Tag Archive: dinner


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.

 

 

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Crock Pot Jambalaya

Crock Pot JambalayaLike a little zip in your food? Then this just might be the thing for you!

I’d bought some andouille sausage and threw it in the freezer because I didn’t use it right away. When I found this recipe, I remembered that spicy sausage in my freezer and knew I had to try it!

This was a crazy-easy recipe! The hardest part was chopping the onion and green pepper. Other than that, everything is just tossed into the crock pot and then you wait. I even stuck the chicken in the crock pot when it was still frozen!

Easy enough, right?

And I’m sure you want to know if it was good. Well, here’s what The Pretty One had to say (excuse the texting language):

“What the [whoops!] did you put in this soup my mouth catches on fire every bite i love it

i couldn’t taste anything for a week [he’d been sick] then I ate this and flavor exploded in my mouth!”

How do you like that endorsement? I had to agree with him – it was really good!

Crock Pot JambalayaNow I’ve got to say if you aren’t a fan of spicy food, you can cut back the heat but still keep the flavor profile. You can reduce or eliminate the cayenne pepper, and cut back the Cajun seasoning. I’d still use 1 teaspoon Cajun / blackened seasoning for the flavor.

And you can always start mild and add more Cajun seasoning or cayenne later. Or pass those and everyone can add more spice if they like more of a bite.

Andouille sausage is a bit spicy, but I wouldn’t call it “hot.” It’s got great flavor so if you can handle some spice, I’d use it. If not, you can swap it out for regular smoked sausage.

This recipe is definitely a winner — great flavor with minimum effort. That’s how I like to cook!!

 

SLOW COOKER JAMBALAYA

Slightly adapted from Cats and Casseroles

Stuff you need:

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast [I used frozen chicken breasts and stuck them in the pot still frozen.]
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced [I used Eckrich or Johnsonville.]
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons Cajun (blackened) seasoning
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 c instant rice

Now what?
Place all ingredients except rice in slow cooker. Cook on low for 7-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours.

Remove chicken and shred. Return to crock pot.

Cook rice according to package instructions. Add rice, as desired, into each individual serving of jambalaya. Store rice separately from rest of stew.

Classic Chicken & Biscuits“This chicken thing is amazing”

Does it need any endorsement besides that? This was my first try at chicken and biscuits, and based on that text, The Pretty One liked it as much as I did!

I had a chicken pot pie last weekend that was pretty tasty and thought about making one at home. But somehow my mind switched over to chicken and biscuits. Why? I have no idea because I don’t think I’ve had the dish before. Anyway, I couldn’t get it out of my head, so I was off on a search for a good recipe that didn’t require canned condensed soup.

I found this recipe on the Taste of Home website. I admit I cheated because I didn’t make homemade biscuits. I was lazy.  🙂 But I made the sauce from scratch, so instead of an A for effort, I’d say I get a B for effort – and an A for flavor!

This isn’t a difficult recipe, and the from-scratch sauce is definitely worth the effort! You can cook the chicken in advance or purchase a rotisserie chicken. I baked my chicken the night before and seasoned it fairly well with garlic powder and a spicy chicken blend. Be sure to use spices that compliment the basil and thyme in the sauce. And speaking of the sauce, it’s mild and creamy and allows the flavor of the chicken, vegetables, and basil to shine through.

This is family-friendly comfort food I think you’ll enjoy. I know we did!

Chicken and Biscuits

Adapted from Taste of Home

Stuff you need:

1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2-1/2 cups fat-free milk
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
1 package (16 ounces) frozen mixed vegetables
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 can biscuits OR recipe below

BISCUITS:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup fat-free milk
3 Tablespoons canola oil
1 Tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Now what?

In a large skillet, saute onion in oil until tender.
Stir in the flour, basil, thyme and pepper until blended.
Gradually stir in milk and Worcestershire sauce until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and STIR [so it doesn’t scorch] for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Stir in the vegetables, chicken and cheese; reduce heat to low. [If using canned biscuits, cook over low heat for about 5 minutes.]

