Monday, December 13, 2010

Pecan Tassies

8 oz. cream cheese
2 sticks butter
2 c. flour, sifted
1/4 t. salt

Mix cream cheese and butter together, blend in flour and salt, form into ball, wrap in foil and chill overnight in refrigerator.

2 eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
2 T. melted butter
pinch salt
1/4 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. chopped pecans

Mix all ingredients. Remove crust from fridge, divide into 3 equal parts. Divide each third into 12 small balls. Press into tassie pan, fill with pecan mixture. Bake at 375 for 20 min. Makes 3 dozen.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

1 (8-ounce) brick cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (18-ounce) box moist chocolate cake mix
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. Then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls and then roll them in confectioner's sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and "gooey." Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioners' sugar, if desired.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Dip


* 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
* 2 cups confectioners' sugar
* 1 cup canned pumpkin
* 1/2 cup sour cream
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
* 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
* Gingersnap cookies
* Apple slices
* Graham crackers


* In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Beat in the pumpkin, sour cream, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and ginger until blended. Serve with gingersnaps, apple slices, and graham crackers. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 4 cups.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Three-Cheese Macaroni and Ham

1 3/4 c. macaroni
4 oz. Velveeta cheese
1 c. milk
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 c. plus 2 T. grated parmesan cheese
2 c. diced cooked ham

Cook macaroni as package directs; drain. Heat broiler.

Meanwhile, microwave Velveeta and milk 2 minutes in large microwave and oven-safe casserole. Stir until melted. Microwave an additional 30 seconds if needed. Stir in cheddar and parmesan cheeses until smooth and melted. Stir in macaroni and ham. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese.

Broil 6 inches from heat 5 minutes or until top is brown and bubbly.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Three-Cheese Chicken Penne Florentine

1 teaspoon olive oil
Cooking spray
3 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
3 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (16-ounce) carton 2% low-fat cottage cheese
4 cups hot cooked penne (about 8 ounces uncooked tube-shaped pasta)
2 cups shredded roasted skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed reduced-fat, reduced-sodium cream of chicken soup, undiluted
Preheat oven to 425°.

Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onion, and bell pepper; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add spinach, oregano, and black pepper; sauté 3 minutes or just until spinach wilts.

Place cottage cheese in a food processor; process until very smooth. Combine spinach mixture, cottage cheese, pasta, chicken, 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, milk, and soup in a large bowl. Spoon mixture into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheddar cheese and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

French Toast

6 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
16 slices Texas Toast (1 loaf)
3 tablespoons butter

Mix together the eggs, milk, flour, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, & cinnamon.
Heat a large skillet, or griddle.
When the skillet is hot, add 1 tablespoon butter.
Dip each slice of bread into the batter.
Let some of the batter drip off, then put in skillet.
Cook each slice until each side is golden brown.
Add more butter, if necessary, to cook all of the slices.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

40 Cloves and a Chicken

1 whole chicken (broiler/fryer) cut into 8 pieces
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
10 sprigs fresh thyme
40 peeled cloves garlic
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Toss with a 2 tablespoons olive oil and brown on both sides in a wide fry pan or skillet over high heat. Remove from heat, add oil, thyme, and garlic cloves. Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Remove chicken from the oven, let rest for 5 to 10 minutes, carve, and serve.

Spread garlic on toasted french bread if desired - can also use garlic in mashed potatoes.

Friday, August 20, 2010



1 cup dried chickpeas or 16 oz. can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans.
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons flour
Oil for frying

Place dried chickpeas in a bowl, covering with cold water. Allow to soak overnight. Omit this step if using canned beans.

Drain chickpeas, and place in pan with fresh water, and bring to a boil.

Allow to boil for 5 minutes, then let simmer on low for about an hour.

Drain and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Combine chickpeas, garlic, onion, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper (to taste) in medium bowl. Add flour.

Mash chickpeas, ensuring to mix ingredients together. You can also combine ingredients in a food processor. You want the result to be a thick paste.

Form the mixture into small balls, about the size of a ping pong ball. Slightly flatten.

Fry in 2 inches of oil at 350 degrees until golden brown (5-7 minutes).

Serve hot.

Serving Suggestion
Falafel can be served as an appetizer with hummus and tahini, or as a main course. Stuff pita bread with falafel, lettuce, tomatoes, tahini, salt and pepper. As an alternative, falafel can be formed into patties and served like a burger.

