Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Tortellini with Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes (with Shrimp)

A while back I bought a club pack of cheese tortellini. That's two, 20-ounce packages of tortellini. The first dish I made was a total flop, so I really wanted something great for the other package. I did a few searches and nothing was jumping out at me. Apparently most people use tortellini in soup, which I didn't feel like making, or they just toss it with a simple sauce. I wanted a flavorful, complex sauce to balance the blandness of the tortellini (let's be honest, cheese tortellini aren't exciting on their own).


I finally stumbled on this AMAZING recipe for Tortellini with Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes. Seriously, this was SO GOOD. Even Steve, who hates sun-dried tomatoes, loved this meal. I bulked it up with some cooked shrimp, but you could also use chicken or sausage, or leave out meat all together.

I can't wait to buy another club pack of tortellini so I can make this again!

Tortellini with Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Modified from The Brown Eyed Baker

1 lb shrimp, chicken or Italian sausage (optional, see note)
20 oz cheese tortellini
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper, to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese
7 ounces baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 (7-ounce) jar julienned sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil

Boil the tortellini according to the package directions.

While the tortellini is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle in the flour and stir until a paste is formed. Whisk in the heavy cream, half-and-half and chicken broth. Season with a little salt and pepper, then add the Parmesan cheese. Simmer until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the spinach, sun-dried tomatoes (fish them out with a fork. You want some of the oil in the sauce but not the whole jar's worth), and shrimp/chicken/sausage, if using. Once the spinach is wilted, add the cooked and drained tortellini and stir to coat the tortellini with the sauce. Serve immediately.

NOTE: If you want to bulk this up a bit, you can add cooked shrimp, chicken or Italian sausage. I used shrimp that I seasoned with salt and pepper then seared in a hot skillet with a little oil. Once the shrimp were cooked I cut them in half (or thirds if they were big) so they were bite-size. If you want to do chicken or sausage instead, cut them into bite-size pieces and cook in a skillet with a little oil (be sure to season the chicken with salt and pepper).
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Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Chicken Noodle Soup Casserole

Do you ever make a recipe and just know that it's going to be something you make again and again and again? This Chicken Noodle Soup Casserole is one of those recipes. Not only was it delicious, it was one of the easiest meals I've ever made.

Chicken noodle soup casserole

The beauty of this recipe is two-fold:

1. Everything bakes together in a casserole dish so you don't even have to worry about food splatter on your stovetop.
2. It's hearty and comforting for those chilly nights.

To make this even easier, I used rotisserie chicken (I've been buying rotisserie chickens and freezing the meat in small portions for pizzas or recipes like this one) and prepped the celery, carrots, onion, thyme and garlic the night before. I made this for Halloween night since Steve and Katie like to have a quick meal before heading out for candy. I dumped everything in a huge bowl, mixed it all up, popped it in the oven to bake, steamed some green beans and called it dinner. So, so good.

The only issue was some of the pasta wasn't fully submerged in the broth so it didn't cook properly. I'm hoping that's easily solved by giving this a quick stir halfway through the cooking time. I can't wait to make it again!

Chicken Noodle Soup Casserole
As seen on The Seasoned Mom

2 cups diced, cooked chicken (rotisserie chicken works great)
2 celery stalks, diced
2 large/4 small carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 large onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
2 large garlic cloves, minced or grated
12 ounces uncooked rotini pasta (I used shells)
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 425. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large bowl), stir together cooked chicken, celery, carrots, onion, thyme, garlic, uncooked pasta, chicken broth, and salt until well mixed. Pour into the baking dish and spread evenly.

Cover tightly with foil and bake for 40 minutes, uncovering to stir halfway through to make sure all the pasta has a chance to cook.

Uncover and sprinkle the cheese over the top. Bake uncovered for 5-10 more minutes until the cheese is melted. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.
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Sunday, October 01, 2017

Indian Spiced Chicken Stew with Potatoes

My friend Lidia recently recommended this recipe for Indian Spiced Chicken Stew with Potatoes. I couldn't wait to make it, but not while it was still 85+ degrees. I'm one of those people who can only eat cold-weather food when it's cold. Soups/stews, chili, hearty baked pastas...all too heavy for me in the warmer months. As soon as the weather cooled off, though, this went right on the menu.

Indian chicken stew

Since this takes upwards of 3 hours to cook, I decided to make it on Saturday for Sunday lunch with my parents. I figured the stew would only get better sitting overnight and I was right. This was INCREDIBLE. The subtle Indian spices, the creamy, cool sour cream, the aromatic rice and the buttery naan were just fantastic together. I doubled the recipe and we barely had enough for lunches the next day. So, so good.

Indian chicken stew

This is one dish I'll be making often now that winter is coming (sob!)

