Category: Quick!


Easy Shrimp & Pasta

Lesson learned: Don’t try to watch Da Hawks during the playoffs and work on blog posts at the same time! I shut down all my web pages by accident and lost my nearly-completed blog post. Boo for not writing my post in Word and copying it into the blog. So…Second time’s the charm, and here’s my abbreviated post. (Apparently I didn’t learn the whole lesson – I’m still creating this draft in the blog.)

Easy ShrimpI saw this recipe on someone’s social media and knew I had to try it. I made it for dinner tonight and I’m glad I did. It’s simple and really good!

My apologies to the original chef. I tried to trace it back to the original website (maybe Judy’s Kitchen?) but couldn’t find it. My recipe is adapted from the original.

I used a lemon and Italian seasoning. I also think orange / Cajun seasoning or lime / New Mexico green chile powder would be great combos so next time I will try one of those!

I inadvertently used a salt-free Italian seasoning and didn’t realize it until after we’d eaten. If you’re not salt-free, add a pinch of salt if your seasoning mix doesn’t already include it. My son’s opinion is it needs a bit of heat, so next time I do the Italian version I’ll add a bit of black pepper.

I served the shrimp and butter sauce over spaghetti. The noodles soaked up the butter so we didn’t miss out on any of that flavor! We got two good servings plus leftovers from 1 pound of shrimp. Depending on what else you’re serving, you might get 2-4 portions.

This is easy enough for a weeknight dinner, and really quick if you prep the shrimp ahead of time!

Easy Shrimp & Pasta

Stuff you need:

1 stick butter (8 Tablespoons)

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 lemon, sliced

1 pound uncooked shrimp, shelled & deveined

2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning blend (found in the spice aisle)

1/2 pound spaghetti noodles, cooked & kept hot

Now what?

Preheat oven to 350.

Line a cookie sheet (with the sides) with foil.

Slice the butter into the pan and sprinkle with garlic. Put in oven for about 3 minutes, until the butter is melted.

Remove pan from oven and lay the lemon slices in the pan. The lemon slices won’t cover the whole pan, and that’s OK.

Layer the shrimp on top and sprinkle with the Italian seasoning.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and serve shrimp and sauce over hot noodles.

 

 

I haven’t posted any sweets recipes lately. What is wrong with me?? Ha! Actually, I’m not baking as much as I used to. Instead, I’m trying new dinner recipes, which has been fun, but I still love my sugar!

Cream Cheese Brownie Cookies

The sugar-free cookie (right) is slightly thicker than the regular version.

I recently made these for a friend’s birthday and they disappeared off the platter in no time. Everyone LOVED them so I have to share!

I made a nearly-sugar-free batch too, and my friend asked if I was sure they were sugar-free. I assured him they were, but don’t mistake them for a “diet” cookie. They are full fat!

The batch I made was “nearly” sugar-free because I used regular peanut butter chips in them. You can make them sugar-free by using nuts instead of chips. It really depends on what you like and how much or little sugar you want.

The original recipe used white chocolate chips in them, but use whichever chips or nuts you prefer. I love nuts in brownies, so I would add walnuts or pecans if I make a batch for me. And peanut butter chips? Always great with chocolate, right?

I noticed the sugar-free batch didn’t spread as much as the regular batch; neither made a flat cookie. Both were chewy fudgy gooey fantastic! How could anything with cream cheese and butter be anything but??

Enough said. Make these and eat the whole batch at once. Why wouldn’t you?  😉

 

Cream Cheese Brownie Cookies

Slightly adapted from Cookies & Cups

 

Stuff you need [Sugar-free option in brackets]:

1 (19.5 ounces) Brownie Mix (for 9×13 pan) [I used a sugar-free mix for an 8×8 pan so I halved the amount of the remaining ingredients.]

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature [2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature]

1/2 cup butter, room temperature [4 Tablespoons butter, room temperature]

1 egg [1 egg]

2 cups total chocolate, white chocolate or peanut butter chips, chopped walnuts or pecans [1 cup total]

 

Now what?