If using canned biscuits, cut 5 or 6 biscuits in half. You won’t need the full package, so bake up the rest separately following package directions.

OR

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, combine the milk, oil and parsley; stir into dry ingredients just until combined.

Transfer hot chicken mixture to a greased 2-1/2-qt. baking dish.
Top with biscuit halves or drop biscuit batter by rounded tablespoonfuls onto chicken mixture.
Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 30-40 minutes or until biscuits are lightly browned. Yield: 6 servings.

I love macaroni and cheese, but had never made a good one from scratch. I know there are lots of recipes online, and several of them claim to be “the best” ever. I’m sure I’d enjoy trying some of them, but maybe another time. I love the classic macaroni and cheese and wanted a “tried and true” recipe.Classic Macaroni & Cheese

We were talking about food at work and somehow the subject landed on macaroni and cheese. My friend Stephanie said her Grandmother McNeil in Topeka makes great mac & cheese, and she offered to share the recipe. Well I jumped on that offer and I’m glad I did!

This is the classic macaroni and cheese. No foo-foo here. No bacon, peas, pickles, truffles or other creative ingredients. Just a basic white sauce, elbow macaroni, and lots of delicious, gooey, sharp cheddar cheese.

Bottom line: this is exactly what I was looking for!

I served this with a nice ham when all the kids and grandkids were home Thanksgiving weekend. I made a double-batch to make sure there was enough, and was very happy to find I had leftovers! Note: If you’re re-heating your leftovers, you might want to add a little milk before you heat it up so it’s still creamy.

A huge Thank You to Stephanie and Grandmother McNeil for sharing this recipe! It’s delicious and will be one of my favorites for years to come.

Grandmother McNeil’s Classic Macaroni & Cheese

Stuff you need:

2 cups uncooked macaroni (I used the classic elbow macaroni)

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 cups milk

2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

Now what?

Cook macaroni according to directions.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add flour, salt and pepper. Stir until the consistency is smooth.

Slowly pour the milk in while stirring. Continue to cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens, stirring frequently.

Once the milk mixture is thick enough (to your liking), add the shredded cheese and stir until fully melted.

Add the drained macaroni to the pan and stir until nicely coated.

Pour mac & cheese into greased casserole dish.

Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 30+ minutes until golden brown. Can take up to 45 minutes if you like it really brown on top.

Mexican Stuffed Peppers with QuinoaThis is my first try at making stuffed peppers, and if I do say so myself… I nailed it!!

I think I’ve only had them one time before today, and my impression was of a bunch of ground beef and rice stuffed into a pepper. I don’t remember much flavor, but I do remember I didn’t care to have them again.

The Pretty One’s friend made stuffed peppers for dinner one evening and he told me how good they were. I was surprised, and started thinking there must be more to them than beef and rice. When I found a couple of recipes this summer, I bookmarked them so I could try them when TPO went back to school.Mexican Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa

After looking at a few recipes, I chose a vegetarian quinoa and black bean stuffed pepper recipe for the base. We like a little heat in our food so I added a jalapeno and pepper jack cheese, and we eat meat so I added ground turkey.  Basically, I made a filling that I thought was tasty, filled the peppers, and voila! Delish Mexican Stuffed Peppers that are high in protein. I’d say they’re low fat, but that would just be wishful thinking because I used a lot of cheese. I love cheese!

If you want to cut the fat, use 2% cheese or a smaller quantity of cheese – or even eliminate it altogether. Skip the meat, add extra peppers, whatever sounds good to you. This is a very forgiving recipe, and doesn’t require you to make it exactly like I did. With some experimenting, you’ll find the perfect combination for your taste!

I made these up and put them in the frig for a couple of hours before I baked them. The only adjustment needed if you want to do that is to bake them longer since you’ll be starting with cold food in a chilled dish.

These stuffed peppers have rewritten what I thought I knew about the dish, and I know I’ll make them again!

