Showing posts with label pasta. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pasta. Show all posts

Friday, December 9, 2011

Spinach Artichoke Pasta - Yep PASTA!!!

I hope you weren't looking for a holiday recipe? I'm so deep in denial about the approaching festivities that I haven't even started baking...and I really need to post more.

I was so excited when I saw this recipe. I LOVE Spinach Artichoke dip and try to talk Tony and the kids into it anytime I see it on a menu when we are out. Yep, made it at home several times too. One of the problems though when I make it at home is that I eat way too much of it! So this way was perfect It was served with pasta and that meant I could have it as a main course and eat as much as I liked...:-)

And did I mention that this dish is fast to prepare? Yep, really, really fast. Like about as long as it takes to cook the pasta fast.

Spinach Artichoke Pasta
(found on Pinterest by Budget Bytes)


2 Tbsp Olive oil
4 cloves garlic
4 oz. cream cheese or neufchatel cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 can (14 oz.) quartered artichoke hearts
1 package (10 oz.) chopped spinach, thawed
1 Tbsp hot sauce
1 tsp red pepper flake
salt and pepper to taste
1 package of pasta (any shape)


  1. Put a large pot of water on to boil with a lid. When it comes to a boil, cook the pasta according to package directions (boil for about 10 minutes or until al dente). Drain the pasta in a colander.
  2. While you are cooking the pasta, start making the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Mince the garlic and cook it in the oil until it is slightly tender (1-2 minutes).
  3. Add the cream cheese, sour cream and white wine. Stir until everything is evenly incorporated. Reduce the heat to medium/low.
  4. Add the milk and Parmesan cheese. Stir it in until the Parmesan has melted in and is evenly incorporated. Stir in the hot sauce and thawed/drained spinach.
  5. Drain the can of artichoke hearts. Roughly chop them and add to the sauce. Taste the sauce and season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes if desired.
  6. Add the cooked and drained pasta and stir to coat. Serve warm.
This is a wonderfully satisfying dinner that goes perfectly with a good glass of white wine!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Orecchiette with Swiss Chard, Red and Yellow Peppers and Goat Cheese –Finally a new blog post!!!

So I really don’t want to even look and see when the last time I posted a recipe was. I am very, very ashamed. I really have no excuse besides being totally rushed off of my feet all the time and totally uninspired come dinner time. Usually it’s just a meal thrown together and always an old stand by. Something tried and true (and already blogged more than likely).
I happened to see this recipe though the other day and printed it out immediately. So glad I did! It is really a delicious and simple meal.

Orecchiette with Swiss Chard, Red and Yellow Peppers and Goat Cheese – From The New York Times
When making this easy pasta, be sure to cut the sweet bell peppers into very small dice; that way, they’ll lodge in the hollows of the orecchiette, along with the chard and goat cheese.
3/4 pound Swiss chard (1 bunch), stemmed and washed in two changes of water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 red/yellow bell peppers , cut in small dice
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
1 to 2 garlic cloves (to taste), minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram (I had just thrown my dry marjoram out so I used 1 teaspoon dried Italian Seasoning)
3/4 pound orecchiette
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)
1. Begin heating a large pot of water while you stem and wash the chard. Fill a bowl with ice water. When the water in the pot comes to a boil, salt generously and add the chard. Blanch the chard leaves for one to two minutes until tender. Using a skimmer or a slotted spoon, transfer the chard to a bowl of ice water, then drain and squeeze out excess water. Chop medium-fine. Keep the pot of water at a simmer.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet, and add the bell peppers and the red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring often, until tender, five to eight minutes. Add the garlic and salt to taste, and stir for half a minute. Then stir in the chopped chard and the marjoram. Stir together for a few seconds, then turn the heat to very low.
3. Bring the water in the pasta pot back to a boil, and add the orecchiette. Cook al dente, following the timing instructions on the package. Add about 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the pan with the chard and peppers. Stir in the goat cheese. Drain the pasta, transfer to the pan and toss with the chard, pepper and goat cheese mixture. Serve hot.
Yield: Serves four.
***Loved this pasta. The only thing I will do differently next time is to skip the blanching of the swiss chard. I think it will just be fine steamed in with the peppers and garlic. Also won’t loose all the nutrients in the pasta water.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pasta with Escarole, White Beans and Chicken Sausage…

