• How to Make Decorative Carrots

    How to make Decorative Carrots

    Prep Time: 15 minutes


    Method 1: Buttercream

    Small batch of buttercream
    Orange & green gel food coloring
    Plain open tip (Wilton #12)
    Leaf tip (Wilton #352)

    Method 2: Candy Melts

    Orange and green candy melts

    Method 3: Marzipan

    Orange food coloring
    Fresh parsley, trimmed for carrot tops


    Buttercream Carrots

    Place 3/4 of the buttercream in a medium mixing bowl. Add orange food coloring and stir until colored.

    Place the remaining buttercream in a small mixing bowl. Add the green food coloring and stir until colored.

    Transfer the orange buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip. Transfer the green food coloring to a piping bag fitted with the leaf tip. Pipe an upside triangle on your cake or cupcake. Add three or four ‘leaves’ using the green buttercream.

    Candy Melt Carrots

    Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Melt the orange candy melts per the package instructions then transfer them to a sealable plastic bag or piping bag. Let the melts cool slightly until less runny. Cut off the tip and pipe the shape of a carrot.

    Repeat with the green candy melts, but pipe the green leaves of each carrot.

    Transfer the baking sheet to the fridge for 5 minutes or until the candy melts have fully hardened. Carefully release each carrot from the baking sheet and place on your cupcakes or cake.

    Marzipan Carrots

    Knead food coloring into marzipan until brightly colored. Roll into a log and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Rolling each piece between your palms, form into a small carrot shape.

    Make lines into the carrots with a toothpick dipped in oil to give a realistic appearance. Use the toothpick to poke a small hole at the top of each carrot. Insert parsley stems the hole. Place on top cupcakes or cake.

  • Whole Wheat Spring Pizza

    How to make Whole Wheat Spring Pizza

    Yield: 1 12-inch pizza

    Prep Time: 10 min

    Cook: 24 min


    1 ball no-knead whole wheat pizza dough
    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    1/3 cup pesto
    6 ounces fresh smoked mozzarella cheese, shredded
    10 asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
    12 to 15 cherry tomatoes
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives


    Place a baking stone on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat to 450°F.

    Place one ball of dough on a large sheet of parchment and shape and stretch until you have a thin 12-inch circle. To get the dough super thin, briefly roll with a rolling pin. Slide the dough to a pizza peel or flat cookie sheet. Cover with a clean towel until ready to use.

    Brush the olive oil onto the edges of the pizza dough. Spread the pesto over the dough. Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with the asparagus and tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Slide the dough onto the baking stone, keeping the parchment underneath the dough. Bake for about 12 to 14 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and the dough is golden. Sprinkle with the chives and let cool for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

    Recipe by Tessa of Handle the Heat

  • Spring Pesto Pasta with Turkey Meatballs

    How to make Spring Pesto Pasta with Turkey Meatballs

    Yield: 4 servings


    1 pound ground turkey
    1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
    3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
    1 garlic clove, minced
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
    1 large egg
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 large zucchini, sliced into half moons
    1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
    4 ounces sliced button mushrooms (1 cup)
    3/4 pound whole wheat spaghetti
    3/4 cup pesto


    Preheat the broiler. In a medium bowl combine the turkey, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic, chives, egg, salt and pepper. Do not overmix. Form into 2-inch balls. At this point the uncooked meatballs can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 day.

    Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Place the meatballs on the sheet and broil until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs to a serving dish and heat the oven to 400°F. Toss the zucchini, asparagus, and mushrooms with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until softened and slightly browned.

    Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti according to the package directions or until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

    Add the cooked vegetables, spaghetti, and pesto to the serving dish with the meatballs and toss to combine. Add pasta water to loosen pesto if needed. Serve.

    Recipe by Tessa of Handle the Heat

  • Spring Minestrone with Chicken Meatballs

    How to make Spring Minestrone with Chicken Meatballs

    Yield: 4-6 servings


    1 pound ground chicken
    1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
    6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
    1 large egg
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 leek, white and light green parts only, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
    7 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    3/4 cup ditalini or other small pasta
    1 cup carrot 1/2-inch rounds (peeled)
    1 cup packed baby spinach
    Chopped fresh basil


    In a medium bowl, combine ground chicken, breadcrumbs, 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan, garlic, chives, egg, salt, and pepper. Form into 1-inch meatballs. Meatballs can be covered and stored in the fridge for up to 1 day before cooking.

