Monday, December 19, 2011

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

I had every intention of making this recipe exactly as it was written, complete with the flambee... really, I did.  Well, that didn't happen.  And I didn't have any other dinners planned.... so I made this the lazy way.  If you want the original recipe to do it right, click the link above.  If you are lazy like me... see my way below.  I am sure the original is super tasty.

Also, this was delicious.  We had it on Friday and Matt asked for it again on Sunday.  That never happens.  We like things spicy so you will have to adjust the red pepper flakes to your liking.

Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Linguine (the lazy way)
Serves: 3
Approx. 560 calories

1/2 lb. frozen shrimp (I had the 50 ct/lb size on hand)
1 tsp. red pepper flakes, divided
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tsp. salt
6 cloves garlic, minced (about 1/8 cup)... I have the pre-minced stuff that squeezes out of a bottle
½ tsp. sugar
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained (I had basil/oregano seasoned ones)
1/2 cup medium-dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
handful of minced fresh parsley
1/2 lb. linguine

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.

Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a pan and drop in a pinch of red pepper flakes.  Throw in the frozen shrimp and cook a little on each side until you see them start to curl up a little.  Remove them to a plate and rip off their tails.  Take the pan off the heat and reduce heat to low.  I also dumped out the contents because I didn't want all the shrimpy water.

Return the pan to the low heat and add the rest of the oil.  Once heated, drop in all the garlic and more red pepper flakes, frequently.  Watch for the garlic to turn golden and get foamy and sticky.  Turn up the heat to medium and add the wine.  Let it cook for a couple minutes.  Then add the salt, sugar, and tomatoes.  Let simmer until thickened, about 7-10 minutes.  Squish the tomatoes with the spoon every couple minutes to break them up.

While the sauce is simmering, add the linguine to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions until al dente.  Drain, reserving 1/3 cup of the pasta water in the pot.

Stir the reserved shrimp and the parsley into the sauce.  Simmer until the shrimp are heated through, about 1 minute.  Add the pasta and pasta water to the pan and toss to coat.  Sprinkle on some parm if you want.  Serve immediately.

Friday, December 9, 2011


Mine, in lemon and triple chocolate fudge, all packaged up and ready to party

I changed the name of these, so what?  My blog, my rules.  (my name for the them.. get it?  Cake+Cookie=Cakie).  Anyway.  These are tasty and light.  Pretty easy to make too, I needed something to whip up for a party and I just happened to have all these ingredients.  This dough is very sticky.... so no, you didn't do it wrong.

Yield:  3 dozen
Approx. 85 calories per cookie, depending on flavor

1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 eggs
1 (18.25 ounce) package lemon cake mix (or any flavor really)
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar for decoration

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease baking sheets.

Beat together the whipped topping and eggs together. Add the cake mix and continue to mix. Dough will be sticky.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Drop by teaspoonfuls into a bowl of confectioners' sugar and roll to coat. Place cookies on the prepared baking sheets. Bake  for 9-11 minutes.  Cool on racks.

Whiskey-Glazed Carrots

Another crappy cell phone picture....mostly just to prove I actually did make this stuff.

I like glazed carrots.  I added some cayenne and extra black pepper to them.  Honestly, if we didn't already have whiskey on hand I probably wouldn't make a special trip to get any for this recipe.  I think I prefer my version with butter, honey, and a smidge of corn starch.

Whiskey-Glazed Carrots
Serves:  3
Approx. 100 calories per serving

1/2 lb. baby carrots, cut into thirds
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/8 cup Jack Daniels (or other whiskey)
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large skillet or pot with a lid, heat the butter over medium-high heat until melted.  Add half of the carrots to the pan and cook briefly just to sear, 60-90 seconds.  Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining carrots.  Set aside.

Very carefully add the whiskey to the pan and allow to evaporate for about 30 seconds.   Reduce the heat to medium.  Sprinkle the brown sugar into the pan and stir.  Mix in the carrots, stir well, and cover.  Cook for 5 minutes.

Remove the lid and season with salt and pepper.  Cover once more and continue cooking until the carrots are fork-tender and the glaze has thickened, about 5-10*** minutes more.  Transfer to a serving platter and top with minced fresh herbs, if desired, for extra color.  Serve immediately.

***I prefer my carrots a little firmer, so I probably only needed the 5 minutes (or less).  I had some fresh parsley on hand so I threw that on.

Bacon Lover’s Mac and Cheese

 My craptastic I'm too hungry to care photo... see why I use the originals? haha

This is a love-hate recipe.  It tasted delicious, Matt even said it was the best mac and cheese recipe I have made.  However, this recipe is a lot of *bleeping* work and it dirties a million dishes.  I will make it again, but only for a special event or something... this is not a 'make it when I get home from working all day' kinda meal.  I served this with the whiskey glazed carrots (sure, add on some more work)... recipe to follow.  Here is my take:

Bacon Lover’s Mac and Cheese
Serves: 4
Approx. 525 calories per serving

6 oz. pasta shapes (I used mini penne)
4 oz. bacon, chopped (or more!)
4 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/8 cup flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups milk (I used 1%)
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
¼ tsp. Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
2 oz. Fontina cheese, grated  (I used Fontinella)
2 oz. white cheddar cheese, grated  (The label said 'Holiday Cheddar' lol, it was white.  Close enough)
1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Once boiling, cook the pasta according to package directions until just shy of al dente.  Drain well and set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat until crispy.  Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate with a slotted spoon.  (If desired, set aside 2 or 3 tablespoons of the cooked bacon for topping the baked mac and cheese.)  Reserve 1 tablespoons of the bacon grease.  Return the pan to the heat and add the mushrooms.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5-7 minutes.  Remove from the heat.

