Monday, January 26, 2015

Shrimp Scampi Linguine

This 20 minute meal will soon be a family favorite! All the flavor of a lemony shrimp scampi - in pasta form!

I'm one of those people that don't think slaving over a stove necessarily results in a fantastic meal. Sure, some foods are better when cooked low and slow (cough these green beans cough) but there are plenty of super fast meals that still yield delicious flavor.

Thanks to quick cooking shrimp, you can have this on your table in 20 minutes - start to finish. And it's not because you're reaching for a mix or can of soup, either! Other than making your own fresh pasta, it's all real, fresh ingredients.

Shrimp Scampi Linguine
3/4 lb linguine
3 tablespoons salted butter
2.5 tablespoons olive oil + enough to drizzle in pasta water
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 lemon, zest grated
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
thin sliced lemon, for garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Drizzle in some olive oil and add the pasta. Cook, according to package directions, until al dente. Drain and return to the pot.

In a large pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and saute for `1 minute. Add the shrimp and saute until just turning pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. 

Remove from heat and add the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and a decent amount of fresh ground pepper. Add the drained pasta to the pan and toss well. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Garnish with lemon slices and serve immediately.

Source: slightly adapted from Ina Garten

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Bacon, Egg, and Potato Overnight Breakfast Casserole

Crispy bacon, hashbrowns, eggs, and cheese are refrigerated overnight then baked into one delicious and super easy casserole! This 5 ingredient dish is perfect for brunch, holiday mornings, or lazy weekends.

I mentioned previously how I feel about mornings. Overnight breakfast casseroles are a lifesaver for me. Okay, that's a bit dramatic but I really do love them. I can prep the entire thing the night before (since I'm up anyways!), throw it in the fridge, and the first one up can slide it into the oven. They are welcome to eat when it's ready and I can sleep in!

This casserole has all my favorite breakfast components in one easy, cheesy dish. Guaranteed to be one of your family's new weekend favorites!

Bacon, Egg, and Potato Overnight Breakfast Casserole
1 pound bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
4 cups frozen shredded hashbrowns (don't thaw!)
8 eggs
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/4 cup milk
salt and pepper, to taste

In a 9x13 pan, mix together the cooked bacon and hashbrowns. Spread evenly across the bottom of the pan and then sprinkle cheese over top. 

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Pour over top of the hashbrowns/cheese layer.

Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours but preferably overnight. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350. Remove cover and bake for 50-60 minutes or until the eggs are set.

Source: adapted from Clarks Condensed

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Parmesan Spinach Dip Poppers

Love Parmesan Spinach Dip? Try it stuffed into bread, baked, and brushed with garlic butter! The ultimate appetizer that's PERFECT for your Super Bowl party!

My husband loves football. I, unfortunately, do not. Matter of fact, I find it so boring that I fall asleep every time he watches a game. When he's watching one and I need to stay awake, I literally head to another room to watch TV. I can't even sit on the couch and surf the net with it on! It has this entrancing sleep inducing sound to it that I can't resist.

The fact that I'm in a near constant state of sleep deprivation probably doesn't help either :)

I DO pay enough attention to the world around me to know that football is sorta a big deal. Especially when play-offs and the Super Bowl come around. My favorite part of the Super Bowl? Parties with loads of appetizers, of course! Even the commercials are mostly disappointing now.

Every year, I go in search of a fantastic appetizer to bring and this would be the perfect choice! You take the typical ingredients of a hot Parmesan Spinach Dip, stuff it into bread dough, and bake it in garlic butter before brushing on every more garlic butter. My favorite part is the Parmesan crust that forms on the bottom. Drooool.....

It's not diet food but who wants healthy stuff at a football party?

Parmesan Spinach Dip Poppers
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 box (9 ounce) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 can refrigerated French loaf dough

Preheat oven to 350.

Lightly spray a regular size muffin tin. Spoon 1 teaspoon of melted butter into the bottom of each cup. Sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder and 1 teaspoon Parmesan on top of the butter.

In a small bowl, mix together the spinach, cream cheese, Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/3 cup Parmesan. Shape into 12 (1 1/2 inch) balls. 

Open the can of dough and slice into 12 equal slices. Using the heel of your hand, press each piece into a 3 inch round. Place a spinach ball in the middle of each piece of dough and carefully wrap the dough around the ball, pinching the edges to seal completely. Place seam side down in the muffin cups. 

Bake 17-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 2 minutes then carefully run a knife around the inside of each cup to loosen it. Brush each popper with remaining butter and sprinkle with remaining garlic powder and Parmesan cheese. 

