Whip Smart Kitchen

Recipes, methods & musings for the whip-smart home cook

Tricolore Pear Salad

Dinner, Vegetarian, Summer, Fall, Italian, Recipe, Salad, SidesLeannda CavalierComment

Sweet, soft pears and pine nuts complement a mix of buttery, nutty and bitter lettuces dressed in a simple balsamic vinaigrette.

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means I get a small commission if you buy products I recommend at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I believe in from companies I believe in—either I use them myself or I've at least done thorough research and vetting. Please reach out if you have any questions or want more info!

I need summa those sweet greens—jump to the recipe, please!

Summer isn't over yet and I'm trying to squeeze out every last drop, but... fall has undeniably started creeping into my thoughts. Maybe it's just from spending the majority of my life in school and teaching, but once August hits everything goes into overdrive, hurtling toward September like a defensive end on a pass rush. 

I truly love fall. I love the start of school and football. I love the foliage and wearing sleeves again. I love pumpkins and bold spices. But it still feels like everything summer is ending way too fast. Pools are closing and I'm seeing school buses everywhere. Didn't we just do the Fourth of July? 

Luckily, I've got the perfect dish if you're also struggling to accept all that comes with the inevitable shift from summer nights to autumn evenings.

This Tricolore Pear Salad is incredibly simple from the short ingredient list to the simple dressing, but trust me, it has an undeniable wow factor. 

It's based on the classic Italian insalata tricolore, which uses a mix of dark and light lettuces brilliantly to balance bitterness and sweetness as well as softness and crunch. It also happens to feature the three colors of the Italian flag, green, red and white. 

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Some also call caprese salads insalata tricolore, which makes sense with the color theme, but we'll leave that in its own pedestal where it belongs. 

I do a little catering as a side job, mostly for small events, but sometimes I do personal catering too. I developed this Tricolore Pear Salad for a client whose family wanted to eat a version of the paleo diet, in an effort to keep the choices from getting stale and, oh boy, I could not have predicted what happened.

He told me the first time he picked up the salad that he had never had a fresh pear before—which is actually something I hear pretty frequently about peaches and pears—so nobody here really knew what to expect. 

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They LOVED it. Like ordered it multiple times a week from there on out. It got to the point where I was visiting multiple grocery stores a multiple times a week because I was buying out all the ingredients for it. Once we got into the later fall and fresh pears got harder to find, I had to limit the amount of times they could order just because I literally could not find enough ingredients.

It was a problem, but you know, a nice one. If you guys are reading this, know I love you and your pear madness!

I recommend using green d'anjou pears for this salad, though I've also used green and red bartletts with great results. There's just something special about a d'anjou pear—it's sweet and buttery with just enough crispness. Red ones are nice later in the fall as they're a little more robust.

Whatever you do, use a good one! If all the d'anjous are rock hard? Move on to the next kind. If it's so soft it falls apart in your hand? 

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You got a million ways to get it. Choose one

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I've actually been putting pears on salad for years now, usually in an arugula salad with goat cheese and a sweeter dressing, but I think using no cheese, a more acidic dressing and bitter chicory takes this salad up several notches. 

It's pretty common to serve a tricolore salad with shaved parmesan, but I actually really like this salad without the cheese. The softness of the pears and the nuttiness of the pine nuts and arugula pretty well takes care of that desire for me in this case. 

Speaking of simplifying the dressing, HOLY COW is this EASY. Just combine three ingredients and shake. If you want, you can switch it up with other vinegars or add other things (I might add a garlic clove and let it sit for a different salad), but there's no need, and you probably have balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and salt on hand already if you cook often. 

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I can't say enough about how much I love this aspect of Italian cooking. I'm a person who tends to make things much more complicated than they need to be, which is sometimes good, and sometimes makes my life a living hell.

Maybe that's why I go back to Italian food so often. Or maybe it's that my husband is Italian, I'm coastal Croatian, and Italian food is TASTY.  

One piece of advice I do have is that when you're making something so simple, use the best quality ingredients you can find. That's one of the reasons simplicity works so well in Italy: pretty much everything they use is grown nearby and freshness is key (with exceptions, of course, because they clearly know how to preserve tomatoes and cheese like wow).

I'm not telling you to break the bank here, but I am saying you can uplevel your kitchen game approximately 100 notches just by investing in a good extra virgin olive oil for cold foods like salads. I typically buy an okay brand in bulk for cooking, but I keep a big bottle of my one of my favorites on hand for dressings and drizzle. 

What are my favorites? I love going to an olive oil specialty store and doing a tasting to figure that out. My favorite is Oil & Vinegar in Greenville, South Carolina. Their products are all high-quality, their staff is super knowledgable (but not snobby!) and they're so friendly and enthusiastic that it's tough to want to buy anywhere else.

My most recent buy, pictured in the background above, was their extra virgin olive oil from Puglia , and it is SO good—robust, peppery and a little sweet. It's got low acidity and high polyphenols (antioxidants), making the flavor more intense and the oil better for you. 

That being said, if you just wanna pick some up from the grocery store or order some from Amazon, that's totally cool too. In that case I encourage you to experiment, but I recommend California Olive Ranch EVOO as a good starting point. 

Here are a few things to pay attention to if you're picking one up on your own: 

How to choose a grocery store olive oil: 

  1. Is it fresh? Most good olive oil brands will have a harvest date somewhere on the bottle, as olive oil doesn't necessarily age well. 
  2. How is it bottled? Olive oil should be stored in a cold dark place, so a dark, glass bottle is the best packaging. You don't want the oil deteriorating as it sits in the truck. 
  3. Where is it from? Check the country or region of origin. First of all, it should only have one. Second, foreign isn't always best, as the further away it is, the longer it probably took to ship and the harder it is to find out about the source. This is why I recommend California Ranch Olive Oil. Now if you're buying imported oil from a specialty store, you can probably go for it safely as they will be more discerning about the source.
  4. How long is the ingredient list? Hint: it should only list one thing. Extra virgin olive oil. 
  5. Is it cold-pressed? Good olive oil is processed with olives that are crushed and pressed without help from heat or chemicals, so the bottle should say cold-pressed. According to Larousse Gastronomique, this designation doesn't necessarily tell us much anymore as processors now have machines that are temperature-controlled, even if they don't use traditional extraction methods. First-pressed means virtually nothing as modern methods don't typically require a second press. Still, if a bottle doesn't even bother saying it? I'd steer clear unless you know the person who made it.
  6. Other factors? Higher polyphenols means more antioxidants and a bolder flavor. The lower the acidity, the better (extra virgin olive oil must have less than 1 percent acidity). You might not be able to find this information on bottles of grocery store olive oil, which is okay, but it's a good sign if you can. 

