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smoked gouda baked pasta with broccoli

Smoked Gouda Baked Pasta with Broccoli

I recently made an old favorite frittata recipe using smoked Gouda cheese.  The good thing about smoked Gouda is that it is so flavorful, a little goes a long way.  That also means that whenever I purchase a block for a specific recipe, there is usually some leftover.  Not a bad problem to have, that’s for sure.  This time I decided to put it to use with a fun twist on a classic ~ Smoked Gouda Baked Pasta with Broccoli.  Who doesn’t love fancy, new versions of macaroni and cheese!

The first time I made macaroni and cheese with smoked Gouda, it was really tasty, but there was something missing.  The smoked Gouda wasn’t as pronunced as I had hoped.  So after experimenting with some seasoning, I found a little paprika was the key.  It really brought out the smoked Gouda flavor.  The broccoli was also a nice addition to this dish, giving a nutrition boost while adding some texture and color.  One can never have too many mac ‘n cheese recipes, and this version is definitely a keeper!

Smoked Gouda Baked Pasta with Broccoli
 
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces short pasta (such as elbows, penne, rotini)
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) smoked Gouda cheese, shredded
  • ⅓ cup (about 1½ ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 12 ounces frozen broccoli florets, thawed and lightly chopped
  • Cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened (about 5 to 7 minutes). Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted (about 1 minute).
  4. Gradually add milk, paprika, mustard, salt and pepper, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil, and then cook until thickened (about 2 to 3 minutes).
  5. Add cheeses to milk mixture, stirring until melted and then remove from heat.
  6. Add broccoli and cooked pasta to the cheese sauce, stirring until well-blended.
  7. Pour into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
  8. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes, or until bubbly.

Adapted from Cooking Light

mushroom and leek pita pizzas

Mushroom and Leek Pita Pizzas

After a long day of work and play, it’s nice to have some healthy quick and easy meals ideas on hand.  These Mushroom and Leek Pita Pizzas fit that bill quite nicely.  Mushrooms and leeks are a delicious combination, and a little garlic and crushed red pepper give this pizza a little pizazz.  The whole wheat pitas serve as a sturdy crust.  Topped with some low fat ricotta and lots of vegetables, these pitas turned pizzas become a healthy dinner in less than 20 minutes.

Mushroom and Leek Pita Pizzas
 
Yields: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup leeks, sliced (approximately 1 leek)
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (5 ounces)
  • Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 whole wheat pitas
  • ¼ cup low fat ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, for drizzling
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat.
  3. Add leeks and mushrooms and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until golden, about 1 to 2 minutes (watch carefully to not over cook garlic). Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place pitas on prepared baking sheet. Spreach each pita with 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil, and top with vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes (if using).
  5. Bake until pita is golden and cheeses begin to melt, about 6 to 8 minutes. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Whole Living