Sunday, December 11, 2016

Bang Bang Shrimp Pasta

Is there anything better than a quick, delicious recipe? Well, yes, of course there is, but still. I have an arsenal of quick 30-ish minute recipes for those days that Hubby has to work--and we have less than an hour to get him fed and out the door. This one just joined our permanent recipe file. It was a little sweet with just a little heat, and both my 5-year-old and 2-year-old loved it. You could also substitute chicken for the shrimp, if you'd prefer. But, shrimp. YUM. There are two changes I will make to the recipe next time I whip this one out (as I've already indicated in the ingredients): I wouldn't be sad if there were 2 pounds of shrimp, instead of 1 1/2. If shrimp is on sale, I'm going for 2 pounds. Also, with the delicious Thai flavor of the dish, a sprinkling of chopped scallions and peanuts would be amazing. Other than that, YUM. Do you have 30 minutes and a love of pasta, shrimp, and Thai food? Well then, make this.

Bang Bang Shrimp Pasta
*Slightly adapted from My Incredible Recipes

For the pasta:
1 pound of linguine
1 1/2-2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon paprika
Black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

For the sauce:
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1/2 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder

Chopped scallions
Chopped peanuts

Boil a large pot of salted water. Add noodles and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together all the sauce ingredients and set aside. In another bowl, add the uncooked shrimp, garlic, paprika, and black pepper. Mix well. 

Add the olive oil to a large skillet on medium high heat. Cook the shrimp for about 6-7 minutes, or until no longer pink, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add the cooked noodles and the sauce, tossing well. Add in the chopped parsley and give it one more toss. 

Serve topped with chopped peanuts and scallions and enjoy!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Dill Pickle Dip

My husband loves dill pickles. We have SO many jars in the pantry, and we always seem to "need more" when we go to the store. Maybe this wouldn't be such a big deal, but I have a ridiculously small pantry and his collection of jars takes up a lot of space! So anyway, Hubby loves pickles. When I showed him this recipe, his response was, "YES. We need to make this." (I love that he says "we." We both know that I will make it, but he likes some credit, too. He grated the cheese, he's yelling at me.)

We only slightly adapted this recipe. It needed more pickles and I baked it for almost double the amount of time the initial recipe called for, then stuck it under the broiler to make it nice and brown. It was delicious, which warranted a blog post so I don't forget how we did it. You have to love pickles to enjoy this one, but if you do, this will be a huge hit! My whole family loved it!

Dill Pickle Dip
*Adapted from Lemons for Lulu

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded Parmesan
1 cup mayo
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups dill pickles, diced
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 400º. Grease a 1 1/2 quart oval baking dish. Add cream cheese, Parmesan, mayo, garlic. and dill pickles to a food processor and pulse until just combined. Pour into the prepared baking dish.

Mix breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and melted butter in a medium bowl and sprinkle over the dip. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Pop under the broiler for a minute or two to brown the top and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Bean and Bacon Soup

This is such a throwback to my childhood! I loved the bean and bacon soup in the red and white can. However, as an adult, when I tried that childhood favorite, I was sorely disappointed. So, I set out to make my own version of this warm and comforting soup. And I just have to say, the results are delicious! This is my all-time favorite soup to eat with grilled cheese sandwiches and my kids LOVE it. Seriously. The 1 1/2-year-old had two huge servings and the 4-year-old kept telling me how yummy it was. Score! 

This does take a few more steps compared to the canned version. But it is worth it. Trust me!

Bean and Bacon Soup

1 pound smoky bacon, cut into chunks*
1 onion, diced
3-4 stalks of celery, diced
3 carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
5 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
4 cans great northern (or white) beans
Salt and pepper

In a Dutch oven, cook bacon chunks until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon onto a plate lined with paper towels, then remove all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat. To the bacon fat in the Dutch oven, add onion, celery, and carrots over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper and sauté for 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional minute. 

Sprinkle in the flour, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook another minute. Whisk in chicken stock, add bay leaves and cook on medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small blender or food processor, mince your cooked bacon. This is optional, of course, but so worth it. Bacon bits in every bite!

Add the beans and bacon and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Taste for seasonings and remove the bay leaves. Serve in big bowls and enjoy! 

*Cook's Note: We've used low-sodium bacon and found it didn't have enough taste, so we added about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke at the same time as the chicken stock and that added the smoky flavor we were looking for.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

One Pot Shrimp and Spinach with Orzo

I love it when we find a weeknight recipe that everyone likes and is easy to make. This particular one fits the bill in all those ways. From prep to table, this delicious shrimp dish took about 30 minutes, and I can't say enough about how yummy it was--for me, Hubby, and our girls. We will be including this one in our weekly meal plan over and over again, I have no doubt!