If all else fails, try out Google University! Here's a great article from The Kitchn that does the work for you with recommendations from Italian cooks.

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I tend to give balsamic vinegar a bit more of a pass, for better or for worse. Don't get me wrong, really good balsamic vinegar makes a huge difference, and you should get an aged vinegar marked Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale with a D.O.P. certification if possible. The thing is... a lot of grocery store brands are pretty good in their own right, and purity is less of an issue. 

That being said, if you live near a specialty store, go in for a tasting! A top-quality balsamic isn't as necessary to me as top-quality olive oil, but it is undoubtedly one of my favorite special occasion splurges. Especially a cherry-flavored one. Mmmmmm. 

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Now let's talk about that green. And red. And white.

You can make many variations of this salad depending on what's available (my local grocery stores don't always make it easy to find good greens), but here are the leafy ingredients I like to use:

  • Arugula (rocket) - A soft, nutty green and situation where stems are okay. You don't have to use it, but I highly recommend it.
  • Baby kale and baby Swiss chard - Soft versions of the big leafy bunches you know. Earthy and lightly bitter, but much more subtle than their later stage selves. You can often find a mix of these (sometimes along with arugula, spinach and other young greens) marketed as "super greens". Bonus: baby swiss kale adds a nice aesthetic touch with its bright pink stems. 
  • Radicchio - It looks like thin red cabbage, but it's not! Radicchio is an Italian chicory with a mildly spicy, slightly bitter flavor. It's not thick and woody like cabbage (and doesn't have the same side effects), but it does still have a crunchy bite. Don't sub in red cabbage. Just don't.
  • Belgian endive - Another chicory plant with delicate, buttery leaves and a nice crunch. This one is a little bitter too, but it's subtle and it works with the dressing and pears. Embrace the bitterness. I typically peel off the outer leaves and then cut off the hard bottom as needed to pull the rest off easily, but you can also cut a cone into the bottom to get all the leaves off at once. 
  • Substitutions - Some of these can be a little hard to find, I'll admit. I don't know if I'd made this unless I can find at least two of them or else it's a different salad, but here are some recommendations. In a pinch, I've used baby romaine instead of endive. It's not the same, but it has a similar texture. If you can't find radicchio, seriously, don't use red cabbage. My grocery stores typically have a box of four "artisan lettuce" varieties that typically include chicories you could use instead. If it's curly and spindly, it's probably a chicory or something with similar flavor.  For the darker greens you could use spring mix if you have to.
  • Red Cabbage - Just don't! I'm warning you.
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The last, but definitely not least important element of my Tricolore Pear Salad is the toasted pine nuts, and yes, I do think toasting them makes a big difference when you're eating them raw. Pine nuts are earthy little tree nuts that give pesto its nutty flavor.

They're much milder than pecans and softer than almonds, which you might typically put in a sweeter salad. I would almost call them creamy based on the feeling of chewing them. 

Toasting them may feel like one more step, but it's super easy and fast. The one skill you need to have is vigilance. 

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How to toast pine nuts: 

  1. Heat a pan over medium heat.
  2. Pour in the pine nuts and stir frequently for 2-3 minutes, or until you start to smell them and they leave grease trails on the bottom of the pan, and remove them to a plate to cool. Watch them closely and if they start to brown or smoke, remove them to a plate immediately so they don't burn.
  3. That's it!
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This Tricolore Pear Salad is far from rabbit food, and I have family/friends/happy customers to back me up on that if you don't believe me. BUT I hope you'll make it to find out for yourself! You could even make it into an entire meal instead of a side dish by adding a little chicken or even sliced steak, which I sometimes do when I pack up the leftovers for lunch the next day. 

If you do make it, let me know by sharing a photo with the hashtag #whipsmartkitchen and tagging me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. You can also use the "tried it" feature on Pinterest to help out others looking for a salad they don't have to force themselves to eat!

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Let's get this pear party started!

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Brambleberry Lavender Dutch Baby

Breakfast, BakingLeannda CavalierComment

A puffy-centered, crisp-edged oven-baked pancake flavored with soft lavender and filled with bright berry compote. Top with lavender whipped cream for ultimate brunch-master status.

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means I get a small commission if you buy products I recommend at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I believe in from companies I believe in—either I use them myself or I've at least done thorough research and vetting. Please reach out if you have any questions or want more info!

Yeah, got it. Dutch baby good. Jump to the recipe, please!

I don't know if you've been getting the days-long downpour I've been working with this week, but either way, I've got a recipe that never fails to brighten my day: I give you the Brambleberry Lavender Dutch Baby!

Okay, so it's a weird name, but hear me out: it's so, so, SO good. 

A dutch baby is a buttery oven-baked pancake that puffs up with soft, golden-brown splendor in the middle and crispy, browned edges. The classic way to eat it is with powdered sugar and a little lemon, but you can also top it with fruit or even savory toppings like eggs and avocado. 

 Right?

Right?

The first time I heard about a Dutch baby, also known as a puff pancake or German pancake, was watching Alton Brown's Good Eats. He explains that it's basically a big, sweet popover, using pretty much the same ratio of eggs, flour and milk as both those and Yorkshire pudding. 

I've since made them all, and while they're all delicious the Dutch baby has unquestionably been my most-repeated of the three.

You can mix dutch babies with a bowl and a whisk, but lately I've been using my food processor, which is the perfect size for the batter. It makes the batter nice and smooth, and takes up a lot less dishwasher real estate. 

I also recently started letting the batter rest, a tip I gleaned from The Kitchn. It allows the flour to absorb the liquid, PLUS it makes it unnecessary to start out with room temperature eggs, which is an easy and annoying thing to forget. 

Dutch babies are fascinating to me because the way they puff up is like magic, but it's really all smoke and mirrors. Or steam and mirrors, to be precise. As the liquid heats and vaporizes, it expands between the fat and flour for a puff that ages much better than the sleeves in your childhood photos. 

Which brings up an important point. Avoid the temptation to open the oven too early when you make your Brambleberry Lavender Dutch Baby! And it will tempt you.

