Asparagus and Bacon Cream Pasta

Asparagus and Bacon Cream PastaAccording to Food History asparagus has a long history as far back as the first century. There are records of it growing in ancient Greece and Rome. History even records Egyptians over 2,000 years ago cultivated asparagus for medicinal reasons (Kitchen Project)

Of course most eatable plants were first discovered growing wild, and asparagus is no exception. A wild asparagus has thin shoots thinner than a pencil and is much different than the asparagus that we find in the market.

Nutrition facts asparagusThrough selective breeding and growing techniques, a modern non wild asparagus has a thicker stem with more edible flesh.

Asparagus is even a low carbohydrate food, and a 15 on the glycemic index, which is the rating of plant food and how it effects your blood glucose or insulin in the body (0-35 is low).

Now for our featured recipe, and here is what you will need.

 

8 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped

1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb pasta (your choice)

2 cups Alfredo sauce (homemade or your favorite store bought brand)

Himalayan salt

black pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water before draining. Return the pasta to the pan that you cooked it in, and set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the bacon until browned, but not crispy. Remove and place on paper towel lined plate to drain.

Remove all but 2 tablespoons of grease from the skillet, and return to the stove. Add the chopped asparagus to the pan, stirring occasionally. Cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic to the skillet, and cook for 1 minute more.

Add the cooked asparagus, garlic, bacon, and Alfredo sauce to the pot of cooked pasta. Toss to combine. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit of the saved pasta water to thin it out. Season to taste with Himalayan salt and pepper before serving (optional).

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National Tortellini Day

National Tortellini Day

collage-of-places-in-modena-italyTortellini is a pasta that has made centuries of tradition for all the families that live in an Italian province called Modena.

The pasta is made on special occasions, using recipes handed down from one generation to another.

It is said the origins of tortellini dates back to the early 1600’s.

There is doubt and speculation as to who the person or persons are that invented the pasta.

Italian food is romantic

Today, February 13th is National Tortellini Day in the United States, according to The Nibble.

Italian food represents romance, and can bring out the romantic affection in anyone.

How is Tortellini Made

Here is a short video to demonstrate how tortellini is made. The video will present the preparation of Tortellini Bolognesi.

 

Nutritional Benefits of Tortellini 

Regular cheese tortellini, though it is pasta made from flour does have some nutritional benefits, like 72 mg of potassium, 20 mg of magnesium, also some small amounts of vitamin-A, iron and vitamin B-12 per 3/4 of a cup serving.

Recent studies have shown that a deficiency in vitamin B-12 can be associated with feelings of fatigue and low energy, including depression, irritability, anxiety, and dementia. So let’s eat some Tortellini.

Here’s three recipes from our kitchen to celebrate National Tortellini Day:

Mushroom Tortellini with Asparagus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mushroom Tortellini with Asparagus

Plated close up of Tortellini and Summer Sausage with Tomato Basil Vinagrette

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tortellini and Summer Sausage with Tomato Basil Vinaigrette

Sausage and Tortellini Soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sausage and Tortellini Soup

 

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Apple Chicken Sausage with Whole Wheat Penne Pasta

Apple Chicken Sausage with Whole Wheat Penne Pasta

There has been a lot of new information on processed foods, seed oils high in omega-6, refined sugar, as being the cause of bodily inflammation. We have also read about lowering our carbohydrate intake, as too much carb’s over works the pancreas and heightens insulin levels. Refined grains is the big culprit to weight gain. Refined grains digest fast and causing rapid use of glucose or a spike of sugar levels in the blood stream, causing the body to store the excess sugar not used, as fat.

But what about whole wheat pasta? Or better yet 100% whole wheat pasta? When consumed, can it be to blame for weight gain as well? No!!

When the fiber is not taken away from the grain, but processed together, is actually better for the body. Fiber causes food to digest slower and at the same time move faster through the digestive tract.  As  the whole grain pasta is digested, it releases a stead flow of glucose (not all at once as does white pasta without the fiber) giving sustained energy. The fiber then pushes the digested food out, not being stored as fat.

A 1-cup serving of cooked whole-grain pasta contains 3.9 total grams of fiber, while the same amount of white pasta contains 2.3 grams.

It is also worthy of noting, that whole grains lower blood pressure, were as grains with the fiber removed can cause blood pressure to raise.