Preheat oven to 350°

Line baking sheet with parchment paper or baking liner and set aside.

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in egg and continue mixing until incorporated.

Turn mixer to low and add in brownie mix until dough comes together. It will be very thick.

Stir in chips and/or nuts.

Using large cookie scoop, scoop dough onto lined pan and bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are set.

Let cool a couple minutes on the pan and then transfer to wire rack to cool.

I always forget how simple it is to make pesto. Stuff everything into the food processor, turn it on, and presto – Pesto!

Basil-Walnut PestoThe hardest part for me is taking the food processor out of the box and fitting it back into the box when I’m done with it. I keep quite a few kitchen toys in their boxes in the garage – the ones I don’t use often enough to justify keeping them in my kitchen, because I don’t have much storage. So far I’m impressed with my skill at pulling out a multi-piece appliance that’s packed in 3 rows of Styrofoam and getting it all back into the box like it was never taken out. I’m good! Haha!

The second hardest part is not killing the basil plant. I’ve killed 3 or 4 or 6 – and that includes those that “just need water.” *sigh* Recently I bought a large basil plant for $3.99. I couldn’t pass it up, even though I expect it also to die. I’m trying something different this year. Instead of baking the plant in my western-facing kitchen window, I’ve got it outside my front door to catch the morning sun. So far, so good!

 

So Pesto. What do you do with it?

  • Toss it with some hot pasta for an easy dinner,
  • smear it on crostini for an appetizer,
  • bake it into a chicken dish,
  • or do what my boss does and put it on your freshly cooked corn on the cob.

Doesn’t that sound good??

Pesto is a nice, forgiving recipe. If you don’t make it exactly like the recipe, it will most likely still be good! In fact, I used a little less oil than recommended and a little more cheese than called for. I switched out the nuts, the oil and the cheese from the recipe I was using for inspiration. And you know what? It’s fantastic! You should try this. You’ll be pleased with how simple it is. If you don’t burn up you basil plant. And if you can get your food processor out of the box.  😉

Walnut-Basil Pesto

Inspired by Food Network Kitchen

Stuff you need
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic [I used minced garlic in a jar.]
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil or a combination of walnut oil and olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 grated Romano cheese [Or Pecorino, Parmesan, or a combination.]

Now what?
Combine basil, garlic and walnuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
Add 1/2 cup oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth.

If using immediately, add remaining oil and pulse until smooth.
Add the cheese and pulse until just mixed.

If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw and stir in cheese.

Kiwi Salsa

I made this quite a while back and just realized I didn’t post it. What was I thinking??

Kiwi SalsaTypically I bake something for birthday treats at work but this time I wanted to do something more snacky. It was summer and hot outside, and fruit salsa just sounded refreshing. And it was!

I bought golden kiwi instead of green kiwi, but didn’t realize it until I was peeling them. Did you know there are golden kiwi?? I wondered why they were a different color than I expected, and then I read the package. Golden Kiwi.  Huh. I had no idea they existed! Turns out these were great in the salsa. They had a hint of vanilla flavor, which worked really well with the other ingredients. Whichever you use – green or golden – will be great, so don’t bother looking for the golden kiwi for this recipe.

Pretty, isn’t it? It’s super simple and holds for a couple of days – if you can keep yourself from eating it in one sitting. It’s perfect to serve at a party or to eat all by yourself! I tasted this as I made it, and quickly became addicted. I seriously couldn’t stop eating it! Good thing I was making a quadruple batch, or there wouldn’t have been any to take to work the next day. Kiwi Salsa

As with most recipes, you can easily adjust the heat by adding more jalapeno or leaving some out. I like to have a good amount of heat in a dish that has a sweet ingredient. The two play off each other so well, and the sweetness of the kiwi mellows out the bite of the jalapenos. Be sure to have some chips on hand so you can taste as you go. If you just test from a spoon, you won’t get the salty element from the chips and you won’t have the full effect.

