Saturday, March 28, 2015

Shrimp Scampi with Pasta (or Squash)

When I was in fifth grade, I used to read my teacher's Woman's Day and Family Circle magazines when she brought them into school. Then I started subscribing to them myself. I loved the quick tips for cleaning, simple recipes, decorating ideas, and human interest stories. Nothing was heavy. So stereotypically female but I've always been a domestic kind of person. Everything was a quick little sound bite of an article. IT WAS A PRINT FORM OF PINTEREST. But then I was poor after college and cancelled most of my magazine subscriptions, and then Pinterest was invented so those kinds of magazines were no longer needed.

Every once in awhile, I find a recipe or a little article I may have saved and I feel nostalgic. This is one of those recipes! I found it while looking for a quick shrimp dish to serve with some baked spaghetti squash, because I'm currently obsessed with spaghetti squash. While the squash was resting after baking, I made the shrimp. Super fast! Then I sauteed the shredded spaghetti squash in the remainder of the butter/garlic sauce in the pan. Served together, and ta-da! Shrimp scampi with not-pasta.

It was delicious and simple. I thought it paired so well with the spaghetti squash. I would make this again! Here is the original recipe.

squash

Scampi with Pasta
Woman's Day, April 2006

12 ounces linguine
3 tablespoons butter, cut up
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons minced garlic
1 pound peeled, deveined, extra-large shrimp, thawed if frozen
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Boil linguine as package directs. Meanwhile, heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat until butter melts. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds. Add shrimp, scallions, salt and pepper; cook, stirring often, about 5 minutes just until shrimp turn pink. Remove from heat; stir in lemon zest, juice and parsley. Drain pasta; serve with shrimp.

Yield: 4 servings

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Italian Cauliflower Sauce

I'm going to start off with the picture.

cauliflower

Now, at a brief glance or from a distance, this looks like meat sauce. I brought leftovers for lunch and my coworkers were confused. It is not meat. It is cauliflower. Apparently, if you chop up cauliflower and cook it in tomato sauce, it ends up looking like ground beef. So that's weird.

But this was delicious! It did take a LOT longer to simmer than I had anticipated. Even after an hour, it still wasn't the right thickness. I'd actually decrease the amount of water next time to make it thicker. I also added some extra Italian seasoning. It was delicious and I really liked it a lot. And reheated very well!

Italian Cauliflower Sauce
Penzeys

1 medium head cauliflower
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 6-ounce cans tomato paste
5 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt, to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon oregano and/or basil

Clean the cauliflower and cut into small pieces, leaving some stem attached. Coat the cauliflower well with olive oil, using 2-4 tablespoons or more, as desired. Check that it is all coated so it doesn't burn. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the cauliflower, cook, stirring and turning occasionally, until it starts to brown a bit, 5-10 minutes depending on how much cauliflower is in the pan. Cover, reduce the heat a bit and let cook a little longer until it is nearly done but not soft (al dente). Add the tomato paste and stir it into the cauliflower well, then add water. Fill the paste cans with some of the water to get out every bit of paste. Sti to combine, add sugar, salt, pepper, and oregano or basil. Raise heat to medium high, bring to a boil, then turn down to low to simmer, uncovered, until it has reduced to the thickness you desire. Serve over small-sized pasta and top with Parmesan cheese.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Fairy Bites

One of the easiest cookies to make is shortbread. It has so few ingredients, requires very little time, and one tiny square can be as satisfying as any other large cookie. So, out of laziness, I made these little shortbread bites. I used 100s & 1000s, the Australian version of nonpareils, that a friend mailed me awhile ago. They were so festive and pretty!

These came together really quickly. They didn't crumble because you cut them into squares before they're baked, rather than afterward, so they hold their shape. I read reviews of the original recipe on the Land O' Lakes website, and people recommended doubling the recipe but still making it in an 8x8 pan, so that the squares would a little more substantial. I did this, and I'm glad I did. I'd definitely suggest doing that if you make it, too.

shortbread

Fairy Bites
Pink Piccadilly Pastries, adapted from Land O' Lakes

1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsp multi-colored nonpareils

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line 8-inch square baking pan with plastic wrap (or cut parchment to fit) leaving 1-inch overhang.

Combine butter, sugar and almond extract in medium bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Reduce speed to low, add flour and salt. Beat until well mixed. Stir in nonpareils.

Knead mixture 4-5 times in bowl until dough forms a ball. Pat dough evenly into prepared pan. Use overhang to lift dough from pan. Cut dough into 1/2-inch squares. Gently place squares 1/2 inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake approximately 15 minutes or until bottoms just begin to brown.

