Recipe Review: Creamy Pappardelle with Leeks and Bacon

creamy Linguini with Leeks and bacon

What carnivorous human doesn’t love bacon? Just add cheese and cream and who can resist? Sara Jenkins from Bon Appétit did just this. Searching for something fairly quick and satisfying, I decided to try this out. The first steps in this recipe are to heat the olive oil and add bacon. Sounds of sizzle and smoky flavors filled up our home with a warm welcome for my husband, who just walked in the door. I rarely cook with bacon, so it was a pleasant surprise for him. He swooned over the aroma as the leeks and seasonings were added in and warming up.

This dish kind of sounds like a ho-hum Alfredo sauce. The amount of fat in this recipe could make your heart stop as much as the actual dish if eaten in large quantities. Still we all love the combination of cream and bacon over a bed of grains soaking up all the yummy bits. The leeks here add a sweet twist on the pasta but do not come out in a strong powerful way. If you have never cooked with a leek and are slightly intimidated by it, don’t be. It doesn’t have a powerful destructive flavor nor is it difficult to use. You can play with it after you try a recipe. You will see what I mean. It is a savory sweet addition that adds a layer of warmth to this recipe. Mac n’ cheese may have new competition as a favorite comfort dish.

Needless to say, we enjoyed this dish. My husband, who tends to eat modestly, had 3 full servings! I had 2. My daughter enjoyed it so much that she rolled her sippy over to Bubby’s plate and stole his fork with one hand and grabbed a fistful of his pasta with the other. She is my foodie. At 20 months old, there is a lot of work to be done with her on table manners. My son tends to be pickier, but gobbled it right up. There is a feeling of complete fulfillment when your family enjoys the love you put on a plate.

Here is the link to the original recipe:

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/creamy-pappardelle-with-leeks-and-bacon

The calories per serving of this dish, as the recipe prepared, was 580/serving with 6 servings. My version was only 263 calories/serving with 8 servings or 351/6 servings. Here are the changes I made to the dish:

1. I used 1 slice less of bacon

2. I used Dreamfield’s Linguine Pasta (because of my disorder I choose to use this for a lower-carb option.)

3. I opted out of the butter addition since the dish was pretty creamy and had lots of fat already.

4. I drained the bacon grease before adding the leeks.

5. I used 1 cup of 1% Milk and dash of cream (about 1 tbsp) instead of the 3/4 cup cream and 1/2 cup of water.

6. I added 1 shallot in with the leeks to add another layer of flavor.

7. I took half of the pasta and half of the sauce and saved it for another meal this week.

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Setting the Table

How do we actually become food snobs? There are a few tools we can use to prepare us. Educating ourselves on healthy eating is one way to ensure a stable foundation. Planning ahead for busy schedules can help us stay on the right path, even when things get hectic. Understanding your personal needs, tastes, and personality can equip you to adjust the program to suit your life. Learning to make friends with the kitchen can boost your confidence and become an exciting part of this chapter of your life. Success boils down to this “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.”-Benjamin Franklin.
     With so much information out there on healthy eating, it can become overwhelming to know what to do. Contradicting information, undecided stances, and know-it-alls become complications. I will do my part to try and educate you on what my thoughts are on healthy eating. You will have to decide for yourself, based on the information you receive what is important to you. My facebook page offers a “Daily Bite” of food information that can be used to make decisions yourself. One basic piece of information is eating as natural as possible this helps minimize the amount of chemicals that enter your body. When reading labels 100% whole wheat or whole wheat should be the first ingredient listed for it to be considered truly whole wheat. While choosing good fats and carbs are worthy of applaud, remember you still only need so much in a day. Talk to a dietitian/ nutritionist or visit www.choosemyplate.gov to see what your daily needs might be.  
   Plan ahead for the grocery store. List your favorite foods. Think of healthier options you could replace some ingredients with. It may take a few trial and errors to find what products or exchanges work for you. Use this to make a menu of every meal for the week. Packing lunch is a great way to cut costs and calories. You could make yourself a soup or sandwich to make coworkers jealous! Heck, you can even pack leftovers if your job has a microwave available at lunchtime. Breakfasts should include the bulk of your grains for the day. Accounting for what you need and like will help you succeed. Use the menu to make a grocery list. Divide your list into sections of the store and in the order you may encounter them.This is especially nice when toting children. If you know you are eating out plan accordingly. Eat a light snack before or choose healthy options off the menu. If your plan is indulgence, eat lighter every other meal that day. You can check out the nutritional information on most restaurant websites. Another way to plan ahead is to pre-baggie snack portions. Heck you may even find cutting veggies and fruits helpful. Go a step further and portion them out for recipes and label each one. Some people choose to cook for a week ahead of time and freeze the meals with ingredients separated and labeled. Freezing some leftovers may be a great quick meal in a pinch.
     Once you have your groceries stocked and ready to go, you must confront the kitchen and its gadgets. Read the Confidence in the Kitchen page on my blog for basic tips. You can usually catch local cooking demonstrations to help you learn something new. Many cooking demonstrations are on www.foodnetwork.com and many other sites. I will eventually be posting some of my own. Find the techniques that best suit you and your style. Make the kitchen less scary by involving someone you enjoy. Have a friend over and try a new recipe. Make a date out of it with your significant other. Get in there and conquer your fears. Start with the basics and then move up from there. You can always check out my recipes on here.
    However you plan, make it your own! There is not one plan that is going to suit everyone. We are different people with different lifestyles, hobbies, jobs, preferences, and abilities. We can make a change when we look at what works for us. Be able to be patient and flexible with yourself. This may be a new endeavor for you and these things take trial and error. You, your body, your loved ones, and your future are worth the effort. Plus your tummy and taste buds will thank you!
Have a recipe you would like to see made over? Post your ideas to me! Your feedback keeps me motivated to continue helping others.