Now for our featured recipe: Apple Chicken Sausage with Whole Wheat Penne Pasta. Here is what you will need:

12 0z. 100% whole wheat Penne pasta, cooked

1 package Al Fresco Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage

1 1/2 cups Alfredo sauce

3/4 cup bell pepper strips, mixed colors

1/2 cup french stringed beans

For the vegetables, I just buy them fresh frozen from the Whole Foods Market. You can use a jar of Alfredo Sauce, but I make my own.

1/4 cup butter

1 cup Heavy cream

1/2 to 3/4 cup Asiago cheese, grated fresh

Heat a small sauce pan, medium-high. Add butter and melt, not allowing to scorch, next add cream and stir while pouring. After the two are well incorporated, add grated cheese and mix in as it melts. Bring to a small rapid bowl, remove from heat and set aside.

Al Fresco Sweet Apple Chicken SausageSome Al Fresco brand sausages you can buy already cooked and at some markets they package it fresh, uncooked. Al Fresco is my preferred brand, as it is minimally processed and no preservatives added.  Click on image to go to their web-site to receive a $1.00 coupon off. I have been buying the package at about $3.50 to 3.99.

I prefer to buy the fresh uncooked sausage.

In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat. Let sausage crumble to small bits. Add Alfredo sauce, cooked pasta and vegetables. Stir until all are mixed well together.

Plate and serve.

Apple Chicken Sausage with Whole Wheat Penne Pasta  with Italian Rustic Bread and melted Provolone

We had an Italian Rustic Bread loaf and melted provolone cheese on slices of the bread. Wow what a great addition to the plated pasta.

 

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Spinach Ravioli Lasagna

Spinach Ravioli Lasagna (2)

This is a meal that will keep cancer away. More about that later.

Here is what you will for Spinach Ravioli Lasagna:

1-6 oz. package baby spinach (if using fresh bunched spinach about 30 leaves)

1/3 cup  pesto sauce

1-15 oz. jar Alfredo sauce

¼ cup chicken broth

1-25-oz. package frozen cheese-filled ravioli, do not thaw

1 cup shredded Italian six-cheese blend

Preheat the oven to 375°

You can opt to make your own pesto sauce, but replace the basil with cilantro or parsley. fresh basil is an herb that works best adding to the dish when it is done cooking, as it turns brown and can change the flavor. You can also use cashews or pecans in place of the pine nuts, to save on cost.

Make your own Alfredo with 1 stick of butter, fresh heavy cream, about 1 cup, and 1/2 to 3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.

cut stems from spinach leaf

When preparing this meal, I opted to used fresh bunched spinach, (30 leaves). With a pair of kitchen shears, cut off stems.

washing and cleaning spinach with Eat Cleaner

You will need to wash the spinach of any unwanted residues or dirt. I do so with Eat Cleaner, which is a food based food cleaner. Generously spray the vegetable leafs and let sit for a few minutes than wash off with water. Eat Cleaner cleans all of your produce, including bacteria that could reside on your meats, such as poultry.

cutting spinach for Spinach Ravioli Lasagna

Once spinach is dried began to cut spinach leaves into small pieces with a pair of kitchen shears. Set aside.

preparing ingredients for Soinach Ravioli Lasagna

Combine chicken broth with pesto sauce. Stir in the Alfredo sauce until will combined. Next drop in the cut spinach leaves and mix into the sauce.

layering ingredients for Spinach Ravioli Lasagna

Spoon one-third of Alfredo sauce mixture, about ½ cup into a lightly greased 2.2-qt. or 11- x 7-inch baking dish. Arrange half of ravioli in a single layer over spinach mixture. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining Alfredo sauce. Top that with the shredded cheese.

fresh cooked Spinach Ravioli Lasagna

Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Garnish, if desired. Plate and serve.

Spinach Ravioli Lasagna

As we stated at the on set, this is a great meal to ward off cancer. Spinach is a cruciferous vegetable that kills cancer cells. The salad we have on the plate is a mixture of kale , broccoli, red cabbage, and Brussels sprouts, all which are also cruciferous vegetables.

Just 4 servings a week from this class of vegetables equals the power of eating 10 servings per day of any other vegetable. For more information how food correlates to a healthy you, visit our Health News Library by linking here.

 

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