It’s finally feeling like fall here.  Our day time temps are only reaching into the mid 80’s right now and the night time temps are down in the low 60’s.  Life in Florida doesn’t get much better than this.  With the windows all open and the A/C off, life is so good.  Makes me want to cook again.  Nice pots of soup and stew, filling casserole dishes and comforting pastas.
This is a pasta dish that I have been wanting to try out.  Simple enough but just finding the time was the challenge.  So you know what I did?  I prepped everything for this in the afternoon before I picked the kiddos up from school.  I chopped the onion and garlic, uncased the chicken sausage, cleaned and cut up the escarole, made the chicken broth, and rinsed the beans.  This way all I had to do when I got home was to boil the water for the pasta.  Do you know that with all the prep work done I ended up having to wait for the pasta to finish cooking!!!  It came together in about 15 minutes.  Anyone can find time to make this one!
Pasta with Escarole, White Beans and Chicken Sausage (adapted from The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger)
1 lb bowtie (or other shape) pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
½ medium red onion, chopped, about 1 cup
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb hot Italian-style chicken sausage, casings removed, crumbled
1 medium head escarole or endive, rinsed, drained and chopped, about 8 cups
1 14 oz can low-sodium great northern beans or other white beans, drained and rinsed
1½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp rubbed sage, or 1 Tbsp fresh sage leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1/8 cup grated Parmesan
  • Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.
  • Heat the oil over a medium heat in a large, deep saute pan or 8-quart stockpot.
  • Saute the onion until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional 1 minute. Stir in the sausage and cook until heated through and browned, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the escarole and cook until wilted, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add the beans, 1 cup of chicken stock, sage and simmer until the mixture is heated through and liquid is slightly reduced.
  • Add the sausage-bean mixture to pasta and toss well, loosening with the additional ½ cup chicken stock if necessary.
  • Season with freshly ground pepper and salt, to taste.
  • Divide among 4 pasta bowls and top with parmesan cheese.
***This one was a hit with the whole family.  Youngest even took it to school for her lunch in a thermos…

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pasta All'Amatriciana

Sunday dinner for us has usually included a big meal that generally takes a ton of prep and a long time to cook as it is the one day of the week that we don’t have anything going on.  This week was going to be different and I wanted to try a recipe that would help me to feel really good the next morning when I went for my run!  This recipe fit the bill perfectly and one I will be adding to our regular rotation. The balance of salty, smoky and sweet is amazing and I loved the whole wheat pasta that we used with it!

This is a traditional Roman dish and the next time I make it I want to use some good pancetta in it.  I used bacon and loved it so can only imagine how great it would be with pancetta!!!  I think I will also add some red pepper flakes to give it a spicy edge to it…


Pasta All'Amatriciana (How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman)


2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 to 1/3 cup minced good bacon or pancetta
1 small onion, minced
1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes, drained
1 pound linguine, spaghetti, fettuccine, or other long pasta
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
Minced fresh parsley leaves


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
2. Place the oil and bacon or pancetta in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the meat becomes crisp, about 10 minutes.
3. When the meat is done, remove it with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the pan. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until it browns. Turn off the heat for a minute (this will reduce the spattering when you add the tomatoes).
4. Crush the tomatoes with a fork or your hands and add them to the pan. Turn the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and the mixture becomes saucy, about 10 to 15 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, salt the boiling water and cook the pasta until it is tender but firm. Drain it, toss it with the sauce, and top with the reserved bacon, the Parmesan, and the parsley. Serve, passing additional Parmesan at the table.

***This is really such a perfectly balanced dish!  Salty, sweet and acidic all in one forkful.  I did use whole wheat linguine instead of white and 2 can of diced and drained tomatoes.

***I calculated this without the Parmesan and Romano cheese as you can sprinkle this on yourself and it came out to 7 WW points based on 4 servings.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Mediterranean Orzo Salad

A couple of months ago my sister (I miss you and can’t wait to see you!!!) emailed me a recipe that she had had at a dinner party.  She went on and on about this salad.  Saying it was her new favorite salad and how I HAD to make it right then.  Well, me being me, a couple of months passed and I finally got around to making it.  Guess what?  It was good!  Really, really good!

I did have to change it around and add some different things to it but essentially it is the same.

I will be making this one again and again!!!


Mediterranean Orzo Salad adapted from the July 09 print issue of House & Home (my changes in italics)


1 lb. orzo pasta
1 small zucchini, cubed ( I threw it in the pasta water to cook in the last 2 minutes of cooking the orzo)
1/2 of a red pepper, chopped
1 cup black olives, pick your favorite, coarsely chopped
8 oil-packed sundried tomatoes, finely chopped 
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used about 1/4 cup more for flavor)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (you could use white)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
5 oz. goat cheese, crumbled (I used feta because that’s what I had)
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil


1. Cook orzo in a large pot of boiling salted water for about 7 minutes or until just tender.  Drain and rinse with cold water until completely cooled.  Drain again.

2. Combine lives, sundried tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, slat and pepper in a large bowl.  Add cooked orzo and stir well.  Stir in goat cheese and basil just before serving.

As Always…

Happy Entertaining!!!