Trust, my friend. Maybe use it as motivation to clean your oven window, which I may or may not need to do as well.

Back to the name. I did look around internet-land for the reason behind it, and like Alexander Hamilton, I will never be satisfied. 

Basically the prevailing story is that while its roots are in Germany, the name "Dutch baby" originated at Manca's Cafe in Seattle in the 1900's, where they subbed in "Dutch" for "Deutsch" (German for "German"—think the Pennsylvania "Dutch", who are actually German).

The thing is, that's not the part I'm curious about. I want to know why it's called a Dutch baby. When you talk about eating that beautiful Dutch baby and going back for seconds around unwitting strangers, which part is it that gets the stares and questions?

"Ma'am,* I couldn't help but overhear you were going to eat a Dutch baby, which is disturbing, because clearly the baby would be Deutsch, which is German," is never how the conversation goes. If you said the baby-eating, you were correct. Pick up your prize on the way out, it's a Brambleberry Lavender Dutch baby recipe. 

*Please don't call me ma'am. 

 *Please don't call me ma'am. 

*Please don't call me ma'am. 

ANYWAY. 

The Brambleberry Lavender Dutch Baby is a brunch favorite among guests of the Cavalier household, which we've had a LOT of this summer. It works out great for me, because:  

  1. I don't have to get up super early to make it.
  2. It comes together fast, and I can hang out while it bakes.
  3. It all comes out at once, so I can sit at the table before everyone else is on their last bites.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE cooking for other people, and I don't see it as a burden. Plus we have an open kitchen, so I'm technically still in the mix even while I'm cooking. Still, it's nice sometimes to not have to spend breakfast standing at stove or the waffle maker while everyone else takes their coffee to the table. 

Besides, I'm the possibly the slowest eater in history, so I'm pretty sure people get annoyed with waiting for me to finish savoring my last bites.

Dutch babies are great on their own, but I love mine filled with compote and topped with whipped cream, which is how the Brambleberry Lavender Dutch Baby was born. 

Compote has been a breakfast-topping favorite of mine since college when I learned about it on Chopped started making it to put on chocolate protein pancakes—very healthful of me, considering I also added chocolate syrup and whipped cream—so it was a no-brainer . 

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So what exactly is compote?

Compote is a chunky, sweet sauce made of fruit, sugar and citrus simmered together. It's quick and easy to throw together, especially if you keep frozen fruit on hand—amazing for thrown-together breakfasts and last-minute desserts. 

It's tangy and sweet, and as an added bonus, it's Gorgeous. Ain't no question if I want it, I need it. 

So where did the lavender inspiration come from? Two things. 

First was another college comfort. I used to live down the street from and volunteer at The Wild Ramp, a hyper-local farmers' market co-op in Huntington, West Virginia. They sold Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, and I loved trying out all the unique flavors including my favorites, goat cheese and cherries and yup, lavender brambleberry. 

...I also may have put this on the chocolate protein pancakes once or twice. 

Second, I really love lavender and keep a lot of it on hand.

I've had a lot of people ask me:

What do you actually DO with lavender?

I think it's one of those ingredients people want to buy because they like the smell and it just sounds special, but putting it into use is more difficult. It is becoming more prevalent though, so there is inspiration around if you're reading menus (one of my favorite things to do, as a food-obsessed person).

You can simmer a little of it with equal proportions of sugar and water to make lavender syrup for coffee or lemonade, sprinkle a pinch into whipped cream (which you should put on top of this recipe), or add it to your tea for a floral touch. My favorite thing to do with it, though, is sprinkle it into batter. Waffles, pancakes, cakes—you name it!

Which is why it was a natural fit for a Dutch baby. 

If you saw my recent Instagram post with the recipe for Brambleberry Lavender Compote, you may have seen that a lot of the comments were people asking where to get dried lavender. I've seen it at some specialty stores like Whole Foods, but my personal favorite place to get it is on Amazon, where you can buy it in bulk for much less than the smaller portions you might find at the store. 

Above is the specific kind I like to buy, but it comes with a lot. I keep it in a mason jar and use it to double as a decoration on my bookshelf. You can shop around and see what works for you, but wherever you get it make sure it's culinary grade! Other types might be contaminated as they're not processed with food safety in mind.

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Don't forget the lavender whipped cream. It's so easy to make, and it's so worth it. 

 Sam gets it. 

Sam gets it. 

I mean look at this. Look at these. Keep the daisy home for the day, because you brought dollops of LAVENDER WHIPPED CREAM to the party. 

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If you make the Brambleberry Lavender Dutch Baby, let me know by sharing a photo with the hashtag #whipsmartkitchen and tagging me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.You can also upload them using the "tried it" feature on Pinterest to help out others looking for brunch recipes. I LOVE to see your photos, really. It makes my day. 

If you're into this recipe, you may want to subscribe to my newsletter so you'll always be notified of my latest recipes! You'll even get a freebie I put together to help make cooking a little smoother even for beginners. 

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Let's get mixing!

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Date Night Peach-Glazed Pork Chops

Dinner, RecipeLeannda CavalierComment

Cowboy cut pork chops seared to perfection in a sweet peach sauce with just enough spice to keep things interesting. A showstopper for date nights in, or you can slice the chops to feed up to four.

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means I get a small commission if you buy products I recommend at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I believe in from companies I believe in—either I use them myself or I've at least done thorough research and vetting. Please reach out if you have any questions or want more info!

Tonight's date night and I'm hungry—jump to the recipe!

What's better than a night out on the town? How about one where no one has to find parking, everyone gets a big juicy pork chop with a sweet, peachy glaze, and no one has to drive home after eating said deliciousness?

Sounds pretty good to me!

I really can't say enough about what a magical combo peaches and pork are, as you may know if you've been around long enough to have read my Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Tomato Peach Sauce post (no worries if you haven't been, but I would do that next!). 

It's just the perfect mix of sweet and savory, and if you add ginger? JACKPOT. With this particular cut of meat, you have the added benefit of texture. A crisp crust of rib pork chops with braised peaches? Holy yes, please do this. All of this. 

