prosciutto wrapped pork cutlets

eight years ago in italy, i fell in love. with prosciutto. i ate it each and every morning for breakfast, wrapped around a piece of honeydew or fresh mozzarella, as i sat on a veranda or rooftop soaking it all in. i'd eat it again, sometime later in the day, whenever i could get my hands on it's salty goodness. on top of pizza. wrapped around more fresh cheese. a single piece all by itself. and if you've yet to experience the salty sweetness that is prosciutto wrapped melon, get yourself some. now.

and since melon isn't exactly ripe right now - and therefore not even worth wrapping with prosciutto - i've got the next best thing: thin sliced pork cutlets wrapped in prosciutto. 


lemon chicken pappardelle

last spring, my mom and i flew to virginia to visit  my sister for the weekend and go wedding dress shopping with her. while we were there, i had my first of very few visits to trader joe's. to some of you i'm sure that's surprising, but our closest trader joe's is hundreds of miles away. 

but i'm not complaining, since we have wegmans - also known as the reason why alec baldwin's mom won't move away from syracuse - and the pittsford wegmans - unofficially known as the flagship store - is a couple miles from my house.

anyway, i picked up a couple things in trader joe's: salted caramel sauce i've heard so much about, a box of cookies, and lemon pepper pappardelle. which, similar to my pearl couscous, sat in my pantry for months before i finally gave in and made it. which is a shame, since this pasta is delicious - light and acidic from the lemon and perfectly spicy from the black pepper. with a light lemon garlic wine sauce, chicken for added protein, and a healthy dose of cheese, this was a simple weeknight dinner.


peanut butter granola crispy bars

last month when i was mixing up these granola bars, i couldn't stop thinking about how easy and fast they are to make, and the countless flavor combinations. and the classic chocolate and peanut butter beat out the others.

if you've ever made rice krispy treats, you can handle these bars. instead of marshmallow, it's sweetened honey and peanut butter that holds the oats and rice cereal together. topped off with mini chocolate chips, they make a great peanut buttery chocolate snack.


chicken and pearl couscous with tomato and lemon

late last fall, while perusing the public market, i impulse bought a pound of pearl - or israeli - couscous. like most things i impulse buy, i didn't have any plans for it, so i quickly grabbed it and went on my merry way through the rest of the market. it made it's way into my pasta cupboard, where it sat for the next six months. until jason asked suggested it for dinner.


marshmallows [12in2012]

marshmallows tend to divide people as much as mushrooms: you either love them and can't get enough or you can't stand the taste and refuse a smore. i belong to the first camp; jason belongs to the second. how a person can shake their head no and scrunch up their nose to a smore is beyond me, but each and every summer, he does. i don't know if it's nostalgia that gets me - remembering all the marshmallows i caught on fire, melted off my stick and lost into the fire, burned my tongue on, or the few that made it to my smore successfully while camping - or the pillowey sweetness, but i'm a marshmallow lover through and through.


slow cooker minestrone

i know what you're thinking: hey kate, why is your soup purple? because i used purple cabbage. which dyed everything - except for the carrots - purple. even the green beans had a tinge of purple.

but don't let the look fool you: this soup packs a good punch of flavor. especially for a simple vegetable soup.


ultimate baked ziti

i have a horrible confession: this is the first time i've ever made baked ziti. crazy, right? i've eaten it plenty of times, with meat, without meat, chuck full of mushrooms and other vegetables. but never made it myself. which is silly, since it's everything we love about spaghetti, in a portable, shareable size. and share is exactly what i did.

another confession: i made this ziti about two months ago, for my boss' after the holidays potluck. i was skeptical at first - with the ham, cheesy potato casserole, brownies, salads, and other treats, i wasn't sure how a simple baked ziti would go over. but when it was time to leave and there were two sad looking pieces left, i knew this was a keeper. now i just need another reason to make it again.


