“Do you know how helpless you feel if you have a full cup of coffee in your hand and you start to sneeze?” ~ Jean Kerr

I’m still enjoying the new kitchen so I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in there.

This has made the men in my life happy.

The following is a very simple recipe I can honestly say I wasn’t expecting to be anything special but it got rave reviews from the family.  Unfortunately, I have had a nasty cold and I couldn’t really taste it so I’m taking their word for it! These colds our little princess brings home from school really knock mommy on her butt.

I have caught every. single. one. Totally over it.

Shrimp and Spinach Pasta

  • 1 lb fresh shrimp, peeled and deviened
  • 5 medium, vine ripened tomatoes
  • 3 cups, lightly packed spinach
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced (jar kind is fine)
  • garlic salt
  • pepper
  • paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  •  A pinch of crushed red pepper, more if you light more heat.
  • 8-10 oz of cooked fettuccine
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Season shrimp with pepper, paprika and garlic salt.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium/high heat.  Add shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until no longer translucent.

Once cooked add in garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Next, add tomatoes, lemon juice, red pepper, Italian seasoning and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.

Finally, add in fresh spinach, cover for a few minutes  to wilt then stir to combine.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over cooked fettuccine and top with Parmesan cheese.

-abp

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“I always had a fantasy of being a chef, because I like kitchen life.” ~ Geoffrey Rush

Have new kitchen, will cook.

There is nothing like a new kitchen to get you out of the cooking rut. I’ve always loved to cook but for the past year, I’ve had to drag myself to the kitchen. I don’t know what the problem was but I believe I found a solution!

A new kitchen!

We just moved and I love, love the new space. The best part about it is that there are tons of cabinets! This makes it so easy to get to the things you need to cook. No digging or unstacking required. Makes putting up clean dishes a breeze as well.

So, hopefully now I can get back to the business of cooking and blogging about it.

Recipe #2 cooked in new kitchen is as follows:

Fajita Pasta

  • 1 lb chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning, divided
  • 1 medium yellow or sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped (I used red and yellow because my husband doesn’t like green)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (jar kind is fine)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 heavy cream
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes (mild for less heat)
  • 8 oz of bowtie pasta
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • sour cream
  • cilantro (optional, didn’t have any but wish I had)

Season chicken with half of the taco seasoning. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in large skillet over medium high heat and cook chicken until cooked through (approx 8-9 mins). Remove from pan.

While chicken cooks, season chopped veggies with the remaining half of taco seasoning. After removing chicken, add the other tablespoon of oil to skillet, followed by the vegetables. Cook, stirring occasionally until they are slightly charred then add in the minced garlic and stir for around 30 seconds. Once done, remove and add to chicken.

In the same skillet add the broth, cream, rotel, salt and pasta, scraping the browned bits off bottom of skillet. Bring to a boil, cover and reduced to medium. Cook for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Finally, add chicken and veggies back to skillet and warm through.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkled with chopped cilantro.


-abp

 

“The early bird may get the worm, but its the second mouse that gets the cheese.” ~ Jeremy Paxman

Macaroni and Cheese is honesty one of my favorite foods of all time.

I really don’t think you can beat the kind in the blue box with the powder but it is always such a luxury to order the Mac n Cheese with black truffles in a fine restaurant.

Being someone that is still (yes still) trying to get the final baby pounds off, it’s not something I feel I should very make often. But luckily I get to indulge in my guilty pleasure more often because it is my sweet stepson’s favorite thing to eat and he always ask for me to try and make different ones.

I am always happy to oblige. 🙂

Copycat Panera Mac & Cheese

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 ¾ cup whole milk
  • 8 oz. shredded white cheddar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ Tbsp of dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1lb pasta, cooked (corkscrew, shells, elbow etc.)

Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and set aside.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium high heat until melted. Whisk in flour and cook for one minute to make your roux.

Reduce heat to medium and while whisking constantly, add the mild, cream, salt, pepper, mustard,  and hot sauce.

Continue to whisk until it starts to bubble.

Reduce heat to low and add cheese. Keep stirring until completely melted.

Remove from heat and stir in pasta.

Let sit for 4-5 minutes and serve.

Copycat Panera Mac & Cheese

-abp

 

 

“How quick come the reasons for approving what we like!” ~ Jane Austen

Some days I just need to make something quick for dinner.

I don’t mean a frozen pizza but something I actually make.

Something I can feel good about, knowing, I cooked dinner for my family.

But dang it,  sometimes I don’t feel like spending 30-45 minutes in the kitchen making dinner.

As you can tell, I’m not feeling very domestic today. I want/need to feed my family, I want/need to eat and I don’t want/need to get  take out.