With the hope of spring coming someday, this would be a perfect treat! It’s great by itself with chips, or would also be fabulous over grilled fish, as the original blog author presented it. Give it a try. This might become one of your addictions too!

Kiwi Salsa

Slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is

Stuff you need:
4 kiwi fruit, peeled and chopped
2 Tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1/2 jalapeno, chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper

Now what?
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings to meet your preference.
Note: I put the onion, jalapeno and cilantro in a food processor and chopped them up before mixing with the rest of the ingredients.

Chipotle Cheddar Cheese SpreadLooking for something new to try for Super Bowl Sunday? Here is a wonderfully versatile Cheddar Cheese spread that is awesome as a dip, spread on cocktail rye and broiled, on a burger, or as a grilled cheese sandwich…. This spread/condiment will last in your fridge for a good couple of weeks, so put your creative mind to work!!

You can make this as spicy or mild as you want by adjusting the amount of chipotle pepper and sauce you add. You can also add fresh jalepenos if you really want it “kicky!” (pardon my football pun!)

It’s kind of like a pimiento cheese spread with chipotles instead of pimientos! Very easy to make and you will LOVE it!!

Here’s the recipe!

Kitchen Kween Chipotle Cheddar Cheese Spread

Makes approximately 2 cups of spread

Stuff you need:

2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (aged cheddar is great, but pre-shredded store brand is fine, too)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 green onion, chopped
3.5 oz can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (this is a cute little can!)

Now what?

Put first 3 ingredients in bowl of food processor and process until smooth.
Add canned chipotles and sauce. Process until smooth.
Refrigerate for 2 hours to allow flavors to blend. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.

Here is how to get the spice level you want:

Mild – 2 chipotles, chopped with a spoonful of sauce from the can
Medium – 4 chipotles, chopped with a few spoonfuls of sauce from the can
Spicy – entire can with all of the sauce from the can
4 alarm – add entire can with all of the sauce, plus one fresh chopped jalapeno.

Put however many chipotles you want in the cheese mixture, give the processor a whirl, AND TASTE.
**Remember, as the flavors blend in the fridge, it will get a bit “warmer” than when you initially taste it, so adjust. You can always add more later if it isn’t spicy enough for you!

Serve with crackers, spread on your burger, broil open face on cocktail rye….. use your imagination!! 🙂

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there!Hot Chocolate Krispie Treats

After making steak and a healthy vegetable slaw for dinner, I told The Pretty One I was going to make an unhealthy dessert. But these really aren’t all that bad, I don’t think. At least they’re not as bad as what I would have made if I had a ton of time and energy this weekend!

They sound like something you should eat in the winter (who wants hot chocolate when it’s 70 degrees outside?) but trust me – they make a great treat for spring days too!

These mix up in just a few minutes, and if you’re in a hurry to eat them (like me, believe it or not!) you can put them in the frig and they’ll set up even faster.

The chocolate flavor is “there” but not overwhelming. The mini chocolate chips on top add a little more chocolate goodness. The Pretty One declared these “delicious” and I have to agree. I’m having a hard time not eating the whole pan!

Quick, easy, and addicting. What more could you want??

Hot Chocolate Krispie Treats

from Crazy for Crust

Stuff you need:

3 Tablespoons butter
10 ounces marshmallows
2 packets powdered hot chocolate mix
6 cups Rice Krispie cereal
1/2 cup Mallow Bits (optional)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Now what?

Spray a 9×13” pan with cooking spray. Keep the cooking spray close by. Measure out cereal into a large bowl and set aside.
Place butter and marshmallows in a large, microwave safe bowl. Melt for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on HIGH power, stirring every 30 seconds until they are melted.
Stir in the hot chocolate packets, then immediately stir in the cereal and pour into prepared pan.
Working quickly, spray your hands with cooking spray so they won’t stick to the mixture, and carefully press the treats into the pan. (Be careful – the mixture will be hot.) Sprinkle immediately with Mallow Bits and mini chocolate chips and press lightly to secure them to the top of the krispie treats.
Let cool completely before cutting into squares. If you are impatient and want to speed cooking so you can eat them sooner, put pan in frig for a few minutes.  🙂