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Date Night Peach-Glazed Pork Chops take about 35 minutes to make, and barring any major fiascos, I really mean that. It's important to point out any recipe can take beginners a little longer, but there's honestly not a lot of prep here besides gathering ingredients and cutting the peaches, so we'll solve for that right now:

  • How to slice peaches: Cut the peach in half around the pit along the "butt", twist the halves and pull apart, spoon out the pit, slice each side in half lengthwise and then slice those halves in half.
  • How to chop fresh sage: Remove the stems, stack them on top of each other, roll them together lengthwise, slice the roll lengthwise, then slice it horizontally like you're slicing a carrot thinly until you have tiny pieces. 
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Let's go back to that crust real quick. To form a good crust on meat, you need dry meat and a nice hot pan. I mean, REALLY hot. That's why I'm asking you to pat the meat dry (just blot it with paper towels) and heat up the pan before you ever put it on the stove. You need that maillard reaction at work to get that caramel-y brown top with the crispity-crunch. 

Pro-tip: once you take it out of the oven, leave an oven mitt on the handle so you don't forget it's HOT. If not you'll end up like yours truly, whose knuckle currently looks like a cat butt thanks to pregnancy brain.

Yes, you read that right. Gail from Bob's Burgers would totally put it in her art exhibit. 

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So, what exactly are cowboy cut pork chops? 

If you've never heard of or cowboy cut pork chops before, you're not alone, I'm sure. They're just thick bone-in chops from the rib portion of the loin, with the rib bone frenched (a.k.a. that little bare handlebar you see poking out). They're basically the pork equivalent of a ribeye steak, and they're typically about an inch thick and well-marbled—they also have less connective tissue than many of the chops you see packaged at the grocery store, so they're nice and tender if you cook them right. 

Living in a small town, I don't see the cowboy cut around often—though because that town is in the South, they do pop up here and there. If you can't find them in your butcher's case, you can usually ask the butcher to cut some up for you, but make sure you give them time! They might not have a fresh rib rack in the back at all times. Ask about them at least a couple of days before you need them. 

My great-great grandfather Josef Juričić was from Croatia, where "butcher" translates to "mesar" in Croatian. When he crossed from Fiume (now Rijeka) to the United States, the immigration officials at Ellis Island asked him who he was, which he took to mean what he was. He replied he was a mesar, and ever since that mistaken scribble, my maternal line has had the surname "Messar".

P.S. my Pop-Pop, George Messar, goes by "Butch", so he's basically Butch Butcher. 

All this to say between family legacy, the idea that custom and local is better than mass-produced and my attempt to treat animals with respect despite eating meat, I appreciate a good butcher. I think they're way under-appreciated in much of the grocery industry. 

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Seriously, treat your butcher well and most will go out of their way to answer your questions and get you the cuts you want. A good one is a great resource, plus they might be able to make your shopping experience WAY less frustrating, for instance, if you typically put significant milage on your car just because you live in a small town and love lamb.

I have this theory that if we rely on and appreciate butchers a little more, grocery stores will see that and invest in helping them run departments with better quality meats, better training and more flexibility.

Let's try it, shall we?

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Like last week's Cheesy Fusilli with Tomatoes and Sausage, this is a meal I started making in college that has evolved greatly over the years. Almost 9 years to be precise (WHAT?!). I used to make this with itty-bitty pork chop cuts and frozen peaches (still do sometimes) and I would portion it out into containers with some greens for dinners on the go. 

I started out making it just on the stove, adding in the peaches and liquids after the second side was mostly done, then adding brown rice directly to the pan. The technique I use now is definitely more of a showstopper, but not gonna lie, the original was pretty good for a budget college meal!

 Baby, baby. GLAZE IT REAL GOOD. 

Baby, baby. GLAZE IT REAL GOOD. 

Speaking of technique, you may have noticed earlier I said the peaches are braised. They are (sort of), since they're seared and then finished in liquid, but the meat is not. In my previous method the pork chops were (kinda) braised, which is why despite being tasty, they never had the crust we're seeking here.

Taking the meat out before making the peach sauce and then glazing the meat after a good rest is how we get around that whole mess. Plus it makes sure the meat doesn't get overcooked and dry while the sauce thickens—which takes longer when all that juice is leaking out of the pork chops and into the pan, for the record.

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Yup, it's also how you make sure the inside is as beautiful as the outside. Tell me you don't want a piece of that. 

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So what's your favorite date night meal? Do you like a 30-minute stunna, or an all-day sleeper hit like a roast? Let me know in the comments!

If you try out this recipe, let me know by sharing a photo with the hashtag #whipsmartkitchen and tagging me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. You can also use the "tried it" feature on Pinterest to help other pinners find their next date night recipe!

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Let's get sizzling!

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Cheesy Fusilli with Tomatoes and Sausage

Dinner, Comfort Food, Italian, Pasta, RecipeLeannda CavalierComment

Pasta in a creamy parmesan sauce, topped with roasted tomatoes, spicy sausage and nutty arugula. Simple enough to throw together tonight, flavorful enough to make again for company this weekend.

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My mouth is watering. Jump to the recipe, please!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means I get a small commission if you buy products I recommend at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I believe in from companies I believe in—either I use them myself or I've at least done thorough research and vetting. Please reach out if you have any questions or want more info!

I've had a whole lot to celebrate lately. Between the little girl we're expecting in November and all the excitement that comes with planning, visits with loved ones, and a slew of weddings—including three of my bridesmaids: my bonus sister Marie and two of my best friends since childhood, Kaitlynn (of The Keto Show) and Hannah—it's been an incredible whirlwind season of life!

Everyone should have a go-to special occasion recipe. Cheesy fusilli with tomatoes and sausage is one of our favorites of all time. Don't get me wrong, we switch things up all the time and I love to try out new dishes, but this is the one I know I can make from memory—grocery store to plate.

This is the one I make for my husband's birthday. This is the one I make when we're celebrating small victories. This is the one I make when we need a little extra homey comfort. 

It's evolved a lot over the years. I started making a version it in college because the most of the ingredients were affordable, and I learned at an early age that keeping parmesan in the fridge was a priority. The technique is a little more sound now, but the roots are the same. 

Cheesy fusilli with tomatoes and sausage is perfect for summer when you've got fresh grape tomatoes all over the place, but guess what? Grape tomatoes are also some of the best to go for year round. They keep well and smaller tomatoes don't need as many resources as larger varieties to be packed with juicy flavor.

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I made cheesy fusilli with tomatoes and sausage a few weeks ago because pregnancy cravings pretty much demanded it. Whenever I make it, I like to do this thing where I just happen to not mention what I'm making to Adam until he figures it out on his own—usually around the time he smells the sausage and sees me piling on the arugula with a mound of fresh grated cheese on the cutting board.

