Saturday, December 17, 2011

Spaghetti Carbonara

Why have I never tried this before last night!? This may possibly be one of the best pasta's I've ever eaten.

what you need:
1 pd. spaghetti
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pd. bacon, sliced into small strips
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 eggs
1 cup freshly grated parmesan, plus more for serving
fresh ground pepper
a handful of fresh italian parsley, chopped

Prepare the sauce while th pasta is cooking. You want to ensure that the spaghetti is hot when you add the sauce to it sp that the eggs cook right through.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and continue to boil for 8-10 min. Drain pasta.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over a med-high heat. add the bacon and saute for about 6 min. Toss the garlic into the pan with the bacon and bacon fat. Saute for just a min.

Add the hot pasta to the pan and toss for 2 min. to coat with the bacon fat.

Beat the eggs with the cream and the parmesan in a mixing bowl, then add to the pasta stirring quickly until the eggs thicken.

Season with fresh pepper and salt (not too much salt since the bacon is salty on its own).

Garnish with chopped parsley. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Shrimp and Pasta in a Tomato-Chile Cream Sauce

We had dinner at a friends house one night and this is what they served. I had to have the recipe! It's an Emeril Lagasee dish. If you like a little bit of spice, you'll love this.

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 pound linguine
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons Essence, Bayou Blast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped jalapeno (I used 2 jalepenos, but feel free to use 3 if you want it HOT)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 11/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (canned or fresh, whatever you have on hand)
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking water
  • 1 cup grated Pepper Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
Set a large 1-gallon stock pot of water to a boil and add the kosher salt. Place the linguine in the pot and stir the pot until the water returns to a boil. Cook the pasta until tender, but with a bit of resistance (al dente), about 12 minutes. Drain a reserve 1/2 cup pasta water.

While the pasta cooks, prepare the sauce. Set a 12-inch saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and olive oil to the pan. Once the butter has melted, season the shrimp with 1 tablespoon of the Essence and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and add the shrimp to the pan.

Sear the shrimp until well browned on both sides, about 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the onions and jalapenos to the pan and saute until the onions are softened and lightly caramelized, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the cream, remaining 1 tablespoon of Essence, remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons of the salt and the pepper to the pan and bring to a boil. Cook the sauce until the cream is reduced by half, about 2 minutes.

Return the shrimp to the pan, and add the tomatoes, linguine and the reserved cooking water to the pan and cook, tossing to incorporate for 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove pan from the heat and add the Pepper Jack, Parmesan, parsley and basil and toss to blend.

Serve immediately. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chicken Fajita Braid

I saw this recipe a while back on Life as a Lofthouse's blog. I had to try it. It was super easy to make. Chicken, onion, peppers, salsa, and cheese...oh my! You can speed up the process and use a refridgerated pizza crust from the store, like the original recipe, or you can be cool like me and use a homemade crust. It makes all the difference in the world.

the crust recipe I used-  NOTE, this makes enough dough for 3 pizza crusts. I divided the dough into 3 sections, used one for this fajita braid, and froze the other 2. You want to freeze dough before it rises. so once you knead the dough, this is when you will want to separate it into portions and wrap it up for the freezer. When you want to use a frozen dough, you can either take it out of the freezer the night before, and let it defrost in the fridge all day, (make sure to let it sit out at room temp for about 10 min before you use it), or take it out of the freezer and sit it out on the counter with a towel over it for about an hour and a half.

4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
4 tablespoons olive oil                   
6 1/2 - 7 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water. Leave it alone for 10 minutes.
Stir the salt, garlic powder, oil, and 5 cups of flour into the yeast mixture.
Turn the dough out onto a clean floured surface and knead in the remaining flour until it's no longer sticky. (divide into portions and freeze here)
Place the dough into a well oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let the dough rise until doubled, about an hour.
Punch the dough down roll into a ball. Let rest for 10 minute before rolling out.

For the Fajita Braid-
one pizza dough (can use pillsbury can dough)
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 chicken breasts, cut into small strips
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red and/or green pepper
1/4 cup salsa
2 cups shredded cheddar/jack cheese

Preheat oven to 375.

Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray and roll out your dough onto the sheet. Cut strips all along the sides of the dough..these will be braided over the chicken mixture.

In a large skillet, heat your oil and add the chicken, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink.

Add your peppers and onions and cook for another few minutes, just until softened.

Spoon the chicken down the middle of the dough.

Spoon the salsa over, then the cheese.

Now take the strips of dough and just kinda braid them..

Bake for 25 min. Or until golden brown. Top with sour cream, salsa, whatever you love. Enjoy!

Meatballs & Sauce

This is a great recipe to double up on, so that you can freeze half for another night. I doubled it and we ended up having meatball subs and then spaghetti with meatballs the next night. And still had enough leftovers to send over to my little brothers house :) Who doesn't love meatballs!?
-You can freeze either the meatballs alone, before you cook them, or once they are prepared with the sauce.

1/4 extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cans whole peeled tomatoes
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 bay leaf
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 1/2 to 2 tsp. chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp. ground pepper

1/2 pd. ground beef
1/2 pd. ground pork
1 cup italian seasoned breadcrumbs
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp. fresh grated parmesan
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 egg

Get your sauce going first.
Saute onion and garlic in the olive oil.

Stir in whole tomatoes, salt, sugar, and bay leaf.

Cover and simmer for 90 minutes.

We'll come back to the sauce later...
Now for the meatballs, combine all their ingredients in a bowl.

And mush it up :)

Now form your meatballs, into about 2 in. balls.

In a skillet, with a drizzle of oil, brown your meatballs on all sides.

Once they're browned up, and the sauce has been simmering for 90 min, add the meatballs, tomato paste, basil, and pepper to the sauce.

Cover again and simmer for an additional 30-45 min.
Serve with spaghetti, or on a toasted bun with provolone cheese. enjoy!