). Be VERY careful not to splatter hot soup on yourself.
4) Slowly stir in some milk, cream, or half and half to the soup and enjoy!

Grilled Cheese Croutons

  • Thinly sliced bread
  • butter (salted)
  • herbs (whatever you have- thyme, rosemary, basil, etc)
  • cheese (whatever melts well, like cheddar or gouda)

1) Let some butter come to room temperature and mix in chopped herbs.
2) Heat a skillet over medium heat. While it is getting hot, butter one side of each slice of bread with your herb butter.
3) When the skillet is hot, lay half of the bread slices in the pan butter side down. Layer cheese on top of each piece of bread. Top each slice with another slice, butter side up.
4) When the bread is golden and crispy and the cheese is melty, flip.
5) When the next side of the grilled cheese is done, take them out of the pan and let them cool for a bit. Cut with a large knife into 1/2" squares. 
6) Put them on your soup and devour!


Frosting and Cinnamon Rolls and Frosting

Cinnamon Rolls
(adapted from The Novice Housewife)

You know what's great about homemade cinnamon rolls? Besides everything, frosting. All the frosting you want. Gobs and gobs of frosting! These were pretty ooey-gooey even without the frosting, but who can say no to frosting? Not I!

Warning: these delightful treats will elicit harsh messages from loved ones.
Exhibit A: "Cinnamon rolls were delicious. Don't make them ever again. Love, Dad"

And he didn't even add any extra frosting to his cinnamon roll!

Cinnamon Rolls

dough ingredients
  • 1 c warm milk (110℉)
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 3 1/4 c all purpose flour
  • 3/4 c bread flour

filling ingredients
  • 1 c brown sugar, packed
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 c butter, softened

frosting ingredients
  • 3 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 c butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 c confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Start the dough:
1) In the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook, pour in warm milk, yeast, and 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar. Stir together and proof (let sit) 5 minutes, until it becomes bubbly and frothy.

2) Add the rest of the sugar, butter, salt, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, 2 cups all purpose flour, and all of the bread flour. Mix well. Turn on mixer with dough hook attachment on lowest speed.

3) With mixer on, sprinkle in the rest of the all purpose flour, 1/4 c at a time until dough cleans the sides and bottom of the bowl. Dough should be sticky but not sticky enough to stick you your hands when touched. When it gets to this point, let mixer knead for 5 minutes.

4) Remove dough from bowl, grease the dough, and place it back in the same bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Make the filling:
5) Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Make sure butter in softened (but don't combine it with the sugar and cinnamon).

Finish the dough/Make the rolls:
6) Punch down the dough (just once, don't beat it up). On a liberally floured large clean surface, roll the dough into a 20"x30" rectangle (approximately). It should be approximately 1/4" thick or thinner if you like the bread part to be really thin. Keep moving the dough around to make sure it isn't sticking to the surface.

7) Spread softened butter over surface of dough. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture evenly on top of the butter, leaving a 1" border. Lightly press sugar mixture into the butter using a rolling pin.

8) Roll the dough into a long roll (start your rolling from the long end). Cut off the uneven ends. Using a sharp knife, slice into 12-15 pieces.

9) Place onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet about 2" apart, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for another hour.

10) Bake at 400℉ on rack just above center for about 8 minutes, or until light golden brown. Keep an eye on them so they don't get TOO brown!

Make the frosting:
11) While the rolls are baking, whip cream cheese and butter together. Stir in vanilla and lemon juice. Pour in powdered sugar and stir slowly until it starts to incorporate. Mix on high for 5 minutes. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure everything gets mixed.

12) When rolls come out of the oven, frost them using half of the frosting. This frosting will melt down into the roll. After they have cooled a bit, top them with another lovely dollop.


Chocolate Treats

Chewy Chocolate Meringues
(adapted from Completely Delicious)

There's a bandit in my house. Yes, a bandit. Any time there is chocolate in the house, it disappears! Chocolate chips in the cupboard? Gone. Chocolate candies in the secret drawer? Devoured. Brownies? Puh-lease. They don't even make it through the day.

Now I know what you're thinking, but I swear I'm not the culprit! (Not the only one, anyway.) The guilty party may be a certain someone we call DAD. 

Dad is a purist, though, and he doesn't want anybody messing up his chocolate treats with words like "healthy", but even he liked these chewy chocolate meringues! They're chocolatey and the inside has a satisfying chewy texture and at only about 50 calories per meringue, you'd have to be crazy to say no to them. 

I'm not a big fan of bittersweet chocolate, so I went with semisweet. Use whatever you prefer! I also made a half recipe. They don't stay fresh long and 4 dozen just seemed overindulgent, even if they are diet-friendly. 

Chewy Chocolate Meringues
  • 1/2 cup egg whites, (about 3 or 4 eggs)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp + 1 1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1) Preheat over to 350 ℉. Line 3 sheet pans with parchment paper or silpats. Fill a saucepan with about 1" water and bring to a simmer.

2) In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the egg whites and sugar. Set bowl on top of saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Whisk often until sugar is dissolved. (Carefully test with your fingers to make sure you can't feel any sugar granules.)

3) Return the bowl to the stand mixer and beat on high with the whisk attachment until meringue is stiff and glossy, about 5 minutes. Sift cocoa powder over the meringue, add chopped chocolate, and gently fold together with a spatula until incorporated.

4) Scoop rounded tablespoons of meringue onto the prepared sheet pans, about 2" apart. Bake 2 sheets at a time for about 8 minutes. Rotate pans and bake for an additional 8 minutes, until meringues are puffed and cracked. Let cool before devouring... or don't.


Meatless Monday: Retro Veggie "Pizza"

My mom tells me this veggie "pizza" was quite popular many (or maybe not so many) moons ago. Lucky for me, I'm benefitting from its comeback. It's simple, really. Crescent rolls, herbed cream cheese, veggies. Sounds good to me! It's a definite crowd pleaser and gets kids (I'm including myself in that category) to eat their veggies.

Veggie "Pizza"
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  • 2 packages refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 (1 oz) package ranch dressing mix
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c halved and thinly sliced radishes
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 c fresh broccoli, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated

1) Spread crescent rolls on a baking sheet and gently pinch all the perforations together. Let stand 5 minutes and then perforate with a fork. Bake at 350℉ until golden. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine sour cream, cream cheese, garlic salt, and ranch mix.

2) Rest cookie sheet on cooling rack until completely cooled. Spread cream cheese mixture on dough. Sprinkle veggies on top, cover, and refrigerate. Cut into pieces and serve cool.