Indian Spiced Stew with Chicken and Potatoes
As seen on Seasons & Suppers

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 large skin-on/bone-in chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon cayennne pepper (I left this out)
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth (plus a bit more thinning, if necessary)
3/4 cup tomato purée
1/2 cup heavy cream (I used half-and-half)
1/2 pound small Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into wedges
Chopped fresh cilantro/parsley/mint, for serving
Sour cream or plain yogurt, for serving
Basmati rice
Buttered naan

Heat vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper and place skin side down in to the pot. Cook until golden brown on both sides, flipping halfway through, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.

To the same pot, add the onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft and golden brown, about 8–10 minutes. Add tomato paste, garam masala, cumin, turmeric, coriander, salt, cayenne (if using) and cook, stirring often, until tomato paste begins to darken, about 4 minutes.

Add the chicken, broth, tomato purée, and cream to the pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until chicken is almost falling off the bone and liquid is slightly thickened, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove chicken to a plate and let cool before removing the skin and bones. Cut or pull chicken into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

Add the potatoes to the pot and cook, partially covered, until fork-tender, about 30-45 minutes. Stir the stew every so often to make sure the sauce hasn't thickened too much and potatoes aren't sticking to the bottom of the pot. If sauce is too thick, thin with a bit more chicken stock. When the potatoes are tender, add the chicken back to the pot and stir to combine.

Before serving, sprinkle with chopped cilantro, parsley or mint. To serve, spoon stew into a shallow bowl with basmati rice and/or naan on the side. Serve with a large dollop of sour cream or yogurt.

NOTE: This can (and should) be made ahead. Keep it refrigerated, for up to 3 days, in the Dutch oven you used to make it. Just re-heat over low heat when ready to serve, thinning with a bit of chicken broth, if necessary.
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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Curry Rice with Shrimp and Peas

I'm a big believer in meal planning. I started back in 2005 when we were saving for our first house. We had a weekly food budget of $50 (!!) and actually brought a calculator to the supermarket, wrote down prices as we shopped, added up the total before we went to the register and put items back if we went over our budget. We also stopped eating out altogether.

I quickly realized that the only way to make this method work was to decide ahead of time what we'd be eating for the week and use those recipes to make our shopping list. I can honestly say I have no clue what we did for dinner from 2002 (when we started living together) to 2005 (when I started meal planning). How did we decide what to eat? How did we grocery shop? It's a total mystery.

Even though some weeks I have zero inspiration and every recipe in my massive collection sounds meh, I will never give up meal planning. Not only does it save money, we waste less. At the end of the week our fridge is mostly empty. That's such a source of pride for me, being able to use everything we buy. And I also love knowing ahead of time what we'll be eating on any given day. It takes all the guesswork and stress out of dinnertime. Sure, there are times when a recipe flops and we order pizza, or life gets in the way and we have to switch days around, but I'd say 95% of the time it works.

So what does that have to do with this recipe. Since my friend Nicole posted this recipe for Spiced Chicken and Rice I've looked at it countless times as I'm sifting through my recipes for inspiration for the coming week. I actually had it as a tentative plan a number of times but it always got pushed back for some reason. This week we had a bunch of meals involving chicken in our plans, so Steve suggested I swap the chicken for shrimp. What can I say, the man is brilliant.

Curry shrimp and rice

I had to modify the recipe a smidge to keep the shrimp from overcooking, but the flavor profile is the same. Steve and I had chopped cashews on top but I obviously left those off Katie's serving. We absolutely loved the subtle spiciness from the curry powder, the crunch of the cashews, the vibrant notes of lemon and cilantro and the perfectly-cooked shrimp. Next time I'll up the amount of rice since this didn't yield much in the way of leftovers.

Curry Rice with Shrimp and Peas
Modified from PreventionRD

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lbs shrimp, peeled, deveined, cut into bite-sized pieces
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain rice
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1/2 cup cilantro, minced
1/2 cup cashews, coarsely chopped

In a large, deep skillet with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the diced shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Cook until just pink. Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon.

Add the ginger and curry powder to the skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the broth and scrape all the ginger and curry from the bottom, incorporating well. Bring to a boil.

Add the rice, lemon juice and zest to the skillet. Return to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and mix in the peas and reserved shrimp. Cover and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed. Sprinkle with the cilantro and cashews and serve hot.
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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Zucchini Corn Pizza

I'm mourning summer as we enter the second half of August and begin the slow slide into fall and winter. This was a pretty lackluster summer weather-wise. More cool, rainy days than warm, sunny ones. Less pool time than I'd like. This seems to happen every few years, unfortunately.

One good thing to come out of the cooler weather was this Zucchini Corn Pizza. Holy guacamole. A local pizza joint serves a similar pie - roasted zucchini, roasted sweet corn, poblano sour cream, hot pepper flakes, salt, pepper, olive oil, mozzarella - that we love so I wanted to try making it at home.

Zucchini corn pizza

Even Katie, who's not the biggest zucchini fan, loved this. If you've got a bumper crop of zucchini in your garden this is a great way to use up at least one.