Serves 4.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Banana Bread (Classic and Chocolate Swirled)

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2-3 Tbsp. brown sugar
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk. Place sugar and butter in a large bowl and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Spoon batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle brown sugar on top. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

For Chocolate Swirled:

Set aside 1 c. of batter, and add 1/2 c. melted chocolate chips. Spoon chocolate batter alternately with plain batter (so you have stripes of plain and chocolate batter) in an 8 ½” x 4 ½” loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Swirl batters with a knife. Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 15 minutes (give or take a little; I'd probably set your timer for 1 hour and 10 minutes to be safe) or until a knife comes out clean.

Zucchini Bread


2 1/4 C flour
2 t cinnamon
1/8 t ground cloves
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t baking soda
1/2 C canola oil
3/4 C granulated sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
3 eggs
2 t vanilla
zest from one large orange
1/2 C sour cream
3 C grated zucchini

2 T white sugar
2 T brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 loaf pans and set aside.

Combine flour, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and baking soda in a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Beat eggs, oil, sugars, and vanilla for about 30 seconds. Add sour cream and orange zest and beat to combine. Mix in zucchini.

Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Divide batter between 2 pans. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

Make sure to let your loaf rest on a cooling rack for at least 10 minutes before you try to remove it from the pan or it will come out in chunks!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread


2 C flour
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t baking soda
6 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 C canola oil
1 C sugar
1/4 C brown sugar
3 eggs
2 t vanilla
1/2 C sour cream
3 C grated zucchini
3/4 C mini chocolate chips

2 T brown sugar
2 T white sugar
1/2 t cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 2 loaf pans and set aside. I actually used one 8" disposable pan to give away and a larger 9" one for me and the batter divided perfectly. So you should get 2 very full 8" pans or slightly less full 9". Do one of each like I did!

Mix topping ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Place flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

With a stand or hand mixer beat oil, white sugar, brown sugar, and eggs until combined and slightly fluffy, 1-2 minutes.

Add vanilla and sour cream and mix until combined.

Gently stir in the grated zucchini.

Take a spoonful of the flour mixture and stir in with the chocolate chips (that will help keep them evenly distributed.) If you only have regular chocolate chips, or a chocolate bar, just give it a chop so it's the size of mini chocolate chips. Stir remaining flour mixture into batter and mix just until combined. Add chocolate chips and stir to combine.

Divide the batter between the two pans. and sprinkle topping over each.

Bake in your preheated 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes. I set my timer for 45 minutes and then keep an eye on it for the remainder. Ya never know how different ovens handle things.

When it's done a toothpick or skewer should come out without goopy batter on it and the top will be gorgeous and cracked with sugar.

Let it cool on a rack for 5-10 minutes and then remove from pans. You definitely have to eat a slice warm. And slathered with butter.

Stuffed Zucchini

2 med-large zucchini
4 cloves minced garlic
1/3 c. bread crumbs (alternatively, use crushed potato chips)
1/3 c. Italian four-cheese blend (parmesan, asiago, romano, provolone), plus a small bit of extra to top
olive oil
other spices to taste

Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out middles, leaving walls 1/4" thick. Rub a small amount of olive oil inside zucchini shells. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Grill skin-side up for 5 min.

Saute garlic and zucchini over medium heat until zucchini is translucent. Stir in bread crumbs and cook for an additional minute. Remove zucchini mixture from pan and stir in cheese. Season with salt/pepper/spices to taste. Scoop into zucchini shells and sprinkle a bit of cheese on top. Grill for an additional 5-10 minutes or until shells are soft.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Start to finish: 1 hour (10 minutes active)
Servings: 4

1 cup light or dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
6 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
3/4 cup heavy cream, divided
1/2 teaspoon rum extract
Four 12-ounce bottles cream soda

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the brown sugar and water. Bring to a gentle boil and cook, stirring often, until the mixture reads 240 F on a candy thermometer.

Stir in the butter, salt, vinegar and 1/4 cup heavy cream. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Once the mixture has cooled, stir in the rum extract.

In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar mixture and the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Use an electric mixer to beat until just thickened, but not completely whipped, about 2 to 3 minutes.

To serve, divide the brown sugar mixture between 4 tall glasses (about 1/4 cup for each glass). Add 1/4 cup of cream soda to each glass, then stir to combine. Fill each glass nearly to the top with additional cream soda, then spoon the whipped topping over each.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Chicken Fried Rice (Healthy)

- 2 sprays non-fat cooking spray
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup scallions, chopped, green and white parts
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup carrots, diced
- 2 cups cooked brown rice, regular or instant, kept hot
- 1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
- 3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

**Optional: 12 oz uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set pan over medium-high heat. Add egg whites and cook, until scrambled, stirring frequently, about 3 to 5 minutes; remove from pan and set aside.
Offheat, recoat skillet with cooking spray and place back over medium-high heat. Add scallions and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add chicken (if desired) and carrots; saute until chicken is golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Stir in reserved cooked egg whites, cooked brown rice, peas and soy sauce; cook until heated through, stirring once or twice, about 1 minute. Makes 6 servings.

