Dessert Delight

Dessert Delight

Pasta Fagioli Salad

Pasta and beans - they're classic combination in Italian cooking; savory and sweet all together. This quick pasta salad is based on that pairing. The dressing uses a basil-infused oil; look for it among the flavored and nut oils at your supper market. Best of all, the salad can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to four days; ready when you are.

8 ounces uncooked penne (tube-shaped pasta)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoon basil flavored olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 (15.5 ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
1 (12 ounce) package frozen green beans, thawed and cut into 1 inch pieces (or you can use fresh)
1 1/4 cups diced tomato
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
2 tablespoon minced red onion

1. Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain, rinse under cold running water until cool. Drain

2. Combine vinegar and next 5 ingredients (through Worcestershire sauce) in a large bowl stirring with a whisk. Add pasta, beans, and remaining ingredients, Toss until coated.

Oatmeal Crusted Baked Chicken Tenders

Oatmeal crusted chicken tenders are delightfully crunchy and sure to be a hit with adults and children alike. Serve them with Roasted Red Bell pepper Aioli or commercial honey mustard or light ranch dressing for dipping.

1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Parmigiana Reggiano cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh or dry thyme
1 pound chicken breast tenders
cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees

2. Place oats in a food processor, and process 20 seconds or until coarsely ground. Add cheese, thyme, salt, and pepper. Pulse to combine, and place in a shallow bowl.

3. Place each chicken breast tender between 2 sheets of heavy duty plastic wrap or baggie and pound to 1/4 inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Coat both sides of tenders with cooking spray; and dredge tenders in oat mixture.  Place tenders on baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake 450 degrees fro 15 minutes or until browned.


Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi with Orzo

Shrimp are a quick dinner any night of the week. They're done when they're pink and firm, in a few minutes at most. Don't overcook them, or they'll turn rubbery. Serve with roasted asparagus to round out your meal.

1 cup uncooked orzo (rice shaped pasta)
2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
7 teaspoon unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp
2 teaspoon bottled minced or chopped garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Place orzo in a medium bowl. Stir in parsley and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cover and keep warm.

2. While orzo cooks, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large non stick skillet over medium high heat. Sprinkle shrimp with remaining 1/4 salt. Add half of shrimp to pan; saute 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer shrimp to a plate. Melt 1 teaspoon butter in pan. Add remaining shrimp to pan; saute 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer to plate.

3. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in pan. Add garlic to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in shrimp, lemon juice and pepper; cook 1 minute or until shrimp are done.

Serve over Orzo with a side vegetable.

Gazpacho Panzanella Salad

This colorful salad combines the best of the classic Spanish soup, gazpacho, and the Italian bread salad, panzanella. Chop the vegetables, and toast the bread cubes ahead of time, but assemble the salad right before serving because the bread will soak up the juices and become soggy if it sits too long. If you prefer a drier panzanella, add less dressing.


4 ounces French bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Olive oil flavored cooking spray
3 1/2 cups chopped seeded tomatoes (about 2 pounds)
2 cups chopped skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped thinly red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 3/4 cup chopped seeded cucumber


1/2 cup low sodium vegetable juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/ tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon water
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degree

2. To prepare salad, arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Lightly coat bread cubes with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once set aside.

3. Place tomatoes, chicken, cucumbers, bell pepper, onion and parsley in a large bowl; toss gently to combine.

4. To prepare dressing, combine juice and next 6 ingredients, stirring with a wish add pepper. Drizzle over salad, tossing gently to coat. Stir in bread cubes, let stand 5 minutes. Serve immediately.