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

Stuff you need:

6 bell peppers [any color, but multi-colors are more fun!], sliced in half stem-to-tip, seeds removed
1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 pound ground turkey or beef
1 packet taco seasoning for 1# meat
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 roma tomato, seeded and diced
1 (4oz) can diced green chiles (do not drain)
1/2 cup cilantro, minced
1 – 2 jalapeno peppers, minced [optional]
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup picante sauce – whatever heat level you prefer
6 ounces Pepper Jack cheese, grated or diced into small cubes
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated, divided
15 ounce can red enchilada sauce

Now what?

Add quinoa to a small saucepan with 1 cup of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil 5 minutes, cover, turn off heat and let steam 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

In the meantime, microwave pepper halves 2-3 minutes to soften slightly. Set aside. (Prepared this way, the peppers should come out crisp-tender. If you want them crisper, you can omit this step.)

In a skillet, brown ground turkey and diced onion. Add taco seasoning and cook as directed.

Add quinoa, black beans, tomato, green chiles and their juices, jalapeno, cilantro, 1/4 tsp pepper and picante sauce to the meat/onions in the skillet. Stir in pepper jack cheese and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.

Pour enchilada sauce into a 9×13″ baking dish. [Depending on the size of your peppers, you may need an additional 8×8″ baking dish. If so, divide your enchilada sauce accordingly.]

Divide filling among peppers and set stuffed peppers into the enchilada sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheddar cheese.

Cover the pan with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Remove foil and cook about 5 minutes longer. Serve peppers drizzled with enchilada sauce.

Note: If you want to make this vegetarian, use 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water. Cook the onion with the quinoa. Omit the meat. Follow the rest of the steps.

The first place I had Cuban food was a restaurant called Havana in West Palm Beach, FL. The second place I had Cuban food was Havana in WPB – about three days after the first time.

Boliche & Brown Rice

You can see the roasted garlic in the lower corner of the piece on the left, and the delish ham stuffed in the middle of the piece on the right. Yum!

The Pretty One and I were in Florida visiting relatives and the beach. When we arrived I told my cousin I wanted to try some Cuban food in Miami. I’m not sure where I got the idea I needed to try it, but it was probably from one of those food shows I watch way too often. As luck would have it, my cousin said they lived within blocks of an excellent Cuban restaurant, and plans were made!

I enjoyed the food; The Pretty One enjoyed the view. The young lady who seated us was gorgeous! So when asked where we wanted to eat on our last night in town, I chose Havana and The Pretty One agreed.

Several years later I still remember the ropa vieja, the rice & beans, and the plantains. Contrary to what many people think, Cuban food is not spicy. It’s flavorful, but it doesn’t carry a lot of heat. Cuban food is good, down-home comfort food. Simple ingredients, simply prepared. For the most part, Cuban recipes use ingredients you can find at your local grocery store, although some items you might need to hunt down at a specialty store or online.

I started looking for recipes before I even got back to KC, and couldn’t wait to make some Cuban food in my own kitchen! The first recipe I tried was this Boliche. Click for recipe. I couldn’t resist trying this roast that’s stuffed with ham, studded with garlic, browned, and then cooked in a wine mixture.Boliche I used a pork roast, but in reading the recipe for the 17th time, I realize I could also have used a beef roast.

This turned out to be a really easy recipe, despite the steps of stuffing and studding the roast. Don’t let those steps intimidate you. It’s not hard, and the pay-off is huge! The garlic roasts as you brown the meat, then infuses the broth with a wonderful, mellow garlic flavor. The roast cooks on the stove for close to 3 hours, and the smell will have you watching the clock waiting for it to be ready!

Being cooked in a liquid keeps the roast juicy, even when you reheat the leftovers. I shared the roast with a friend, and we ate it with brown rice. The traditional beans and plantains would be great accompaniments, and if I cook this for a big family meal, I’ll be sure to include those.

Oh, and I should mention the leftovers make a great “soup” if you pile some rice, chunks of roast and broth in a bowl.

I’m certainly glad I ventured out to try a new cuisine, and have got another Cuban recipe in mind to try soon. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!