Friday, May 22, 2009

Asparagus and Goat Cheese Pasta

It’s funny where we get our recipes from now isn’t it. When my Mom used to want to try something different for dinner she would ask her friends or go through her collection of cookbooks. Now we ask on Twitter, gather from Facebook, or one of the many online recipe sites. Every once in a while you will get a recipe from a source that is unexpected. This recipe came from just that way. My sister and I were talking and she mentioned that she had tried a great recipe and that we should really try it. When she told me the ingredients I knew I had to.

You see last month I was contacted by the wonderful people at Iles de France the cheese company and was invited to be a part of their cheese of the month club. How could I refuse that??? The only catch was that they would send me and about 20 other food bloggers a specific type of cheese each month and we would need to use it in something and do a blog post about it. I happen to love Ile de France cheese anyway so this was a no brainer for me. Unfortunately the first month’s cheese went to waste in my broken refrigerator (when we went to PA for Spring Break our fridge shut down and we lost everything in it…including the cheese). This month was much better for me and they sent me a 10.5 ounce log of goat cheese. And from this recipe I knew just what I was going to do with it!!!

This was a quick and delicious meal for a busy week night. It took only about 20 minutes to pull together. You can use less goat cheese. We used the amount we did because we had it! P1010371

Asparagus and Goat Cheese Pasta - (Adapted from the LCBO Food & Drink Magazine)

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1lb trimmed thick green asparagus
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lb fresh pasta, tagliatelle or fettuccine (we used penne, obviously not fresh, it's what we had)
  • 1/4 cup grated firm young, tangy goat's cheese such as crottin (we used a 10.5 ounce log of chevre chopped up )

1) Peel the asparagus and then cut the stalks into 3/4 inch pieces keeping the tips whole

2) Melt the butter in a large frying pan over med. heat, add the garlic and asparagus and season with garlic powder and salt and pepper. Lower the heat slightly and gently cook the asparagus, turning occasionally until tender.

3) Cook the pasta until al dente

4) When the pasta is cooked, skim 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid from the pot and set aside. Drain the pasta and then add it with the reserved cooking water to the cooked asparagus in the pan. Stir together over low heat until well mixed and the pasta is coated with the sauce.

5) Place the pasta in warmed serving bowls and top with the cheese.

We also added a little grated Parmesan on the top.

As Always…

Happy Entertaining!!!


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pasta with Tomato and Basil

Okay, the picture I had on here all day was bugging me. I made this again and with whole wheat pasta...for the picture!
Don't tell me you've never done that!!!

I have had a couple of really hectic days and my poor family is really paying for it this time. Last night for dinner I fed the kids panko breaded tilapia, from the freezer!!! Along side of that I served a frozen dinner roll. Nice dinner huh?

So while I was up in the middle of the night while EVERYONE else slept I was trying to do a bit of meal planning. You see my sister is coming into town for a week starting Monday and I have nothing done. No cleaning, no cooking, and certainly no grocery shopping. Thanks goodness it is only Saturday and have a full 2 days to get this all done!!!

While I was thinking about food I realized that I had not posted one of my all time favorite meals in a long time. Not because we haven't been eating it but because we are so used to eating it that it doesn't seem that special anymore. But, I bet to you guys who are not getting fresh tomatoes right now this will seem mighty special to you and you will want to book mark for use in the summer!

The absolute best thing about this dish is that you make it ahead of time and it is good served either at room temperature, with a slight chill to it or warmed up a bit! I call that pretty versatile don't you?

Pasta With Fresh Tomato and Basil (4 weight watcher points figured at 6 servings)

1 head of garlic and 2 Tbsp olive oil
3 ripe plum tomatoes (I just use whatever is tasting good right them)
1/3 C fresh basil (chopped)
1 Tbsp capers
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 box of long thin pasta (angel hair, linguine, spaghetti)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Peel of most of the paper from around the garlic head. Slice off the pointy top of the garlic. This should expose all of the cloves a bit. Place in an oven proof pan (I use a pie plate). Top with 2 Tbsp of olive oil and coarse salt. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes. Allow to cool then remove the cloves and mash with a fork.
  • Dice the tomatoes (if the have a ton of seeds squeeze them out).
  • Add the garlic, basil, capers, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Let stand for at least 20 minutes.
  • Cook pasta.
  • Mix sauce with pasta and serve warm or at room temperature. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Give this a try the next time you have some delicious ripe tomatoes. I know you will love it too!!!

As Always...


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Here it is...Lasagna!

This is a really simple lasagna recipe to make. I always use the no bake noodles.
I know that there are several different schools of thought on this. Yes, I do
like the texture of the boiled noodles better but really the noodle is just a
vehicle for the sauce and that all gets soaked up into both of them!

This recipe will make enough for about 6 people. We increased our from
Friday night for enough to fill a 20 X 13 aluminum pan.

