Coastline Cooks! Bacon, Pea & Fresh Herb Pasta and a Healthier Buffalo Chicken Dip

cooking hat

As it starts to finally heat up outside, we have two delicious recipes that complement the warmer weather. The first is a light pasta dish you can enjoy for dinner. Its great taste comes from the added fresh herbs instead of butter and/or a lot of salt. The bacon and goat cheese add some great flavor, but without tons of fat. And, if you use a whole-wheat pasta it’s even healthier. This recipe is courtesy of Martha Stewart.

Ingredients

  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/2 lb. short pasta (such as penne)
  • 1 1/2 cup peas – fresh or frozen
  • 4 oz. bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 4 oz. goat cheese (or other cheese)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped dill
  • 1/4 cup fresh sliced chives
  • 1/2 lemon

Preparation:

Cook pasta (according to directions) in a large pot of boiling, salted water. If using fresh peas, add them to the water 2 minutes before pasta is done cooking. If using frozen, add the peas just before draining. Reserve one cup of pasta water, then drain.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp; remove and drain on paper towels. Discard all but 1 tbsp. bacon fat from skillet. Increase the heat under the skillet to medium/high, add the pasta, cheese, and 3/4 cup reserved pasta water and stir until cheese melts. (Add remaining pasta water if necessary.)

Stir in bacon, parsley, dill, chives, and lemon (with juice). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Buffalo Chicken Dip is a great dish to bring to a fourth of July party, but is often made with full fat dressing and cream cheese. Kim’s lighter version tastes just as good, but cuts the calories almost in half, brings the fat per serving from 11 grams to 2 grams, and even increases the protein a few grams. This modified recipe is a perfect example of how you can create a healthier favorite without sacrificing flavor. She even sneaks in some vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. package fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup Boathouse Farms yogurt ranch dressing
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s RedHot Original Sauce
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 carrot, diced finely
  • 1 celery, diced finely
  • 2 cans (12.5oz) chicken breast in water, drained

Preparation:

Heat oven to 350° F. Place cream cheese into deep baking dish and stir until smooth. Mix in salad dressing, Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, and cheese; stir in chicken. Bake for 20 minutes or until the mixture is heated through; stir. Garnish as desired and serve with crackers or vegetables.

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