    Heat olive oil in a large Dutch-oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Cook meatballs until golden all over, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

    Add leek to pot and cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes or until it begins to soften. Add broth and bring to a boil. Stir in pasta and carrots and simmer for 4 minutes. Add meatballs and simmer until the pasta is al dente, the carrots are tender, and the meatballs are cooked through, about 8 minutes. Add spinach and remaining 3 tablespoons of Parmesan and stir until the spinach is wilted and Parmesan is melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with chopped basil.

    Adapted from Bon Appetit April 2012

  • Ellie Krieger’s Pasta Primavera

    How to make Ellie Krieger’s Pasta Primavera

    Yield: 4 servings


    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 3 cloves minced garlic
    • 1 red bell pepper, cleaned, seeded and cut into strips (6 ounces)
    • 1/2 pound thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
    • 1 cup sliced button mushrooms (4 ounces)
    • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in 1/2 (6 ounces)
    • 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
    • 1/2 cup 1 percent milk
    • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1 large carrot (6 ounces) peeled and sliced into strips with a peeler (about 2 cups carrot ribbons)
    • 3/4 pound whole-wheat linguine
    • 1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated Parmesan
    • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
    • 1/4 cup shredded basil leaves


    Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Cook garlic until soft, about 1 minute. Add peppers and cook until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, asparagus and tomatoes and cook until softened, an additional 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute more. Add chicken stock, milk, salt and pepper and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until liquid has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in carrot strips.
    Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Toss pasta with vegetables and sauce. Add pasta water, if necessary, to loosen mixture. Serve garnished with Parmesan, parsley and basil.

  • Lemon Cheesecake Squares with Fresh Berries

    How to make Lemon Cheesecake Squares with Fresh Berries

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 6 hours



    • 9 whole graham crackers
    • 5 tablespoons butter


    • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 3 tablespoons sour cream
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • Fresh berries


    Crust: Preheat oven to 350. Fold 16-inch long piece of foil into 8x16 inch strip; place in 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan, leaving overhang on 2 sides. Repeat with another sheet of foil in opposite direction, lining pan completely. Butter foil.

    Place graham crackers in heavy-duty plastic bag. Using rolling pin or mallet, crush crackers finely. Melt butter in medium skillet over low heat. Remove form heat; add crumbs and toss to coat. Press crumbs evenly onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake crust until deep golden, about 12 minutes. Cook crust while preparing filling.

    Filling: using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Beat in egg and sour cream, then lemon juice, lemon peel, and vanilla. Spread batter over crust.

    Bake cheesecake until slightly puffed and set in center, about 30 minutes; cool completely in pan on rack. Chill cheesecake until cold, at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; keep chilled.

    Using foil overhand as aid, lift cheesecake from pan. Cut into 16 squares; arrange on platter. Top each square with berries. Chill until ready to serve, up to 3 hours. Serve chilled.

    From Bon Appetit July 2009

  • Pasta Primavera with Italian Sausage

    How to make Pasta Primavera with Italian Sausage


    • 4 links Italian sausage (sweet, mild, or spicy)
    • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into strips
    • 2 medium zucchini or 1 large zucchini, cut into chunks
    • 2 yellow squash, cut into chunks
    • 1 onion, thinly sliced
    • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into chunks
    • 1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs or herbes de Provence
    • 1 pound sweet Italian sausages
    • 1 pound farfalle (bowtie pasta)
    • 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan


    Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

    Place sausage links on a small baking sheet.

    On a large heavy baking sheet, toss all of the vegetables with the oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs to coat. Bake the vegetables and sausage at the same time until the carrots are tender and the vegetables begin to brown, stirring after the first 10 minutes, about 20-25 minutes total. Bake sausage until cooked through. Let sausage cool slightly before slicing.

    Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

    Toss the pasta with the vegetable mixture and sausage in a large bowl to combine. Toss with the cherry tomatoes and enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve immediately.

    From Everyday Italian by Giada de Laurentiis