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You'd think it would get old after 8-ish years, but nope! The reaction is always so worth it. Huge smile, high-pitched questions ("Good smells— wait, is this what I think it is?!"), fist pump and the only kind of hovering from another grown adult I can tolerate. It's like I brought home a winning lottery ticket. It's the best

After we finished eating, Adam asked if I would post this recipe for his birthday this year. That's in October. I thought about it and realized this is a pretty great summer recipe with all the cherry tomatoes bursting onto the scene right about now. I asked if he'd mind if I made it again that week to post this month.

He didn't take long to answer yes, but there was one condition. He wanted me to tell you it has a good mouthfeel (too much Food Network?), and... I mean, he's not wrong! Between the creamy cheese sauce, al dente pasta, acidic tomatoes, fatty sausage and the arugula to lighten it all up? Yeah. 

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So there you go. Good mouthfeel.

Another major perk of this recipe is just how EASY it is to make. It looks like it takes a lot of work, but really it comes together in about 25 minutes if you just prep the ingredients ahead. It might take you a little longer if you're a beginner and cutting still takes a while, but hey, all the more reason to in some practice with your knife!

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Nervous about making a cheese sauce? Don't be. 

Like a lot of my favorite recipes, you can learn how to make other dishes without realizing it too. Sneaky education is my favorite kind. If you can make one cheese sauce, you can make lots of cheese sauces. Just try out different cheeses, liquids and seasonings and you can make hundreds of totally different pastas or toppings, all your own. 

This one doesn't use a roux, which I think is great for two reasons: 

  1. It shows there are lots of ways to make a tasty cheese sauce.
  2. It gives you some low-stakes practice in moving quickly with heat and cheese, because if you want to cook at home often and easily, you probably should learn to make a roux at some point. It's really not as complicated as it seems as long as you have everything ready. Make this first to get your cooking confidence meter nice and high.
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Why use Fusilli in this recipe?

You could definitely use other types of pasta for this recipe, and if already you have most of the ingredients I wouldn't send you to the store just for this, but I do think fusilli is the best choice here.

Fusilli (foo-silly) is a corkscrew shaped pasta, and all those nooks and crannies do a great job of holding onto the cheese without making it pool like shell-shaped pasta might, for instance. But here we're trying to get it to hold onto two different textures: the smooth sauce and the chunky tomato and sausage topping. The spiral shape of the noodles does a nice job of keeping both in check on the plate and, more importantly, on your fork. 

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If you can get your hands on it, I really recommend trying cheesy fusilli with tomatoes and sausage with fusilli bucati noodles. It's basically the same thing, except the noodles are hollow, which adds a fun new texture into the mix. They're a little harder to find (which is why I didn't use them here), but I see them in my regular grocery store on occasion.

You could even use fusilli bucati lunghi if you're trying to check all your pasta shape boxes. They're just super long fusilli bucati noodles you can sometimes find in stores with specialty Italian products. Warning: they will break apart as you cook and eat—so not a lot of twirling action—but they're still fun!

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Funny story, I took the photos for this post before our vacation home to West Virginia in late June/early July so I wouldn't fall too far behind, and I've already made it once since then. My bonus parents came to us with some projects around the house to get ready for baby, and hey, we needed to eat! And celebrate!

It's too late for us hopeless pasta addicts. Don't send help. Join the cheesy side

So what's your go-to dish when you've got something to celebrate? Let me know in the comments! If you don't have one yet, I'm happy to share this one ;)

And hey, if you make this, show it off! Let me know by sharing a photo with the hashtag #whipsmartkitchen and tagging me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter! You can also use the "tried it" feature on Pinterest to encourage other pinners to give it a go.

So let's get fusilli!

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Summer Party Panzanella

Dinner, Italian, Party, Recipe, Salad, Slow Food, Summer, VegetarianLeannda CavalierComment

This Italian bread salad boasts the best summer garden bounties and toasted bread cubes, all tossed in a tangy white wine vinaigrette. It’s big enough to bring to your block party—and keeps well enough to keep all to yourself. 

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means I get a small commission if you buy products I recommend at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I believe in from companies I believe in—either I use them myself or I've at least done thorough research and vetting. Please reach out if you have any questions or want more info!

Ready to party but less ready to read? Click here to jump straight to the recipe. 

Is there any better feeling than walking out to the garden on a sunny day, picking a juicy cucumber, rinsing it off, and eating it right then and there like an apple? Adding a sprinkle of salt and a splash of vinegar might enhance things a bit, but otherwise, probably not.

Growing up in Wellsburg, West Virginia it seemed like every other house had a garden, or at least a vegetable patch. Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and more abound. Though my Pop-Pop’s garden was huge and we had some tomatoes and peppers sprouting at my house most years, neighbors would still bring over grocery bags full of their extra bounty all summer.

This is what July tastes like. 

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I could walk outside, grab a cucumber, rinse it off and eat it like an apple—and never run out as long as it was warm! I thought I fully appreciated it then, but now that I have a shady yard hundreds of miles away, I’m really missing the abondanza.

Whether you have a plentiful garden, a bustling farmers' market, or even a decent grocery store, sometimes you just end up staring at all those beautiful veggies thinking, "okay, but what am I actually going to do with all of this?!"

Enter panzanella.

What is panzanella?

Um, just the manifestation of summertime joy and happiness. With bread.

What is it really? A bread salad filled with all your favorite summer produce. I think everyone makes it a little differently, but I like a good mix of tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, red onion and basil. 

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Add a deliciously tangy white wine vinaigrette for good measure and you're golden. Well, golden and all the other colors that taste good. 

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This summer party panzanella lives up to its name. Panzanella in general is great for cookouts because it can safely sit out at room temperature, plus it's best after sitting for a while. Primo vegetarian option, but no one is skipping this dish just because it's not barbecue. 

This specific panzanella recipe has another advantage: the bread is toasted in the oven rather than pan-fried. I do realize both stovetops and ovens are hot (especially in the middle of summer), but the oven method is so much faster, less messy and less greasy-feeling. It’s also a little easier to evenly cook the bread this way.

Hold up, is the bread cooked in authentic panzanella?

Classic panzanella, as it's made in Italy, features stale bread soaked in vinaigrette and tomato juice in yet another example of what I love about Tuscan cooking—finding a way to use what's around and still managing to make it irresistible.