This started as a recipe on Buzzfeed. When I looked over the ingredient amounts, I felt like they were definitely off--especially if I wanted to feed my entire family, so I adjusted accordingly. The method is exactly the same, but this will feed 4 people easily. 

One Pot Shrimp and Spinach with Orzo
*Adapted from Buzzfeed 

4 tablespoons water
2 sticks butter, cut into pieces
3 teaspoons lemon zest (from 2 small lemons)
2 sprigs thyme
1 1/2-2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, diced
2 cups orzo
4 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 cups spinach
Chopped parsley, for garnish

Over low heat, add water to a Dutch oven and slowly add the butter, a few pieces at a time, whisking constantly to make sure the water and butter combines and doesn't separate. Add the lemon zest and thyme springs and stir. Add the shrimp and poach for 8-10 minutes, until shrimp is fully cooked. Remove the shrimp and set aside. Discard thyme sprigs.

Add garlic, shallots, and orzo to the remaining liquid in the Dutch oven. Salt and pepper to taste and stir until all the liquid has been absorbed (this will only take a minute or two). Increase heat to medium-high and pour in the chicken stock. Cook, stirring frequently so it doesn't stick, until the orzo is al dente, about 9 minutes. Once the orzo is al dente, add the spinach and stir until just wilted. 

Remove from heat and serve the spinach and orzo topped with the shrimp and garnish with chopped parsley. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Skillet Chicken Pot Pie

I am a huge fan of meals that can be made in one (or two) pots. The fewer dishes, the better! My least favorite kitchen chore is doing the dishes. In fact, when Hubby is on his weekend, the dishes are his job. He knows I hate doing them, but when he works, it's on me since he leaves right after we finish eating. One more reason I really, really look forward to his weekends!

This skillet chicken pot pie is a wonderful, one pot dish that is a huge crowd pleaser. When it comes out of the oven, it looks so yummy and amazing, you really feel like you've got a handle on the whole cooking thing. Look what I made! Look how pretty! It looks delicious and smells like heaven! Yep, it's a good one.

Skillet Chicken Pot Pie

12-inch cast iron skillet
3-4 cups cooked, shredded chicken
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 sage leaves, finely chopped
1/3 cup flour
4 cups chicken stock
2/3 cup half and half
4 cups frozen veggies, thawed (I like a mix of carrots, peas, and corn)
Salt and pepper
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 425 º. Heat oil and butter in the cast iron skillet on medium-low heat. Add shallots and sauté for 3 minutes, then add garlic and sage and cook for 30 seconds. Add flour, stir to coat. (You can add a drizzle of extra oil here, if necessary). Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add broth 1/2 cup at a time, whisking as you go. Whisk in half and half and season with salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium high and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to thicken. Add the veggies and chicken and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt and/or pepper, as needed.

Unroll the thawed puff pastry onto the top of the skillet. Carefully pinch down the edges (the skillet is warm!) and brush with the beaten egg. Cut a few lines in the pastry sheet to vent. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 375º and bake for 5-7 minutes longer until the top is nicely browned. Let it rest for 10 minutes, then slice and serve. Enjoy!

Our Favorite Chicken Noodle Soup

I try to be really good about meal planning at the beginning of every week. I think that things just go a bit smoother when I have an organized plan for meals. However, I sometimes fall a bit short on that goal. When that happens, we have a few go-to recipes that do the job on short notice, such as a simple chicken noodle soup that does the job when we are in a time crunch. It's just chicken, stock, carrots, celery, and pepper. Easy!

But, lately, we've been obsessed with this slightly more complicated version. It is so delicious and full of many layers of flavor. Even though you start with boxed stock, you add so much to the complexity of it that, by the end, you'll think you used homemade chicken stock. It's comforting and a little fancy (for chicken noodle soup, anyway) and completely delicious. It's our favorite chicken noodle soup recipe, hands down!

Our Favorite Chicken Noodle Soup

4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup flour
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3/4 of a small bag of baby carrots (probably two cups worth), diced
5 stalks of celery, diced
Rotisserie chicken, shredded
2 boxes of chicken stock
4 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons chicken base (or you could use chicken bouillon, but I really would recommend the chicken base)
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 bag of Reames noodles (in the freezer section of your grocery store)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt and lots of freshly cracked pepper

Melt butter and oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté chopped onions, celery, and carrots with a pinch of salt and lots of pepper in butter and oil for 10 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour, stir, and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in 2 boxes of stock and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaves and thyme and reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add in 4 cups of water and chicken base. Season again with pepper. Add the noodles and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes, then add the shredded chicken and cook for 5 minutes. Finally, add the parsley and taste for seasonings. I usually add more pepper at this point, but we love lots of pepper! Cook for 5 minutes more, then remove the bay leaves and serve. Enjoy!