Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Shrimp and Mushroom Penne Alfredo


I was a little late getting dinner started tonight, so I needed something quick.  Shrimp is always the protein I use for an easy, quick meal.

I tried to make this sauce lighter and not so rich, so I used both heavy cream and 2% milk with very little grated Parmesan.  I added garlic and lemon to add more flavor.  I made up this recipe so I hope these measurements are accurate enough if you want to try it out.  It was really good!

Ingredients:

1 T olive oil
8 oz button mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T butter
1 T flour
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup 2% milk
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
 1 lb raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, tail removed (whatever size you like)
Penne pasta, cooked per instructions
2 T grated Parmesan
kosher salt
black pepper

In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and mushrooms.  Cook mushrooms until tender, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook another minute.  Remove the mushroom mixture and set aside.  Add the butter to the skillet, then flour.  Stir constantly for 1 minute.  Add the heavy cream and milk.  Cook over medium low heat until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Add the lemon juice and shrimp.  Cook until shrimp are cooked through and pink.  Add the mushrooms and cooked penne pasta, toss to coat, and let cook in the sauce for a couple of minutes. 


Turn off the heat and add the grated Parmesan cheese.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Toss in some flat leaf parsley, if you like fresh herbs.  My kids don't, so I only added some to my bowl of pasta.  Enjoy!


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Monday, November 29, 2010

Sausage and Cannellini Bean Chili

                   I was coming down with a cold after Thanksgiving week.  I needed a hot lunch to help me get through Saturday at home alone with my 3 kids.  We had been eating leftover ham and macaroni cheese for 2 days straight.  It was time for a warm and comforting one pot meal.  I looked in the pantry, and I looked in the fridge.  The only protein I had thawed out was some Jimmy Dean ground Italian sausage.  I bought an extra one when I was doing our Thanksgiving shopping because I saw Aaron McCargo from Big Daddy's Kitchen make these Gravy and sausage-stuffed stuffing that I wanted to try.  Maybe I will try them another time!

I decided to make a sausage and cannellini bean chili using a red sauce base instead of a chicken stock base.  I just used what I had on hand and that I know my kids will enjoy too.  So this is what I came up with.

Ingredients:

16 oz package ground Italian sausage
1 white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 button mushrooms, sliced (or more!)
29 oz can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes, with juice
2 - cans Bush's Cannellini beans (my favorite brand of beans), drained and rinsed
1 T chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
dash cayenne pepper or pinch of red pepper flakes
kosher salt to taste
black pepper to taste
shredded cheese - for topping

In a large soup pot, brown sausage.  Add onions and mushrooms and cooked until onions are translucent.  Add garlic and cook another minute.  Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Cannellini beans, and spices.  Stir well, bring to a boil, and lower heat to medium low.  Simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until sauce has reduced and thickened.  Serve up in big soup bowls and top with shredded cheese.  This is great with some corn bread or crackers on the side.  Enjoy!


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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving was a success!  Our family and friends joined us for a day full of fun, food, and Dallas Cowboys football.  Here's what went down...

The week before, my girls made some salt dough Christmas tree ornaments to give to our family and friends on Thanksgiving day. 






The menu was finalized, and only one item didn't make it to the table...the caramel apple pie.  We already had 3 desserts, which was plenty for 12 people.  



Thanksgiving Dinner 2010

Appetizers

Spinach Dip with Tortilla Chips
Chilled Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce
Cheese/Salami/Cracker Platter
Fruit Tray with Thanksgiving Fruit Dip

Dinner

Bill’s Famous Deep Fried Turkey
Honey Baked Spiral Ham
Country Dressing
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Turkey Gravy
Macaroni and Cheese
Green Bean Casserole
Vegetable & Tomato Tian
Sweet Potato Casserole
Cranberry Sauce
Dinner Rolls

Desserts

Caramel Apple Pie
Coconut Cream Pie
Maple Pecan Pie
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce
Fresh Whipped Cream And/Or Vanilla Ice Cream
 

The night before Thanksgiving, my oldest daughter helped me make all this good stuff:

Cranberry Mandarin Orange Sauce

Coconut Cream Pie
Maple Pecan Pie

Pumpkin Cheesecake (Topped with caramel sauce later)

Desserts cooling before wrapped up and refrigerated

The dinner rolls were also prepared and put in the fridge to rise overnight. 

The tables were set




The Thanksgiving wreath I made earlier that day was on the front door to welcome our guests




And it's finally time for some shut eye before finishing up in the morning! ZZZZZzzzzzZZZZZzzzzzz

I woke up bright and early to finish preparing the rest of the side dishes for our big dinner.  The ladies in the family set up all the appetizers on the kitchen table. 


My girls were hungry and thirsty...they dug right in




The girls patiently waited at the front door for our family to arrive


Family arrived...







Bill fried up our turkey


Just look at this big moist Turkey with crispy skin!


While the ladies helped me finish up the rest of the meal. 


The girls are ready to eat


The food's hot and ready...amazingly so!

Bill's Fried Turkey

Honey Glazed Ham

Sweet Potato Casserole
 
Country Dressing

Mom's Green Bean Casserole

Vegetable and Tomato Tian

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Turkey Gravy

Bill's Pea Salad

Cranberry Mandarin Orange Sauce

Dinner Rolls

LONG after dinner came dessert! We were absolutely stuffed.




