Sunday, April 3, 2011

#116 :: Shrimp and Pasta in a Tomato-Chile Cream Sauce

We wanted to go to the Westside Market since Jamie and I were both off this weekend, so I sat down and planned out our meals for the week before we went. I found some great recipes in my searching, so we've got some great things to add to the blog this week! We bought fresh bacon, chorizo, chicken, hamburger and shrimp. We also hit up the veggie stands for Romain, Swiss Chard, Corn, Poblanos, Green Peppers, Roma Tomatoes, Fresh Parsley, Sweet Onions, Jalapenos, and then we got some Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. All I can say is it's going to be a delicious week!

I searched Food Network's website for a cream pasta and came up with this gem of a recipe from Emeril. Onions, tomatoes, jalapenos and garlic with shrimp in a creamy sauce, hit with Emeril's Cajun spices. It was fantastic! Restaurant quality served right at home, and I think we calculated the ingredients cost us about ten dollars.


  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 pound linguine
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons Essence, recipe follows
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped jalapeno
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 11/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 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.

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
(Yield: 2/3 cup) Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Cook Time: 23 mins

Makes 6 servings.

Recipe from: "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, posted on

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Monday, January 31, 2011

#115 :: Cheddar and Scallion Bread

The perfect side dish for any soup or salad. This is the ultimate garlic bread!


  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded or coarsely grated
  • 6 ounces butter, at room temperature
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (1 pound) loaf ciabatta bread, cut in half horizontally


Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a food processor, combine the cheese and butter. Process until the mixture is smooth. Add the scallions and pulse until combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spread the cheese mixture on the cut sides of the bread. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden.

Using a serrated knife, cut the bread into 1-inch thick slices and serve.

Makes 4-6 servings

Recipe from Giada at Home on Food Network

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

#114 :: White Bean and Chicken Chili

It's been quite a while since we tried out some new recipes. Jamie was on vacation from work this week, so while he was home we had a chance to spend some time in the kitchen. We caught a show on Food Network with this chili and immediately went out to the store to buy a few things so we could make it. It's definitely something we're going to make regularly through the chilly winter months!


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds ground chicken (we used diced chicken breasts instead of ground chicken)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds (we omitted these because I don't like them)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 (15-ounce cans) cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained (we used Great Northern beans)
  • 1 bunch (about 1 pound) Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 11/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the ground chicken, 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, fennel seeds, oregano, and chili powder. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Stir the flour into the chicken mixture. Add the beans, Swiss chard, corn, and chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Simmer for 55-60 minutes until the liquid has reduced by about half and the chili has thickened. Add the red pepper flakes and simmer for another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Ladle the chili into serving bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.

Optional: Serve with Cheddar and Scallion Bread

Makes 4-6 servings (we considered it 4 servings)

Recipe from Giada at Home on Food Network

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

#113 :: Blueberry Pie

I'm not sure where I found this recipe several years ago, but it's been a favorite of mine since the first time I made it. It's now a staple at all my holiday meals! My granny made great chocolate pies, my mom makes great apple pies, and now I'm continuing the tradition with blueberry!

  • 3 pints of blueberries
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 c all purpose flour (for thickening)
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • Pats of butter to dot the top

Egg wash:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp. milk

Pie Crust:
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), cubed and chilled
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 to 10 tablespoons ice water

Pie Crust Directions:

Put the butter, flour, and salt in the food processor, and pulse lightly just until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing briefly after each spoonful of water. Keep adding water until the dough just begins to gather into larger clumps. Transfer equal amounts of the dough into 2 resealable plastic bags and pat each into a disk. Let rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Remove 1 of the disks from the bag to a flour coated surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a 10-inch round. Gently fit the rolled dough into a 9-inch pie pan, and refrigerate while you prepare the torte ingredients. Yield: 2 (9-inch) pie crusts

Blueberry Filling Directions:

Combine blueberries, lemon juice, flour, sugar and cinnamon and stir gently until blueberries are coated. Place in the bottom crust of the pie pan. Dot the top with the butter pieces. Place the top crust on and cut small slits around the middle, then crimp the edges. Transfer pie to the refrigerator to chill until firm, about 30 minutes. Heat oven to 425.

Baking Directions:

Brush egg wash over the top crust. Place the pie on a cookie or baking sheet (some juices may bubble over, and this keeps your oven clean). Bake for 20 minutes at 425, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for 30-40 minutes or until juices are bubbling. Let cool before serving.

