Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Shrimp Bisque Stew

Tonight was one of those nights in the kitchen when I I'm feeling adventurous and I just start with one main ingredient and make up the rest as I go along. Shrimp was my main ingredient and I knew I wanted something to go over mashed potatoes and this is how this dish was born. If I knew it was going to turn out so good I would have taken more step by step pictures but anyway here is how it went.

1 pound of shrimp peeled, deveined and seasoned with salt and pepper
1/2 of a small onion finely diced
1 large carrot finely diced
1 small rib of celery finely diced
1 cup frozen pepper strips (you can use fresh just add them when you are sauteing the veggies)
3 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of flour
1/2 cup prosecco (I didn't have any cognac)
1 tsp of smoked paprika
1 tsp adobo
1/4 tsp chipotle powder (or to taste this is spicy)
1/4 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
2 cups of light cream
1/4 cup of chicken stock (more or less depending on the consistency you like)

I added the butter to a skillet and sauteed the onion, carrot and celery until soft, about 5 minutes then I deglazed with the prosecco. Next I sprinkled in the flour, smoked paprika, chipotle powder, old bay mixed it well and cooked it about 3 minutes now add the cream and mix well, then add the pepper strips. Let this come to a boil and reduce a bit, if its too thick then thin it out with the chicken stock. When its the consistency you like add the shrimp and cook just until pink, about 5 minutes if that. Taste and re season with salt and pepper if needed. I served this over sour cream and onion mashed potatoes.

*For the mashed potatoes I added butter, mayo, sour cream, sliced green onions and salt and pepper. The amounts depend on how many potatoes you are using.
**This cooks up really quickly, it only took me about 45 minutes start to finish
*** Garnish with some sliced green onions to tie it together
****A nice glass of wine, some garlic bread and a salad makes a nice dinner for company but you might want to double the recipe, my husband and I finished it off in one sitting.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Orecchiette with Sausage, Spinach and Brie

Tonight was another one of my favorite night's in the kitchen are when I just create as I go and it turned out delicious!! I didn't really measure anything I just grabbed and went with the flow, and this is how it went. I took a package of sweet Italian sausage and took it out of it's casing. I broke it up and got some good caramelization on it then I added 5-6 cloves of chopped garlic and a giant bunch of fresh spinach from my local farm. I simmered it for about 5 minutes. Next I put the pot on to boil for the pasta, don't forget to add plenty of salt to the water. While I was cooking the pasta I finished off the sauce with a nice tablespoon of butter, some of the starchy pasta water and about 1/2 cup of heavy cream, salt and pepper to taste. I decide to finish it off with yummy chunks of brie, my favorite cheese!!  Then I just let it hang out on the warm stove so the flavors would marry and soak up all the liquid, it turned out so good!!!

*quick and easy company worthy dinner just add some garlic bread and a yummy dessert
** cooking doesn't have to be complicate 
***experiment in the kitchen

Friday, August 21, 2015

Risotto with Bacon, Tomato and Peas

Tonight I was in the mood for risotto, Italian comfort food. I had some farm fresh cherry tomatoes, bacon and some frozen peas on hand so this is what happened. I put some butter, I used 1/2 a stick of butter but you could use less if you wish.  In a large stock pot I added 1 1/2 cups of arborio rice, a small pinch of salt & pepper and a nice pinch of saffron. Let that brown nicely and add 1/4 cup of white wine to deglaze. The next step comes with practice, keep adding chicken stock in small increments (I added 4 cans) stirring constantly until broken down and creamy, about 1 hour or so. Then I added 1 cup of frozen peas, 10 cherry tomatoes sliced,  4 slices of cooked bacon crumbled, 1 green onion sliced, 1/4 cup of chopped parsley and a nice hand full of grated parmesan. Add a little more chicken stock if needed because risotto should be on the loose side in consistency, I can not stress this enough! All the recipes say to bring the chicken stock to a boil but I find this step unnecessary, I use it straight out of the can. Garnish this anyway you wish, it's so yummy!!!
*Comfort food at its finest 
** Dinner party food with a nice app, wine, salad, garlic bread and a good dessert
*** The basic recipe with any add ins, the possibilities are endless
****Hope this makes sense because I'm a little drunk ;)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Spinach and Pesto Lazy Lasagna