Serve warm.

Source: Pillsbury

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala, also known as chicken in creamy tomato curry, is a great entry level Indian dish. No curry powder, no hot spices, no strange flavors just tomatoey goodness. Your family will be begging for more!

I love love LOVE Indian food - and I wish more people would embrace it! I think because some have a really strong aversion to curry (or the smell of curry) that they write the entire cuisine off. The truth is that calling something a curry means it's just a basic spiced soup or stew. This dish, and most Indian dishes I've made at home, don't contain a drop of curry powder. Instead, they have a delicious blend of other staple spices plus a few new ones that might be unfamiliar.

If your family likes tomato based dishes, they will probably love this dish. Chicken is marinaded overnight, grilled, and then tossed into a creamy tomato sauce. Serve it over basmati rice accompanied with a big piece of naan bread. Yum!

I originally shared this recipe almost 4 years ago and it deserved a revisit!

Chicken Tikka Masala
For the marinade:
1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon grated ginger
3 cloves garlic, grated
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound boneless/skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite sized pieces

For the sauce:
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 inch piece ginger, minced
2 serrano peppers, seeds removed and minced (keep seeds if you want heat)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 teaspoons paprika
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 cup water
1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves (optional)
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt, to taste

In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, ginger, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add the diced chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Bring a large skillet to medium-high heat and add the oil and butter. Once melted, add the garlic, ginger, and serrano peppers. Saute until lightly browned around the edges. Add the tomato paste and cook until darkened, about 3 minutes. Add the garam masala and paparika and saute about 1 minute.

Add the diced tomatoes and their juices plus 1 cup water. Bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 20 minutes. 

Preheat grill and lightly brush with oil. Carefully shake off excess marinade and place the chicken pieces on the grill. Cook until charred, about 2 minutes on each side. The chicken will finish cooking in the sauce.***

Pour the sauce into a blender or food processor, or use your immersion blender, and process until smooth. Pour back into the skillet and bring it back to a boil. Add the grilled chicken and fenugreek, if using. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add the cream and stir to combine.

***Too cold to fire up the grill? Lightly coat a wire rack with cooking spray, place it on a baking sheet, and add the chicken to the rack. Broil on high, turning once, until the chicken starts to char. It won't have the same chargilled taste but it's warmer!

Source: slightly adapated from Aarti Sequeria

Monday, January 12, 2015

Spinach and Prosciutto Lasagna Rolls

These delicious lasagna rolls are stuffed with cheese, spinach, and prosciutto and served in perfectly portioned rolls! Easy enough for a weeknight but pretty enough for guests.

I hope you and yours are staying warm this winter! It's been cold here but there hasn't been a snowflake in sight. I'm cool with the frigid temps IF there is some pretty snow to look at... and shut the city down :) Last year, we had an entire week off school/work due to the snow and ice and I quickly adapted to the life of a hermit. It was quite lovely!

Cheesy pasta is one of my winter cravings. There is something warm, filling, and hearty about a big pan of pasta on a cold day. This is a delicious twist on a traditional lasagna - plus it's much prettier! I originally shared this dish over 4 years ago and the picture is SO bad that I just had to remake it. I tweaked it a little but overall, it's just as tasty as I remembered!

This makes 12 rolls - so a huge amount! It's great for company or big family meals. 

Spinach & Prosciutto Lasagna Rolls
12 uncooked lasagna noodles
1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
1 (10 ounce) box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup grated Parmesan
6 ounces thin sliced prosciutto, chopped
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 (32 ounce) jar marinara sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella
Extra virgin olive oil, drizzle
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 450.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and drizzle in some olive oil. Add the noodles and cook until just tender. Drain well and then lay the noodles out on a baking sheet to avoid sticking.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the ricotta, spinach, Parmesan, prosciutto, egg, salt, and pepper until well blended.

Spread 1 cup of the marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture evenly on a cooked noodle. Starting at one end, roll the noodle as tightly as possible. Lay it seam side down in the pan and repeat until all the noodles have been used. Pour the remaining marinara sauce evenly over top of the rolls and sprinkle with the mozzarella.

Cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake until the cheese is golden brown, about 15 more minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Source: adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Monday, January 5, 2015

Southern Style Green Beans

These are the beans your grandma made! Cooked low and slow, well seasoned, and topped with crispy bacon. You won't have to remind anyone to finish their veggies!