My sauce is incredible and so easy to make. Do yourself a favor and
start making your own sauces. I make one almost the same as this one
for our pizza's. I just use chunked tomatoes instead of pureed ones.
(What is with my font here???!!! LOL)

Homemade Lasagna


1 box no bake Lasagna
1 (15 ounce) container Ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
pinch of nutmeg
2 eggs
4 cups (1 pound) shredded Mozzarella cheese
5 cups homemade pasta sauce,(see below), or 2 jars Hunt's
Spaghetti Sauce, sausage flavor
1 pound bulk Italian sausage, cooked, drained, crumbled


Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine Ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, salt, pepper,
nutmeg & 1 cup Mozzarella cheese in a medium bowl; mix well.
1 cup pasta sauce in a 13x9-inch baking dish.
with half each of the lasagna, Ricotta cheese mixture,
sausage, remaining pasta sauce & Mozzarella cheese.
uncovered 40 minutes or until hot & bubbly. Let stand
15 minutes before serving.

Pasta Sauce


1 onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
About 5 cups pureed tomatoes (I use ones that I froze last winter)
garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste


In a small amount of oil cook onions and garlic until the onions
are translucent.
Add the tomatoes. Bring to a boil.
Turn the heat to simmer and add the rest of the ingredients.
Simmer uncovered for about 1 hour or until the sauce has reached
the consistency of a jarred sauce.

The freshness of the sauce still comes through and everyone will
wonder what your secret is. They did mine and that is one of the
reasons I am posting this now!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Monday, September 29, 2008

A really fast shrimp dinner and a funfilled weekend of skating!

Every once in a while your whole schedule and routine gets thrown off kilter right? Well mine gets thrown off so often now I have no routine. Last week it was T.'s Dad and the ongoing medical saga that has become our lives and a skating competition. I just could not cook anything new and was so uninspired that I would have made my family eat hot dogs for dinner if I thought I could have gotten away with. That is all going to change this week. I am back on track!!!

She's lucky number 7!!!

As for the skating youngest daughter rocks!!! She did 2 events and placed 1st for both of them. What an accomplishment for her.

A short video of her doing her program. She still looks so tiny out there on that huge slab of ice!!!


Friday night I had practice at the rink so we decided that it wouldn't be too terribly late when I got home and I could just whip together a quick pasta dinner. I knew I had some frozen shrimp in the freezer and some whole wheat linguine (no additives just plain old whole wheat durum flour!!!). The frozen shrimp are so easy to work with. Just make sure that before you freeze them they are cleaned and peeled. I leave the tails on but that is just personal preference.

Once again there is no recipe. On nights like that I am way too busy to follow one anyway. Here is a list of ingredients and near measures!

Pasta with Shrimp and Butter Sauce

About a 1lb to 1-1/2lb shrimp
6 cloves of garlic chopped
1 stick of butter to cook the shrimp
1 package of your favorite pasta, cooked

Spice mix for shrimp:

garlic powder
onion powder
smoked paprika
white pepper
black pepper
pinch of cayenne

1 more stick of butter to finish the butter sauce
about 2 Tbsp of fresh parsley, chopped


Mix all the spices together. Go lighter on the stronger spices like cayenne and smoked paprika and heavier on the lighter ones like garlic powder.

Toss the shrimp in the spices and melt 1 stick of butter in a pan. Cook the garlic in the butter then add the spiced shrimp and cook until no longer translucent. Once they are cooked add the second stick of butter and the parsley and melt to make a nice butter sauce.

This is about enough for 4 adults.

Update on T's Dad: He is no longer in ICU but he is still not out of the woods yet. He has MRSA Staph infection (methicillin resistant staph). It is no longer in his lungs (still everywhere else) but it is in his eye and is causing the retina to harden. They are going to have to do surgery on him immediately to clean out the retina. Any surgery is dangerous but even worse to open up a person with a Staph infection! Keep those prayers and well wishes coming and thanks so much for all the support you all have given me and my family!

As Always...


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My ongoing freezer space saga...

It was Saturday afternoon. T. had been gone since Tuesday and I was getting really tired of cooking for just us three. My kids eat great but it still isn't nearly as satisfying as cooking for an adult! I never have to fight with him as to how much more does he have to eat to get dessert or more of something. It's just easier.

I decided I was going to cook for myself. And I really liked it. Who cares if the kids went without anything other than penne pasta with butter...

Pasta with Vegetable Sauce

I followed no real recipe but here are the ingredients:

green peppers
1 package of your favorite pasta
Parmesan cheese for topping

I chopped (chunky) the ingredients all up and first cooked down the onion, garlic, and green pepper. I then added the tomatoes and the herbs. I held off on the zucchini for a bit and then just threw it in. I let this simmer for most of the afternoon.

I made some garlic bread. Boiled the pasta. Plated my dinner and in walks T. Ended up having a great dinner after all!!!