Makes 8 servings.

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

#112 :: Cornbread Stuffed Crown Roast of Pork

Hello again! The end of the year got awfully busy for me, so I got out of the habit of coooking at home. However, the holidays are all about cooking a nice big dinner so I finally have new recipes to share! :) One of my New Year's resolutions is to get back to cooking at home more, so this blog will become active again soon!


Pork Roast:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (5-pound) crown of pork, rib ends frenched


  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 cups crumbled cornbread
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Paula Deen's Hot Sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


For the pork roast: In a blender, puree the oil, garlic, and sage until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Rub the mixture over the pork roast, making sure to cover the areas between the chops. Transfer the pork to a roasting pan and cover it with foil. Refrigerate it for at least 2 hours and up to 48 hours. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Turn the roast upside down (rib bones down) in the roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes, and then reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and roast until an instant-read thermometer reads 155 degrees F when inserted 2 inches into the center of the meat, about 1 1/2 hours more.

For the stuffing: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the green pepper, onion, celery, and garlic and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the vegetable mixture with the crumbled cornbread. Add the eggs, broth, rosemary, cilantro, hot sauce, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Slowly stir in more broth, if needed, until the stuffing is moistened. Press the stuffing into a 2-quart casserole.

Thirty minutes before removing the roast, place the stuffing in the oven. Bake until golden, about 45 minutes.

When the roast is done, remove it from the oven, tent with foil, and let stand for at least 15 minutes. When the stuffing is done, mound half of it on a serving platter. Flip the roast upright on top of the stuffing. Fill the center of the roast with the remaining stuffing. Slice at the table.

Makes 6-8 Servings

Recipe from Paula's Best Dishes on Food Network

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Still cookin'......

We've been cooking quite a bit lately, even though I haven't posted a new recipe to the blog. I've been making some things we've made before, plus doing a few cooking experiments on my own. There are so many good recipes that we've added to this blog, that sometimes I just want to go back and eat them again! So that's pretty much what we did this week...we had the Stuffed Poblano Peppers again, and the Memphis Dry Rub Ribs, mmm....and a few things we just whipped up on our own.

Chorizo Breakfast Tacos : We browned some chorizo and incorporated it into an omelet. We added some cheese, sour cream, and leftover Avocado Aioli, then wrapped it up in a corn tortilla that was warmed over the gas burner on the stove. I LOVE breakfast tacos!

Salmon and Acorn Squash on the Grill : I seasoned everything with salt, pepper & olive oil and just grilled it, and added a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice added to the salmon. I also threw in some black eyed peas for good measure. :)

Seasoned Pork Chops and Grilled Asparagus : Another quick fix meal made entirely on the grill. I seasoned the pork chops with salt & pepper, chili powder and a small amount of cayenne pepper for some spice. Onto the grill it went, along with the asparagus. When it was done, I added some butter and parmesan to the asparagus.

I'm planning out my list for next week and doing some new recipes, so get ready! :)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Vacation Food

I haven't posted in a while because we've been on vacation for the past week. I had hoped to do more cooking while on vacation, but mostly we ate out.

We stopped at Ra Sushi Bar in Plano and had some amazing sushi and fried shrimp. It was so good it's going to have to become one of my regular stops when I visit Dallas.

We also ate at Gator's, a cajun style restaurant in the West End of downtown Dallas. We had fried pickles for our appetizer, and a fried gator and catfish platter. I can't go to Texas without having some gator!!

We also ate at Pancho's (a Mexican buffet), Primo's (a Tex-Mex restaurant), Wing Stop (the best wings ever, Hawaiian BBQ!) and Jack-In-The-Box, my favorite fast food of all time! my fridge is full of groceries again, and I'm planning this week's meals. Vacation is over, back to the real world where I have to cook my own meals!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

#111 :: Chicken Stiir Fry with Green Beans

Change of pace! We had a little bit of Asian flair this week. Plus, this gave me a chance to use up some of the veggies in the fridge that wouldn't keep while we're on vacation (we leave in 3 days -- excited!!). Even though the recipe only called for green beans, I threw in a carrot, a green pepper and a red pepper.


  • 6 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, very thinly sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon Asian spice blend
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound green beans, stem ends trimmed, cut into 3-inch lengths
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced (*our addition)
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced (*our addition)
  • 1 carrot, stem ends trimmed, cut into 3-inch lengths (*our addition)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce (*I don't have this, so I used teriyaki sauce instead)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Chopped green onions, for garnish


In a bowl, combine the chicken, 4 1/2 teaspoons of the soy sauce, and Asian spice blend. Toss to coat and let sit for 10 minutes.

