Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Penne w/Roasted Pepper Vodka Sauce

Yup, I'll admit it. I'm a pasta lover. And you will be too once you have a bite of this tasty dish.

I didn't write down the recipe (I never do) but here's what you do:
  • You need, a box of pasta, butter, garlic, red peppers, crushed tomatoes, half and half, vodka and goat cheese. And some frozen peas. 
  • Cook a pound of penne according to the directions, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining the rest of it.
  • Remove the stems and seeds from 3 cups of small red peppers. Broil until blistered and softened, then let cool. In a large pot, melt a couple tablespoons of butter until melted then sauté a couple cloves of garlic (minced) until softened, then add a pinch of red pepper flakes and a cup or so of crushed tomatoes along with the pasta water.
  • Using a food processor or blender, purée the peppers and tomato mixture until smooth, then return to your skillet and bring to a simmer. Add 1/4 cup of vodka (or more to taste) and stir until booze cooks out, about 10 minutes or so. Stir in a cup or so of half and half  and a couple tablespoons of goat cheese and cook until thickened. Stir in a cup or so of frozen peas for color and heat through.
  • Add pasta to the sauce pan and combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Chicken A La Gourmess

I  really heart this chicken recipe:
  • Prep your grill or oven broiler. 
  • Sprinkle a few pounds of chicken pieces (thighs, wings, breasts, drumsticks) with salt and pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika, to your taste. (But don't be shy. More is better when it comes to seasoning, here.)
  • Place on grill or a broiler pan coated with cooking spray -- or use tin foil for less mess.  
  • Broil/grill 15 minutes or so on each side, or until cooked through. (You may want to add more spray before swapping sides.)
  • Brush chicken with a mixture of 2 parts olive oil and 1 part honey and cook an additional 15 minutes, (turning 1-2 times) or until chicken is browned and crispy!
If you don't stand there and eat the entire platter of chicken by yourself (which is totally doable), you can shred the meat and use it for a lovely salad like this one:
I mixed the shredded chicken with some salsa and taco seasoning then added it along with yellow and green peppers, tomato, cilantro, and avocado to a pile of arugula and topped with a dollop of sour cream (plain Greek yogurt works too) and a sprinkle of chili powder. Delightful!

Done and done!


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese: The Quick Version

I've posted numerous times about my fantabulous recipe for Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese 
and I've realized that while it's tasty,  not everyone has time to make it the way I made it back in 2011, roasting the squash and then blending everything together. Not even me.

So, now I usually make a quicker version that still tastes amazing. Save time, not flavor.

Quick Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese
1 box macaroni or farfalle pasta
1 TBS butter
1 shallot, minced
1 TBS brandy
1 12-14 oz package (or can) of butternut squash puree
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup smoked cheddar cheese
Garlic powder
2 cups bread crumbs
Olive oil

To Do:
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Boil the pasta, drain and set aside
  • In a large pot, heat the butter until melted then add in the shallot and cook until translucent
  • Add in the brandy and cook a few minutes until shallots are infused
  • Add the puree and broth and heat through
  • Stir in the cheeses until you have a thick sauce, then remove from the heat
  • Mix in the seasonings, adding them and the salt/pepper to your taste, then add the pasta to the pot with the sauce and stir to incorporate. It should be a bit soupy.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, olive oil, and a handful of mozzarella cheese if you have any left over, and a pinch each of salt and nutmeg
  • Transfer to a large, greased baking dish
  • Top the pasta with the breadcrumb mixture and bake covered for about 15 minutes, then uncovered for an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown
  • The other option is to nix the whole oven part and eat the macaroni and cheese right out of the pan once the pasta/sauce is combined. Up to you. It's delightful either way.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork

I'm a pork loin girl. Some gals are all about ham roasts or pork chops, and while they have their merits, when I want to make a dinner I know will turn out right every time, I put pork loin on the menu.

While it's perfectly fabulous roasted in the oven with apples and potatoes, and rosemary, or braised on the stove with an orange glaze and veggies, it's November, so it's time for pulled pork. In the slow cooker.

Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork
2 apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 red/purple potatoes, peeled and diced
1-2 lbs pork tenderloin roast (boneless)
1 cup chicken broth
3 sprigs rosemary, plus more for sprinkling
2 slices of thick-cut bacon, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
3 TBS butter
Barbecue sauce

To Do
  • Place apples and carrots in bottom of your slower cooker pot then add the pork loin and the rest of the ingredients, dotting the top with butter.
  • Set your slow-cooker to 8 hours, and don't touch it for 8 hours. (Don't lift the lid!)
  • Remove the rosemary sprigs then pull meat apart with a fork until shredded. The apples and potatoes should have pulverized into a thick-ish sauce.
  • Stir in about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce then use in sandwiches, on pizza (top with jalapenos and cheddar), in tacos (with slaw and sweet peppers) or slop it on a plate  with some tortilla chips and gooey cheese, then devour. No one will blame you.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Raspberry-Almond Blondies

Looking for an easy go-to sweet treat?
Try these quick and tasty cookie bars. The combination of raspberry and almond flavors is addicting. Definitely a crowd-pleaser, so put this recipe on your holiday cookie short list!

Raspberry-Almond Blondies
2 1/2 cups Bisquick baking mix or my homemade version
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 TBS vanilla
2 tsp almond extract
Raspberry curd or seedless jam
*Note, if you use homemade baking mix, reduce the oil by about 2 TBS

To Do:
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix together the baking mix, sugars until blended
  • Whisk in the eggs, vegetable oil and flavorings
  • Stir in 1/2 cup of the raspberry curd or jam
  • Grease a 9x9-inch or 13 x 9-inch pan then spread the batter into it evenly
  • Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center and color is a golden brown
  • Let cool slightly, then top with more raspberry curd or preserves before serving.