Somehow over the years, especially in American versions, it's evolved a bit to the point where we're grilling, frying or toasting the bread to dry it out enough to really soak up the vinaigrette. I'm gonna be honest. I REALLY like it that way. The texture. The flavor of the slightly browned bread. The crisp from the hot olive oil. Everything about it. 

How do you toast bread for panzanella? Simple. Just toss it in a little olive oil and salt...

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Toast it in the oven until it's just turning golden-brown, turn the oven off, and leave it for a few minutes to dry off.

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That's. It. 

Another difference from panzanella purist recipes? The OG dish is typically made with bread, tomatoes, onions, vinaigrette, maybe basil, and that's it. Sounds delicious, but I have all this amazing produce laying around and it all tastes SO good together. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again. There's a time and a place for making food perfectly authentic, and I'm all about knowing the rules, but you're missing out on some incredible food if you're not willing to be a rule-breaker sometimes. 

HOWEVER, there is one unbreakable rule here. 

This recipe is great for bread that's a day or two old and starting to get a little stale, but for just about everything else it's all about freshness. That goes for all the vegetables down to using garlic you cut yourself—not the jarred stuff. This is a true peak of summer recipe. If you’re not eating all your ingredients as fresh (and ripe) as possible, don’t make this.

You’ll thank me when you take a bite.

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I like to make this with red and orange bell peppers (orange are my favorite to eat raw), but yellow is great too. Green peppers are a little too grassy for me in this particular recipe, but hey, try it out if you have some on hand you want to use up. Let me know how it goes!

I’ve made summer party panzanella for a bridal shower, for dinner parties, for hungry football players who helped us move, and plenty of times on regular old weeknights. My husband and I have been known to destroy one of these in 24 hours—yeah, that’s an entire loaf of bread for two. Yikes. Such a good yikes. 

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As it sits, the vinaigrette and the juices from all those veggies meld and soak into the bread for such explosive flavor that you don't even need fireworks, okay? Leave the pyrotechnics to the professionals, because you can blow minds all on your own with this. 

Some people will beg you for this recipe. Everyone else will just ask you to make more. 

Luckily for me, we do travel to the land of veggie-sharing (aka West Virginia) pretty often during the summer. I'm actually surrounded by fresh tomatoes and basil at this very moment, some of which I just ate in a frittata. We also live fairly close to some great farmers markets and the famous Grainger County tomatoes in Tennessee, so I’m not completely missing out.

Still, if you live in a community like the one I grew up in, know I’m jealous. Go out and pick the biggest, most misshapen, sun-ripened tomato you can find and slice it up with some salt for me!

So what's the produce situation in your area, and what's your fave summer vegetable or fruit? A super-ripe peach or plum might be runners-up to tomatoes and cucumbers for me. Basil and mint are great too though... Oh God, I almost forgot watermelon! For the record, that was an actual, unedited stream of consciousness.

Anyway, freshen up the comments below with your picks!

If you try out this summer party panzanella, let me know by sharing a photo with the hashtag #whipsmartkitchen and tagging me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. You can also use the "tried it" feature on Pinterest to help others find it too!

Let's get toasting!

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Blackberry Blood Orange Breakfast Cake

Baking, Breakfast, Dessert, Italian, Recipe, SummerLeannda CavalierComment

This Blackberry Blood Orange Breakfast Cake is a summery twist on an Italian classic. Juicy blackberries and hints of tangy blood orange give this lightly sweet yogurt cake plenty of personality to accompany your morning coffee.

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Feeling the cake, but not feeling the chat? Click here to jump to the recipe.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means I get a small commission if you buy products I recommend at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I believe in from companies I believe in—either I use them myself or I've at least done thorough research and vetting. Please reach out if you have any questions or want more info!

I'm so excited about this recipe for so many reasons.

In 2016, I traveled with my husband, bonus parents and bonus sister to Italy. It was incredible, and I'm pretty sure I belong there. Yes, I know it's one of the most overly-romanticized places on Earth. Yes, I know there are problems there too—I watch Last Week Tonight. But really, I've spent so much time since trying to replicate the feeling of being there at home.

This cake feels like Tuscany. The flavor and texture. The ingredients. The simplicity. Everything.

It was inspired by a traditional yogurt and olive oil cake made in the medieval hill town of San Gimignano in the Siena, Tuscany region of Italy. Torta allo yogurt is a classic. Don't be afraid of the olive oil. You won't taste it in this recipe any more than you would taste the flavor of canola oil, and it's incredibly common in Italian baking, which is all about what's available locally.

Part of the reason this dessert caught my eye is that the first variation of this recipe I saw in A Family Farm In Tuscany: Recipes and Stories from Fattoria Poggio Alloro by Sarah Fioroni (about a farm near where we took an agrotourism excursion) is so simple that it uses a yogurt cup as a form of measurement for the flour, oil and sugar. I just love that.

I chose not to do that here because packaging can be so different here in the U.S. and I personally buy it in bulk, but the sentiment is pretty beautiful. It honors the idea that baking is about ratios, but it's also rustic. It's the kind of thing my Ya-ya would teach me to do.

Making it seasonal

Yogurt and olive oil cake is also practical because it uses ingredients most people who cook regularly will already have on hand, and you can add any seasonal touches you may have. In winter you could totally make it a cranberry or rosemary orange cake. Spring? Hello, lavender and honey. Fall? Cinnamon spice sounds good!

My version, blackberry blood orange breakfast cake, plays up some of my favorite fresh flavors of summer. I've been very into blood oranges lately. Partially because they have folate in them which is good for pregnancy, and partially because they are DELICIOUS. They're a little more tart than regular oranges, and I personally think they're more flavorful in general.

It doesn't hurt that they're gorgeous, either.  

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As for the blackberries, I have never not been into those juicy little summer candies. They're wild and beautiful, tart then sweet. A little seedy, but in a good way. Blackberry is one of my go-to flavors, whether for preserves, compote, flavored water or sweets—but honestly none of that can compare to a gooey, just overripe blackberry baked into this cake. 

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Perfection.

Blackberries are also rich in polyphenol antioxidants, which give them their dark, jammy color. The science on just how beneficial those phytochemicals are is a little shaky, but loading up can't hurt right? They're also a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and too many blackberries is probably better than other foods that tout polyphenols like olive oil and red wine, right? 

