Dinner

Penne Arrabiata

OMG! Absolutely delicious! One of the best benefits of working from home is that Eric finds great recipes to try and this one was absolutely delicious!

This was a wonderful and very special dinner. The kiddos were out so we made it a special date night, with great bottle of Stags Leap Chardonnay (I know we should of had a red, but we just got our case yesterday of Chardonnay) and a delicious appetizer of arancini from a local Italian market.

As you might be aware Ina Garten is our absolute favorite chefs. We always wished we lived next door to her. Her Penne Arrabiata is easy, elegant and delicious. You can not go wrong making this.

My personal chef at work

Ingredients

2/3 cup good olive oil

1 cup whole peeled garlic cloves (24 cloves) 

2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes 

2 teaspoons whole fennel seeds, chopped 

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 

1/3 cup dry red wine, such as Chianti 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup julienned fresh basil leaves, plus extra for serving 

1 pound dry penne rigate, such as DeCecco 

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving 

Directions

In a medium (10-inch) pot or Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the garlic has softened and is lightly browned.

Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes, place them in a food processor fitted with the steel blade, and pulse until they’re roughly chopped. With a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to the food processor and pulse again to chop the garlic. Pour the tomato mixture into the pot with the olive oil, add the fennel, red pepper flakes, red wine, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the basil, taste for seasonings (it will be very spicy!), and keep warm over very low heat.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a full boil. Add 2 tablespoons kosher salt and the penne and cook according to the directions of the package.

Two minutes before the pasta is al dente, using a wire or spider strainer, lift the pasta out of the boiling water and add it to the sauce, along with 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, until the pasta is al dente. Spoon the pasta into low shallow bowls, sprinkle with extra basil and Parmesan cheese, and serve hot.

Dinner

One Pot Creamy Sausage and Shells

So our son Ian is moving off campus this fall and asked us to show him some recipes that he can create on his own. So, we found a new recipe that hit all his food criteria. Pasta, cheese and sausage!

This is a one pot recipe that is from Betty Crocker and was super easy to make. All ingredients are pretty much in the pantry or freezer. (We always have sausage in our freezer) This comes together in about 40 minutes. And is easy cleanup!

Made by our son!

Ingredients

1tablespoon olive oil

1lb bulk mild Italian sausage

1/2cup diced red onion

4cloves garlic, chopped

1/4teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4teaspoon salt

1carton (32 oz) Progresso™ chicken broth

1jar (24.5 oz) Muir Glen™ organic tomato basil pasta sauce

1lb uncooked medium pasta shells

1/2cup heavy whipping cream

1/2cup shredded Parmesan cheese (2 oz)

2tablespoons shredded fresh basil leaves

  • In 5-quart Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink. Using slotted spoon, transfer to bowl; cover and keep warm.
  • Add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt to oil and drippings in pan; cook over medium-high heat 1 to 2 minutes or until softened and starting to brown.
  • Stir in broth and pasta sauce; heat to boiling. Stir in pasta; return to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 11 to 13 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is cooked to desired tenderness and sauce is thickened.
  • Stir in sausage and whipping cream; return to simmering. Remove from heat. Top with cheese and basil.
Dinner, Seafood

Seared Basil Scallops with Pesto Orzo

It’s was Friday night and I was looking something to do with the Scallops we had in the freezer.  I started to look in my old binder of recipes from years ago and found a recipe from a Working Mother magazine dated July 1999.  The note posted below it said good, so that was enough for me. 

About a half hour before dinner time, I started to defrost the Scallops under running cold water. Then I started the prep. I have learned to get everything ready and within arms reach when cooking. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to find an ingredient while your cooking.

This recipes come together pretty quickly. Served with a vegetable of your choice and a great glass of wine.

  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 1 lb large sea scallops
  • 1/2 cup refrigerated prepared pesto, divided
  • 2 Tblsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • In a small saucepan, cook orzo according to package directions; drain
  • For Scallops: Using a sharp knife, cut a horizontal slit nearly through each scallop, then spread about a 1/4 tsp of pesto in center; close scallop
  • Warm olive oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add scallops; brown 2 minutes on each side, until cooked through, remove to plate.
  • Turn off heat under skillet, add lemon juice and cook about 10 seconds, stirring to incorporate brown bits. Pour juices over scallops.
  • In medium serving bowl, toss drained orzo with remaining 1/3 cup pesto. Serve Scallops over orzo. Serves 4.

Dinner, Pasta

Italian Sausage and Shells Dinner

Quick Dinner idea! Do you have pasta, sausage and diced tomatoes on hand? Heavy cream as well? Then this would be a great weeknight dinner that comes together really quickly. This made a really great meal paired with a salad for Eric, Emily and I last week when she was here for dinner between calls.. Emily was going to take the leftovers home for her boyfriend’s dinner but forgot! So lucky me – great lunch today!