Yield: about 100 little squares

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Homemade Burrito Bowls

I love the burrito bowls at Chipotle and Qdoba but neither of those are convenient to my house so I never get them. I had some leftover rice from a fancy dinner my gentleman made earlier this week, and all the required vegetables for this homemade burrito bowl recipe, except for an avocado (which I did miss). I didn't really change anything. Gentleman was going to put chicken on his but ended up skipping the chicken and pouring the whole thing into a giant tortilla (so his was a "burrito" not a "burrito bowl," but that's ok). You could easily substitute anything you want. If you're doing paleo/whole 30, you could probably even just sub in guacamole for the sour cream to make the chipotle cream because it's such a thick consistency anyway.

I really liked this. I like the versatility of it, and I liked that it only took four minutes to make. I will hang on to this recipe for weeknight dinners.

bowl

Homemade Burrito Bowls
From Damn Delicious

1 cup uncooked rice
1 cup salsa
3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
15 ounce whole-kernel corn, drained
15 ounce black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, diced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Chipotle Cream
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon chipotle paste
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon salt, to taste

To make the chipotle cream sauce, whisk together sour cream, chipotle paste, garlic, lime juice and salt; set aside.

In a large saucepan of 1 1 /2 cups water, cook rice according to package instructions; let cool and stir in salsa; set aside.

To assemble the bowls, divide rice mixture into serving bowls; top with lettuce, corn, black beans, tomatoes, avocado and cilantro.

Serve immediately, drizzled with chipotle cream sauce.

Yield: 6 servings (I think this is a high estimate)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Cookie Monday: Dark Chocolate Mint Cookies

For Cookie Monday, I wanted a simple chocolate mint cookie and didn't want to have to melt any chips down like I do for my usual recipe. I adapted this recipe from Bakerella to my needs by substituting in some mint chocolate chips (green for St Paddy's, of course) instead of the peppermint M&Ms. It worked very nicely and, while love my usual mint cookie recipe more, these were still wonderful. A little crunchier than I usually like, but that's my own preference. Happy St Patrick's Day!

cookie

Dark Chocolate Mint Cookies
Recipe from Bakerella

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa (such as Hershey's Special Dark)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons instant coffee crystals
1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup white chocolate peppermint M&M's
1 cup bittersweet chocolate morsels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix flour, cocoa, soda, salt and coffee crystals in a medium bowl using a wire whisk. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar.

Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.

Add flour mixture to creamed butter and mix until combined.
Stir in M&M's and chocolate chips and then chill dough for about 30 minutes.

Roll into balls. (Note: reserve a few chocolate chips and candies to press into the tops of the dough just before baking.)

Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until done. Cool and eat.

Yield: 2 dozen, but I doubled the recipe and got 6 dozen, so I guess it depends on how big you make them

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Grasshopper Ice Cream Pie

Yesterday was Pi Day (3/14/15 = 3.1415) AND we were going to a St Patrick's Day party at our friend's house, so I made a grasshopper pie. It's barely even a recipe. I was inspired by this beautiful pie recipe and made a super simple pie.

This is what it looked like after I started cutting it up and serving it, and then realized hadn't taken a picture:
pie

So basically it's an Oreo crust filled with softened Ben & Jerry's Mint Chocolate Cookie Ice Cream, topped with Cool Whip and some chocolate fudge drizzle. B&J's mint ice cream is white, not green, so it didn't look minty. You could probably add food coloring if you care. I didn't have any extra Oreos or else I would have cut them up and put them on top. This pie was perfect and delicious and so easy. Yum!

Here's the original recipe:

Grasshopper Ice Cream Pie
From Your Homebased Mom

1 chocolate cookie crust
1.5 quarts of green, mint ice cream
Hot fudge sauce
Mint Oreo Cookies
Cool Whip

Fill cookie crust with ice cream.
Cover top with desired amount of Cool Whip.
Cover top with chopped cookies.
Drizzle with hot fudge sauce.
Freeze until firm and ready to serve.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Cauliflower

My gentleman wanted me to make a butternut squash soup this week so I took an old favorite for Butternut Squash Soup with Sage-Parmesan Croutons and updated it a little bit.

Instead of croutons, I roasted some cauliflower along with the butternut squash. I sprinkled the cauliflower and squash with sage and roasted garlic powder, and a little parmesan on the cauliflower. I added about half of the cauliflower to the soup when I added the squash, plus a bay leaf for a little extra flavor.

Then at the end, I pureed all of that. Including the bay leaf. I forgot about the bay leaf. I panicked and googled whether we were going to die from this. As it turns out, bay leaves are safe to eat but are generally unpleasant because they are hard and can be sharp and poky. Luckily, I pureed mine pretty well so it wasn't really noticeable and actually did add a nice flavor. But I will try hard never to do that again.

Anyway so after I poured the soup into the bowls, I divided the rest of the roasted cauliflower on top. It was pretty great. I really liked this variation and am proud of myself for experimenting. And if you feel like sticking to the original recipe, it's always been delicious!

leaf