What I used from my freezer:

1/2 bag frozen zucchini
1 1/2 green pepper
2 small bags of tomatoes

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Shrimp Diane

Yesterday was one of those weird days where I could find absolutely nothing that I wanted to make or have for dinner. Usually I have a pretty good idea by the ingredients that I have bought during the week. Am I becoming a little disheartened by my seemingly endless purge of my freezer and pantry? I guess there is a reason all of that food has been in there and not used! So guess what I did? I told T. to figure out dinner??? LOL!

He did a great job too.

This is what we had...

Sorry for the crappy picture but Hurricane Ike took my sunlight!
You get the idea though-shrimp, mushrooms, zucchini in a butter sauce!

Shrimp Diane


1 lb of medium sized shrimp, cleaned with tails on
1 stick of butter-I never said T. cooks low-fat!!!
6 green onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 zucchini cut into sticks
1/4 Cup stock, preferably fish or shrimp
1/4 Cup fresh parsley, picked and chopped
1 package of your favorite pasta, cooked

Spice Mix:

1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp granulated garlic
pinch of cayenne (less depending on taste)
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp oregano

  • Mix the spice mix ingredients together and set aside.
  • Melt 6 Tbsp of the butter in a large pan. When almost melted add the garlic, zucchini and the spice mix.
  • Mix well and add the shrimp and cook for about a minute.
  • Add the mushrooms and the stock and simmer until shrimp are almost fully cooked.
  • Add the remaining butter and parsley and green onion and cook until the butter is completely melted.
  • Serve over your favorite pasta with a generous serving of Parmesan cheese.
This was a really nice dish to come home from Karate to. Thanks so much T. Tonight we want Pizza-okay?

Things used from my freezer:

shrimp stock

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Friday, August 29, 2008

Pasta with Shrimp and Tomatoes, a surprise attack and a meme

My oldest daughter getting her Blue Belt!!!

First off the "surprise attack". My oldest daughter takes Karate and attends classes 2 nights a week. Last night was the first night in months and months that I have not taken her. T. took her. Well they must have only just gotten there and my phone was ringing. She was testing for her Blue Belt tonight and did I want to be there? Well hell yah!!! My youngest daughter and I got into the car and took off. We made it in plenty of time. How special is that! I was so incredibly proud of her. She is now more then halfway to her black belt!!! She has a few more colors and degrees of those colors to go through so it will be a few years yet but we are on the right track!!! Not bad for an 8 year old girl!

Now for the recipe:

With the "surprise attack" I needed to have a quick and easy dinner to prepare. I had some shrimp and basil so I decide to throw it together with some tomatoes and pasta and call it done!

Pasta with Shrimp and Tomatoes


1 pkg of you favorite pasta
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 lb of peeled and deveined shrimp
1-1/2 Cup of tomato, seeded and chopped
1/2 Cup white wine
1/4 Cup parsley, chopped
1/4 Cup fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbsp fish or shrimp stock
2 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper
Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente. Place pasta in a colander.
  2. Heat olive oil in a 10 inch skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic, stirring constantly, until the garlic is tender, about 1 minute. Do not let the garlic burn. Add shrimp, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove shrimp from the skillet, and set aside.
  3. Stir wine, parsley, and basil into the skillet. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by half, 8 to 12 minutes. Add the butter and stir until melted . This adds a nice creaminess to the sauce. Add tomatoes and shrimp, and continue cooking until the shrimp are heated through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve the shrimp mixture over the pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Loved this dish and was able to pull out some of the shrimp and sauce before I added the tomatoes for my tomato hater! I will definitely be making this one again!!!

I was also tagged for a meme by superfinefeline at Gastronomic Ruminations. Due to lack of time I used the answers to a meme I did a while ago and changed some around and added a new one!

6 Random things about me...
1. I once ran away from home when I was 16...spent the night trying to hide out in a park, slept in an apartment stairwell and realized that the life I ran away from was not nearly as bad as it seemed the day before!!! LOL

2. Used to suffer from Hyperhidrosis but found a product called drysol which has cured me!

3. Was diagnosed with ADD as a child but my Mom stuck it out and never medicated me (thanks Mom!). Funny thing is what goes around comes around. I am fighting the same battle with my youngest daughter...any advice out there??

4. This is my second marriage. First one lasted for a very, very, very short time (felt like forever).

5. I have been married for 12 years (together for 4 before that) to my very best friend! It even sucks when we fight because I can't go bitching to my BF because it is him!

6. I have an incredible and irrational fear of pond and lake water. I can swim in pools and the ocean but a lake or ponds with weeds and stuff in it will do me in!!!

I am not going to tag any one blogger on this but consider yourselves all tagged and take a few minutes and let us get to know you better! If you decide to do this let me know so I can come and read it!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Friday, August 22, 2008

Pasta, Salad and an Award!

I love blogging and food bloggers are turning out to be some of the best people anywhere. I guess maybe it's because we all share a common bond and are doing this because we have such a huge passion for it. Pretty sure none of us are being forced to do this?