  • 8 ounces uncooked medium shells
  • 1 lb. Italian sausages (spicy or mild) crumbled
  • 1/2 medium onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 (14 fluid ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1 (14 fluid ounce) can finely chopped or crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil, torn to taste (optional)
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste
  1. Boil a salted pot of water for the pasta. Cook the shells al dente according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the onion and take the sausages out of their casings and crumble it into a skillet. Sauté the onion and sausage over medium-high heat for 7 minutes, stirring it occasionally.
  3. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Drain the fat from the pan.
  5. Add the canned tomatoes to the pan. Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes.
  6. Stir in the cream, basil, and season the sauce with salt & pepper as needed. Cook for another minute or two and then toss with the drained pasta.

Dinner, Pasta

Creamy Mushroom Pasta

A yummy weeknight dinner that doesn’t disappoint! This is how I would decribe this recipe. I found this on on the site Salt and Lavendar. This is a new site that we follow and this recipe jumped out to my hubby. In my opinion it is like a lighter version of alfredo.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces uncooked fettuccine
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 7 ounces mushrooms sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2 dashes Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley chopped, to taste
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste (optional)

Instructions

  • Boil a large, salted pot of water for the pasta and cook it al dente according to package directions. 
  • Meanwhile, add the butter and oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and garlic to the pan and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the mushrooms release most of their water and it’s cooked off. Take the mushrooms out of the pan and set aside.
  • Add the wine, Italian seasoning, lemon juice, flour, and Dijon mustard to the pan. Stir until it becomes a smooth paste.  Stir in the cream and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the mushrooms back into the pan. Reduce the heat and cook for a few more minutes until the sauce has thickened up a bit. Season sauce with salt & pepper as needed.
  • Drain the pasta and toss it with the sauce along with the parsley and parmesan if using. 
Dinner, Pasta

Spinach and Artichoke Ravioli Lasanga

With Lent upon us we are always looking from some new Lenten favorites. Having seen this on on Pinterest, we decided to give it a try. The only thing we were missing was the frozen spinach, so a quick trip to the store and added an extra to the freezer. The recipe came together very quickly and was very good too. Too bad our kids weren’t home to give this a try as they would love it.

INGREDIENTS
3 tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. flour
2 c. milk (preferably whole)
2 tbsp. cream cheese, softened
1 c. shredded mozzarella, divided
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan
1 (14-oz.) can artichoke hearts, chopped
2 c. frozen spinach, defrosted and chopped
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
2 lb. frozen cheese ravioli
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 375°. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk the flour into the butter and garlic and cook until the mixture is bubbling and golden, 1 minute more. Gradually pour in the milk, whisking constantly. Bring mixture to a simmer then stir in cream cheese, 2/3 cup mozzarella, and Parmesan. Let simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Fold in artichoke hearts and spinach, then add lemon juice and red pepper flakes, if using, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
Spread a thin layer of your prepared sauce onto the bottom of a 9″-x-13″ baking dish. Lay ravioli in a single layer in the bottom of the baking dish, then top with half the prepared sauce. Repeat with remaining ravioli and remaining sauce. Top with remaining cheese and bake 30 minutes, until sauce is bubbling and ravioli are tender.
If you’d like the top to be golden, broil on high for 2 to 3 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Dinner

Goulash!

When someone mentions comfort food people think meatloaf or mac and cheese.  I dig back in my childhood memories and Goulash pops up.  My Dad was great at throwing things together and creating a tasty meal or soup.  When I was little 9 up to about 12 years old) my parents ran a small town diner and Dad manned the kitchen.  Dinners were generally from the diner and generally prepared quickly and pretty hearty.  None of my Dad’s recipes were written down, so I like to try and recreate them from either memory or find something similar and close to it. This recipe was pretty close.  I lightened it up with a half ground beef, half ground turkey.  This is a good meal to make in a hurry because most of this is pretty much on hand pantry items.  With the snowstorm coming this might be a great meal to make.

Ingredients

2 onions chopped
1 pounds lean ground beef

1 pound ground turkey breast
2 cloves garlic minced
1 jar tomato based pasta sauce approx. 26 oz.
1 28  oz cans diced tomatoes, un-drained
1 can 6 oz tomato paste
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 bay leaves
3 cups water
salt & black pepper to taste
2 cups macaroni noodles uncooked
1 cup cheddar cheese



Cook ground beef, onion and garlic over medium high heat until no pink remains. Drain any fat.
Add pasta sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, seasonings and bay leaves. Simmer covered for 15 minutes.

Add in the in the macaroni and continue to simmer, covered, stirring occasionally until pasta is tender (about 20 minutes). Remove & discard bay leaves. Top with cheese and replace the lid. Let sit about 5 minutes or until melted.