In a large wok or saute pan, heat the oil over high heat. Add the chicken and stirring constantly, cook until brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the beans (and veggies) and stir-fry until wrinkled, stirring, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 10 seconds. Add the remaining 3 teaspoons of soy sauce, sesame oil, teriyaki sauce and red pepper flakes. Stir to coat, and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and serve immediately, over white or basmati rice. Garnish with green onions.

Makes 4 servings

Recipe from Emeril Live on Food Network

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Monday, July 12, 2010

#110 :: Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This had a good flavor, but it wasn't the pineapple upside down cake I imagined when I started baking it. It turned out more like shortcake. It didn't rise and it was very dense. Plus, my springform pan wasn't closed tightly and half of the brown sugar leaked out while baking, so I didn't get that dark brown topping like it should have. It was good (obviously, because we ate it ALL), but it's definitely a different kind of pineapple upside down cake.



  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 6 slices pineapple or 1 can (20 ounces) can of drained pineapple chunks
  • maraschino cherries
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk (*I used 1/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup pineapple juice)


In a 9-inch square cake pan, melt butter; sprinkle with brown sugar. Arrange pineapple and cherries on sugar, making a design.

Make cake batter: Cream 1/2 cup butter; gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with the milk; beat until smooth, ending with dry ingredients. Pour over pineapple design. Bake at 375° for about 35 minutes. Let cake cool for about 5 minutes before turning out onto a serving plate. Serve warm with whipped cream, if desired.

Makes 6-8 slices

Recipe from SouthernFood.About.Com

Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

#109 :: Gold Medal Chicken Fajitas

When I say I could eat Mexican food every day, that is the absolute truth! Now that I'm learning how to cook Mexican food, we're really in for it! I added a few ingredients to this (which I've noted below) and I changed the cooking method of the peppers (also noted below).

In learning about Mexican food and how to cook it, I've found that you get the best flavor out of most peppers when they're charred instead of sauteed in a skillet. You can char them directly over the fire on your gas stove top, or you can char them in the broiler. Make sure they get black and blistered on all sides, then put them into a large freezer bag. Seal it closed for 15 minutes. This lets the peppers steam and their skins will peel off easier. When they're done steaming, chop off the top with the stem, remove the veins and seeds, and remove any charred skin. When you're done, what you have left is just the soft roasted peppers that are packed with flavor!


  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (*I just smashed a clove and included it in the marinade so I wouldn't have little minced pieces of garlic in the fajitas)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (*we added this in)
  • Dash hot sauce (*we substituted hot sauce for 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds meat (boneless, skinless chicken breast, skirt steak or peeled and deveined shrimp)
  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced lengthwise
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 poblano peppers (*we added this in)
  • 8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 lime, juiced, for topping
  • Sour cream, for topping
  • Salsa, for topping
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, un-cooked, seeded and diced (*we added this in)
  • Guacamole, for topping (*we used sliced avocados instead)
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded, for topping (*we used Monterrey Jack instead)


In a heavy duty resealable plastic bag, combine 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, hot sauce (or cayenne), salt, pepper and your choice of meat. Seal and toss the bag around to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator.

*Cook's Note: 15 minutes for shrimp, 20 minutes for chicken and 1 hour for skirt steak.

Preheat your cast iron servers in a preheated 400 degree F oven for at least 20 minutes, to get a good sizzle when you plate the fajitas.

Char the peppers (instructions above). Once charred, peeled and de-veined, slice the peppers into strips.

Heat the outside grill or a large indoor grill pan to medium-high heat. Remove the meat from the marinade and place it on the hot grill, discard the marinade. Cook chicken until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side, skirt steak about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare and about 2 minutes for shrimp. Slice the chicken and steak into strips if you are using.

In a large skillet heat up the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and fry the onions until caramelized. When done, turn off the heat and add the sliced peppers in with the onions to keep warm.

Wrap the tortillas in foil and warm them in the oven with the servers for 15 minutes.

When you are ready to serve, remove the cast iron servers from the oven and quickly arrange the meat and peppers and onions on it. It will immediately start to sizzle from their fat and moisture. Serve sizzling immediately with the warm tortillas and other accompaniments.

Makes 8 servings

Recipe from Paula's Party on Food Network

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars