Creamy Caprese Pasta… For The Pasta Lover In Us All

Creamy Caprese Pasta I howsweeteats.com

I love pasta so when I get the opportunity to share some of my favorite pasta dishes with you,  well I am soooooooo there….

Creamy Caprese Pasta I howsweeteats.com

Pasta is a nice go too food whether you are having 2 or twenty two people over.

Creamy Caprese Pasta I howsweeteats.com

Yes I know some say pasta is filling and heavy and I have heard it all too, but I find although some pasta dishes can be that way, there are so many great pasta dishes that are not all about leaving you tired and needing a nap.

 

Creamy Caprese Pasta I howsweeteats.com

 

Creamy Caprese Pasta I howsweeteats.com

Ok now onto – the pasta!

 Chewy noodles swim in a light tomato cream sauce. Creamy chunks of fresh mozzarella hide in between pops of grape tomatoes and ribbons of basil, and melt into a gooey, bubbly binder that falls perfectly atop a slice of crusty, buttery garlic bread. It’s almost as perfect as a toasty French loaf topped with a homegrown tomato round, buffalo mozzarella circle, and a solitary silky basil leaf. But better.

Creamy Caprese Pasta I howsweeteats.com

Creamy Caprese Pasta

serves 4-6

1 pound whole wheat pasta (noodles such as penne work best)

1 cup of your favorite pasta/tomato sauce

1/3 cup heavy cream or half and half

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese + more for garnish

4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes

1 pint of grape tomatoes (I cut some in half and left some whole)

1 bunch of fresh basil leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Boil water and cook pasta according to directions.

While pasta is cooking, heat tomato sauce over low heat in a large saucepan. Once warm, stir in heavy cream and grated parmesan. Once pasta is done cooking, drain and dump into the sauce, mixing to coat and turning off heat. Fold in mozzarella cubes and tomatoes, then chop 3-4 fresh basil leaves and add them in too. Once combined, spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and pour the entire pasta mixture into the dish. Top with fresh mozzarella rounds. Bake for 25 minutes, or until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Top with additional fresh basil and grated cheese. Serve with garlic bread. You can also add in chicken, steak or seafood for some protein.

Creamy Caprese Pasta I howsweeteats.com

Hope you enjoy, This recipe  is  adaptable enough if you want to change some of the ingredients to suit your own needs and that of those you will share it with then go right ahead and let me know how that went for you! ENJOY!

 

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5 things interesting things to know about watermelon

melon 2 watermelon

No other produce screams summer quite like watermelon. It could be its refreshing sweetness or even the burst of color that adds a bit of brightness to your plate.

Thing is, there’s more to watermelon than just its flavor: It boasts some powerful health benefits, too. At 46 calories per cup, watermelon offers 20 percent of your daily intake of vitamin C and 17 percent vitamin A, according to the USDA. That’s not all.

“Watermelon contains dietary fiber for digestive health as well as potassium, a mineral that helps keep blood pressure capped,” said Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, Health‘s contributing nutrition editor.

No wonder there’s a month-long holiday dedicated to it—July is National Watermelon Month. Here are some other fun facts to celebrate watermelon’s big month.

It has more lycopene than raw tomatoes
In just one cup, watermelon has 1.5 times the stuff than a large fresh tomato, 6 milligrams compared to 4 milligrams, according to the USDA. That matters because lycopene is thought to act as a super antioxidant, stopping free radicals from damaging your cells and messing with your immune system. Some research even suggests that lycopene, typically found in red fruits and vegetables, may help fight heart disease and several types of cancer.

Pro tip: “To retain the most antioxidants in this delicious superfood, store your watermelon at room temperature before slicing,” Sass said.

The juice can relieve muscle soreness
A Spanish study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that drinking watermelon juice can actually be quite soothing after a grueling workout. Athletes who consumed a little more than 16 ounces an hour before exercise had less muscle soreness and a lower heart rate within a day.

That may be because watermelon contains a natural substance called citrulline that’s been tied to improved artery function and lower blood pressure. In fact, its ability to relax the blood vessels led Texas A&M University researchers to say watermelon has Viagra-like effects. But you’ll need to look beyond the pink flesh if you really want to load up on citrulline—it’s concentrated most in the rind. If that’s not your thing, you can always save it for pickling or preserving later, Sass said.

It’s a fruit AND a vegetable
Talk about an overachiever. Like most fruits, watermelon is the product of a seed-producing plant and has a signature sweet taste. But it can be traced back to the squash, pumpkin, and cucumber family known as Cucurbitaceae. Remember how you can eat the rind? The dual nature of watermelon makes it all edible, so there’s no excuse to leave any part behind.

It’s packed with, well, water
Now this is a food with some serious hydration power. Watermelon is 91.5 percent water, according to the USDA. That’s a big deal seeing as how being dehydrated is bad for your health. A study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that women with even mild dehydration experienced headaches, poor concentration, fatigue, and worse moods.

There’s a yellow variety
It’s hard to believe there’s a watermelon that’s NOT pink on the inside, but there’s another variety, known as Yellow Crimson, has a sunny interior and the flesh has a sweeter, honey-like taste. Thing is, the two are nearly identical on the outside, so unless you’re reading the signs at your grocery store or farmers’ market, it can be hard to tell which is which. If you want the regular pink watermelon, ask for a Crimson Sweet.

Just keep in mind that no one really knows what, if any, nutritional value the yellow variety offers. Most research has been done on the pink kind, Sass said, so best to stick with that or round up a good mix of both.

Summer Sorbets – Cool, Creamy, Easy!


These Summer Sorbets are cool, creamy and surprisingly easy to make! You can blended up four flavors: Strawberry Banana, Banana Pineapple, Zippy Wild Blueberry and Spicy Mango.

And the best part about this post is that you’ll learn the basic technique so you can whip up your own sorbet flavor creations! You could try creamy coconut banana, peach cinnamon, banana lime, raspberry lime, blackberry, banana papaya and more! 

Bring on the summer heat with these colorful sorbets waiting in your freezer!..

Sorbet is really very similar to a smoothie. Just as healthy – though a tad sweeter and less complex. The main difference is that you are basically only adding frozen fruit, a bit of accent liquid and enough sweetener to get it to that sweet-tart sorbet flavor.

Sorbet Tip. use plenty of creamy fruits to make the sorbet have optimal texture – so it’s not too icy and more creamy.  add in bananas, mango and even pineapple when possible. Bananas are really the best for getting that creamy sorbet texture.

Started with some basic flavors. But feel free to get creative with ingredients. All sorbets listed are fat free!

Fruity Summer Sorbets

To Make: Add all ingredients to a high speed/high quality blender.
Tip: slightly thaw the frozen fruit so that it easily blends – but is still frosty.
Blend until smooth – do not overblend. You do not want to “melt” the mixture. Keep it as thick and frosty as possible.
Pour into freezer-friendly container. 
Tip: A chilled metal container works best. If you can find small metal containers to chill for your sorbet – grab them!
Chill until firm.
Scoop and serve!

Strawberry Banana
1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries
1 1/2 bananas (fresh)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup maple syrup

Pineapple Banana
2 bananas (fresh) 
1 1/2 cups frozen pineapple
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup maple syrup
optional sub: try coconut milk instead of lemon juice for an ultra creamy sorbet (not fat free)

Zippy Wild Blueberry
1 1/2 cups frozen wild blueberries
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 banana (fresh)
optional: 1/2 tsp ginger powder or grated fresh ginger OR dash of cayenne

Spicy Mango
1 1/2 cups frozen mango
1 banana (fresh)
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup maple syrup
a few dashes of cayenne powder

Ingredient subs: You can easily substitute the maple syrup with agave syrup. And the lemon juice can be subbed with lime juice. A hint of citrus zest is also a nice touch.