Perspective

The first step to any successful change is our mindset. Our actions are fueled by what motivates us, how we perceive ideas, and what we find priority. First let’s talk about the way we see food. Food is more than an essential piece of life. Food is the way we fuel our day, show love, reward, apologize, get past a tough moment, heal, and live! Food is not the enemy. We have control over what we eat. We can make a change and choose better for ourselves. I remember what changed my perspective on food. My husband sweetly brought me breakfast to work one day. It was Burger King biscuits and gravy. It was the most disgusting-looking food I was ever about to put in my mouth. The thought “What am I thinking? Are you really going to eat this?!” hit me like a ton of bricks. That moment I realized that I have been settling for less than my body deserves and it wouldn’t even taste good. Some foods we eat taste good at the time, but come back to haunt us later. Whether it is a bad stomach ache, lbs gained, weird feelings, bloat, or other issues it never leaves us truly happy and fulfilled. Something to consider when choosing food, is how you will feel after you eat it. Will you be glad you made the choice to eat it? If so, go ahead and enjoy. If not maybe it is time to consider another option.

I pointed out before that cooking is the best option. That scares people sometimes. Especially the crazy busy parent who doesn’t have time to shower, let alone cook or exercise. It doesn’t have to be a hassle to fix dinner. You may even find you have a flare for it. The time it takes you to run through the drive thru and grab a bite and take it home or where you are heading, you could have had a home-cooked meal instead. Just ask Rachel Ray. She is seriously one of the busiest people in the business and she cooks almost every meal. When she is sick she at least pulls a pizza bread together. I am not saying you have to be Rachel Ray, but you can find time to cook if you practice. Most weekday meals can be made in 30 minutes. I will be posting some recipes for you weekly. Plus, you are more likely to help your children develop positive habits for the future and even right now if you share your meal at the table. You will savor your food more and eat less if you enjoy it over a good conversation. We may also find that we have more energy, because we are not crashing from all the excess sugar in fast food products. Eating well will also help keep our moods more stable. Something extreme diets do not offer. If you are nervous about skills in the kitchen, look at my tips and practice cooking. I will be adding more over time.

The second and final perspective we may need to change is how we see ourselves. Believe it or not, you really are worth putting time and energy into. Seeing yourself as a person who has a purpose in life is key. In order to fulfill your purposes in life, you have to be healthy. I am not saying you should become self-centered. However, when you need to make a decision for yourself choose the best! Someone once said you cannot love others until you love yourself. I never agreed until recently. If we do not take care of ourselves how will we be in good health enough to take care of others? Also, once you learn how to better care for yourself, you can apply that knowledge when helping those you love. Remember to take time for yourself. Sometimes those with children find this particularly difficult. Aside from the guilt many feel for taking time for themselves, there are changing schedules, chores to be done, activities to do, etc. Squeezing some exercise time does not have to be impossible with children. If you have an infant, hold the baby as weight for squats and other exercises where you can have a good hold on your baby. Toddlers will enjoy watching you exercise and may even join in. If you toddler gets so involved you can’t move, save exercise for his or her nap time or after they have gone down for the night. When your children see you taking time and making good decisions they will understand that these things are important. This helps to prepare your children to make similar decisions for themselves later. If you are a busy person who barely even gets to see their significant other, make a date out of exercise or just do something active on your outings. Get creative. It also makes for great friend bonding time to do a similar program and keeps you accountable!

Valuing your health and choosing the best for yourself does not have to be a hassle. First of all you are worth the effort and time it takes to be healthy. You will feel better once you choose better. Start simple and grow from there. Small changes will help make for a lifetime of good choices for you and maybe even for others you care about. Balance in life has to include your wellbeing. When things are balanced, life is good! So go ahead and be a little snobby!