I love to go into the kitchen and just let loose, and that is exactly what I did tonight. I knew I had to use up some of the fresh herbs on my deck, with that in mind I went into the grocery store and plotted as usual. I spotted some spinach and cheese ravioli on sale so I grabbed them and the wheel's started spinning. I immediately thought of a white lazy man lasagna. Simply what I did was make a basic pesto sauce:
1 part fresh basil to
1/2 part fresh parsley 
5 cloves of garlic
a pinch of salt
a generous grinding of fresh pepper
and a big handful of grated parmesan
Next I made a white sauce:
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of flour 
melted together and cooked for about 3 minutes, then I added 
1 cup of heavy cream and whisked until thickened, then I added
2 giant tablespoons of the fresh pesto
Now I boiled the raviolis.

 Then I tossed them with the sauce, some diced up fresh mozzarella and baked it until it was hot, bubbly and browned on top. It came out way yummier than I anticipated!!
*this is a good prepare ahead dinner for company with a nice salad, garlic bread, a bottle of wine and dessert
**really easy to prepare
***this cost me less than $20 to prepare and you can probably feed at least 8-10 people

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Buttery Shrimp Rolls New England Style

I've been cooking dinner for my 82 year old mom who fell and broke her right arm, needless to say she can hardly do anything for herself and is feeling a little down so I wanted to cook her something extra special today. I decided on buttery New England style shrimp rolls and traditional macaroni and tuna salad. Really not that difficult to pull off. All I did was boil up some shrimp in water seasoned with a couple of slices of fresh lemon, a few whole pepper corns and a bay leaf. I drained them, rough chopped them and set them aside. Then I moved on to the macaroni salad. I set a pot of salted water on to boil then I diced up carrot, celery and onion about a 1/2 a cup of each. I tossed a box of elbow macaroni into the boiling water until cooked. I drained it and tossed it with the veggies, 2 cans of tuna fish and enough mayo to hold it all together. I plated up the macaroni salad in a serving bowl, topped it with paprika and put it in the fridge to chill. I did all this in the morning so at dinner time most of the work was done. When we were ready to eat I just heated up my cast iron griddle, tossed the chopped shrimp on with a good amount of butter and heated it through, toasted the buns and it was ready to enjoy!!!
*you can also do this with lobster or scallops

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Roasted Peppers

If you have never roasted your own peppers you must!! It is so simple you're going to think to yourself, why didn't I try this sooner. I just put them directly on the grill and char the skins until almost all black. You can do it on a gas or charcoal grill or sometimes I do it right on the burner of my gas stove top. The flavor between homemade and jar is like night and day!!! After I get the skins nice and charred I put them in a freezer bag, seal it and let them steam for about 5 minutes or until they are cool enough for me to handle. I remove them from the bag and the skins slide right off and I remove the seeds. Now this is very important, you are going to feel the urge to rinse them under water, DON'T, I can't stress this enough you will rinse off all the smoky flavor that you were trying to achieve in the first place, it's worth a stray seed or two and a few pieces of black skin!! Now I just slice them up and dress them with sliced garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. I use them for bruschetta, tossed with pasta, in paninis ect.... The choices are endless!! Please try and roast your own, you won't be sorry!!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Chipotle Crusted Mac n' Cheese

   So tonight was another grab from the fridge and smash it all together kind of night. When the fridge is almost empty on a Friday night I always look to a pasta dish. I had a little cheese ends left so mac n' cheese it was. I only had some mild muenster and mozzarella in the on hand so I decided to spice it up with seasonings and chipolte panko bread crumbs, one of my new favorite ingredients, so this is what I did.

1/2 lb medium shells pasta
1 cup diced muenster cheese
1 cup diced mozzarella
1/2 cup grated 50/50 blend if parmesane/romano cheese
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon Grey Poupon dijon mustard
1 tsp Coleman's dry mustard
1 tsp paprika 
1/2 cup 4C Chipolte Panko bread crumbs
drizzle of olive oil

First I boiled the pasta in salted water, then drained and added it back to the pot with all the rest of the ingredient except the panko and olive oil. Simmer until all the cheese is melted and blended well. Now add it to a baking dish, top with the panko and drizzle with the olive oil. Bake at 375 until bubbling.
*Couldn't have been an easier put together in 15 minutes meal
*Nice comfort food meal on a cold winter night