The following recipe is a perfect fix for that dilemma.

Make a quick sauce. Boil noodles. Done.

20 minutes top.

I’ll even one up it and throw frozen garlic bread in the oven.

You know, I could try and be hip and say this is a “Meatless Monday” meal.

Even though it is just Sunday……but I’m just not that hip. 🙂

Oh well, it was very tasty, the hubs is happy and I can get back to working on my needlepoint.

Nice lazy day.

Pasta with Tuscan Cream Sauce

(adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe)

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed or the kind in a jar
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened and cut into 8 pieces
  • 8-ounce jar sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste, if needed

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes.

Add basil, then cream cheese. Whisk constantly for 2-3 minutes until smooth and creamy

Stir in sun-dried tomatoes.

Gradually add the milk, ¼ cup at a time. Each time, whisking until completely blended in sauce.

Once all milk is incorporated, stir in cheese, pepper and salt.

Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring until the cheese is melted (5-10 minutes).

Serve over warm, cooked bow-tie pasta.

Garnish with Parmesan cheese and chopped tomatoes.

**This would be great with a grilled chicken breast**

IMG_0426

-abp

“People find life entirely too time consuming.” ~ Stanislaw J. Lec

Oh! The lazy days of summer.  I love it!

Although, that saying doesn’t ring true much anymore.  Schedules are crazy and there is no structure or there is too much structure. Years ago you didn’t even need structure because life was just simple.

You got up, you went out to play, you came in for lunch and a little down time (mine was watching I Love Lucy and The Andy Griffith Show at 12:00 and 12:30 while I ate my lunch on the floor in front of the TV) and then you went back out until dinner time which was followed by a bath and a little more down time before you got in the bed.

You got up and did it again.

For 3 months. 3 whole months.

Life was perfect. And simple.

I really do feel sorry for today’s children, they will never know that sense of “easy”.

Makes me sad.

On another note something that is easy and makes me happy are simple things like one skillet meals. I have posted several on here and now I have another to add to the category.

These are perfect for those more hectic summer days.

BBQ Chicken Skillet Pasta

(adapted from Damn Delicious)

  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more, to taste
  • 3 cups rotini pasta
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, or more, to taste
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a large skillet or pot, brown bacon until crispy, then remove from pan reserving 1 Tablespoon of fat.

Add chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes or until browned on all sides.

Add garlic and onions and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes or until soft.

Mix in chicken broth, tomatoes, milk, red pepper flakes, pasta, salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce and simmer for around 15 minutes or until pasta is cooked.

Stir in BBQ sauce, bacon and cheese. Mix until heated through.

 

 

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-abp

“You know what the secret to weight loss is? Don’t eat much.” ~ Simon Cowell

Okay, I’ve been on this healthier, lower carb, gotta loose some baby weight diet for the past few days.

I’ve never liked it, never been good at it and pretty much know I will never stick to it for long but sometimes it just has to be done.

This time around though, I’ve tried to be creative with my “chicken”. Think outside the box a little. So last night, instead of a typical grilled chicken salad – I decided to step it up with Taziki’s Friday Pasta Salad. (with whole grain pasta, of course)

It was fabulous – it did not feel like diet food at all, which is good because I would just as soon eat nothing than eat blah food.

The recipe below is for the full recipe of the dressing which can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks and is great to throw on any salad. The remaining ingredients can be adjusted to how many you are serving. Of course you could always half the dressing too.

Taziki’s Friday Pasta

Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon green onion or shallot, minced
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ cups olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Salad

  • 3 chicken breasts, seasoned with Greek seasoning and pan fried, chopped
  • 1 lb of whole wheat penne pasta
  • 2 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bag mixed greens
  • 1 bag of baby spinach
  • Handful of chopped basil

For the dressing, put first 6 ingredients through mustard in bowl, mix. Then slowly whisk in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate, covered for at least 30 minutes.

Combine chopped chicken and cooked pasta and coat with dressing (amount determined by how much you made)

Mix greens and place a serving size on each plate. Top with pasta/chicken mixture. Then sprinkle tomatoes, feta and basil.

You may want to add a little dressing to your greens as well. Just a personal preference and how healthy you want to be. 😉

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-abp

“A kiss makes the heart young again and wipes out the years.” ~ Rupert Brooke

I love Valentine’s Day – the love, the candy, the colors.  It’s just a fun but low key holiday. A time that you can be cheesy in love with your significant other or other family members.

My husband’s favorite type of food is Italian, so in honor of my sweetheart this Valentine’s Day week, I am making three Italian dinners. The first one being a very simple dish that on a plate doesn’t look so simple.