I'm so thankful for my family! I love them all so much!


Stylish Blog Award


My food blogger buddy Shannon over at Delectalicious! gave me this award this week!  Thanks so much Shannon.  This totally made my day/week/month/year!  I really do enjoy blogging all about what I cook up in our kitchen each week, although it is a lot of extra work on my plate.  I have a passion for cooking and baking and want to share it with the world!  Now that I made it through Thanksgiving, it's time to move towards Christmas.  That means lots of warm, comforting winter meals and tons of baked goodies.  I'm so thankful for Shannon and my other loyal followers for sticking with me.  I've been inspired by many other bloggers and hope to inspire others too. 

So the rules for the Stylish Blogger Award are:

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pay it forward to 15 recently discovered great bloggers.
4. Contact those bloggers and tell them about their award.

7 Things About Me...

1.  My family is my #1 priority and my life will always revolve around my 3 beautiful girls and awesome husband.  We also have 2 sweet lab puppy dogs in our family, Dakota and Kodiak.

2.  I was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1972 (yes, I'm nearing the 40 year mark quickly), but call Texas my home since my Mom and I moved here in 1978.  I can't imagine living anywhere else but Texas.

3.  My husband and I went to high school together and have been friends since the 7th grade.  We started dating in our college years and have been inseparable ever since.  We celebrated our 12 year anniversary this year. 

4.  My Mom and Mother-in law are my 2 best women friends.  I don't know what I would do without them!  They are the best!

5.  I love love love to travel.  I prefer tropical vacations over any other.  My favorite vacation spot is in and around Cancun, Mexico.  The beaches are amazing!  I dream of visiting Hawaii.

6.  I'm a Food Network and Cooking Channel junkie.  I can't get enough.  My waist line has had enough though! 

7.  I have been a SAHM (stay at home mom) for 8 years and love it!

Wow, that was hard talking all about ME.  Here are the blogs I want to give this award to:




All the Small Stuff

Bake at 350

Brenda's Canadian Kitchen

Closet Cooking

A Beautiful Mess

Dancing On The Table

Food For My Family

Fudge Ripple

Jamie Cooks It Up!

Macaroni and Cheesecake

My Food Obsession

Real Mom Kitchen

Sweet As Sugar Cookies

The Hungry Housewife

The Kitchen Witch

Please come by and check them out.  I have been inspired by these great people and I'm sure you will be too!  And don't forget to check out Shannon's blog too!  Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Upside Down Apple Spice Cake with Coconut



So here's my prep list for tomorrow to get ready for Thanksgiving:

Cranberry Sauce
Sweet Potato Casserole
Pecan Pie
Coconut Cream Pie
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Caramel Topping
Caramel Apple Pie
Dinner Rolls

All of these dishes have to be cooked before I go to bed tomorrow.  And my list for Thanksgiving morning is just as long!  All 3 of my girls are home from school this week for Thanksgiving break.  So can you believe I decided I just had to bake up something sweet today while my little Jordyn was taking her nap?  Call me crazy but I just LOVE to bake now!

I'm stuck on apples and cinnamon lately.  It's finally Fall, even though it's been in the upper 70's all week.  I'm looking forward for the cold front that's supposed to arrive on Thursday and stay through Friday.  I want to make all of my Fall time favorite soups and baked goods.

I bought a Spice Cake mix at the store yesterday and I decided it was going to be the focus of my mad baking experiment.  It's just so flavorful and versatile in the fall!  And you don't have to measure out all those darn dry ingredients and have flour and cinnamon all over your kitchen.  I hope you enjoy the cake I created!  It's not too late to add it to your Thanksgiving dessert table.

Cake Ingredients:

1 - Betty Crocker Spice cake mix
1/2 cup cinnamon apple sauce
1 1/4 cup water
1 T vegetable oil
3 eggs
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup diced Granny Smith apples

Apple Topping:

2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced (dice up 1/2 cup for cake mix)
1 T butter
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Caramel Topping:
4 T butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray a bundt cake pan with non-stick cooking spray. 

In a large stand mixer, add cake mix, apple sauce, water, vegetable oil, and eggs.  Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes.  Stir in the coconut and diced apples.  Set aside.

In a small sauce pan, add the 1 T butter, sliced apples, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.  Saute until just pliable, about 3 minutes.  This will make it easier to arrange them in the bundt pan without breaking them.  Remove and set aside.  

Use the same sauce pan to melt the 4 T butter and 3/4 cup brown sugar.  Cook over medium low heat for 5 minutes. 


While this is cooking you can arrange the apples in the bundt pan.


Pour the caramel sauce over the apples. 



Then pour the cake mix over the caramel. 


Bake for 42-45 minutes, or until the cake springs back to the touch.  I also tested mine with a long skewer just to make sure it was done in the middle.  This is a very moist cake.

When the cake is done, place a plate over the top and carefully turn it over.  Be careful not to burn yourself in any of the caramel drips out...I speak from experience.  Enjoy!



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Siggy Spice - Thanksgiving Dessert Extravaganza
Tuesdays at the Table - All the Small Stuff
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