“When not eating, I like shopping; although I’m afraid I’ve become a bit of a cliche.” ~ Arabella Weir

For a girl who really loves to shop – I thought I was going to love registering for baby items.  After all, I had a blast working on my wedding registry.

Wrong.

It was so stressful! Do you have any clue how many choices of baby stuff they have out nowadays???

3 hours and one stress headache later I left Babies “R” Us.

And I still have to do Target.

Now Lily Pads/Baby Bundles – a local baby boutique, will be a different story. That’s for the fun, cute, frilly items. I could do that all day long.

After all that stress I need comfort food. Which usually consists of some kind of pasta. This meal is no exception.

Beef Ragu (adapted from SlenderKitchen.com)

  • 2.5 pounds lean beef chuck, trimmed of fat
  • 1 ribs celery, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano or thyme, chopped
  • Wide noodle pasta
  1. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic to the bottom of the crock pot.
  2. Season your beef liberally with salt and pepper and add it to the crock pot.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for 6-8 hours until beef is fork tender. Serve over your favorite pasta.

Beef Ragu

Hope all is well!

-abp

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“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.” ~ Helen Keller

Ok, I am feeling adventurous today – maybe it’s the wisdom I feel because I’m a year older this week…….

In any event – I am trying a recipe I found in bon appétit. Although I love reading this magazine – this will be the first recipe out of it that I have ever attempted. They are usually a little too involved, they include ingredients that are either too hard to find or too expensive or they are something that not a whole lot of people would have to eat on an average day.

But alas, I found one that I thought would be a good fit for me and my family, especailly coming off our trip to Italy.

Garganelli with Fennel and Pork Shoulder Ragù. (sounds fancy, huh??)

I did change up a few things though.
The first being the garganelli pasta which is a hand shaped egg based tubular pasta. Well, I’ll be using dried penne pasta. Also – I do not like the taste of fennel so I replaced that ingredient with celery which is common replacement because I’m one of many who is not of fan of the licorice flavor.

So with that being said, here’s what we got.

Gargnelli Penne Pasta with Fennel Celery and Pork Shoulder Ragù

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ cups minced celery
  • 1½ cups minced onions
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1½ cups dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 6 ounces (half a can) diced tomatoes
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 8 oz Penne pasta
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • extra virgin olive oil

You start by mixing the pork and 1 tsp of salt by hands until sticky, cover and chill for at least 2 hours.

After chilling, roll pork mixture into 8-9 large meatballs (about 1/4 cup each).

Heat olive oil in large, heavy, deep pan over medium-high heat.  Cook meatballs until all sides are brown. Adjust heat so the brown bits on the bottom do not burn.

Drain meatballs on paper towel lined plate. Reduce heat to medium and scatter celery, onion and garlic in pan. Return meatballs to pan and cook for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, or until vegetables are translucent and juices have evaporated.

Add wine, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan and bring to a simmer.  Cook for about 15 minutes or until the wine has reduced by 3/4.

Add the chicken broth and tomatoes. Return to a simmer, once again scraping up brown bits.  Continue to simmer with the lid slightly ajar for about 2½ hours, stirring occasionally.

When finished cooking, remove meatballs and break up into small pieces and season with salt and pepper. Then return to pan.

Add cook pasta to ragù, mix well.

Serve topped with cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Such a hardy and unique meal.  It tasted very authentic – and I can say that since I still can taste all that yummy food with had in Italy (more on that next week).

This took a little time but it was well worth it!

Hope everyone has had a great week! TGIF!!!!

abp

“I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray, I hear it in the deep heart’s core.” – William Butler Yeats

Fabulous day! For starters, the weather could not have been better – it felt like fall when I walked outside to get the paper.

NO humidity!!!!

So after coffee and a couple loads of clothes, it was off to Church – the service was great, as usual. 🙂

Then it was home to shed the spiffy duds and off to the lake with a quick stop at KFC’s drive through – have you tried their new chicken bites??? If not, I recommend you do – yummy!

The next few hours were spent bobbing around on our floats working on our tans, yapping away with my mom and the hubby as he read on the dock. It really is the simple things in life that make it special.

When I returned home (a touch pink) I really wanted to cook something simple and light. So I decided on Spicy Lemon Butter baked red snapper and a lemon orzo salad with asparagus and tomatoes.

The salad is adapted from SparkRecipes.com – lots of good healthy recipes on this site. The snapper recipe is from my dear friend Dianne, who whipped this up last time she was at the beach and she passed it on to me. (Thank you D.C.!)

Lemon Orzo Salad with Asparagus and Tomatoes

  • 6 oz of orzo pasta
  • ½ bunch of skinny asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • ½ pint of grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley minced
  • kosher salt (to taste)
  • fresh ground pepper (to taste)
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Start by boiling 2 large pots of salted water.

Cook orzo according to package in one and blanch the asparagus for 2-3 minutes in the other. Drain pasta and remove asparagus with slotted spoon to an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

Combine orzo, tomatoes and asparagus in large bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper.

Mix all ingredients together and then stir in Parmesan cheese.

This can be served warm, room temperature or chilled. I liked it chilled – great summer salad!

The snapper (bought from my fish man, Bayou Joe) was super easy and very flavorful!!

Place the snapper skin down in baking dish. Pour 1 stick of melted butter over the filets, sprinkle with cajun seasoning, garlic salt and cover with lemon slices.

Bake at 425° for 25 minutes.

There you go! Simple and healthy!!

Now I’m off to watch the Olympic Closing Ceremonies!!

Hope everyone had a super fabulous weekend!

abp