That's why it is so incredible when you receive an award from one of your blogging friends. It's a form of validity...hey, someone really likes what I am doing! My sincere thanks go out to Val from More Than Burnt Toast for giving me this award. It came on the end of a pretty challenging time so it was doubly appreciated.

Brilliant Weblog is a prize given to sites and blogs that are smart and brilliant both in their content and their design. The purpose of the prize is to promote as many blogs as possible in the blogosphere.

Here are the rules to follow :
When you receive the prize you must write a post showing it, together with the name of who has given it to you, and link them back.
Choose a minimum of 7 blogs (or even more) that you find brilliant in their content or design.
Show their names and links and leave them a comment informing they were prized with ‘Brilliant Weblog’.

The hardest part about getting these awards is trying to come up with just a couple of names to pass this onto!

In no particular order:

Nikki - The Canarygirl
Robin at Caviar and Codfish
Jenn - The Left Over Queen
Heather at Gild the Voodoolily
Nuria at Spanish Recipes
Peter at Kalofagas
and last but not least Courtney at Coco Cooks

Thanks again Val!!!

Dinner last night was a thrown together meal of pasta and salad. The girl's are back in school today after their Hurricane Day on Tuesday which means homework and helping with the homework and redirecting to get them to do their homework etc... You get the idea. Homework is not the best time in our household. While my oldest daughter was doing hers I decided to make some of my favorite summer pasta dish. Pasta with Basil, Fresh Tomatoes and Roasted Garlic. This time though I just didn't feel like roasting the garlic so I minced it up and tossed it in with all of the other ingredients. It made the raw sauce taste even fresher than it did before if that was possible!

Pasta With Fresh Tomato, Garlic and Basil

8 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
3/4 lb ripe plum tomatoes (I just use whatever is tasting good right them)
1/3 C fresh basil (chopped)
1 Tbsp capers
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 box of long thin pasta (angel hair, linguine, spaghetti)

  • Dice the tomatoes (if the have a ton of seeds squeeze them out).
  • Add the garlic, basil, capers, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Let stand for at least 20 minutes.
  • Cook pasta.
  • Mix sauce with pasta and serve warm or at room temperature. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I served the pasta with a herb salad mix and this nice, light and well balanced salad dressing.

Todd English's Lemon Vinaigrette


1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh sage leaves (optional)
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (optional)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


• Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a jar. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Okay so inspite of everything we have really been eating!

See how nice and simple it looks...Pure comfort food!!!

I know it seems like all of my posts have been about the weather. In between all the fretting, worrying and trying to figure out what to do we have been eating, and quite well at that!

The other night we had some ravioli that we had bought at Costco. We've had it before. See here

This time we had some spinach that we needed to use up so I made a cream sauce with garlic, spinach and some Parmesan cheese. I then topped it with some fresh tomatoes. This was a nice and easy meal which we needed to help take some of the stress away. You'll see that most of the foods that we have eaten the past couple of days have been real comfort foods.

Funny how you turn to food isn't it?

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Friday, August 1, 2008

Ugh...and a pasta dish!

First the Ugh part. I have been sick. I have been sick for about 2 weeks but only decided on Tuesday to go and see the Doctor. All of my holistic tricks had failed me and I needed some real stuff now. I have Strep throat. Why the hell I keep getting this I don't know but thank goodness my children never get it. Needless to say I have felt like crap. Today is the first day that I can say I am actually feeling good after several days on the couch watching Maggie and the Ferocious Beast and Hannah Montana!
Quick and easy pasta dish!

Anyway now onto the pasta dish. This is a recipe that I yanked out of the Food & Wine magazine when I traveling up to Toronto a couple of weeks ago. I had intended to make it when I was up there but we just ran out days. I made this the other night and was it ever good! It may be a little spicy from the red pepper flakes in it so if this is for children you might want to add less. My youngest one did fine with it but she likes spicy stuff - 5 years old, go figure???

Fettuccine with Tomatoes and Crispy Capers - (Food & Wine)

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup small capers, drained and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 4 oil-packed anchovies, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 1-inch-wide ribbons
  • 2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced basil
  • 1 pound fettuccine
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving
  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. In a small bowl, toss the capers with the cornstarch and transfer to a sieve; shake off the excess cornstarch. Add the coated capers to the oil and fry over high heat, tilting and gently shaking the pan, until the capers are crispy and golden, about 3 minutes. Drain the capers, reserving 2 tablespoons of the oil in the skillet. Spread the capers on a paper towel–lined plate.
  2. Add the anchovies and garlic to the skillet and cook over high heat, stirring, until the garlic is golden and the anchovies dissolve, about 3 minutes. Add the prosciutto, separating the ribbons, and cook until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and crushed red pepper and cook just until the tomatoes begin to break down, about 3 minutes. Stir in the basil.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot along with the water and pour the sauce on top. Toss over high heat just until the sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Serve the pasta in bowls, garnished with the crispy capers. Pass the grated cheese at the table.

