Monday, September 25, 2006

Shrimp Pasta

This is a 'tried and true' recipe from my personal collection. I was given this recipe by a friend and it's been in my rotation ever since. It's a great we're-sick-of-beef-and-chicken-so-give-us-something-a-little-different recipe. The best part is I always have most of these ingredients on hand so it makes a great last minute meal.

The hardest part to making this meal is peeling and deveining the shrimp. If at all possible, buy the shrimp already "prepared". It will save you about 20 minutes.

2 1/2 ounces olive oil
32 large fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons diced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons diced shallots
1/2 cup tomato, diced
16 artichoke hearts, quartered
1 cup thinly sliced portobello mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1 cup white wine
4 cups cream

Heat saute pan over high heat. Add olive oil and shrimp, and saute until they are about 1/2 cooked, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and shallots and saute until they are golden brown. Add tomatoes, artichokes, mushrooms, and green onion. Remove from the heat and carefully add the wine. Return to the pan and cook until the white wine is reduced by 1/2. Add the cream and let sauce reduce for 2 minutes or until sauce thickens. Serve over pasta of your choice.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Crab & Bacon Chowder

2 tablespoons olive oil
8 slices of bacon, chopped
2 pounds red potatoes, cut into ½-inch dice
4 celery ribs, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
½ red bell pepper, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup cream
5 cups milk (I used skim)
12 ounces imitation crabmeat
3 tablespoons thyme, 3 palmfuls
2 tablespoon cajun seasoning, (I used the one from Penseys)

Put a medium pot over medium high heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and the bacon and cook until the bacon is crisp, about 6 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Pour off a little of the bacon fat, leaving a thin, even layer. (I was lazy and decided to leave ALL the bacon fat) Add the potatoes, onion, celery, and bell pepper season with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and, using a wooden spoon, scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the milk and cream, cover the pot and bring to a simmer.

Uncover the pot, stir in the crabmeat and seasonings and simmer for 6 to 7 minutes, until the potatoes are just fork-tender and the soup has thickened.

Serve immediately and top with the chopped bacon!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Maple Pecan Shallot Butter on Sweet Potatoes

Mmmmmmm. Butter. Not much else I should say...

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 shallots, peeled and minced
1/4 cup pecans, chopped & toasted
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoon thyme

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium low heat. Add the shallots and cook until well browned and slightly crips, about 8 minutes. Set them aside to cool.

In a small bowl, combine the remaning butter with the shallots, pecans (I toasted mine for about 2 minutes), syrup, thyme, and salt. Blend together with a spoon or fork until the ingredients are evenly incorporated. Set aside for at least 1 hour at room temperature. If you are not going to use this within a few hours, cover and refrigerate.

3 sweet potatoes

Preheat oven to 425. Lay the potatoes on a foil lined rimmed baking sheet and bake until flesh is very tender when pierced with a fork, about 50 minutes to 1 hour.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Last Minute Enchiladas

Some how, despite my meticulous menu planning, I left off a meal for tonight. I came home from work and realized it about 8pm when my lovely husband told me that he was hungry. I was a little taken aback because I thought there should be plenty of food in the fridge. To my dismay, there was nothing in the fridge that Adam would eat (because we all know he's not going to eat my organic homemade yogurt!).

So, I fumbled around my fridge and pantry for a moment and found what I initially considered to be "something to tie you over while you are doing homework so stop asking me for food" meal. As I made this meal, I realized that the smell of this canned soup reminded me of my childhood when my family would get together for some classic mexican meals. The dish ended up to be super quick and super easy AND it was all made in one pot! For a last minute and virtually effortless meal, this was a perfect choice.

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken (I used chicken tenders because that is what I had in the freezer)
1 can Campbells Condensed Creamy Chicken Verde Soup
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. garlic powder
6 corn tortillas, cut into strips (it was all I had left in the house, you could easily use flour)
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Cube chicken. In a pan at medium high heat, saute until cooked through. Set heat to lowest setting and mix in water, soup, and tortillas. Pour chicken mixture in 2-qt. shallow baking dish.

Top with cheese and bake 350 degrees for 25 min.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Yeehaw Pies

One taste of these ginormous cookies and they jumped into my (and Adam's) top five favorite cookies. This retro cookie will become a regular in my cookie baking rotation!

This makes about 14 sandwiches.

The Yee
1/2 cup vegetable shortening (I used butter flavored crisco)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder

Cream shortening with sugar. Add vanilla, egg and milk. Sift cocoa, flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder and add to creamed mixture. Drop by spoonful on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 12 minutes. Cool.

And the haw:
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 to 2 cups of Marshmallow Fluff
1 tsp. vanilla

Whip shortening with sugar until smooth. Blend in fluff and vanilla. Go through the baked cookies searching for similar shapes and pair them up. Spread filling onto the flat side of one cookie, then place second cookie on top, making a sandwich.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Slow Roasting Pot Roast

I love Sundays! They are my favorite days of the week because I have so much time to cook. This was one of the first weekends in a long time that I had NOTHING planned on Friday, Saturday, OR Sunday. It was wonderful.

When you have a lot of time on Sunday or have a bunch of laundry that you MUST get done, a slow cooking roast is one of the best things to do. You're gonna be at the house all day, so you might as well put that oven to use.

This was a easy roast to make and I think most people will have the majority of the ingredients in their house. Slow roasting makes the meat so tender that I didn't even need a knife to serve it!

3.5 pound beef sirloin roast (I got a nice cut of meat from Central Market)
1 bunch of celery, chopped
1 pound of baby carrots
1 clove garlic, minced
1 package dry brown gravy mix
4 tablespoons water
1 package dry onion soup mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
10 oz Coca-Cola

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place meat in a roasting pan - (I always let my meat sit out of the fridge for 10 minutes to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan). Sprinkle carrots & celery around roast.

In a large bowl, combine the gravy & water and mix into a smooth paste. Add soups, cola, and garlic and mix well. Pour over roast.

Cover, and cook 1 hour in the preheated oven. Reduce oven temperature to 225 degrees and continue cooking for 2 hours. Remove from oven and turn roast over to cover the other side with gravy. Cover pan, and return to oven for another 2 hours.

Remove from oven and let meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Salmon en Croute

A dish fit for entertaining! Suprise your dinner guests with an impressive golden brown gift waiting for them on the table. When they cut inside, they will be impressed with the soft pink and green colors and aroma of the buttery cajun spice.

1 tbsp oil
2 cups fresh baby spinach
salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg
1 pkg frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 pound skinless salmon fillet

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add spinach and 1 tbsp of water. Cover and let the spinach steam until wilted (about 2 minutes). When cool enough to handle, squeeze any excess water from spinach. Season with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl beat egg with 1 tbsp water. Unfold 1 sheet of pastry on a lightly floured surface. Roll into 14 x 14 inch square and and put spinach in the center of the pastry and top with salmon. Season with salt and pepper. Brush edges with egg mixture. Fold each corner to center on top of salmon and seal edges securely. Place seam side down on baking sheet.

Bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Lower temperature after first 20 minutes to 300 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes.

Cajun Sauce:
1/2 c. butter
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp cajun seasoning (I used Pensey's Spice blend)
3 egg yolks

Melt butter, lemon juice, and cajun seasoning in the microwave for 2 minutes or until mixture is almost boiling. Place 3 egg yolks in the blender. Cover and blend for 10 seconds. Through the opening in the lid, and with blender on high speed, gradually add butter mixture. Blend about 30 seconds more or until thick and fluffy, stopping to scrape sides as needed. Serve immediately.