Spring is soon approaching (fingers crossed!), and my thoughts are turning to grilling! Here is a recipe that gets more requests from friends than almost any other –  Two Step BBQ Sauce. Sounds easy, IS easy, and is SOooooo much better than anything you can buy at the store!Two Step BBQ Sauce

My kids’ school even asked me to provide a half gallon of this sauce to auction off with a Pig Roast (Pastor favorite!)  Not to brag (much!) but when the auctioneer mentioned it came with Alicia’s Special BBQ sauce, the bidding went up and they got TWICE what they normally do for the pig alone!!

Two Step BBQ SauceIf I could eat it with a spoon (NOT that I ever HAVE….ahem), this would be the sauce I’d want to eat!!   You can adjust the seasonings to taste.  One note: The amount of cayenne shown does NOT make it hot. Just gives it a nice “twang.” And this amount of sugar is needed to offset the dark flavors of the malt vinegar, soy and Worcestershire.

This sauce is red gold!! Great on chicken, ribs, burgers, and well….. even a spoon! J

Two Step Barbecue Sauce

Adapted from The New Basics Cookbook by Julie Rosso and Sheila Lukins

Stuff you need:

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

2 Tablespoons minced or pressed garlic

4 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste – make the sauce, simmer and then add more if you like)

60 oz. Ketchup (1 40-oz bottle, and 1 20-oz bottle)

1/2 cup Malt Vinegar

1/4 cup Soy Sauce

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon Liquid Smoke (natural liquid smoke flavoring)

Now what?

Heat oil in a dutch oven.  Add the onion, garlic, cumin and cayenne. Saute over medium heat for 5 minutes.

Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened (about 10 minutes).

Put in large Ball jars (about 3 will do), or another container, and refrigerate. Keeps in fridge pretty much forever (due to ketchup and amount of sugar).

Sit back and wait for the compliments (and requests) to start rolling in!

Sweet Potato Hummus? I couldn’t decide if that sounded good to me or not. I only like sweet potatoes once in a while, and only in small quantities. And I’m picky about my hummus. So I’m not sure why I had to try this recipe.

Sweet Potato HummusIn fact, when I tried it the first time, I wasn’t sure I liked it and I gave away probably 2/3 of it. And then a couple of weeks later I had to make it again. But this time, I only gave away a little bit and kept the rest for myself. I think my body was screaming for beta carotene, and this was a good way to get it.

The recipe calls for using a food processor but since I killed mine last year making peanut butter balls for Sensei Peterbilt and haven’t replaced it yet, I used my mixer. The second time I made it, I put the chick peas in a zipperbag and smooshed them with my hands before I put them in the mixer with the rest of the ingredients. This method doesn’t produce the super-silky, smooth version but I didn’t mind!

You can use your choice of oils for this. I used walnut oil and I think it adds a slightly nutty flavor. The original blogger suggests replacing the oil with OJ or a splash of soy milk if you want to reduce the fat.

In terms of spices, I used a couple teaspoons of blackened Cajun spice and maybe 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder. I like sweet & spicy combinations, and I think the combination of these spices plus the sweet potato and maple syrup work well together. Adjust the spice if you like more or less seasoning.

Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus

Slightly adapted from Lunchboxbunch.com

Makes about 3 cups

Stuff you need:

1 cup oven-baked sweet potato, skin removed [I won’t tell if you microwave your potato!]
1 1/2 cups garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons tahini
4 Tablespoons oil (olive oil, walnut oil, etc.)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup or 1-2 tsp agave [I used maple syrup -pure, not the fake stuff]
Optional: 1/4 cup orange juice – for a zesty sweet accent of flavor!
Salt and spice to taste*

* I used about 2 teaspoons blackened Cajun seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and a pinch of salt
* Add more oil/vinegar for silkier hummus – if desired.
Now what?