Would be a great 1st dinner you cook for a new love! 🙂

Sweetheart Tomato and Basil Chicken

(adapted from Menu Musings of an American Modern Mom)

  • 1 lb fettuccine
  • 4 chicken cutlets
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Dry Italian seasoning
  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pints of cherry tomatoes (halved and quartered)
  • 2 Tablespoons minced garlic (I used the jarred kind to save time)
  • 4 Tablespoons cold butter
  • ¾ cup basil – divided (cut into ribbons)
  • Parmesan Cheese

Start water for fettuccine and heat up olive oil in large pan on medium/high heat.

Season both sides of chicken with salt, pepper and Italian seasonings.

Brown chicken for 4-5 minutes on both sides.

Add in tomatoes, garlic, ½ cup basil and butter. Cook down for about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cover and keep warm until fettuccine is ready.

Serve chicken over pasta with sauce and top with remaining basil and Parmesan cheese.

Love on a plate!

Sweetheart Tomato and Basil Chicken | Poore Amy-abp

“Having children is exciting. Life puts the past into perspective.” ~ Sam Taylor-Wood

By the time Friday rolls around, we are both pretty tired and the last thing I really want to do is cook, so it’s usually a night we go out to dinner.

But since pumpkin head has been around it’s sometimes easier to stay in and cook than it is to get ready to go out. (A whole new world, I tell ya! 🙂 )

So this Friday night – I’m cooking.

But don’t worry – I’m not exerting too much effort.

Simple but delicious.
That’s the plan for tonight.

Spicy Shrimp Pasta
(Adapted from Kevin & Amanda)

  • 4 oz fettuccine pasta
  • 3/4 lb raw shrimp, peeled, deviened and tails removed
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp cajun seasoning

Cook pasta according to directions.

Sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper.  Then coat evenly with flour. Heat butter and oil over medium-high heat, add shrimp in one layer and cook for 2-3 minutes or until brown. Flip shrimp and cook other side. Remove from pan.

Deglaze (pour in chicken broth and scrape brown bits off bottom) pan with chicken broth for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add cream, whisking constantly. Cook until bubbly and cream starts to thicken. Add cajun seasoning and salt and pepper to taste.  Add pasta and shrimp. Toss to coat.

As I stated, simple but delicious.  A perfect meal for 2.

phonto

-abp

“Three Rules of Work: 1) Out of clutter find simplicity; 2) From discord find harmony; 3) In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” ~ Albert Einstein

Yes, I know.

This is my 3rd skillet meal in a row.

But OH MY GOSH they are easy.  I thought the crock pot was easy.  This is like insta-crockpot. Granted, I like anything with pasta, so I’m pretty much sold there but when you add in quick, flavorful and in one pan. Shoot, what’s not to like??

Sweet Apple Sausage Pasta

(adapted from Iowa Girl Eats)

  • 8 oz. short cut pasta (reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water)
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot or 1 small onion, chopped
  • 12oz Sweet-Apple Chicken Sausage, sliced
  • 1 sweet apple (about 1 cup), chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch red chili pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • 15oz can Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6oz spinach
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

Cook pasta until al dente.

Heat olive oil over med high heat and brown sausage and onion in large non-stick skillet.  Add apple, garlic and seasoning and cook until apple is tender.

Then add in chicken broth, beans and spinach and warm/stir until spinach is wilted.

Pour in the sausage/apple mixture into pasta and add reserved little to get your desired consistency.

Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

photo-13Ok, I told a little fib earlier – this took 2 pots but it was totally worth it!!! The flavors in this are totally different but totally amazing. I LOVED it!!!

-abp

“The countdown to success always starts when you make up your mind to take one step forward.” ~ unknown

Let the countdown begin!

We have around two weeks left until we get to see our sweet bundle of joy!!

This also means my husband has about 1 week or so left of me cooking at home for a while. 🙂

So when I ran across this recipe on Lindsay’s blog – Normal Cooking – I knew I must make it for him because one – it’s simple and two – it has Italian sausage in it and he loves Italian sausage.

This is his favorite Italian sausage:

photo-11

Italian Pasta Skillet

(adapted from Normal Cooking)

  • 12 oz Italian sausage, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic and Oregano, undrained
  • 1 can (8 oz) Tomato Sauce
  • 1-1/4 cups hot water
  • 8 ounces pasta of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian Seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 pkg (6 oz) baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Brown sausage in a non stick skillet.

Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, seasoning and pasta. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally.

Stir in spinach until it wilts. Stir in cheese until melted.

Serve with more cheese sprinkled on top

photo-10He really loved it and I’m glad because it was so very easy to make!

-abp