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Monday, June 2, 2008

My favorite pasta dish again...

See the chunks of olives and fresh herbs. This was a great vinaigrette for the baby herb mixture!

I have this little quirky thing about me. If I like the flavor of something I will eat it again and again and again. Just ask my family! It drives T. crazy sometimes but one of the advantages of being chief, cook and bottle washer is that they have to eat what I cook...he he he! This is one of those instances. The kids don't care they have been eating their pasta with just butter on it anyway so pretty much this is for me.

Last night though I had bought a mixed box of organic baby herbs for the salad and just made a really light dressing using olive oil, balsamic vinegar, chopped garlic, fresh basil, oregano and salt and pepper. At the last minute I tossed in some chopped kalamata olives. Turned out yummy!

I had some beautiful yellow tomatoes that got added to this delicious pasta dish!

I also made my regular favorite pasta:

Pasta With Fresh Tomato and Basil

1 head of garlic and 2 Tbsp olive oil
3 ripe plum tomatoes (I just use whatever is tasting good right them)
1/3 C fresh basil (chopped)
1 Tbsp capers
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 box of long thin pasta (angel hair, linguine, spaghetti)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Peel of most of the paper from around the garlic head. Slice off the pointy top of the garlic. This should expose all of the cloves a bit. Place in an oven proof pan (I use a pie plate). Top with 2 Tbsp of olive oil and coarse salt. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes. Allow to cool then remove the cloves and mash with a fork.
  • Dice the tomatoes (if the have a ton of seeds squeeze them out).
  • Add the garlic, basil, capers, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Let stand for at least 20 minutes.
  • Cook pasta.
  • Mix sauce with pasta and serve warm or at room temperature. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pasta with a nice slab of garlic bread...does it get much better?

T.'s contribution to all of this was a loaf of amazing garlic bread! He took an Italian baguette and split it. Made some garlic butter using paprika, fresh garlic, garlic powder, fresh parsley, fresh oregano and fresh basil. Smeared it all over the bread and used the broil setting on high in the oven and broiled it until it was nicely brown and crispy!

Perfect meal to end a perfect weekend!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Monday, May 5, 2008

Not your normal pasta dish!

The pictures didn't turn out real well (just imagine how happy everyone is seeing me run off with their dinner again!) and it looks real heavy but it isn't. That is all herbs, vegetables and a small bit of feta mixed in. I guess I should have tossed it first!

We were trying to pigeon hole the pasta dish that we had last night and there was no way we could do it. It has some Mexican, Italian, and Greek flavors but none of them were the predominant feature of the dish. When I first looked that the recipe I was pretty skeptical and I really don't use a recipe for past dishes, but I thought this one sounded pretty interesting and it was full of fresh ingredients so I knew it had to be good. Also a major plus was that I didn't have to go out and buy anything. I had it all on hand!

I found the recipe in Simply Organic: A Cookbook for Sustainable, Seasonal, and Local Ingredients by Jesse Ziff Cool. This is a great cookbook for anyone who is interested in eating around the seasons.

Of course I added and changed around some things based on what I wanted to get rid of in my fridge.

Last-Of-The-Summer Fettuccine (Adapted from Simply Organic)


1 lb of fresh fettuccine (we used a good quality Fusilli)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced (I used 1/2 a green pepper)
2 lg garlic cloves, minced (we used 4-what can I say-we like garlic!)
1/2 shallot, finely chopped (not called for but we had it on hand)
1 jalapeño chili, seeded and minced
1 lg portabello mushroom, diced (not called for but I had it and wanted to get rid of it!)
1/4 cup tequila (they say it's optional, I say it's a must)
2 lg tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp
chopped fresh oregano
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and chopped
Fresh ground black pepper

  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions.Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Meanwhile heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, shallots, jalapeño, mushroom, and tequila and cook for about 1 minute.
  • Add the tomatoes, cilantro, and oregano and cook for 3 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft.
  • Stir the cheese and avocado into the sauce.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the sauce to the pasta and toss well.
As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Monday, April 21, 2008

Dinner last night and a walk through my backyard.

Yesterday was one of those really great days that you could spend a lifetime trying to recreate. We just hung out and relaxed during the morning and then T. decided that we would go on a river cruise. So off we went with the girls so excited. We live in one of the best boating areas in the country and very rarely do we ever take advantage of it so it was really nice to be able to do this.

We went on the Peace River which is a little north of us. The weather was incredible. Hot, sunny, nice breeze blowing. Couldn't ask for anything better!

After the boat we went to one of the river side restaurants and enjoyed a drink while the girls ate and appetizer. Good time had by all.

Back to reality and dinner. We were running reallyshort on food so this was really just using up some odds and ends. I think I will call it...Dinner!


