Easy Spring Pasta Recipe: Fettuccine with Peas, Leeks & Thyme

Written by Liz

Fettuccine with Peas, Leeks and Thyme recipe

Spring has sprung in California – as well as most of the country. To me that means spring vegetable season; asparagus, leeks, peas, artichoke, fennel and fresh herbs are bountiful in farmers markets. Much of this produce is available year-round, but spring is the best time to get the freshest spring vegetables, whether at your local market, grocery store or from your own garden!

fetpeasveg

And those fresh spring flavors really come through in this easy spring pasta recipe, Fettuccine with Peas, Leeks & Thyme. It’s a cinch to make and it’s packed with flavor and nutrients, plus spring is a great time to get hooked on the Mediterranean way of eating. Adding a bit of the pasta water instead of using sauce is a traditional way to make pasta dishes in Italy. This recipe is a sure way to eat more vegetables and wow your friends with your culinary savvy!

Wine Pairing

  • Italian wines can be hard to find, other than the super popular Pinot Grigio. If you can find a Soave wine, it’s a soft, fruity, clean wine with crisp lemon flavors and really complements this dish.
  • Grenache Blanc with its acidity and rounded flavors, or Sauvignon Blanc with its herbaceousness, would also be great wines with this pasta.

Fettuccine with Peas, Leeks & Thyme

fetpeaingred2

Ingredients for 3 servings:

Directions:

PREPARE pasta according to package directions, reserving ½ cup cooking water. While pasta is cooking, prepare leek mixture.

fetpeasstove

HEAT oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add leek; cook, stirring frequently, until softened and golden. Stir in peas; cook for 1 minute or until heated through. Season with salt and pepper, as shown above.

fetpeaslast

ADD reserved pasta cooking water, thyme leaves and cheese; stir in gently. Toss pasta with leek mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

Links:

More spring pasta recipes:

Vegetable Tortellini Soup Recipe Butternut Squash Agnolotti with Fresh Herb Pesto recipe
Vegetable Tortellini Soup Butternut Squash Agnolotti
with Fresh Herb Pesto

Special Easter Ham: Cola-Brined Ham

Baked Cola-Brined Ham recipe

Easter ham is a tradition for many people on Easter Sunday. Brining the meat – soaking or marinating meat overnight using a solution containing salt and other ingredient – is also a popular way to cook. But have you tried a cola-brined ham? In the South they’ve been brining meat in cola for a long time. Brining helps the meat stay moist by saturating the cells with the solution before baking it, and cola adds some sweetness and tang to the meat. You can even use another Southern favorite for brining – Dr. Pepper!

Brining is different from braising, although they are both ways to increase the moisture content in meat. Braising is cooking the meat mostly submerged in broth or liquid instead of marinating beforehand. One delicious pork roast recipe to try your hand at braising is Drunken Pork.

Brining meats, especially pork in cola, has become a popular way to prepare meat in recent years, and this recipe makes for a tasty new flavor to include in your traditional Easter brunch or dinner. This Oklahoma girl will definitely be brining ham with Dr. Pepper – the only soda worth the calories in my opinion – and thinking of home. Enjoy and Happy Easter!

Baked Cola-Brined Ham from Meals.com

Ingredients for 8-10 servings:

  • 3 bottles (2 liters each) cola or other dark-colored soda (such as root beer or Dr. Pepper)
  • 1 1/2 cups salt
  • 1 (6 to 8 pounds) bone-in, shank or butt portion fresh ham (half a leg), skin on
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic (about 8 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon Granulated Chicken Bouillon

Directions:

COMBINE cola and salt in a medium-size cooler or other 10-quart bucket or stockpot; stir to dissolve the salt.

USING a sharp knife, score entire surface of ham in a crosshatch or diamond pattern, cutting down just through the skin. Place ham in the brine, submerging completely. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

POSITION oven rack in the lowest position and preheat oven to 500° F.

COMBINE parsley, oil, garlic and bouillon in small bowl; stir well.

REMOVE ham from brine. Rinse it well under cold water then pat dry with paper towels. Place the ham wide-side-down in a large roasting pan with a flat rack. Rub outside of ham all over with the bouillon mixture, pressing it gently into scored slices between the skin.

