Wednesday, March 31, 2010

RECIPE: Spicy Shrimp and Chicken Pasta

I would like to introduce you to my new favorite dish! And the butter and heavy cream doesn't have ANYTHING to do with it! ;-)

First we start with our ingredients... our lovely, lovely ingredients.

What do we have hear? Quite a plethora of goods! Take it all in... because this one moves fast! I recommend you spend a few moments preparing your ingredients ahead of time because once you turn on the heat this goes pretty fast!

First, we chop our fresh "veg"...

And then we take out the freshly dried (and then freshly reconstituted) sun-dried tomatoes.

Give 'em a quick chop... and set aside.

In the meantime, I cut up our jumbo shrimp into bite-size pieces.

Cut the chicken tenders as well... and arrange them all neatly on a plate.

Next step: it's time to dress the meat! And by "dress" I mean, season them. Here we have garlic powder, onion powder and chili powder.

Just a quick sprinkle ... super simple! And for good measure, some kosher salt too!

And now it's time to heat things up! When sauteing my "veg" I usually use a little olive oil and a little butter. (The butter adds great flavor while the olive oil has a higher burn temperature. So when you mix the oil with the butter it allows us to saute at a slightly higher temperature.)

Sliced shallots and mushrooms in the hot pan!

This will take a few minutes so I got the pasta down in the generously-salted boiling water. (Here's my way of making this dish healthy - I used whole wheat pasta and it was yummy!)

Allow the veggies to saute down, and soften nicely, for about 3-4 minutes. Then add your chicken (chicken takes a bit longer to cook than shrimp - so we will add the shrimp in a moment).

Stir it all around the pan a bit and make sure than chicken is cooking even on all sides.

Once the chicken looks like the pink is almost gone, add your shrimp and give it a stir! The shrimp will immediately start to turn that beautiful color of corral! (I love that color - and it means the shrimp is almost done!)

Quickly moving into the next steps: add the cream, romano cheese and nutmeg. Stir.

The cayenne pepper goes in at this point. Stir well. Make sure the cheese is melting!

And for good measure, I added just a little more cheese. Shaved parmesan this time.

Next we add in the sun-dried tomatoes (chopped)... but because I didn't have enough of the tomatoes, I also added a teaspoon of "sun-dried tomato pesto" (in fact, you can completely substitute out the tomatoes with this pesto instead).

Stir until the parmesan has melted and the tomatoes are even distrtibuted. And lastly, add the sliced green onions. One more stir...

Then it's time to fold in the cooked/drained pasta!

Mix well... making sure to coat each penne with some sauce! Believe me when I say this - you don't want to waste any of this sauce... you just don't!

Make sure to serve it up with something to soak up that heavenly juice... we had garlic bread with dinner. Perfect way to soak up those juices... perfect!

Spicy Shrimp and Chicken Pasta

4-5 chicken tenders, diced
1 ½ tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
10-12 large raw shrimp, peeled, tail removed and cleaned
½ cup fresh crimini mushrooms, cleaned and diced
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
2 green onions, diced
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, reconstituted and diced (or 1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato pesto sauce)
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon chili powder
salt and pepper, to taste
1 ½ cups heavy cream
3/4 cup romano cheese, grated
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
8 ounces dry penne or bow tie pasta

Add butter to a large sauté pan on medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add mushrooms and shallot. Allow the veg to sauté until slightly softened (about 3-4 minutes). Season the shrimp and chicken pieces with garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder and salt. Once the veg is softened, add the shrimp/chicken and sauté until almost done (this should only take about 3-4 minutes). Add the cream, Romano cheese, cayenne pepper and nutmeg. Let cream reduce slightly, stirring frequently. Add the green onions and diced sun-dried tomatoes... toss (holding some of the green oniones for garnish). Meanwhile, cook pasta al dente according to package directions; drain excess water. Toss cooked pasta with contents of sauté pan. Serve. Top with diced green onions and parmesan cheese.

enjoy your time in the kitchen...

Oh the thrill of the tomato

Sweet, sweet sun-dried tomatoes... these jewels of sweet taste are, well, so sweet!!!

They just need a little tending to before you can enjoy them in a meal. They are simple... bring water to boil, drop in the pieces of sun-dried tomatoes and let them hang out for about 30 minutes. Then they can be sliced and used in a dish of your liking. (Or you can let them sit in olive oil for up to 24 hours and use them the same.)

But don't toss the water - you can use it in a soup! (If you aren't going to use it right away, chuck it into the freezer.)

See how easy that was?! Tonight I'm going to use them in my recipe for Spicy Shrimp and Chicken! Oh yum...

More on this later... and you'll WANT to come back for this one!

enjoy your time in the kitchen...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Made-To-Order Roast Beef Sandwiches (and Josie's Potato salad)

Around here we love our roast beef! In fact, my hero-of-a-hubby demands it quite often. He's not much of a white meat guy (unless it's lobster of course). But how do I get his veggies in him? With this sandwich (ok, so it's only onion and green peppers - who cares?!)...

The onion is sliced... like this...

The pepper is sliced... like this...

And then I set aside hubby's ingredients while I work on mine (I don't like peppers in my sandwich). This is how we do made-to-order in our house. Yes, it's that simple. DON'T add what you don't like. DO add what you do like!

The crimini mushrooms (baby portobellos) are sliced... like this...

And then I get my own bowl of yummy ingredients...

Then? Get out the saute pans... add a little olive oil and butter and turn on the heat! (The butter adds great flavor while the olive oil has a higher burn temperature and mixed with the butter allows us to saute confidently.)

Add the veggies and toss every minute or so...

Add a little salt... to pull out the natural juices of the veggies so they can saute.

Saute and toss for several minutes until the veggies have softened... tossing every minute or so...

And add your sliced roast beef. (Our deli actually had onion-flavored london broil on sale - so that's what we have this time around!)

It's already cooked, so you only toss the meat with the hot veggies for about 30 seconds.

Turn on your broiler, lay out your bread... and toast your buns!

Once toasted, top your buns with the appropriate mix of ingredients and a few slices of provolone. (Yes, this means the hubby is having two sandwiches tonight! He played golf today and worked up an appetitte while walking about 5 miles on the course... can you blame the guy?!)

Slide your cookie sheet under the broiler and watch closely. You don't want to waste these goods! About 2-3 minutes later you have this...

If you like mayo, slather some on your sandwich lid. And you know where to go from here... really, I've been typing descriptions to all of these pictures just for fun. They are rather self-explanatory. Right?!

Cut your sandwich in half...

And my hero-of-a-hubby recommends you serve it up with some of Josie's Potato Salad. It's our favorite!

Josie's Potato Salad
Recipe courtesy my friend Josie

4 large baking potatoes (Russets work everytime)
3 – 4 boiled eggs, diced
½ cup light mayonnaise
Dab mustard, just a touch
1-3 tablespoons relish (optional)
Salt/pepper to taste

Wash and dice potatoes (keep skin on) – after boiling, allow to cool. (Some people like the potatoes a bit crunchy; Jossie and I like them soft.) Place diced potatoes and eggs in large bowl.
In small bowl - combine mayo, mustard and relish and mix together well. Add small amount of milk for thinning, if desired. Pour over potato mixture, stir until well-mixed.

Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

enjoy your time in the kitchen...


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