Spinach Artichoke Pasta Bake

Spinach Artichoke Pasta Bake

If you like Spinach Artichoke Dip, this Spinach Artichoke Pasta Bake is for you. My daughter, Leigh, asked why I had not thought of this sooner. It’s the perfect side dish with chicken or even main dish. Also, putting chopped chicken in this also works too, and adds even more protein. I used whole grain noodles and light cream cheese, part skim cheese and nonfat plain Greek yogurt so you’ll get a nice mix of protein, healthy carbohydrates, and not too high in fat. It is so simple to make–I think the toughest part honestly is thawing the spinach and making sure you get all the water out (I press the spinach with the tines of a fork to speed up the process). Enjoy for a weeknight dinner or side dish. I bet you will love it too!

I hope everyone had a great weekend! I truly have and thank my awesome husband for a candlelit dinner at home last night. I just landed in St. Thomas for a magazine story. Photo taken at Mariott Frenchman’s Reef. It’s a little cloudy on this Sunday afternoon, but no complaints from me. Have a great week, Alison

St. Thomas Mariott Frenchman's Reef

Balsamic Glazed Collard Greens

Growing up and living in the south, I have always heard eating collard greens and black eyed peas brings good luck in the new year. This year, I had so much fun developing a new, easy recipe for collards for the January issue of Birmingham Magazine. What I really love about collard greens is that they are packed with nutrition and are known as a cancer-preventive vegetable. They offer an excellent source of  vitamins B6 and C, carotenes, chlorophyll, and manganese.  One cup of collard greens provides more than 70 percent of the RDA for vitamin C.  Collard greens are also a very good source of fiber, and several minerals, including iron, copper, and calcium. This 15 minute recipe for Balsamic Glazed Collard Greens has a salty and sweet combination from dried cranberries, toasted pecans and balsamic. Serve with pork, chicken, beef or fish for a tasty and healthy side dish.

Summer Fest Easy Appetizer or Salad: Tomatoes with Basil Drizzle

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I love serving fresh tomatoes this time of year instead of a salad. Since Summer Fest 2010 features tomatoes for its last week, I thought this was a perfect healthy and easy side dish or salad while tomatoes are at their peak. Add some thinly sliced mozzarella if you wish, or leave as is. This basil drizzle is also wonderful served over grilled chicken, steak, shrimp or pork. See Margaret and Away to Garden for more information on Summer Fest.

Amazing and Easy Summer Side Dish: Roasted Okra

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One of my workout friends, Angie, told me about some roasted okra she had recently. I love roasting vegetables, and I love okra so why not? This is so simple, fast and delicious. Even my kids (who I admit are used to fried okra) were fighting over them. Just simply trim the edges of the okra slightly and season with salt, pepper and olive oil. They come out phenomenal!