1/2 shallot
1 whole head of garlic (we like a like a lot of garlic)-thin sliced
1 C. chopped zucchini
1/3 C. chopped basil
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
4 ounces of goat cheese
1/4 C of cream
salt and pepper
about 20 grape tomatoes
Spinach and Asagio cheese ravioli (Costco or you can use any pasta with this)

  • Heat olive oil in pan. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until the garlic is nicely browned or toasted.
  • add the zucchini and cook through.
  • Add the grape tomatoes and stir until they are heated through.
  • add the goat cheese and then the basil.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the cream at the very end to just bring it all together nicely!
  • Serve over cooked pasta.
This was one of the easiest and quickest meals I have made in a while also one of my new favorites. Nice and fresh tasting but elegant looking as well!

I thought I would share with you what spring looks like in SW least in my backyard!

My future guacamole very own avocado tree!

This is my mango tree!

Mama dove and her rapidly growing baby. I swear she has not left her nest in months!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Monday, April 14, 2008

Guess where we went yesterday?

I cannot believe that it is already Monday night! In my defense the girls are on Spring Break this week and the time is just flying by.
Yes...we went to SeaWorld yesterday! One of the incredible things about living in SW Florida is our proximity to sooooo many wonderful things. We have the beaches (I have a new car and don't want sand in it yet!!!), great weather, and yes lots of theme parks! We decided Saturday night that we would drive to Orlando. It is at the most about a 3 hour drive so for a fun filled day it really isn't too bad. I made all of the arrangements and we left about 6:30 in the morning. The girls were so surprised. It made for a very long day from which the parents are still recovering!!!


Today we basically hung around the house today just hanging out. I made dinner and had it all ready to go for when T. got home. I made my favorite dinner-Roasted garlic, tomato and basil with pasta. I went to the u-Pick and got my tomatoes and used the basil from my little container garden out front. The roasted garlic is incredible! I also bought a bunch of tomatoes that they were selling cheap so I could seed and skin them and freeze them for sometime later in the summer when I needed tomatoes and couldn't get them! That's my job tonight after we get the girls down!

My youngest in the pool

We spent the day riding our bikes and swimming in the pool...well the girls were swimming and I watched.

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Thursday, March 20, 2008

My Favorite Pasta Dish!

Linguine with tomatoes, basil and roasted garlic!

I know, I know...I just posted this last week but for me a recipe is sometimes like getting a simple song stuck in my head. I crave it and the flavors and this is one recipe that I absolutely love the way that that the flavors and the aromas all come together in a perfect summery blast! I know where most of you are summer is still a ways off and please don't try this with crappy tomatoes. It is truly disappointing then...exercise patience. It is so worth it!

Another reason though that I wanted to try this recipe is that I have been getting some great fresh garlic from my local U-Pick. It is not dry and papery on the outside but soft. Almost like an onion. I was very curious to see how it would roast up...Wonderfully I now know!!!

I also got my hands on some beautiful red scallions that I thought would go very nice with this pasta.

Archer Farms ( Target exclusive) has some really great pastas and spices. If you haven't checked out a Super Target give it a try. I don't generally do too much grocery shopping but I was out of oil and had to pick some things up anyway so I wandered over to the grocery part of the store. Man, was I ever blown away by what they had!!! The herbs and spices were incredible they had just about everything that you can imagine. Asian, Indian, Italian and all of the Spanish spices and herbs all together in one place!!! Huge array of organic as well as regular ones and at decent prices to boot! As I wandered deeper in I hit the pasta aisle. Incredible. I bought one bag and will be going back for more. This tastes every bit as good as the Italian pastsa that I get from my local Italian market!!! Next time you need something from Target do yourself a favor and go the estra distance to a Super Target. Well worth the trip!

Pasta With Fresh Tomato and Basil

1 head of garlic and 2 Tbsp olive oil
3 ripe plum tomatoes (I just use whatever is tasting good right them)
1/3 C fresh basil (chopped)
1 Tbsp capers
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 box of long thin pasta (angel hair, linguine, spaghetti)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Peel of most of the paper from around the garlic head. Slice off the pointy top of the garlic. This should expose all of the cloves a bit. Place in an oven proof pan (I use a pie plate). Top with 2 Tbsp of olive oil and coarse salt. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes. Allow to cool then remove the cloves and mash with a fork.
  • Dice the tomatoes (if the have a ton of seeds squeeze them out).
  • Add the garlic, basil, capers, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Let stand for at least 20 minutes.
  • Cook pasta.
  • Mix sauce with pasta and serve warm or at room temperature. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Update on the lizard - The freaking lizard from yesterday haunted me all yesterday and today. I live in a 2000+ SF home. How can he be everywhere??? Anyway the last time I saw him in the office he was looking a little pale and not moving quite as fast. So I was able to grab him and put him outside. Now we are both sooooo much happier!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!