Zucchini Corn Pizza
As seen on Damn Delicious

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds
1/2 cup corn kernels (fresh, frozen, or canned)
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 ball pizza dough
8-oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese
fresh chives, snipped
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees.

Melt oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the zucchini, corn and Italian seasoning. Cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchini are tender, about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Lay a piece of parchment paper the size of the pizza stone on a work surface. Dust lightly with flour and roll out the pizza dough into a 12- to 14-inch circle. Top with the mozzarella and zucchini mixture. Add dollops of ricotta and spread them out a bit.

Transfer the pizza on the parchment paper to the pizza stone. Bake for 10-15 minutes, checking often to make sure the cheese is melting and browning. Remove the pizza from the oven and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve garnished with chives and red pepper flakes, if desired.
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Monday, August 07, 2017

Cheesy Tomato Biscuit Casserole

I don't know about you but I get in such a rut with side dishes. Most of the time it's because I'm feeling uninspired or lazy and the same old same old is easy to throw together. I'm happy to report that I branched out this weekend and now I have a new, amazing side dish to add to my repertoire. And, bonus, it reheats well (if you have any leftovers that is).

Cheesy tomato biscuit casserole

My friend Amy posted this Cheesy Tomato Biscuit Casserole months ago, but I've been waiting until the height of tomato season to make it. While you can get tomatoes year-round, the ones we're enjoying right now are insane. I don't know if it's just a good year for tomatoes or what, but damn. I feel like I need to eat. all. the. tomatoes. every. day. So, so good.

As I was typing up this post I realized I forgot the onion in the original recipe. Oops! Since we thought it was amazing without it - and, bonus, if you skip that step you have one less pan to clean - I'm leaving it out. I also opted to add fresh chopped basil once this came out of the oven, mainly because my basil plant is out of control right now and because tomatoes and basil are so good together. Totally your call. Also, use way more tomato than you think you need. Tomatoes have a lot of water in them so they'll shrink as they cook.

Hurry up and make this simple and delicious side dish now. You won't be sorry!

Cheesy Tomato Biscuit Casserole
Slightly modified from BellyFull

1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 container (16 ounce) Pillsbury Grands Buttermilk Biscuits
4 tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
fresh basil, chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9x13 casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, cheese, salt, pepper, oregano and garlic powder in a small bowl. Set aside.

Press the biscuits into the casserole dish, pinching the seams together so they cover the bottom of the pan and pushing the dough slightly up the sides. The dough will be thin.

Arrange the tomato slices on top of the biscuits, overlapping to fit as many slices as you can. Spread the cheese mixture over the top then sprinkle with a little paprika.

Bake for 25-27 minutes until the dough is cooked through and the cheese mixture is browning and bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes, then top with chopped basil and cut into slices.

To reheat leftovers: Preheat a toaster oven to 350 degrees. Spray some foil with non-stick cooking spray and place a slice of the casserole on top. Heat in the toaster oven, being careful not to burn the edges of the crust, for about 5-10 minutes depending on your toaster.
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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Smoked Salmon Pizza

I'm not sure how or when I came across this recipe for Smoked Salmon Pizza, but every time I looked through my huge stack of printed recipes I'd see it. While we're on the subject, yes I print recipes I want to make because I like having a hard copy in front of me while I'm cooking so I can make notes. And yes, I desperately need a better filing system than stuffing the pile of papers into a reusable grocery bag.


Smoked salmon pizza

I've been eyeing up this recipe for a while but I could never find a good time to make it. Then our friends invited us over for brunch and I finally got a chance to try it. As an aside, I love that my friend didn't blink when I asked if I could use her kitchen, or when I busted out my pizza stone, parchment paper and all the various toppings I'd put in individual containers.

This was a cinch to make and I loved the crispy pizza crust with the luscious smoked salmon, salty capers and the tang of the red onion. Next time I think I'll swap the sour cream (which I subbed for crème fraiche) for cream cheese to make it more like a bagel, while also adding some of the same seasonings found on my favorite bagel of all time, the everything bagel. I hear Trader Joes makes an everything bagel seasoning blend. I really need to get my hands on some of that!

Our Best Ever Smoked Salmon Pizza
Modified from Spoon, Fork, Bacon

1/2 a ball of pizza dough (homemade or store bought)
Olive oil
1/2 cup cream cheese, sour cream or crème fraiche
4oz sliced smoked salmon or lox
Thinly sliced tomato
Thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup capers, drained
1/2 cup baby arugula
Lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
Dried dill

Preheat the oven to 425°F with a pizza stone on the center rack.

Roll out the dough on a piece of parchment paper dusted with flour. Pierce the surface all over with a fork and brush with small amount olive oil. Remove the pizza stone from the oven and transfer the parchment paper to the stone. If you have a pizza peel (I really need to get one of these) just put the pizza dough directly on the heated stone.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and crisp. Remove from oven and allow crust to cool a bit before adding the toppings.