BAKE uncovered for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° F and continue to bake until the roast reaches 150° F on an instant-read thermometer (this should take 2 to 2 1/2 hours, about 20 to 25 minutes per pound of ham). After the first hour, it’s a good idea to loosely wrap foil around the bone to keep it from burning.

TRANSFER the roast to a carving board and tent with foil; allow the roast to sit at room temperature until the internal roast temperature reaches 160° F (about 20 to 30 minutes). The roast is now ready to carve.

Cola-Brined Easter Ham
Recipe Type: Main
Author: Meals.com
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10
Brining an Easter ham in cola (or Dr. Pepper) is divine.
Ingredients
  • 3 bottles (2 liters each) cola or other dark-colored soda (such as COKE or DR. PEPPER)
  • 1 1/2 cups salt
  • 1 (6 to 8 pounds) bone-in, shank or butt portion fresh ham (half a leg), skin on
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic (about 8 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon Granulated Chicken Bouillon
  • Directions:
  • COMBINE cola and salt in a medium-size cooler or other 10-quart bucket or stockpot; stir to dissolve the salt.
  • USING a sharp knife, score entire surface of ham in a crosshatch or diamond pattern, cutting down just through the skin. Place ham in the brine, submerging completely. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
  • POSITION oven rack in the lowest position and preheat oven to 500° F.
  • COMBINE parsley, oil, garlic and bouillon in small bowl; stir well.
  • REMOVE ham from brine. Rinse it well under cold water then pat dry with paper towels. Place the ham wide-side-down in a large roasting pan with a flat rack. Rub outside of ham all over with the bouillon mixture, pressing it gently into scored slices between the skin.
  • BAKE uncovered for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° F and continue to bake until the roast reaches 150° F on an instant-read thermometer (this should take 2 to 2 1/2 hours, about 20 to 25 minutes per pound of ham). After the first hour, it’s a good idea to loosely wrap foil around the bone to keep it from burning.
  • TRANSFER the roast to a carving board and tent with foil; allow the roast to sit at room temperature until the internal roast temperature reaches 160° F (about 20 to 30 minutes). The roast is now ready to carve.
Instructions
  1. COMBINE cola and salt in a medium-size cooler or other 10-quart bucket or stockpot; stir to dissolve the salt.
  2. USING a sharp knife, score entire surface of ham in a crosshatch or diamond pattern, cutting down just through the skin. Place ham in the brine, submerging completely. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
  3. POSITION oven rack in the lowest position and preheat oven to 500° F.
  4. COMBINE parsley, oil, garlic and bouillon in small bowl; stir well.
  5. REMOVE ham from brine. Rinse it well under cold water then pat dry with paper towels. Place the ham wide-side-down in a large roasting pan with a flat rack. Rub outside of ham all over with the bouillon mixture, pressing it gently into scored slices between the skin.
  6. BAKE uncovered for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° F and continue to bake until the roast reaches 150° F on an instant-read thermometer (this should take 2 to 2 1/2 hours, about 20 to 25 minutes per pound of ham). After the first hour, it’s a good idea to loosely wrap foil around the bone to keep it from burning.
  7. TRANSFER the roast to a carving board and tent with foil; allow the roast to sit at room temperature until the internal roast temperature reaches 160° F (about 20 to 30 minutes). The roast is now ready to carve.

 

Eating Fish on Fridays? Two Easy Fish Recipes

Written by Liz

Eating Fish on Friday? Here are two very easy fish recipes to take advantage of during Lent or anytime of the year!

Fish Baked In Creamy Milk Sauce with Onions & Herbs recipe

Fish Baked In Creamy Milk Sauce with Onions & Herbs

Tender fish fillets seasoned with herbs are topped with sautéed onions and baked in a light, velvety creamy milk sauce in this classic dish from Colombia’s Pacific coast. Thyme, basil and anise give the sauce excellent flavor and will be a recipe you’ll want to try again and again.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, sliced into thick rings
  • 1 lb. white fish of choice, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds, crushed
  • 2/3 cup (5 fl.-oz. can) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions:

PREHEAT oven to 325° F. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking dish.

