Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cajun Pasta and Da Beans

Okay so maybe you can get sick of pumpkin. I'm admitting defeat. Me and the pumpkin are taking a little break because I may have eaten a little too much of that yummy cake in my last post. But a good friend of mine sent me some pumpkin butter in the mail for my birthday so I'm pretty sure this will be a quick break so I can jump right in to that. Said friend also sent me an awesome soup cookbook from Crate & Barrel. I can't wait to share some of those recipes with you!

Last night's dinner was really good and didn't take long at all, maybe 30 minutes. The key to this meal is to make sure you time everything just right so that the pasta and the sauce are ready at the same time. (It would also help to have the green beans finished then as well.) Oh and of course, don't forget the wine! Also, I halved the actual recipes listed.

Brown Butter Beans
Source: Cuisine At Home

4 cups green beans or haricot vert
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt, pepper

Boil green beans for 4 minutes in a large saute pan. Drain,
Use pan to melt butter over medium-high heat until light brown.
Stir in garlic for 30 seconds.
Deglaze pan with lemon juice. Remove from heat.
Add beans and toss before seasoning.

Cajun Shrimp with Fettuccine
inspired by recipe from Cuisine At Home
makes 6 cups

1/2 lb. FRESH fettuccine
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 lb. turkey kielbasa, sliced
1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 egg yolks, beaten
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup green onion, chopped


Bring water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Prepare sauce while water boils. Drain pasta.

Saute kielbasa over medium-high heat in a pan about 1 minute on each side. Add shrimp and garlic. Cook until shrimp turns pink. Be careful not to overcook. Remove shrimp and kielbasa from the pan.

Deglaze the pan with sherry. Scrap up the brown bits in the pan.

Add cream, butter, chicken broth, and cayenne to the pan. Then add the pasta, kielbasa, and shrimp back in. Off heat, mix in the egg yolks and parm. (The heat will cook the yolks.) Garnish with green onions.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I'm Not Done With the Pumpkin!

I know Thanksgiving has passed (and I hope you had a good holiday with lots of delicious food.) But, I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to the pumpkin stuff. In my defense, I didn't have any pumpkin pie this year. Though, I did have one too many Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes. So last night, I decided to go buy some pumpkin and make a breakfast cake. It was just as good as I hoped it would be even if the cashiers looked at me strangely for buying pumpkin two days AFTER Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Walnut Streusel

1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 cup Sour Cream
1 can of Pumpkin (15 oz.)
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 cup Brown Sugar
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 cup Walnuts, Chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 13x9 in. baking pan.

Using an electric mixer, combine 1/2 cup butter, 3/4 cup sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat 3 eggs into the mixture.

Mix flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a separate bowl.  Mix flour mixture into the butter mixture alternately with the sour cream. Set aside.

Pumpkin part: 
Stir pumpkin with one beaten egg, 1/3 cup sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside

Cut brown sugar into 1/3 cup butter and cinnamon. Once blended, stir in walnut pieces.

In greased pan, spread half of the batter.  Layer half of the streusel on top. Next, spread the pumpkin over it evenly. Then, spread the rest of the batter over the top before sprinking on the rest of the stresuel. Bake for 50 minutes.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Seriously Good

I'm really excited about this recipe because it was fairly easy and the results were amazing. I had always had bolognese sauces with pappardelle which is delicious too but I was missing out all these years. Creamy polenta is the way to go but not just the packaged kind. Try preparing your own, it's quick and easy. I will definitely be making this again. While it tastes good, it unfortunately doesn't make for a really pretty picture.

Beef Bolognese Sauce
makes 6 servings
Source: www.CuisineAtHome.com

1 T. olive oil
1 lb. ground chuck (I used grass-fed sirloin instead)
1/2 lb. bulk Italian sausage, crumbled (I like to use the spicy version for a kick)
1/2 cup onions, minced
1/2 cup carrots, grated
1/2 cup celery, grated
3 T. tomato paste
1 T.  garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry red wine
1 can crushed tomatoes (14.5 oz.)
1 cup heavy cream (less if you don't want the added fat)
salt and pepper
fresh parsley
grated Parmesan


Brown the beef and sausage in olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.

Add onions, celery, carrots, tomato paste, garlic, and bay leaf. Saute about 5 more minutes.

Deglaze pan with wine; bring to a boil and simmer until almost evaporated. Stir in tomatoes and cream, simmer over medium-high heat 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over polenta.

Garnish with parsley and parm.

Creamy Polenta
makes 4 cups
Source: www.CuisineAtHome.com


2 cups chicken broth
2 cups whole milk
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. black pepper
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup parmesan, grated
2 T. olive oil


Bring broth, milk, salt, and pepper to a boil. Whisk in the cornmeal, reduce heat to low and continue stirring for 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat and stir in cheeses and oil. Serve with sauce.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hearty Fall Pasta

I don't know if this recipe will appeal to a lot of people since so many get scared away by blue cheese but it really was yummy and so easy! Actually, butternut squash is a pain to cube. HINT: Trader Joe's sells butternut squash already cut  up and cubed for you. Score! I made half the recipe for two people and still had a good amount of leftovers.

Pappardelle with Butternut Squash and Blue Cheese
Source: Better Homes and Gardens
Recipe takes about 45 minutes and produces probably 8 servings.


1 large butternut squash, 2-3/4- 3-1/4 lbs., or 1-3/4 lbs. ready-cubed (6 cups) 
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons Marsala
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup pine nuts
1 pound pappardelle
6 fresh sage leaves
5 ounces soft blue cheese, such as Saint Agur

1. Peel, halve, and seed the butternut squash; cut into roughly 1-inch cubes.
2. Cook onion in olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan that can accommodate the pasta later. When the onion starts to become golden, add the paprika.
3. Stir butter and squash into onion mixture in pan. Add Marsala and water. Bring to a simmer. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer about 10 minutes or until squash is tender but still holds its shape.
4. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to boiling; add hefty pinch of salt. Cook pasta according to package directions. Toast pine nuts in a hot, dry frying pan on the stove top until dark gold. Pour them into a bowl or onto a plate to cool.
5. Lightly season squash mixture to taste with salt (the blue cheese will add additional saltiness). Remove from heat.
6. Finely chop sage; sprinkle over the squash, reserving some for serving.
7. Remove about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water with a ladle or mug; drain pasta. Add drained pasta to the squash mixture. Gently stir to combine. If sauce is too dry or mixture won't come together, add some of the reserved cooking water; the starch in it encourages the sauce to emulsify and cling to the pasta. Stir in most of the pine nuts and blue cheese. Transfer to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with remaining sage, pine nuts, and cheese.