We have a battle of the green beans at our house. I prefer them roasted until crispy and firm. He prefers them straight from a can. Needless to say, green beans aren't on the menu very often! Though I still can't go for beans straight from the can, I do love southern style green beans even though they are not crispy nor firm!

Side note: if you don't like mushy beans, you won't like these!

I'm not a soggy bacon fan so I fry the bacon first to infuse the bacon grease flavor throughout the beans but then remove them until the very end. Fat back is also something that seriously infuses loads of southern flavor if you can find it. I lucked out at the grocery store and they had a whole rack of it! If you can't find it but have access to a ham hock, that would be worth throwing in instead.

Southern Style Green Beans
8 slices thick cut bacon, diced
2 pounds green beans, trimmed and longer beans snapped in half
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
pinch of red pepper flakes
2-3 slices fat back, optional
salt, to taste (add at the end)
1 tablespoon butter

In a large pot, fry the diced bacon until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the green beans to the pot and stir to coat. Add the chicken broth, seasoning salt, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, red pepper flakes, and fat back; stir to combine. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Barely simmer (don't let boil) for 1-1.5 hours, stirring occasionally. 

Once finished, remove the fat back and drain the beans. Return the beans to the pot and add the butter, stirring until melted. Taste and add salt or other seasonings if needed. 

Sprinkle with reserved bacon before serving. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Pineapple Shrimp Fried Rice

Fried rice loaded with shrimp, pineapple, and cashews. This Thai restaurant copycat is sweet, savory, and delicious!

I'm immediately transported back to seminary when I make this dish. There was a hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant across the street from campus that we ate at often. 10 of us could go in there for lunch and 100% of us would order this dish. It was the favorite of everyone, it seemed! Last I heard, they razed the shopping center it was located in :(

I haven't found a fantastic Thai spot in our new city so I just whip up this dish at home. It's one of my favorites because 1) I can throw in leftover veggies in the fridge (see: asparagus in the picture) and 2) I can make dinner in 10 minutes!

There is one thing you need to do in advance and that's making the rice. Fried rice really needs cold, cooked rice to make. Just make it the night before and consider it a small price to pay for a 10 minute meal the next day!

I previously shared this recipe over 3 years ago and it deserved an update!

Pineapple Shrimp Fried Rice
3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red chili, seeded and finely chopped
1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined, cut in large pieces
2 cups leftover rice
1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon pineapple juice
1.5 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons cashews

Heat a wok to medium-high and add oil. Once hot, add the garlic, chili, and shrimp and let cook about a minute. Add the rice, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Add the pineapple pieces, pineapple juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, and cashews. Stir together until well blended. 

Serve hot. 

Adapted from Rasa Malaysia

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Best of 2014: Top 10 on Pinterest

Pinterest changed the face of food blogging - for good and for bad! Thankfully, Pinterest has been a great source of inspiration and traffic for me. I thought it'd be fun to check out the top 10 ranked by Pinterest. Not all are 2014 recipes; some of my older recipes still get lots of traffic (even when the photo is awful!).

These were measured by number of repins, with #1 having the most repins this year on Pinterest.

{Be sure and follow me on Pinterest!}

10. Y'all love your crockpots! Pinterest crockpot meals are some of the most popular and this one is a tasty one!
Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken
9. This Arroz con Pollo is one pot, easy, and tastes as authentic as any version I've had! Thankfully, the Pinterest comments so far have proven to be a hit, too!
Arroz con Pollo
8. This rice continues to be a huge hit on Pinterest. It's one of my favorite recipes from The Homesick Texan and tastes JUST like the Tex Mex restaurants back home.
Mexican Rice
7. Oh, how I love a copycat recipe! This one, from PF Changs, continues to do well on Pinterest - and for good reason. It's AMAZING. Like, make it tonight.
Mongolian Beef
6. These muffins are some of the best I've made - total sleeper hit! I'm glad others are giving them a shot, too. It's like dessert at breakfast!
Snickerdoodle Muffins
5. This is, hand's down, my favorite pasta salad of all time. It should be at every summer picnic! I recently updated the photo to something less offensive, though the old photo is still getting the majority of the hits. It seems like people don't care what it looks like if it sounds delicious!
Deviled Egg Pasta Salad
4. Y'all, another copycat. You're fans too! After our neighborhood Chinese restaurant closed, we've struggled to find a good alternative. This chicken is hand's down, better than restaurant quality and an instant family favorite. Have you tried it yet?
Honey Sesame Chicken
3. This one surprised me because I think the photo is so bad but the sandwiches are SO good. Super simple and perfect for snacking or light meals.
Ham and Cheese Sliders on Hawaiian Rolls

2. One of our favorites! This chicken is super easy and delicious! I'm so glad that others are trying it and letting me know how great it is.
Blackened Chicken and Cilantro-Lime Quinoa
1. And the most pinned - by a landslide, I might add - is this Disney copycat. Of all the Disney recipes I've shared, this is by far the most popular. Everyone needs a little magic at home, right? {psst - it tastes like cookies and cream icing!}

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Best of 2014: My Top 10

This was a lighter year on the blog; my work has been a bit hectic which meant a lot less cooking and blogging. I shared 72 recipes (half of what I made in 2013!) but they were all so tasty, it was hard for me to narrow it down to 10!