HEAT 1 tablespoon olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, until tender and golden brown. Remove from skillet; set aside.

SEASON fish with salt and pepper. Add remaining oil to same skillet and cook fish until browned on both sides. Remove from heat. Place fish in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with thyme, basil and anise. Top with reserved onion rings. Combine milk and water in small glass measure; pour over fish. If desired, season with additional salt and pepper.

BAKE for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole recipe

Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole

Convenient comfort food at its very best. This Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole is a comforting option for any weeknight or weekend meals.

Ingredients for 8 servings:

  • 6 cups (about 8 oz.) dry medium egg noodles, prepared according to package directions
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cans (9 oz. each) tuna, drained and flaked
  • 2 cans (10 oz. each) condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
  • 2/3 cup crushed potato chips

Directions:

PREHEAT oven to 375° F. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking dish.

MELT butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add celery and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 2 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in noodles, tuna, soup and evaporated milk; mix well. Pour into prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle with potato chips.

BAKE for 25 to 30 minutes or until chips are golden brown.
Links:

More oven-steamed fish recipes:

 make it a meal Steamed Shanghai Black Cod with Summer Vegetables recipe No Mess Summer Fish Packets with Pesto Recipe
Steamed Shanghai Black Cod with Summer Vegetables No Mess Summer Fish Packets with Pesto

Easy Easter Brunch Menu: Enjoy Spring!

Egg, Ham & Cheese Brunch Nests

Spring is here! And that means time for brunch, spring vegetables and Easter delicacies. You won’t find any cute bunnies or other Easter treats for kids in this Easter Brunch menu; it’s a strictly grown-up affair. You can easily switch out the egg dish, vegetable side dish, coffee or pastry/dessert to come up with your own custom easy Easter brunch menu.

1. Main Dish – Egg, Ham & Cheese Brunch Nests (shown above)

These egg nests have a spicy secret: chipotle chiles. You can adjust the amount of chipotle to get just the level of spice you like. And topped with cilantro-avocado crema adds just the right amount of cool to the dish. Thanks to Ericka of Nibbles and Feasts for this recipe; check out her blog for more.

 

Roasted Carrots with Shallots & Thyme recipe

2. Side Dish – Roasted Carrots with Shallots & Thyme

With many vegetables, cooking destroys some of their vitamins, but this isn’t the case with carrots. You can absorb more beta carotene from cooked carrots than from raw ones. If you like garlic, add a few peeled whole cloves to the mix. Or try these Roasted Asparagus with Pesto & Lemon.

 

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Chocolate Coffeecake recipe

3. Breakfast Bread – Pull-Apart Cinnamon Chocolate Coffeecake (above)

This coffeecake has the best of all breakfast breads: cinnamon, glaze on top and chocolate. Pull-apart bread is so easy to serve, and it goes really well with coffee before the meal, or as a dessert. Try this Caramel Macchiato Cappuccino for a satisfying espresso drink at home.

 

Maple Browned Butter Bacon Cupcakes recipe

4. Dessert – Maple Browned Butter Bacon Cupcakes

Whether you’re baking for an upscale party, an Easter brunch or a winter respite, cupcakes are a universal favorite. These sweet and savory cupcakes will specifically please bacon lovers with a sweet tooth – and isn’t that everyone??

Better than Green Beer: Fresh Green Smoothies for St. Patrick’s Day

Piña Colada Green Smoothie recipe

One way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is with (artificially) green-colored food and drinks: green beer, green eggs, green cupcakes, green milk…and the list goes on and on. This makes for some fun-colored eggs in the morning, which probably contain chemicals, and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to eat green gravy.

Instead, how about making food green by injecting green healthy foods into the dish? I definitely want to wear and eat something green on St. Patrick’s Day, so I looked around for some fresh, green-injected recipes. The most surprising one? This Piña Colada Green Smoothie above, made green by adding a cup of fresh spinach, along with other typical ingredients you find in a healthy smoothie. Chopped kale works too, and it has the most nutrients per calorie of any vegetable.