chicken, leek, & mushroom soup

this winter hasn't been very wintery but it hasn't stopped me from making one of my favorite winter foods: soup. and this year has been somewhat of a challenge to find soup that's both really good for you and chock full of protein to keep me and the baby full - and that's not chili. don't get me wrong, i love a good chili just as much as the next person, but all that meat and beans gets kind of repetitive after a while.

which brings me to this soup. full of leeks and mushrooms - two of my favorite vegetables - perfectly spiked with apples and vinegar, and finished off with heavy cream and chicken. with a hunk of warm bread, it makes a comforting dinner.


chocolate peanut butter layer cake

as i've said before, i love layer cakes, but rarely make them since there's only two of us in the house. and since jason isn't a huge fan of sweets anyway, i am the one who eats the majority of the cakes around here. and it's really not good to eat a piece of a two or three layer cake a day. for a week. so last year i smartened up and bought a set of three six inch pans. they're the perfect size to serve four to six people. and it's simple to convert your favorite cake recipe into a mini version of itself, since half of a standard cake recipe perfectly fits into two six inch pans.

this year for my dad's birthday i made a petite version of one of our favorite combinations: my favorite chocolate cake layered with thick peanut butter filling and covered in ganache. 


secret recipe club: whole wheat grapefruit cake

this is the first time, in the nine months i've been participating in the secret recipe club that the initial recipe i chose didn't work out for me. i'm sorry sarah, as good as your chocolate snacking cake looked, as simple as it appeared, i somehow managed to tinker with it a wee bit too much. let me be honest: it's my fault. the cake came together wonderfully, the batter tasted great, and i decided, for whatever reason, to mix in chocolate and peanut butter chips and bake it in two loaf pans instead of a square pan. that's where it went wrong. the cakes sunk, the chips fell to the bottom, and both cakes stuck like crazy to the pan. but even with all that, it's on my short list to remake, because the chunks i've been gobbling up the last couple days taste amazing. even if it isn't too pretty.

and that chocolate cake is a long winded way to bring me to this whole wheat grapefruit cake from sarah at simply cooked. i don't cook much with grapefruit (have i ever eaten one? i don't think so. that has to be some kind of food crime in and of itself.), which is somewhat surprising since i love the sweet tart flavor almost as much as the hubs loves lemon. so this cake - marked as my back up, in case the chocolate let me down - stole the show. the whole wheat flour results in more of a coarse and ever so slightly dense cake than light and fluffy. which is fine by me, since it goes great with the zesty grapefruit in the cake. and this time, i learned my lesson: i didn't stray a bit from sarah's recipe. at least for the cake. where sarah topped hers with a grapefruit glaze, i opted for grapefruit spiked buttercream. it's the perfect, light pink, sweet tart icing on the cake. this one's a keeper, for sure.


lasagna bolognese

i make lasagna once, and only once, each winter. and when i do, i make two large pans of it. one for now, one for the freezer. i figure if i am going to go to all the trouble of making it - two homemade sauces, all the layering and dirty dishes - then i may as well get a full four meals out of it. 

but don't let the time and sheet volume of ingredients discourage you. this is the best lasagna. noticeably absent is ricotta. on purpose. we aren't big fans of ricotta around here, and once you have lasagna with bechamel instead of ricotta once, it's the only way you'll ever want it again. trust me.


risotto with peas & chicken

risotto is perfect for cold winter weeknights when all i want is a deliciously simple comforting bowl of pasta that's not spaghetti and meatballs. it's a perfectly creamy one pot meal with endless combinations. once you master the art of making risotto - which isn't difficult at all, the key is keeping an eye on the pot and making sure the rice doesn't burn - it's the perfect vehicle to transform leftovers from earlier in the week into something new and exciting. while i sometimes have ingredients specifically set aside for risotto, most of the time, it's made from leftovers and pantry staples.

not a fan of the peas & chicken combo? try one of these other risottos: tomato basilportobello, vanilla strawberry & vanilla peach, three cheese, bacon, peas, & leeks, tomato & corn, gruyere, or baby tomato and spinach.

have leftover risotto? make risotto cakes or stuff a portobello cap for something different.
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