Pasta with Whiskey, Wine, Spinach and Mushrooms

I have been a huge fan of The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond’s cooking blog for years. I have mentioned her here before, and she even commented on my Poached Egg and Avocado on Toast recipe on Tasty Kitchen (eek!). I have loved watching her and her family in real life on her Food Network Show, and when I make her recipes, they are always boyfriend-friendly.

Tim loves whiskey (ha), and when Ree posted recipe for pasta with whiskey in it, I knew he would love it. The only problem is, we are trying to eat healthy, and with lots of carbs and cream, it wasn’t the best option. So I took matters into my own hands and adapted Ree’s recipe to be a little healthier, but still delicious.

This is my healthy take on The Pioneer Woman’s Pasta with Whiskey, Wine, and Mushrooms. I added spinach, used extra onion and mushrooms, and swapped out most of the cream for Greek yogurt. I left the alcohol proportions the same (why not?!), and swapped regular pasta for Barilla Pasta Plus. At 316 calories per serving, it was diet friendly and “cowboy-approved!”

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Taleggio-Stuffed Mushrooms

I’ve got to admit it – I’m a total cheese snob. I blame my foodie parents – I got wedges of brie in my preschool lunchbox when the other kids got string cheese. My first winery job, at Vihuela in downtown Paso Robles, was fabulous because we shared a space with Vivant Fine Cheese – therefore, I lived on a strict diet of wine, cheese, and baguettes for almost a year (sorry, arteries!). I learned so much from Danika, from wine and cheese pairing to the particularities of making the perfect platter – what an education!

“More Taleggio? Do I need to stage an intervention?!” Yes, this is what Danika said to me when I was last in her shop. My mom and I have been obsessed with Taleggio lately! We usually just eat it on slices of baguette or on Triscuits, but this weekend I decided to get creative and tried it on stuffed mushrooms. If you like earthy, you will love this combo!

Taleggio is a soft, Italian, washed-rind cheese. A washed rind means just that – the cheese is periodically washed in a saltwater brine (or wine or beer!), which creates the ideal conditions for a red-colored bacteria to grow and impart a pungent smell and taste onto the cheese. Taleggio is nice and stinky, but has a surprisingly mild flavor. It is great on its own, and also makes a great gourmet grilled cheese. Visit your local cheese shop and try it – I think you’ll love it!

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