I tried it out at home ahead of time (I certainly don’t want to disappoint green beer lovers with veggie-tasting smoothies) and was most pleasantly surprised. The smoothie tasted fresh, light and fruity-coconutty just like a piña colada should. There was not even a hint of that secret healthy ingredient that turned it such a gorgeous shade of green: spinach. I used freshly squeezed orange juice, fat-free yogurt and no-sugar-added Carnation Instant Breakfast (or Aloha protein powder, it’s my fave). With all the nutrients from this as well as the banana and pineapple, I could drink this green delight for breakfast every day.

Piña Colada Green Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet No Sugar Added French Vanilla Flavor Nutrition or protein powder
  • 1/2 cup pineapple or orange juice
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple cubes
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup vanilla fat free yogurt
  • 1/4 banana
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes

Directions:

PLACE Carnation Breakfast Essentials Drink, pineapple juice, pineapple, spinach, yogurt, banana, coconut and ice in blender; cover. Blend until smooth.

Tropical Avocado Smoothie recipe

I also tried this Tropical Avocado Smoothie, shown above, using avocado, lime and fat free evaporated milk. Now I love avocado so much I can find a place for it at every meal of the day, but I’ve never had avocado for dessert (combined with sugar and served as a sweet). This would be interesting.

Well, I loved this smoothie even more! I couldn’t believe how rich and creamy it was, almost like ice cream, and so pretty. I didn’t know sweetened avocado was so good – and I used less sugar than called for in the recipe. In my opinion, this smoothie is just another delicious way to work more avocado into my diet.

So I’m set for fresh green drinks throughout the day tomorrow. And I even found this green-food-injected Green Eggs & Ham recipe, so I can still get my eggs “green” at breakfast.

Tropical Avocado Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • Pulp of 1 medium avocado
  • 2 cans (12 fl. oz. each) Evaporated Lowfat 2% Milk, chilled
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest (optional)
  • Crushed ice (optional)

Directions:

PLACE avocado, evaporated milk, sugar and lime zest in blender container; cover. Blend for 30 to 45 seconds until smooth.

SERVE in tall glasses. Top with crushed ice, if desired.

NOTE: If a thinner drink is desired, blend in 1 cup ice cubes with drink ingredients.

Easter Sweets: Butterfinger Panna Cotta with Easter Egg Nests

Butterfinger Panna Cotta Nests recipe

One of my favorite Easter sweets is panna cotta, or Italian “cooked cream.” It’s an eggless custard that is silky-smooth and so easy to make. In fact, David Lebovitz writes that if it takes you more than 5 minutes to put it together, you’re doing something wrong. If you haven’t yet tried to make custard, crème brulée or flan, panna cotta is the recipe to try first.

Our easy version for Easter, Butterfinger Panna Cotta Nests, uses items you already have in your pantry, since it replaces the cream with evaporated milk. That also lowers the fat and increases the nutrients! This dish has to be made in advance so it can set in the refrigerator, leaving you free on the day of the meal to entertain or cook other dishes. Putting the ingredients together and warming them in a pan are a snap, and the shredded coconut egg nests on top are perfect for a pretty Easter table.

Panna cotta is also an extremely versatile recipe. You can experiment and make your own version by adding lemon or orange zest, almond extract or even spices like saffron, pepper or rosemary. Here are some panna cotta recipes we love using chocolate and amaretto, as well as pumpkin spice and chocolate pistachio.

Happy Easter!

Butterfinger Panna Cotta Nests from Meals.com

Ingredients for 4 servings:

PANNA COTTA

  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 envelope (7 grams) unflavored gelatin
  • 1 can (12 fluid ounces) Evaporated Milk
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup crushed BUTTERFINGER BITES Candy

NESTS

  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 4 drops green liquid food coloring
  • 2 drops yellow liquid food coloring
  • BUTTERFINGER NestEggs

Directions:

FOR PANNA COTTA:
GREASE four 6-ounce or six 4-ounce ramekins or custard cups.

PLACE water in a small bowl; add gelatin and let stand to soften.

PLACE evaporated milk, sugar and vanilla extract in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat. Add gelatin mixture; stir gently to dissolve gelatin.