Serving size is 1 cup
Each serving = 3 Weight Watchers Points

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

16 lettuce leaves (iceberg, bibb, butter, whatever you prefer)
1 pound ground chicken breast
1 large onion -- chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Asian chili pepper sauce (see Note)
1 can (8 ounce size) sliced water chestnuts -- drained, finely chopped
1 bunch green onions -- thinly sliced
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil

Rinse lettuce leaves, keeping them whole. Set aside to drain.

Cook chicken in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring often to break up the meat. Add onion, garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, vinegar and chili sauce. Cook until the meat is crumbled and brown. Add water chestnuts and green onions. Cook until onions begin to wilt, about 2 minutes.

Stir in sesame oil. Arrange lettuce leaves on the outer edge of a platter. Spoon meat mixture in center. Allow diners to spoon meat mixture into lettuce leaves and eat like a taco.

Note: Asian chili pepper sauce can be found in the Asian section of most supermarkets. Some brands contain garlic, which is fine. You can use 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or 1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes instead.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Coconut Shrimp

Coconut Shrimp
1 serving: 5 points

POINTS® value of | 5
Servings | 6
Preparation Time | 15 min
Cooking Time | 12 min
Level of Difficulty | Moderate


2 serving cooking spray (5 one-second sprays per serving)
2 large egg white(s)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 oz beer, about 2/3 cup
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp table salt
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined (leave tails on)


1. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg whites, 1/2 cup of flour, beer, baking powder and salt. Mix coconut and bread crumbs together. Place remaining 1/4 cup of flour and coconut mix in two separate shallow bowls.

3. Holding shrimp by their tails, dredge each shrimp in flour and shake off any excess. Dip flour-coated shrimp into egg batter and allow excess to drip off. Roll shrimp in coconut mix and turn to coat both sides (press coconut mix onto shrimp to make it stick).

4. Transfer shrimp to prepared baking sheet and spray surface of shrimp with cooking spray.

5. Bake until coconut is golden brown and shrimp are bright pink and cooked through, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Revised Stir Fry Sauce

3 T. worcestershire sauce
3 T. hoisin sauce
2 T. orange sauce
2 T. water
large pinch brown sugar

Mix all ingredients well. Add to stirfry at end of cooking.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Seafood and Feta Cheese Pasta

Serves 5
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 bag TJ's Frozen Seafood Mix, thawed
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup white wine
1 pound linguine pasta
2 cans diced tomatoes w/Italian seasoning
1 (6 ounce) package crumbled feta cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil.
Cook seafood, garlic and white wine for 5 minutes, or until shrimp is pink.
Remove seafood with slotted spoon and set aside.
Add pasta to boiling water and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
While pasta is cooking, cook tomatoes in remaining wine mixture, 10 minutes or until reduced to desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Toss hot pasta with seafood, tomato sauce and feta. Feta will melt slightly. Serve.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pork Chops Stuffed with Feta and Spinach

Taking a culinary cue from Greece, the savory filling of spinach, cheeses, and lemon zest have made these pork chops a reviewer favorite.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 pork chop)

Cooking spray
4 garlic cloves, minced and divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
5 sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil, diced
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) block-style fat-free cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
4 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut loin pork chops, trimmed
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

Preheat broiler.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add 2 garlic cloves; sauté 1 minute. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, tomatoes, and spinach; sauté until moisture evaporates. Remove from heat; stir in cheeses and rind.

Cut a horizontal slit through thickest portion of each pork chop to form a pocket. Stuff about 1/4 cup spinach mixture into each pocket. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper over pork. Arrange pork on the rack of a broiler pan or roasting pan coated with cooking spray; place rack in pan. Combine remaining 2 garlic cloves, juice, mustard, and oregano in a bowl; stir well. Brush half of mustard mixture over pork. Broil 6 minutes; turn pork. Brush remaining mixture over pork; broil 2 minutes or until done.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

PW's Holiday Bacon Appetizers

Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 2 Hours
Difficulty: Easy
Servings: 36


* 1 package Club Crackers
* 1 pound Thin Sliced Bacon (or More Depending On Number Of Crackers)
* Grated Parmesan Cheese
* Optional Alternative: Brown Sugar Instead Of Parmesan Cheese

Preparation Instructions

Lay crackers (as many as you want) face up on a cookie sheet.