Spread the cream cheese/sour cream/crème fraiche on the crust and top with pieces of the salmon and tomato. Sprinkle on the red onions and capers. Toss the arugula with some lemon juice, salt and pepper and add that to the pizza. Add a sprinkling of dill, cut into wedges and serve.
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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Philly Cheesesteak One Pot Pasta

I grew up, and still live, about 45 minutes outside of Philly so I know a thing or two about cheesesteaks. And I'm sure purists would balk at one of the most popular posts on my blog, these Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes that I adapted from Rachael Ray, as well as this amazing one pot recipe for Philly Cheesesteak One Pot Pasta. That's their loss. All the busy parents I know love having one post pasta recipes in their back pocket for those busy weeknights and this one is a real winner.

Philly cheesesteak pasta

I made a few slight modifications from my friend Melissa's take on the recipe - I added flour to tighten up the sauce and swapped the cheese because I'm just not a huge fan of provolone when it's the only cheese. I also left off the parsley.

There's not much more to say except we'll be enjoying this one often.

Philly Cheesesteak One Pot Pasta
Slightly Modified from Hunt, Cook, Eat

1 pound ground beef
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
12 ounces button mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 quart beef or chicken broth
8oz elbow macaroni
4oz provolone cheese, shredded (or 3oz cheddar plus 1oz American cheeses, shredded)

Heat a large, deep skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until a brown crust starts to form before breaking the beef apart with the back of a wooden spoon.

Add the onions, green pepper and mushrooms. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables are soft and the mushrooms have released their liquid. Add the flour and stir to incorporate it.

Add the broth, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt and black pepper and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then add the macaroni. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes or until noodles are just barely al dente, stirring once halfway through to make sure the pasta isn't sticking.

Remove the lid, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for another 5 minutes to thicken. Turn off the heat, then add the cheese. Stir until all the cheese melts. Let sit for another few minutes, then serve.
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Monday, July 03, 2017

Creamy Shrimp Boil Pasta

I love the idea of a shrimp boil when we're down the shore, but on a weeknight I need something quicker, easier and less messy. That's where this Creamy Shrimp Boil Pasta comes in. All the flavors of a classic shrimp boil served with pasta instead of potatoes.

Shrimp boil pasta

I lightened it up a bit by subbing half-and-half for the heavy cream. As I was making the sauce I realized the cream/half-and-half isn't even necessary. It was a nice treat, but I think the pasta could stand alone with the other ingredients. Totally your call. We also thought it needed more corn, so I upped the amount in the recipe below. This was so delicious and easy to make on a busy summer weeknight.

Creamy Shrimp Boil Pasta
As seen on Damn Delicious

1 pound cavatappi or rotini pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (12.8-ounce) package smoked andouille sausage, thinly sliced
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (my shrimp were larger so I cut them in half)
3 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning, divided
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth, plus more as needed
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2-2 cups frozen corn kernels
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (optional)

Cook pasta according to package directions. Save 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain well.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring frequently, until sausage is lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes. Place the sausage in a large bowl and set aside.

Season the shrimp with 1 1/2 teaspoons of Old Bay seasoning. Add the shrimp to the skillet and cook until pink, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the pan to the same bowl as the sausage.

Melt the butter in the skillet. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth, half-and-half, Parmesan, thyme and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay. Cook until slightly thickened, about 2-3 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add more broth as needed. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Stir in the pasta, sausage, shrimp and corn. Toss to combine. Thin with some of the pasta cooking water, if needed. Serve immediately, garnished with chives, if desired.
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Monday, June 26, 2017

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart

Do you ever see a recipe and just know, instinctively, that it's going to be amazingly delicious? That's how I felt when I read my friend Kylee's post about this Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart . I could practically taste the buttery, flaky crust, the ripe, juicy tomatoes and the tang of the goat cheese. I couldn't wait to make it.

Goat cheese and tomato tart

I tried to find the Nature Sweet tomatoes Kylee mentions in her post (Eclipse tomatoes), but the stores near me don't seem to carry them (despite the Nature Sweet site claiming they did). I ended up splurging on heirloom tomatoes and I'm so glad I did. All I can say is wow. I'm lucky to live in an area known for amazing tomatoes, but it's not quite peak season yet. The heirlooms I picked up were stunning and really brought the whole tart together.

Katie helped me mix up the goat cheese spread the day before and then I assembled and baked the tart at my parent's house. We ate it as an app and holy guacamole was it delicious. Everything comes together beautifully and we were all sad when it was gone. My aunt is coming for a visit this weekend and since a pack of puff pastry comes with two sheets I'll be using her visit as an excuse to make this again. It's the perfect summer treat since you really want to make this when tomatoes are at their best. The only downside is that this wouldn't reheat well, so plan to devour the whole thing in one sitting. Maybe that's not such a bad thing...