This cake isn't super fluffy like your typical dessert cake. It's on the firmer side and light, like so many great Italian treats. Think about crunchy biscotti soaking up your cappuccino, or chewy ciabatta drenched in olive oil and dried herbs. It's incredible with coffee or tea in the morning, but don’t rule it out for dessert. 

Plus, it's beautiful. I didn't even work all that hard to arrange the fruit on top and look at it. I know this is almost the same as the main shot above, but seriously. STRIKE A POSE, CAKE. 

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Just like that. STRIKE IT. 

Baking the cake

Making it is simple too. Totally beginner-level. If you are a true beginner, there's one place I really want you to pay attention, and that's when you're beating the eggs and sugar. If you just do it quickly like with a lot of typical cake recipes, you're not going to get the volume you need. You really do want to let it go about five minutes or until it doubles in and looks creamy-yellow and foamy, like the photo below.

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Sweetening the deal

I love serving this cake with whipped cream. Even better? Blood orange whipped cream! It only takes a few minutes and one extra ingredient to whip up, and you're already zesting oranges, so it's honestly crazy not to. Besides, if you've never made whipped cream, learning how allows you to level-up approximately 1,000 desserts. 

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Just do it, okay?

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Seriously, I hope you make this and I hope you love it as much as we do over here! If you do, let me know by sharing a photo with the hashtag #whipsmartkitchen and tagging me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. You can also use the "tried it" feature on Pinterest to help out others looking for a tasty seasonal cake!

Let's get baking!

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Blood Orange Blackberry Breakfast Cake Nutrition Info

Blood Orange Whipped Cream Nutrition Info

Break Over & Big Changes

LifeLeannda Cavalier2 Comments
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Happy (almost) summer! 

You may have noticed I haven't updated WhipSmart Kitchen in a while. If that bums you out, first of all I really am sorry and it has not been out of disinterest. Second, thank you for your support and I'm glad you enjoy what I do here. 

Now to do some 'splainin.

Why I've been away

Now, the reason I've been away is because we've got some big things poppin' around here. The most notable of which is my belly!

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That's right, been eating a little too much pasta. 

Kidding. There's a kid in there!

We found out in early March that I'm pregnant, and I cannot tell you how excited we are. This is something I've been looking forward to for a long time, and I'm enjoying every moment of it as much as possible. 

Just to be clear, enjoying every moment isn't why I haven't been around here. In fact, the weekend I found out the first things I did were shoot highlights at the NCAA DII basketball tournament, then shoot photos of a black bean taco recipe that was next on the schedule for my blog. Literally, all within 48 hours of getting the positive. 

Then I got sick. REAL sick.

Not morning sick. All-day-every-minute sick. For almost two months. My midwives and the OB who did our first sonogram said nausea is a good sign because you're producing enough hormones, but like... that didn't help when I almost threw up in the hospital elevator. 

I will honestly probably write an entire post on this just to help out other expecting moms who can't eat anything, because as a person who gets so much joy from food, it was so incredibly hard to deal with. 

I couldn't eat vegetables—usually the primary thing I eat—unless they were snuck into fruit puree or (when I could stomach it) subtly hidden on pizza. For about a month, at any given time there were only one or two things in the world I could handle at a time, and the primary focus of my day was figuring out how I was going to get it, and then I usually didn't want it ever again after one serving.

My husband, Adam, was an angel who did whatever he could to make sure we found something I could eat. He also didn't complain about our food budget, which suddenly ballooned despite the fact that eating was a miserable experience. Fun, right?

I barely cooked. Maybe once or twice, when I usually do almost every day. We spent so much more on restaurants than we ever have, and I ate more processed food than I ever have or ever want to.

I couldn't tell if I was losing weight because eating was so miserable, or gaining because everything I ate was white/brown/fried/starchy/processed/sugary.

The kicker? I was still in my first trimester, so we were hiding this from everybody. Ugh. 

I still haven't finished editing those taco photos. Food aversions in pregnancy can be powerful. The fact that they were the last thing I had before it started means I'm honestly still grossed out by them, even though I've been eating mostly normally for a few weeks now.

When I'll be back

Mmmm, pretty much now!

I'm feeling much better, and I've been hard at work since I started cooking again. I'll have a new recipe for you in the next couple of days, and I'm super excited about it—make sure you read to the end of this post if you are too!

I also may write a post on what I've been up to, because life has been moving fast, but it's been super fun lately. Lots of travel, lots of celebrating loved ones' milestones, and recently, lots of good food. 

Right now we're at week 18, eating ALL the veggies and generally loving life. We've told our family and friends who are so excited and, holy cow, so generous! From an ultrasound frame ornament, to ginger chews, to a bump box, to books, to personal tokens and guidance... we're so grateful for everything.

According to my various apps, the baby is the size of an artichoke or a sweet potato. We don't know if it's a boy or a girl, and we'll be thrilled with either. I'm living proof that girls can prefer blue over pink and like sports, so we don't feel torn in either direction. 

What all this means for WhipSmart Kitchen 

Not much, honestly!

I'm sure I'll mention baby in some of my posts, but my recipes posts won't suddenly be devoted to what my kid will or won't eat, and this won't turn into a blog with exclusively so-called kid-friendly recipes. I know we're in for some big changes at home, but I don't anticipate my general aesthetic changing all that much.

I can't promise there won't be subtle changes, but I can promise you I'm not going to be slinging manufactured cheese-product anytime soon—not to put down anyone who does. There's a time and a place for that stuff, but that's never what I wanted this blog to be. 

I probably will blog about some pregnancy/baby/parenting/lifestyle topics from time to time, but they'll be separate from my usual posts, and this will not become a mommy blog. If you want to avoid those posts, I totally understand. That would not have been my jam when I first started cooking. 

Big takeaway: the recipe posts will keep coming! 

BUT there are some other changes coming for WhipSmart Kitchen

  1. First I'm in the process of switching from Squarespace to Wordpress. Hopefully the change in your experience will be minimal. You'll see a new version of this website (aesthetically at least) sometime mid-summer, but things should function pretty similarly. The big difference is I'll be able to use recipe cards which will mostly be a benefit to me, making it so that I don't have to code them all and design printable PDFS and buttons for each recipe, but I imagine they will be a little more clear and streamlined from your end as well. I'll also be able to customize things through code a little more easily, which again, should mean a better experience for you.
  2. In keeping with the new EU GDPR regulations, you'll begin to see some notifications around the site soon explaining how WhipSmart Kitchen keeps cookies and other information, and asking you to opt-in in. And yes, you'll get one of those privacy policy update emails if you're on my email list (which, um, you should be if you're reading this!). I know it's annoying and a little overwhelming (for you and for me), but it's good progress. This way you have more information about your own privacy and decide what to do with it to a greater extent. You likely are starting to see things like this on most websites you visit, and that's a good thing. It's a little bit of a challenge keeping up with the regulations for small bloggers like me, but I'm happy transparency is becoming more of a priority across the internet.