Scoop about 1 teaspoon of grated Parmesan cheese onto each cracker. Cut your package of bacon in half (or cut pieces individually) and carefully, so the cheese doesn’t fall off, wrap each cheese covered cracker in one half piece of bacon, completely covering the cracker. It should fit snugly around the cracker.

Place the bacon wrapped crackers onto a baking sheet that has a rack on it.

Place in a 250-degree oven for about 2 hours.

Monday, February 1, 2010

PW Strawberry Shortcake Cake


* Cake
* 1-½ cup Flour
* 3 Tablespoons Corn Starch
* ½ teaspoons Salt
* 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
* 9 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Softened
* 1-½ cup Sugar
* 3 whole Large Eggs
* ½ cups Sour Cream, Room Temperature
* 1 teaspoon Vanilla
* _____
* Icing
* ½ pounds Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
* 2 sticks Unsalted Butter
* 1-½ pound Powdered Sugar, Sifted
* 1 teaspoon Vanilla
* 1 pound Strawberries

Preparation Instructions

IMPORTANT: Be sure to use a cake pan that’s at least 2 inches deep! Before baking, the batter should not fill the pan more than halfway.

Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and corn starch.
Cream 9 tablespoons butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well each time. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until combined. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just barely combined.

Pour into greased and floured 8-inch cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes, or until no longer jiggly like my bottom. Remove from cake pan as soon as you pull it out of the oven, and place on a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely.

Stem strawberries and slice them in half from bottom to top. Place into a bowl and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons sugar. Stir together and let sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, mash the strawberries in two batches. Sprinkle each half with 1 tablespoons sugar and allow to sit for another 30 minutes.

Make icing: combine cream cheese, 2 sticks butter, sifted powdered sugar, vanilla, and dash of salt in a mixing bowl. Mix until very light and fluffy.

Slice cake in half through the middle. Spread strawberries evenly over each half (cut side up), pouring on all the juices. Place cake halves into the freezer for five minutes, just to make icing easier.

Remove from freezer. Use a little less than 1/3 of the icing to spread over the top of the strawberries on the bottom layer. Place the second layer on top. Add half of the remaining icing to the top spreading evenly, then spread the remaining 1/3 cup around the sides.

Leave plain OR garnish with strawberry halves.

IMPORTANT: Cake is best when served slightly cool. The butter content in the icing will cause it to soften at room temperature. For best results, store in the fridge!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Grandma Cindy's Chicken Chimis

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
10 oz. can Ro-tel original
2-3 t. seasoning
WW tortillas
shredded cheese (optional)
green enchilada sauce

Seasoning mix
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. onion powder

Preheat oven to 350*. Warm package of tortillas. Put butter and/or oil on baking sheet and put in oven just until melted. Then place tortillas on pan before rolling to coat the outsides with the butter. Add a couple of spoonfuls of chicken mix and a bit of cheese if desired. Fold and roll if using large tortillas, or just roll for small tortillas. Bake for 12-15 min. Top with sauce.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Asparagus Pasta

1 lb fresh asparagus, tough ends trimmed
1 tsp finely grated fresh lemon zest
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb whole wheat penne or pasta of choice
1/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano

Cut asparagus into 1" pieces, reserving tips separately. Cook asparagus stems in 5 to 6 qrt boiling water with 2 Tbsp salt until very tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a colander, reserving cooking water in pot, and rinse under cold water. Drain asparagus well and transfer to a food processor or blender.

Cook asparagus tips in same boiling water until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer with slotted spoon to colander, reserving boiling water in pot, and rinse under cold water. Drain tips well.

Purée asparagus stems with zest, oil, and 1/2 cup asparagus cooking water. Transfer sauce to a 4-qrt saucepan.

Cook pasta in boiling asparagus cooking water until it still offers considerable resistance to the tooth, around three fourths of the recommended cooking time. Reserve 2 cup cooking water and drain pasta.

Add pasta, asparagus tips, and 1/2 cup reserved water to asparagus sauce and cook over high heat, stirring, 3 to 5 minutes, or until pasta is almost al dente and sauce coats pasta. Add more cooking water, 1/4 cup at a time, until sauce coats pasta but is a little loose (the cheese will thicken it slightly).

Stir in Parmigiano-Reggiano and salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring, until cheese is melted.

Serve immediately.

Tips from Chelsea: I drizzle the tips with EVOO and a bit of kosher salt and roast them for about 6-8 minutes at 450 instead of boiling them, they are crispy and YUM that way. Most of the time I will also grill a couple of chicken breasts, cut them into chunks and throw them in. That really makes it into a full dinner.