1. Add all the ingredients to a Vitamix or Food Processor.
2. Pulse or blend until smooth. For chunkier hummus – pulse the mixture and keep a few of the beans half-chopped instead of pureed. I went with a full on puree for creamier hummus.

Mixer Method:

If you don’t have a food processor, smoosh the beans in a zipperbag, then beat them with an electric mixer until they’re fairly smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until smooth.

Scoop up with sliced apples, carrots, bagel chips, jicama, or whatever appeals to you.

Strawberry Confetti CookiesCookies so easy a 6-year-old can make them? You betcha!

My daughter, the grandkids and I had a cookie-making extravaganza this weekend. I cheated and made some of my cookies in advance, since my daughter had to take Cutie Patootie #1 to a dance recital and we were tight on time. I chose two cookies to make with the kids that I thought they would enjoy. One was this Strawberry Confetti Cookie, the other was the traditional Spritz recipe, which I’ll post later.

These are quick, have only a few ingredients, and they don’t even require a mixer! The munchkins will build up some bicep muscles with the stirring, since the dough gets thick, and you might have to help them out a little.

Strawberry Confetti Cookies

Cutie Patootie #1 adding lots of sprinkles to our cookies!

Choose whatever cake flavor / color you like, and then choose a contrasting color or mixture of sprinkles. We chose a strawberry cake mix because we thought the pink (red) color would be a nice addition to holiday cookie trays. If you want a darker color, add a couple drops of food coloring.

Make sure you’re using sprinkles and non-pareils, not anything that’s classified as sugar. Sugar will dissolve and you won’t get the effect you want. We used a combination of holiday-shaped sprinkles and teeny white non-pareils.

The cookies are cake-like and moist, and hold well so you can make them in advance. A co-worker and I think they’d be great using lemon cake mix or even pineapple. Make some with your Cutie Patooties and let me know what you think!

Strawberry Confetti Cookies

Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Stuff you need:
1 box (18.25 oz) cake mix, any flavor [Strawberry, lemon, orange, white/yellow…]
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sprinkles

Now what?

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray pan or grease and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix and baking powder. Set aside.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and vanilla by hand.

Add the egg mixture to the cake mixture and stir well (by hand – no mixer needed) until all the dry ingredients have been moistened. Do not overmix – it’s OK if there are some small lumps in the batter, just not large lumps. This is where the munchkins will build their muscles, and may need your help!

Gently mix in the sprinkles until they are just distributed. Again, don’t overmix, so don’t add them in the previous step with the dry ingredients.

Use a cookie scoop or drop rounded 1-inch balls of dough onto prepared baking sheet. Ours did not spread, so they can be put fairly close together, but leave room for air to circulate between the cookies.

Bake for 9 minutes – do not let the cookies brown. If baking 2 pans at once, bake for 5 minutes then switch the racks and bake another 4 minutes.

Allow to cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes; they will  be very soft at first. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Rice Krispies CookiesI love Saucepan Peanut Butter Cookies! They’re one of my all-time favorite cookies, and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of them. I’d often wondered how they would be if rice krispies were substituted for the corn flakes, so of course I had to try this recipe.

These bars contain brown sugar and vanilla extract, which the corn flake cookies don’t, but the flavor is very similar. They’re a little harder to smoosh into the pan than they would be to drop as a cookie. Be sure to work quickly once you stir in the vanilla and rice krispies so they don’t set up before you get them in the pan.

I liked these and probably would have eaten the entire pan before the day was out — but I didn’t. Instead, I sent a good chunk of them to school with The Pretty One. See? Occasionally I can be a responsible adult!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Cookies

from Mad Hungry, by Lucinda Scala Quinn

Stuff you need:

1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups salted peanut butter [Regular peanut butter, creamy or chunky – your preference]
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 cups Rice Krispies

Now what?

Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with wax paper or baking parchment.
Place the corn syrup and sugars in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.

Stir in the peanut butter and mix well to combine.
Quickly stir in the vanilla and Rice Krispies.
Working quickly, spread into the lined baking pan.
Cool and slice into squares.