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You know that meal that you keep up your sleeve that’s like a secret weapon? That one you whip up when company is coming over? That one you pull out when you’re trying to win his heart? For us at Blended Kitchen, this is that meal.

We start off with Cindy’s Salad, an easy Italian salad with provel cheese and hearts of palm. The main course, Bon Appétit’s fettuccine with prosciutto, tomatoes and cream, is literally the most perfect pasta you will ever make. And for dessert? Gooey, peanut buttery, chocolate Babe Ruth Bars. Eat your heart out.

Cindy’s Salad
This salad is so good we could practically eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can use any type of lettuce you like, but Romaine and butter lettuce happen to be our favorites. Provel cheese is really only available in St. Louis, so try substituting shredded provolone cheese if you can’t get your hands on any St. Louis provel. Mixing in the dressing 15 minutes before serving is enough time for the flavors to marry and the lettuce to wilt just a little. If you’re in the mood for a light dinner, try serving this salad with a grilled chicken breast on top. It’s delish!

Ingredients:
1 bag Hearts of Romaine lettuce
Provel cheese ropes (to taste)
Hearts of Palm (load ’em up!)
Red onion (to taste)
3 tablespoons Zias Salad Dressing

Zia's Salad DressingZia’s Salad Dressing

Directions:
Mix lettuce, cheese, hearts of palm and red onion together.
Mix in 3 TBSP Zia’s dressing and toss gently.
Eat.

Cindy's Salad

Fettuccine with Prosciutto, Tomatoes and Cream Bon Appétit  | February 2007
This is the absolute perfect pasta dish. It is based on a Bon Appétit recipe, but we’ve mixed it up a little bit. This pasta is insanely easy to make but tastes like something you’d find in a classic Italian restaurant. The best part? The prosciutto – it gives the dish a crispy, smoky flavor that even the pickiest eater will love. Lindsey’s boyfriend raved that he’d eat an entire bowl of the sauce alone! This recipe serves 6.

Perfect Pasta

Ingredients:
1 pound fettuccine
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut crosswise into 1-inch-wide strips
3 garlic cloves, pressed
3 (14 1/2-ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes in juice, drained thoroughly
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving

Directions:
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Transfer pasta to large bowl.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto and sauté until crisp, about 5 minutes.

ProsciuttoThe prosciutto should be crispy enough to crumble on top of the pasta.

Transfer prosciutto to paper towels. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to same skillet. Add garlic and sauté 15 seconds. Make sure the garlic does not cook longer than about a minute before adding the tomatoes.  Burned garlic is bitter and you have to throw it out, which is a pain in the butt.

Add tomatoes and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream, parsley, and 1/2 cup cheese. Bring to boil; season with salt and pepper.

Add Cream to the PastaAdd cream to the tomatoes.
Finished SauceThis is what the sauce should look like when it’s ready.

Add sauce to pasta in bowl; toss to coat. Sprinkle with prosciutto and serve, passing additional cheese alongside.

Add PastaWe like to add our pasta to the sauce pan. That way, the pasta can finish cooking and really soak up the sauce.

What we did differently:

  • We boiled 1 lb (16 oz) of fusilli pasta but only used approx ¾ lb (3/4 of the cooked pasta) with the sauce.
  • We cooked the prosciutto whole, then cut it into bite sized pieces before serving.
  • We used 2 cans of the petite diced tomatoes and 1 can of tomato sauce. This reduces the amount of tomato pieces children and picky eaters will have to pick out.
  • We also don’t usually add the parsley because the Nugget doesn’t like many green things on his plate.

Babe Ruth Bars AllRecipes.com | Suzanne Stull
This dessert is Lindsey’s absolute favorite. When she studied abroad in Scotland, she took these on the plane with her for a little taste of home. We found this recipe on AllRecipes.com and haven’t been able to stop making it since. There’s one thing everyone always asks about this dish: “can I get the recipe?” This recipe is supposed to make 18 servings, but the five of us can demolish the whole pan in one sitting if we’re not careful.

Ingredients:
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup white corn syrup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
6 cups cornflakes cereal
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup peanuts

Ingredients

Directions:
In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the peanut butter, corn syrup, brown sugar and white sugar. Cook stirring occasionally until smooth.

Peanut ButterThis is what the melted peanut butter, sugar and corn syrup mixture should look like when it’s ready.

Remove from heat and quickly mix in the cornflakes, chocolate chips and peanuts until evenly coated.

Babe Ruth Bar MixingPour the peanut butter mixture into the cereal, chocolate chips and peanuts while it’s still hot. That way the chocolate chips will melt and get deliciously gooey.

Press the entire mixture gently into a buttered 9×13 inch baking dish. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.

Babe Ruth Finished ProductYum!

Nom. nom. nom.