POUR into prepared ramekins; sprinkle with crushed Butterfinger.

REFRIGERATE for 2 hours or until panna cottas are firm.

FOR NESTS:
PLACE coconut in a resealable bag. Add green and yellow food coloring; seal bag and shake to thoroughly mix. If necessary, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of water to help color mix.

TOP panna cottas with coconut “grass”; top with 1 to 2 unwrapped Nestlé NestEggs.

Butterfinger Panna Cotta with Easter Egg Nests
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Meals.com
Serves: 4
Scrumptious Italian dessert with chocolate for spring or Easter!
Ingredients
  • PANNA COTTA:
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 envelope (7 grams) unflavored gelatin
  • 1 can (12 fluid ounces) Evaporated Milk
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup crushed BUTTERFINGER BITES Candy
  • NESTS:
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 4 drops green liquid food coloring
  • 2 drops yellow liquid food coloring
  • BUTTERFINGER NestEggs
Instructions
  1. FOR PANNA COTTA:
  2. GREASE four 6-ounce or six 4-ounce ramekins or custard cups.
  3. PLACE water in a small bowl; add gelatin and let stand to soften.
  4. PLACE evaporated milk, sugar and vanilla extract in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat. Add gelatin mixture; stir gently to dissolve gelatin.
  5. POUR into prepared ramekins; sprinkle with crushed Butterfinger.
  6. REFRIGERATE for 2 hours or until panna cottas are firm.
  7. FOR NESTS:
  8. PLACE coconut in a resealable bag. Add green and yellow food coloring; seal bag and shake to thoroughly mix. If necessary, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of water to help color mix.
  9. TOP panna cottas with coconut “grass”; top with 1 to 2 unwrapped Nestlé NestEggs.

 

Top Ten Easter Sweets Recipes

Egg-Ceptional Easter Nests recipe

1. Egg-Ceptional Easter Nests

Get ready for the Easter Bunny’s visit with this unforgettable treat shown above. Nestled in delicious butterscotch or chocolate nests, the unforgettable taste of these elegantly wrapped candy eggs will leave kids hopping for more.

 

Strawberry Mousse Pie recipe

2. Strawberry Mousse Pie

Bring in the spring with this adorable Easter-themed fresh strawberry cream pie. Topped with nests of coconut and jelly beans, kids will love to help decorate.

 

Bunny Bottom Cookie Pops Easter Recipe

3. Bunny Bottom Cookie Pops

Spring has sprung with these cute bunny cookie pops from Elise Strachan of My Cupcake Addiction. They are almost too cute to eat!

 

Egg-Ceptional Easter Cookies recipe

4. Egg-Ceptional Easter Cookies

These egg-shaped chocolate chip cookies can be festively decorated with colored frosting for a sweet Easter treat.

 

Chocolate Chip Easter Baskets

5. Chocolate Chip Easter Baskets

These little Easter baskets above are sure to delight everyone in your Easter celebration.

 

Toll House Easter Basket Fudge recipe

6. Toll House Easter Basket Fudge

Who wouldn’t be thrilled to discover rich, creamy fudge in his or her Easter basket? Especially if they’re colorfully decorated. So quick and easy, you can treat your little ones with all three varieties.

 

Chocolatey NestEgg Shortbread Cookies recipe

7. Chocolatey NestEgg Shortbread Cookies

Nestlé Crunch and raspberry jam combine to make these tasty Easter cookies shown above. Perfect for surprising that special someone.

 

Mini Spring Cheesecakes recipe

8. Mini Spring Cheesecakes

You don’t have to search the backyard for this hidden treasure. Sandwiched between mini graham cracker crusts and topped with chocolate Easter eggs, these personal size delights are a delicious addition to springtime festivities.

 

NestEgg Macaroons recipe

9. NestEgg Macaroons

These are the perfect Easter cookies to serve on that special “hoppy” day, shown above.

 

Premier White Lemony Cheesecake recipe

10. Premier White Lemony Cheesecake

Premier white baking bars give this elegant and lemony cheesecake a smooth and creamy consistency. Try this in the Spring, Easter or a bridal shower…to rave reviews.