Tomato & Goat Cheese Tart
Slightly modified from Kylee Cooks

1 puff pastry sheet, thawed in the fridge
1 egg, beaten
Grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
4 oz goat cheese, softened (a small log, the ones in my supermarket are 4oz)
1 clove garlic, grated
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
4 heirloom tomatoes, sliced then cut into half-moons
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped roughly
Salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 425.

Place the sheet of puff pastry on a piece of parchment laid on a pizza stone or baking sheet. Use a rolling pin to gently flatten and spread out the pastry so it's smooth as well as longer and wider than when you started.

Using a sharp knife, cut a 1/2-inch strip off the pastry on all four sides. Keep the strips - you'll be adding them back onto the pastry in a minute. Brush all the pastry with the beaten egg, then put each strip you just cut back onto the dough, essentially making a border around the edges (Katie said it looked like a picture frame). Use the tines of a fork to press the strips down so they stick to the pastry underneath. Prick the entire surface (where the picture would go) with a fork. Sprinkle with some Parmesan or Pecorino cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes until puffed and golden.

Mix together the goat cheese, garlic and Italian seasoning. This can be done a day or two ahead of time. Once the puff pastry is golden brown, remove it from the oven. Spread the goat cheese mixture over the center area of the pastry (now you'll really see what Katie meant by it looking like a picture frame).

Top the goat cheese with slices of tomato. I bought different colored heirlooms so I alternated the colors to make it look pretty. Keep the tomato slices close together - you really want to pack them on for maximum flavor. Sprinkle the chopped basil and extra Parmesan or Pecorino cheese on top, then season with a little salt and pepper. Cut the tart into slices and serve.
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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Crispy Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Slaw

Wow, wow, WOW!! What a showstopper. As soon as I saw Caroline post this recipe for Crispy Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Slaw I had a feeling they'd be good, but I wasn't expecting them to be amazing.

Crispy shrimp tacos

The ingredients are actually very simple and there's almost no prep work. The shrimp take next to no time to cook and the result is a wonderful medley of textures - crispy shrimp, creamy slaw, slightly chewy tortilla combined with the heat of the Sriracha mayo. Steve and I added extra Sriracha to our tacos because I can't use too much spice or Katie complains. The only thing that would make these better is buttery slices of avocado nestled next to the shrimp, so I included that in the recipe below.

Make these soon! I know I'll be putting them on the menu again ASAP.

Crispy Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Slaw
Slightly modified from The Barbee Housewife

Cilantro-Lime Slaw:
2 cups coleslaw mix
1/4 cup mayonnaise (or to taste, I eyeballed it)
Juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Sriracha-Lime Sauce:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Sriracha, to taste
Juice of half a lime

Crispy Shrimp:
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper
2 eggs, whisked
1 cup panko
Vegetable oil, for frying

To serve:
Flour tortillas, warmed in a dry skillet
Sliced avocado

Combine the coleslaw mix, mayonnaise, lime juice, salt and pepper and cilantro in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Stir the mayonnaise, Sriracha and lime juice together. Taste and adjust the heat to your preference. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Put the flour, along with some salt and pepper, in a plastic food storage bag. Whisk the eggs in a shallow bowl. Put the panko in another food storage bag. Place the shrimp in the bag with the flour first. Seal the bag, then toss to coat all the shrimp with the flour. Remove the shrimp from the bag, shaking off any excess flour (I like to use a colander for this), then place them in the bowl with the egg. Toss to coat all the shrimp with the egg. Add the shrimp to the bag with the panko, seal the bag and toss to coat all the shrimp with the panko.

Heat 2-3 inches of vegetable oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Put the shrimp in the pan, being careful not to overcrowd them, and cook for about 2 minutes, until the panko is nicely browned. Remove the shrimp to a paper-towel lined plate.

Build your taco starting with some of the slaw, a few shrimp, and a drizzle of the Sriracha-lime sauce. Nestle a few slices of avocado alongside the shrimp and enjoy!
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Thursday, June 01, 2017

One-Pot Bacon and Feta Pasta

One-pot meals are amazing, right? I know they're so 2015, but what busy family doesn't love a meal that combines minimal effort with maximum flavor? Ashley's recipe for One-Pot Chicken Feta Alfredo sounded perfect for a busy weeknight.

One pot pasta

I decided to make a few changes to the recipe - I left out the chicken, swapped the pancetta for bacon (although my family LOVES pancetta) and left the tomatoes and basil as a garnish rather than cooking them with the pasta (because I simply cannot stand loose tomato skin - blech).

The result was a creamy, cheesy, simply delicious and EASY weeknight meal. This is absolutely going in the permanent rotation, although I'll need to double it next time if we want leftovers.

One-Pot Bacon and Feta Pasta
Modified from Cheesecurd in Paradise

4 slices of bacon, cut into pieces (I like to use kitchen shears)
8 oz bow tie pasta
6 oz crumbled feta, divided
1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
2 tomatoes, chopped

In a large non-stick skillet with a lid, cook the bacon until it's crispy. If there's a lot of fat, drain most of it off. Add the pasta, 4 oz of the feta, Parmesan, chicken broth, half-and-half and garlic powder.

Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes, just until the pasta is al dente (with a little bite left).

Add the basil, tomatoes and remaining 2 oz of feta. Stir to combine and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
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Friday, May 26, 2017

Pork and Vegetable Stir Fry

I used to make stir fries all the time and then I just...stopped. I have no clue why. Maybe we got burnt out on them or maybe they just fell off my radar the way things do when you're a food blogger who's always trying to make something new so you have content to blog. Whatever the reason, it's been a very long time since I made a stir fry.

Pork stir fry with udon noodles

While meal planning last week I found a recipe for Pork “Lo Mein” Ramen that I'd printed from my friend Katie's blog. It sounded easy, which I really need these days. I had two pork chops in the freezer to use up, and veggies are amazing right now, so I was psyched. While looking up ramen on Wegman's website, to see how many ounces of noodles are in a package, I discovered that ramen isn't safe for someone with a nut allergy. Who knew? Poor kid will never know that particular joy of college dorm life. This meant finding a different, safe noodle. I ended up getting these udon noodles and the texture was perfect - silky smooth, with a nice chew.

I figured one pack of udon noodles was equal to four packs of ramen, so I doubled the original recipe, which was perfect. It seemed like a lot of food but we were all so in love with this recipe we went back for seconds and there are barely any leftovers. Thanks for an amazing recipe, Katie, and for helping me rediscover my love of stir fries!

Pork and Vegetable Stir Fry
Adapted from So Tasty, So Yummy

2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon chile garlic sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 cup chicken broth
1 12-oz package udon noodles
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 pound pork loin chops, sliced thin
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 small red bell pepper, sliced thin
1 cup shredded carrots
1 8oz bag snow or snap peas
1 teaspoon sesame oil

In a two cup measuring cup, whisk together the cornstarch, chile garlic sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce and chicken broth.

Cook the udon noodles according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Stir fry the pork, ginger and garlic until almost cooked through. Remove the pork from the wok and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, mushrooms, bell pepper and carrots. Stir fry for 3 to 5 minutes, until the veggies start to soften.

Pour the broth mixture over the vegetables, bring to a boil and cook for a minute more. Add the pork and snow or snap peas. Cook for another minute, then add the udon noodles and sesame oil. Toss to coat the noodles evenly with the sauce. Serve.
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Friday, May 19, 2017

Shrimp Enchiladas with Sour Cream Poblano Sauce

For some reason I got it into my head that I wanted shrimp enchiladas. Mind you, I've never once ordered shrimp enchiladas at a Mexican restaurant so I can't for the life of me figure out where the craving came from. But there it was and so off I went to find the perfect recipe.

Shrimp enchiladas

I ended up combining recipes from two of my favorite bloggers and the results were sensational. A word of warning, though - these are a wee bit time consuming for a weeknight. There's nothing complicated about the recipe, it's just a lot to put together between peeling and roasting the shrimp, roasting the poblanos, making the sauce, and cooking the filling. Work has been insane so I've been trying to do dinner prep either early in the morning or late at night. I highly recommend cooking all the components ahead of time. Then you can assemble the enchiladas right before you bake them.

Shrimp enchiladas

Shrimp Enchiladas with Sour Cream Poblano Sauce
From Damn Delicious and Annie's Eats

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 onion, diced
3 cups coleslaw mix
3 cups baby spinach
1 tablespoons chipotle pepper, in adobo sauce
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
12 (6-inch) corn or flour tortillas
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack or Mexican cheese

For the sauce:
2 poblano peppers
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 400. Place shrimp onto a baking sheet. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper, and gently toss to combine. Place into oven and roast just until pink, firm and cooked through, about 6 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before dicing into bite-size pieces. Reduce oven temperature to 375.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion and cook until the onions become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add coleslaw mix, spinach, chipotle pepper, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach just begins to wilt, about 1-2 minutes. Add shrimp and gently toss to combine.

If you have a gas stove, place the peppers directly on the burner over the flame and roast, turning often, until the skin is blistered and black all over. If you have an electric stove, preheat the oven to 475˚ F. Place the peppers in a baking dish. Bake, turning every 6-8 minutes or so, until the skin is blistered over most of the surface about 20-25 minutes total. Transfer the peppers to a bowl, cover with a plate or plastic wrap and let sit 15 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel away the skin, stem, seeds and ribs and discard. Coarsely chop the peppers and set aside.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Stir in the chopped poblanos. Sprinkle in the flour and stir, cooking briefly just until golden, about 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the broth and garlic powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream and cilantro.

To assemble the enchiladas, spoon half the sauce over the bottom of a 9x13" baking dish. Lay one tortilla on a flat surface and add some of the cheese, along with some of the shrimp mixture to the center. Roll the tortilla and place seam side down onto prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas and shrimp mixture. Pour the rest of the sauce evenly over the top and cover with the remaining cheese. Place into oven and bake, covered, until lightly golden and bubbly, about 20 minutes.
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Monday, May 15, 2017

Chocolate Chip Croissant Bread Pudding

You guys. This chocolate chip croissant bread pudding is Ah-May-Zing. Utterly and completely decadent and worth every calorie.

