Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend

I hope you are all having a great weekend with family & friends!
Happy Holidays!!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Recipe Categories

I've updated my blog so that you can now find recipes by category. The listing is in the right margin and it's called Recipe Categories.

Here is what it includes right now (for those of you reading via Google Reader or other Blog Aggregation tool.)

Recipe Categories

Breakfast (3) Casserole (5) dessert (3) Grill (2) Main Dish (25) Pasta (8) Recipe (51) side dish (13) Soup (1)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Shrimp Fettuccine with Pancetta & Green Peas

I made this for dinner, tonight. I just made it up as I went. It was so good I have to share the recipe! If you don't have any, just skip the grapeseed oil & scampi blend, just use olive oil or butter.

10 oz dried fettuccine (I used fettuccine Florentine some of the noodles are green, it's pretty)
3 Tbs Garlic Grapeseed Oil (I used Wildtree)
optional 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Scampi Blend (from Wildtree)
1 pound of shrimp, cleaned & peeled
3 oz of pancetta (or bacon), cut into small pieces
3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1/2 cup of white wine
approximately 2 cups of heavy cream
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
2 teaspoons Sun-Dried tomato paste or Sun-dried Tomatoes(I used the teaspoons out of my silverware drawer, not measuring spoons)
1 cup of frozen peas (measure them out before you begin & let them sit out while you cook)
5 oz shredded Parmesan Cheese

In a cold skillet combine oil & scampi blend. Add the shrimp to the pan and toss in the oil mixture. Heat the pan to medium low and cook the shrimp. When the shrimp are cooked through remove to a warmed bowl & cover with foil.

While you make the sauce, cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water for use with any leftovers.

Add pancetta to the pan and cook, when the pancetta is cooked add 3 cloves of pressed garlic to the pan and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Then add the white wine & heat through. Add the cream to the pan, add 2 MORE pressed garlic cloves to the pan, stir around & bring up to a simmer for a few minutes. Reduce heat and add sun-dried tomatoes and shrimp to the pan. Mix in Parmesan cheese & peas. Mix in the fettuccine noodles.

Serve with garlic bread and green salad.

If you have any leftovers, place in a large container and add the reserved pasta water, cover & refrigerate. The pasta will drink in liquid and you won't have any sauce, adding the pasta water before storing will help with this.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What is it about Chick-fil-a

What is it about Chick-fil-a that makes us love it so much? Is it just in certain parts of the country? Is it a Southern thing? Is it the tea? Share the love...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Watch This Movie!

Temple Grandin is now (has been for a little while) available on DVD, and has reached both Netflix & Redbox. Give it a watch, it's a great film! Watch the trailer, below.

You might also enjoy this previous post & video of Temple speaking the things she has to say are so interesting! Temple Grandin: The world needs all kinds of minds.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pumpkin Pasta

**11/08/10 8:30 AM- Revised ingredient list & expanded directions**

Just trust me, I know it's a new concept to most people but it's so good! This is one of my family's favorite dishes and I haven't made this for anyone who wasn't won over by it. But don't bother making it if you're going to cut out ingredients... it needs all these components to taste right.
This recipe is from Rachael Ray 365 my most-used cookbook.
Check me out I used my tripod & the timer button on my camera to get some action shots!

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian Sausage (I buy the kind that's just ground meat, not in links)
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 carton of sliced mushrooms
salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup cream
a pinch of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2-3 Tablespoons thinly cut, fresh sage
Shredded Parmesan Cheese, a handful or two (please, not the stuff out of the green can)
a little less than 1 pound of pene pasta (In my opinion, if you use a full pound, the pasta to sauce ratio is too high. This is why I recommend you don't cook the full pound.)