These are my favorites, in no particular order. Just click the picture to be taken to the recipe! 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bacon and Butternut Squash Risotto

Roasted butternut squash and crispy bacon are paired with creamy risotto to create one ridiculously delicious dish!

I used to be intimidated by risotto and I think many others are, too. People have often said that they only eat it in restaurants because they can't make it at home. That stops today! Risotto is very easy, it just takes some time and a little patience. And your family will be so impressed!

Winter squash is so tasty and butternut is probably my favorite. When roasted and pureed in a risotto, it's practically magical. And then add bacon? You'll be licking the bowl.

Easy enough for a weeknight, fancy enough for company.

Bacon & Butternut Squash Risotto
2.5 cups diced butternut squash (about 1 medium squash)
Extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Honey, for drizzling
8 slices thick cut bacon, diced
4 cups chicken stock + 2 cups water
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1.5 cups Arborio rice
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400.

Place squash on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and honey. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Arrange in a single layer and roast until tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer half of the squash to a food processor and puree with a little water or stock. Set aside both the pureed squash and the remaining roasted squash.

While the squash roasts, heat stock and water in a saucepot over medium-low heat. 

In a deep pan, or a dutch oven, cook diced bacon until crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan with slotted spoon and set aside. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons bacon grease.

Add the onions and garlic to the grease and cook until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the wine and deglaze the pan wtih a wooden spoon unitl the wine evaporates. Add the rice and toast, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. 

Add a few ladles of the warm stock/water to the rice and stir until all the liquid has been absorbed. When the rice looks almost dry, add another few ladles of stock. Repeat until the rice is creamy and al dente. It should take 18-20 minutes total and may not use all the reserved stock.

Stir in the squash puree, bacon, and Parmesan. Taste for seasoning. Serve in shallow bowls with reserved roasted squash and additional grated cheese over top. 

Source: adapted from Rachael Ray

Monday, December 15, 2014

Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup

All the flavors of chicken enchiladas - in soup form! Stocked full of chicken, beans, corn, and loads of cheese makes this soup easily a meal on it's own.

Now that it's dark around lunchtime (kidding...), I find myself becoming more of a hermit in the evenings. I don't want to run errands, shop, or even head out to dinner when it's so dark and cold outside. I'd much rather come straight home, start a fire in the fireplace, and eat dinner in front of our latest Netflix series addiction.

Come to think of it, those bears sure are onto something with their hibernation lifestyle!

Meals that are ready when I come home on a chilly dark night are my FAVORITE. Sure, I love cooking but my winter sloth-ness wins out if an appliance will do it for me.

This soup is perfect for long, cold, winter days. It's a little spicy, very chunky, and substantive enough to call it a full meal on it's own. Even the husband agrees! It's loaded with flavor, which I think is often missing in chicken enchilada soups. Definitely one of our favorite soups!

The stovetop prep will take you just 10 minutes to whip together before transferring it to the crockpot. Worth the 10 minutes - promise!

Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 cups milk
1 can (15 ounce) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14.5 ounce) diced tomatoes and green chiles
1 bag (10 ounce) frozen corn
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 can (10 ounce) enchilada sauce
1 pound boneless/skinless chicken breasts (around 2 breasts)
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the flour and stir until smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat and add the chicken broth and 1/2 cup milk, a little at a time, stirring to keep smooth. Return to heat and bring the sauce to a gentle boil. Cook, stirring occasionally until thickened.

In a large bowl, whisk together the enchilada sauce and chicken broth mixture. Gradually whisk in the remaining milk until smooth. Set aside.

In the crockpot, combine the drained beans, diced tomatoes and their juices, corn, and onion. Place the chicken on top of the mixture and then pour in the sauce.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. When ready to serve, remove the chicken and shred. Add it back to the soup and mix well.

Serve each bowl topped with cheese.

Source; slightly adapted from So Tasty So Yummy

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