Chocolate chip bread pudding

I was looking through my recipes for something to make for Mother's Day dessert when I stumbled upon this recipe from Fake Ginger I'd printed a while back. You probably don't know this about me, but I'm a sucker for a chocolate croissant. I used to get them from my college bakery all the time. I'd ask them to heat it up to slightly melt the chocolate in the middle. What I appreciated the most was that the chocolate actually went from edge to edge, not like some bakeries where there's maybe 1 tablespoon of chocolate inside. This recipe is basically turning my beloved chocolate croissant into a shareable dessert!

Chocolate chip bread pudding

After reading the directions I decided to skip slicing and toasting the croissants. Bite-sized pieces are more traditional for bread pudding and toasting seemed completely unnecessary. The result was fantastic. Some of the bread pudding was ooey and gooey, other bites were crispy. It was the perfect blend of textures. We were all oohing and ahhing as we ate and I'm already dreaming about the leftovers in the fridge.

Chocolate Chip Croissant Bread Pudding
Slightly modified from Fake Ginger

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 croissants, torn or cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 2-quart baking dish.

Whisk together the melted butter, eggs, milk, heavy cream, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Place half the croissant pieces in a 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle about 2/3 of the chocolate chips over them and then top with remaining pieces of croissant.

Pour the egg mixture over top, pressing down gently to make sure most of the croissants are covered. You don't want all the pieces completely submerged.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top and bake until golden brown, 15-20 minutes more.

Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.
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Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Bacon Broccoli Pierogie Bake

Bacon broccoli pierogie bake

I've been making this recipe for Bacon Broccoli Pierogie Bake for years but apparently I only blogged it as Bacon Pierogie Bake (served with a side of steamed broccoli) or Broccoli Pierogie Bake (back when I was trying to eat less meat). Since I only make it this way now - gotta love one-pot meals - I figured I better make a new post so I could share it with all of you.

Bacon broccoli pierogie bake

Lately I've been buying mini pierogies (because they're just so darn cute) and doubling the recipe so we have plenty left over for lunch the next day. The doubled recipe is below.

Bacon Broccoli Pierogie Bake
Slightly Adapted from Elizabeth's Edible Experience

2 large broccoli crowns, cut into florets
Cooking spray
2 (16-ounce) packages frozen mini potato pierogies
6-8 center-cut bacon slices, chopped
6 ounces cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper
1 cup chicken broth
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3-4 thinly sliced scallions
1/2 cup chopped seeded plum tomato

Preheat oven to 400°.

Steam broccoli until tender. Coat a 9 x 13" baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange the broccoli and frozen pierogies in the dish.

Cook the bacon in a saucepan over medium heat until crisp; remove to a paper towel-lined plate.

Add the cream cheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper to the bacon drippings and cook until cream cheese begins to melt, stirring frequently. Gradually add the chicken broth, whisking until smooth. Pour the cream cheese mixture evenly over the pierogies and top with the cheddar cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and add the bacon and scallions. Bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with the tomato. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then serve.

MAKE AHEAD TIP: You can steam the broccoli, cook the bacon, shred the cheese, chop the scallions and tomatoes and make the sauce ahead of time. Store everything in separate containers in the fridge until you're ready to assemble the casserole.
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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Grilled Shrimp with Anchovy Butter

Heeeeeeeeeey!!! I am SUPER excited to announce that we're officially in the new house. Squeeeeeeeee! It's been a crazy whirlwind these last few months but we're settling in and, shockingly, we're finding that this house already feels like home. Here are some photos of our new digs, including the listing photo of the kitchen:

Home pics

Home pics

Home pics

I'll admit, I was a bit nervous about cooking in this kitchen. It may look nice, but it was most definitely NOT designed by someone who enjoys cooking. For starters, there's no triangle. And insufficient storage. Heck, there isn't even a silverware drawer. Needless to say, a kitchen remodel is on the horizon...just as soon as we save up the necessary funds to do it right. We'll be knocking down the wall where the stove is and expanding into the space that was previously the dining room. That's why we turned the formal living room into the dining room.

Shrimp with anchovy butter

Sigh. We are just so in love with the space, the neighborhood, everything. I still can't quite believe we pulled it off. But enough about the new house...on to the recipe! I first had grilled shrimp with anchovy butter at least 20 years ago (likely closer to 25...eeek!) at Hamilton's Grillroom. It's been a staple on their ever-changing menu for all this time, and for good reason - it's delicious. And so simple. They serve massive shrimp at the Grillroom, but all I had on hand were these smaller ones. It doesn't make too much of a difference, but I may splurge on larger shrimp next time so they can spend a bit more time on the grill and get that wonderfully smoky char.