Cook the Pasta according to package directions - try to time it so that it is done about the same time as the sauce so it can go into the sauce hot. It's a good idea to save a cup of the pasta cooking water to add to the leftovers when you put them in the fridge, the pasta will drink up the liquid from the sauce when it is in the fridge.
Heat a very large, very deep skillet over medium heat. My skillet is a whopping 12.5 inches across and 3 inches deep, I love it! Add the extra virgin olive oil to the pan. When the oil is hot, add the sausage to the pan, while it cooks break it up into bits with a wooden spatula. When the sausage is almost completely cooked push it to the sides of the pan. Add the onions and garlic to the center of the pan, when the onion is translucent push it to the sides and add the mushrooms.
Let the mushrooms cook for awhile without disturbing, as they begin to cook down move them around a bit so any uncooked mushrooms can work their way down to the bottom. The less you move them, the better they'll cook down.

A tip about mushrooms, this one learned form Rachael Ray on one of her cooking shows... you need to cook the mushrooms down, now and do not salt them. If you don't cook the mushrooms enough at this stage, they'll stay rubbery no matter how much longer you simmer them in a sauce or whatever. Also wait until they are cooked down to salt them. Once you salt the mushrooms they will release their liquid, with all that liquid in the pan the mushrooms will steam and not cook down properly. I don't know why it works that way, but trial and error have convinced me she was right!

When the mushrooms are dark in color and soft then you can salt & pepper them and cook a little longer. Stir mushrooms veggies and meat all together. You can see this is quite a hearty dish. Sometimes my brother is doing the no carb thing, he just dishes up the finished sauce into a bowl before I add the pasta. The finished sauce is so thick that photos can't really convey how much hearty food there is in the final dish. This is a great, stick-to-your-ribs kind of dish!
De-glaze the pan with the wine. This means add the wine so that sizzles when it hits the pan, and use your spatula to work up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, they will dissolve into the wine and add to the flavor of the sauce. Add the chicken stock and heat for about a minute.
Add the pumpkin and stir together. It will be thick. Add the cinnamon and nutmeg, get warm then...
Add the cream and stir together. It's ok you can scroll back up and look again (that's my favorite step, adding the cream, it's so silky and luxurious!
add two generous handfuls of Parmesan - more than it looks like here, I was adding it slowly trying to get the camera to catch the action. The original recipe says the Parm is optional and to pass it at the table. Don't make that mistake. I have found that adding the Parmesan cheese to the sauce at THIS stage, and letting it melt into the whole, is the key to making the pumpkin taste right in in a savory dish. It needs that salty pungent Parmesan flavor. If you just sprinkle it on at the end, the flavors are not going to meld with the sauce.
Add the fresh sage.
Add the pasta, stir together & serve while hot.

You might want to check out my post about how to Reheat Leftover Creamy Pasta

Monday, November 8, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

Chicken Meatballs - Pretty Food

Cookin' with Kim makes these WONDERFUL chicken meatballs. I was trying to make something half as good as hers. Find Kim on Facebook, here and if you live nearby you can order them from her from time to time. I started with this recipe from Smitten Kitchen - and made my own alterations. The result was tasty but needs to be refined so the recipe isn't ready to be shared but I got some photos that I liked.



Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Spruced Up Blog Elements

Thanks to Laura at Laura Edwards Design I have an improved blog header & a cute, sparrow divider to mark the ending of posts. Laura does full blog redesigns but I was attached to what I have already and she was able to work with me on that too.

Thanks Laura!!!

Check out her other work at Laura Edwards Design and her personal blog at Cameron Crazy Mom.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys - Halloween

I was doing some of my very best directing here, trying to get the broody cowboy look.
I made up a whole back story...
something about someone stealing the cowboy's dog.
Mostly my attempts at motivation produced smirks like this.
And a very typical tough boy "punch-in-the-face" shot.

Pumpkin Shots
I tried so hard to get a profile shot & finally got one at the Church Carnival
I love the concentration on his face in this one. He was trying to knock down blocks with beanbags - he hit 5 best score I saw while we were waiting... (bragging Mama)
This one cracks me up. He's running to get to the next house, but doesn't he kind-of look like he just robbed the Tombstone Savings & Loan?
This one might be my favorite shot of the night. This is Halloween from a parent's perspective & ya know a cowboy in silhouette, kinda iconic...