Lately I’ve been on this quest to limit my “comfort food” intake and increase my healthy, non-fatty, organic, brightly colored, naturally sweetened food intake. But honestly people, it’s hard. Maybe not for everyone, but I have a seriously unhealthy relationship with mashed potatoes made with cream and absolutely anything and everything made with chocolate. Especially cookies, brownies, candy bars and donuts.
But, I am proud to say, my health-quest has been progressing. Spring has basically arrived with fresh, healthy, and local produce, and on top of that I’m cooking more gluten-free and trying to make my dessert at least most nights of the week be frozen organic food berries heated with a tablespoon of honey. And, very importantly, I’ve come up with a “self-compromise” if you will. For those times when I am really craving something not so healthy, I make myself find a way to prepare it with other totally healthy ingredients.
Which is where the idea for this meal was born. I received some amazingly delicious organic jowl bacon from my local butcher, Smoking Goose. Truly, you have no idea what you’re missing if you have never tried jowl bacon. It has a deeper, earthier taste to it than regular belly bacon, and my butcher coats the edges in black pepper. But I told myself, if I’m going to eat this bacon for dinner, local and organic though it may be, I need to create a healthy meal around it.
I also had some fresh, organic spinach laying around, so I decided to make a pasta dish. I got the inspiration from one of my standby cooking blogs, SavorySweetLife.com. It’s simple really, and includes some of the best foods a person can eat.
Take for instance, garlic. Whole books have been written on garlic’s health benefits, but what I’ve read the most about is garlic’s ability to help our red blood cells produce hydrogen sulfide, the compound which helps keep our blood pressure in check and help protect against certain cancers, including breast and colon. So, I added a few cloves of garlic into my meal.
Then there’s spinach, which is basically a super-food. It has vitamin C, K, beta-carotene, folate (especially good for pregnant women), thiamine, and riboflavin, to name a few advantages. It also has an enormous amount of antioxidants, and may help with memory loss and reduce the risk of stroke. So, I threw in several handfuls of the stuff.
The recipe goes as follows: cook ½ pound of organic pasta (I happen to love ear-shaped pasta, so I used orecchiette) and ½ pound of bacon. Chop the bacon after it cooks and cools. Then, throw the following into a large saucepan –
· The cooked pasta
· The bacon pieces
· 3-5 handfuls of fresh spinach
· ½ cup organic parmesean cheese
· 2-4 minced cloves of garlic
· 1-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
· 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
Stir everything around over medium heat until the cheese melts and the spinach wilts to your liking. Add salt and pepper to taste and … viola! Delicious, healthy dinner with a bit of bacon thrown in. Enjoy my locavore friends!