Grilled Shrimp with Anchovy Butter
Inspired by Hamilton's Grillroom

1/2-lb shell-on shrimp, any size (go for the larger ones, if you can)
6 tablespoons butter
half a tin of anchovies
crusty bread, for serving

Prepare your grill. If the shrimp are on the smaller side, place them on skewers so they're easier to flip. Grill until just pink.

Meanwhile, melt the butter with the anchovies in a small skillet. You want the anchovy filets to melt into the butter.

When the shrimp are cooked, divide them evenly on plates. Top each with some of the anchovy butter. Serve with slices of crusty bread to sop up all the delicious butter.
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Thursday, March 30, 2017

BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Lettuce Wraps with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

This recipe for BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Lettuce Wraps with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce was so amazing I actually dusted off the ol' food blog so I could share it with you. That's really saying something since it's been 4 months since I posted. Oops!! Life got seriously crazy and, while it's still a whirlwind, these lettuce wraps are just too good not to share.

BBQ Chicken Lettuce wraps

A quick recap of what's been happening since we last spoke:

1. Katie stopped sleeping. She had a long sleepover at my parent's house Thanksgiving weekend and while we don't think anything happened to cause the sleep issues, that's when it all started. She was scared to be alone, didn't want to sleep, etc. This lasted about two long, painful months. We felt like we had a newborn again. No one was happy.

2. I was laid off. Downsizing sucks and I lost my job due to a reorg. My last day at my old company was December 9 and it was incredibly bittersweet.

3. I enjoyed unemployment. Well, for about a week I did. Ha! Due to the aforementioned sleep issues, this was a trying time for us. Plus we were all sick off and on for weeks on end. Winter was not kind to our family, that's for sure. The week before I started my new job (more on that later) was the one week where I actually sat around and watched Call the Midwife and did a whole lot of nothing. It was glorious and over way too quickly.

4. We were sick. A lot. Despite being in daycare most of her life, Katie had a rough winter at public school. She's had 5 colds and one turned into pneumonia (that was fun). I'm so ready for warmer weather!

5. I got a new job! Due to a crazy fortuitous series of events, I ended up finding a new job before my severance ran out. Yippee. I'm doing basically the same thing I was doing previously, just with a different company. I was sick as a dog with a horrific head cold while going through the interview process, but since this was another full-time work from home position, all my interviews were done over the phone (score!) It's been tough getting settled in my new role, but well worth it because...

6. We sold our house/bought a new house! We've been stuck in our current home for 10 years (thanks, crash of 2008) and thought we'd never be able to get out from under it. But, we scrimped and saved and came up with what we thought was a two-year plan. Then I got the new job and the market in our town exploded and suddenly we were doing this NOW. We actually put the offer in on our new house the weekend before I started my new job and the offer was accepted on my first day of work. A month later we put our house on the market and it sold without ever officially being listed. It's an insane story, really, and we're still pinching ourselves over it. We closed on the new house last Friday and we're having a lot of work done before we move in. The house was vacant for almost 2 years so it needs a lot of cosmetic stuff. It's amazing what fresh paint can do! We close on our current house two weeks from tomorrow! Eeek!

Phew. I think you're all caught up now so on to the recipe!!

Is it me or do lettuce wraps make you feel less guilt about eating whatever you've stuffed inside? I felt like I could eat 10 of these and not gain an ounce. Ha!

A few notes: I had one pound of chicken thighs in the freezer so I used those instead of chicken breasts. It wasn't nearly enough. I'm doubling the recipe below so you have plenty of deliciousness to go around. I also left out the cashews due to Katie's nut allergy. And I didn't bother with the romaine and iceberg, despite having both in my fridge.

Don't let the long ingredient list scare you. A lot of it is seasoning. These were so simple to throw together on a weeknight and I didn't even bother with a side dish since you've got meat and veggies all in one spot. Make these now!!

BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Lettuce Wraps with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
As seen on How Sweet It Is

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, diced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 large can diced pineapple, cut into cubes the same size as chicken pieces
6 tablespoons BBQ sauce, plus more for drizzling
2/3 cup freshly torn cilantro
1 avocado, sliced
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1 head of iceberg lettuce, leaves torn off
limes, for serving

Greek Yogurt Cilantro Drizzle
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1/3 cup freshly torn cilantro
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix the salt, pepper, paprika, garlic and onion powder together in a small bowl. Season the chicken with the seasoning mix. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the chicken and cook until browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the onion and brown sugar, stirring well to remove any brown bits from the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Stir in the pineapple and the BBQ sauce. Let cook for another 5 minutes.

To assemble the lettuce wraps, add some sliced avocado to the lettuce leaves, then top with a few spoonfuls of the chicken mixture. Add the green onions, cilantro and a drizzle of BBQ sauce, if desired. Finish off with the drizzle of the yogurt cilantro sauce.

To make the drizzle: add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth.
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