These two changes are actually the biggest reason I haven't been posting in the last month or so. It's taken a lot of work to get up to speed and get things rolling. It's not an easy feat with all the travel we've had to do lately along with figuring out baby stuff—no, we haven't started a nursery or a registry, and we're not going to until I've done ample research. 

Listen, I can barely keep up with watching WestWorld once a week. I'm doing what I can without driving myself completely insane. These violent delights have violent ends, after all.

That being said, I'm making progress in both areas and will do my best to keep posts regular in the meantime. If there's something you'd like to see, let me know! I want to keep making content that helps people. There's really no better motivator than knowing people are looking for my posts and using my recipes.

Otherwise I'm just rambling, which I can do without even having to make sense in my notes app like I did before people started telling me to put it in a blog. 

Now I'm off to work on my next post. Here's a sneak peek: 

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Okay, hopefully that covers everything. Now tell me what I've missed! What's exciting in your life right now? Let me know in the comments! 

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Sweet Onion Tomato Sauce with Gnocchi

Dinner, Comfort Food, Italian, Recipe, Sauces, Winter, Pasta, VegetarianLeannda Cavalier4 Comments

A rich, creamy pasta sauce with sweet onions, savory tomatoes, peppery seasonings and sharp parmesan. This sauce is versatile and easy to throw together with things you probably already have. 

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means I get a small commission if you buy products I recommend at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I believe in from companies I believe in—either I use them myself or I've at least done thorough research and vetting. Please reach out if you have any questions!

My belly is growling. Jump to the recipe, please!

Have you ever noticed how much colder it feels when it's already been warm and the temperature dips back down? I've been walking around for weeks without needing a coat, and it's SNOWING today! My body is reacting like it's sub-zero in my nearly 70º house. I'm dealing. 

So on a shivery, grey day what better to warm up with than a hearty plate of gnocchi?

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I got the idea for this recipe while shopping at one of my favorite health food stores after a long day out in Knoxville. I was so tired, but I really wanted to eat well that night. Knowing I had a good hour-long drive home, I was looking for convenience food, but like, good convenience food. Something I would feel good about eating and re-eating for lunch the next day.

I settled on a few different kinds of frozen ravioli you can buy in bulk—red pepper eggplant, spinach ricotta, one with sausage, I think—and some vegetables. So I just needed a sauce.

I wandered over to the refrigerated section where they have fresh sauces I always want to try, and saw this incredible-looking vidalia onion sauce that REALLY pulled me in. I could smell it. I could taste it. I was ready to drink it. But it was too expensive for me to justify at that moment.

Listen, I’m not above spending nearly $8 on a little jar of sauce I want to try, but I was already almost over my grocery budget and the ravioli was reasonable, but not exactly cheap. Plus, I knew I could make it at home. I mentally noted the color and texture of the sauce, glanced at the description on the jar and made a plan. 

The best part? I already had all the ingredients. In fact I always have these ingredients, and if you cook often, you likely do too. 

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This sauce goes great with gnocchi texturally because while it’s thick, it’s pretty smooth. It wraps around the ravioli like the edible manifestation of a bear hug. Beyond that soft, pillowy gnocchi makes a tasty canvas for the sweet and savory flavor of this Roasted Sweet Onion Tomato Sauce.

This Sweet Onion Tomato Sauce is super easy to make, and it comes together pretty quickly. It's going to be really great for you if you aren't a fan of doing a lot of chopping, or if you're just too tired to do a bunch of that tonight—which I totally get. It's the reason I thought about buying the sauce in the first place!

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The plan I made in the store was pretty simple, and I was pretty sure I could knock it out in about half an hour. I just needed to roast some sweet onions until they were a little caramelly, and incorporate them into a simple tomato sauce. 

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Like I said, I was pretty worn out, and besides, roasting the onions whole seemed like the way to go. So what to do? Bring out the blender. It honestly made things go so quickly. I just simmered the tomatoes while the onions were in the oven, added everything to the blender, and voila! 

Beautiful sauce that tasted like a lot more work went into it.

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Now for some salt, fat, acid and heat action. A little honey, red pepper flakes, white wine vinegar, basil parmesan cheese and cream go in to build a sauce that tastes like it came from a restaurant (or an $8 jar at a health food store). 

Whirrrrrrr it up.

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I’ve also tried the sauce with pork loin (amazing) and I’m sure it would go with chicken or steak. Probably even with some seafoods like mussels or scallops. It would work well with long noodles such as spaghetti or linguine, with ravioli or other stuffed pastas—really with just about any pasta.

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I have mixed feelings on the “rules” of pasta. I get the point. Pesto goes will with pastas it can stick to rather than pool in. Pastas with hollow shapes are going to go well with sauces they can scoop up like tasty little spoons. The thing is, some people have hard and fast rules just for authenticity’s sake.

I think authenticity has a time and a place, and I can appreciate it. On the other hand, if I want bolognese sauce and only have angel hair on hand, I’m not going to the store just for authenticity’s sake. Besides, why shut down creativity or experimentation? 

Personally, I think it’s worth knowing the rules—if only so you can break them mindfully. 

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There's something so satisfying about knowing you made it yourself, right? 

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Oh, hey, and it's Lenten Friday friendly! I swear I didn't intend to post a chicken recipe on a Friday last time. 

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P.S. If you ever need help with a recipe or have a question, please reach out. I'd love to help!

Did you make this recipe? Take a picture and let me know! You can always tag me and hashtag #whipsmartkitchen on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook (links below), or use the tried it feature on Pinterest.

Until then I'll be here trying to warm up, and hoping all our flowers still bloom and plums and grapes still come in, unlike last year after a 75º February and a bunch of cold snaps. Give me something to look forward to here. 

Let's get roasting!

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Nutrition Facts for Sweet Onion Tomato Sauce (without Gnocchi and Kale)

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Nutrition Facts for Gnocchi with Sweet Onion Tomato Sauce and Kale

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