Brussels sprouts are one of my favourite fall vegetables. Amazingly enough I only had them for the first time a couple of years ago. I had always assumed I wouldn’t like them, but boy was I wrong. Our family was completely smitten after our first bite. After that I made a pact with myself to start picking up new and different (to me) fruits and vegetables when I took notice of them, even if I had no idea what to do with them. That’s what Google’s for isn’t it?
We usually have Brussels sprouts as a side. We like them steamed in a bit of chicken broth and white wine with a pat of butter. But, it was high time they got to star in a main dish. I knew Brussels sprouts and bacon were a natural pairing, all they needed was a backdrop. In this dish fettuccine noodles are tossed with caramelized Brussels sprouts, crisp bacon and a light cream sauce. It’s very simple and the two star ingredients really get to shine. I like to go a little heavy on the pepper in the final seasoning because it compliments the flavours nicely. This has now become our go-to fall pasta.
I’d love to know – is there a fruit or vegetable that you pass by even though you know you ought to give it a try?
Brussels Sprout Bacon Fettuccine
- 1/2 pound whole wheat or brown rice fettuccine
- 6 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed (outer leaves removed) and thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/3 cup spreadable cream cheese
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- salt and pepper, to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserving 1/2 cup pasta water before draining.
Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet, set over medium-high heat, until crisp. Remove bacon bits and let drain on paper towel. Pour off some of the bacon grease until approximately 2 tablespoons remain in the skillet. Add Brussels sprouts to skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until Brussels sprouts are tender and starting to brown. Add garlic. Cook for 30 seconds, just until fragrant. Lower heat and stir in cream cheese and chicken broth. Stir until cream cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Stir in drained pasta until well coated. Add a bit of pasta water, if needed, until you get a loose sauce covering the pasta. Season liberally with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in bacon just before serving.
In the summer I crave side dishes that are easy and light. When the weather is gorgeous I want to spend as much time on the patio enjoying the grill and mosquitos, not standing in my house slaving over a hot stove. And, with all those meats, hamburgers and hot dogs cooking on the grill, we need something light and fresh to round it out.
Pasta salad is definitely a summer staple, but I find many of them to be a bit heavy, and every once in a while I like to switch up the flavours. This Greek Pasta Salad goes great with pretty much any grilled meat and the flavours and textures are light, fresh and crisp. In my opinion, a standby recipe for summer grilling.
I should probably mention that the photo above shows quite a bit more olives than are in the actual recipe. My family is crazy for olives so I went a little overboard the first time, haha.
Greek Orzo Pasta Salad
The orzo may be substituted with couscous.
- 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped
- 1/4 of a red onion, diced small
Cook pasta according to package directions. Strain. Place in a salad bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons dressing. Allow to cool.
Add feta, olives, onion, celery and spinach. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with remaining 1 tablespoon dressing. Add more, if desired, to taste.
When I was first married I made every possible situation into a celebration. That first year of marriage we celebrated every monthly anniversary along with every romantic holiday in between. I love setting aside a special time to spend with the ones you love with no distractions. That first year gave me ample opportunity.
Things have changed a bit since we had Max and especially since we moved halfway around the world with no free babysitters to call upon. Now, a lot of the romantic days are spent together as a family. But honestly, I really don’t mind.
I know that my son will only be little for so long. In the blink of an eye I will be suffering from empty nest syndrome and will be missing the pitter patter of his little feet. That’s why I don’t mind this stage that we’re in. I get to set aside special days to spend time with my two loves. And, once the sonny goes to bed we get that much needed time to ourselves.
That is where this Garlic Shrimp Pasta is perfect. It’s so simple and fast that it won’t make for added stress. But, with it’s creamy garlic infused sauce and plump pink shrimp, it will definitely feel like a special occasion. You can whip this up in a jiffy once the kids are in bed. Just don’t be the only one eating it and make sure to keep some mints handy. :) Let the romancing begin!
Garlic Shrimp Pasta
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp. parsley
- 1/4 tsp. dill
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- pepper, to taste
- 5 oz (142g) spaghetti
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup small cooked shrimp (depending on preference)
- Melt butter in small saucepan. Add garlic and cook just enough to get rid of the raw edge. Do not brown.
- Add cream and spices. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower heat and simmer 15 minutes to reduce.
- Meanwhile cook spaghetti in salted boiling water. Drain.
- Add cooked shrimp to cream just to warm through. Poor over spaghetti and stir to combine.
Makes: 2 servings