To make the cheese sauce, add the reserved bacon grease to a medium saucepan with the butter.  (If there was not enough bacon grease to make 1 tablespoon, replace the missing amount by adding an equal amount of butter.)  Heat over medium-high heat until the butter is completely melted. 

Whisk in the flour and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is golden and fragrant but not burned, 1-2 minutes.  Whisk in the milk.  Cook the mixture, stirring frequently, until it begins to bubble and thicken.  Whisk in the salt, red pepper flakes, pepper, and cayenne pepper.  Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the Fontina and white cheddar until completely melted and smooth.  (If necessary, you can return the pan to low heat to melt the cheeses.) 

Return the drained pasta to the pot.  Mix in the cooked bacon and mushrooms, the cheese sauce and the chopped spinach.  Stir everything together gently until well combined.  Spread the mixture into a lightly greased 1.5-quart casserole dish.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the top is light golden and the cheese is bubbling.  Serve warm and top with reserved cooked bacon pieces, if desired.

**I thought the cheese sauce was mega thick, so I ended up adding a little more milk at the end before baking.  I also topped with a handful of Panko bread crumbs before baking for a little color and crunch.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Penne a la Betsy

Original recipe and photo.

The Pioneer Woman blog is a good one if you are looking for some yummy recipes with step by step instructions, fyi.

This is a pretty good pasta and it isn't difficult to make.  I personally think it needs a nice pinch of red pepper flakes.... but I think I say that about everything!  Since the original recipe feeds more people than we have in my house, I cut it down.  Plus I swapped the heavy cream for half and half.  I served this with some green beans.  Here it is my way:

Penne a la Betsy
Serves: 4
Calories:  Approx 525 per serving

1/2 pound Penne Pasta  (I used mini penne and ended up not stirring in all of the cooked pasta
3/4 pound Shrimp  (I used frozen, 26-30/pound size I think)
2.25 Tablespoons Butter
2.25 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3/4 whole Onion (small)
2 cloves Garlic1/2 cup White Wine, Or To Taste
1 can Tomato Sauce (8 Oz)
3/4 cup Half and Half
Fresh Parsley, to taste
Fresh Basil - To Taste
Salt To Taste
Pepper To Taste

Cook the penne pasta until tender-firm, also known as al dente.

Heat about 1 tbsp. butter and olive oil in a skillet. Add the shrimp and cook for a couple minutes until just opaque. Do not overcook them. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Now, put the cooked shrimp on the cutting board and pull off the tails. Chop the shrimp into bite –sized pieces and set aside.

Finely dice the onion. Mince two cloves of garlic.
In a large skillet heat 1.25 tablespoons of butter and 1.25 tablespoons olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and sauté, stirring occasionally. After the garlic and onions have cooked a bit add your white wine. Let the wine evaporate for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. If you would rather not use wine, you can use low-sodium chicken broth instead (about ½ cup).

Now add an 8-ounce can of plain tomato sauce. Stir well until combined. Then add 3/4 cup of half and half. Continue stirring. Turn heat down to low and let simmer.

Now chop your herbs, about a tablespoon of chopped parsley and about the same amount of chopped basil, or if you’re feeling very proper, chiffonaded.

Now add your chopped shrimp back into the tomato cream sauce. Give it a stir and add salt and pepper to taste. Throw in your herbs and stir until combined. Finally add your cooked penne pasta and give it a good stir.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Black Bean, Chicken and Red Pepper Stew

This is the original recipe. (and not my photo)
Below are my modifications.  I served it with a small quesadilla.  This was super easy and healthy, so you should try it.

Black Bean, Chicken and Red Pepper Stew
Serves- 4
Approx. Calories: 220 per serving

1 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1.5 chicken breasts, cut up into chunks
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1/2 (12 oz.) jar roasted red peppers, chopped
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1.5 tbsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add chicken pieces and cook, stirring, until browned and cooked through.  Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil.  Add the onion to the pot and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.  Mix in the black beans, diced tomatoes, red peppers, green chiles, chicken broth, cumin, and cayenne.  Return the chicken to the pot.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.  Allow to simmer uncovered for 45 minutes.  When finished, remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Turkey Bolognese

This was adapted from the Family Circle cookbook.  Excuse the camera phone picture.  This recipe was originally served over polenta... we discovered we don't like polenta.  So this time, pasta it is!
Note:  Matt says this is gross leftover and microwaved despite being very tasty fresh.

Turkey Bolognese over Pasta
Serves: 4-6
Calories: about 333 for 1/6 of recipe

1 package ground turkey (20 oz)
4 oz restaurant blend fresh mushrooms
1 jar Marinara (I used Newman's Own)
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
2.5 cups dry penne pasta

In a pot, start the water boiling and cook the pasta per the directions.

Meanwhile in a 10" or larger pan, saute the mushrooms in a little oil for 3-5 minutes.  Crumble in the turkey, basil, oregano, salt & pepper and cook for another 5 minutes until turkey is cooked thru.  Add the marinara and reduce heat, cook for 5 minutes.  Stir in the cream until heated thru.  Serve over pasta.  This is light on the pasta, heavy on the sauce, which is thick and chunky.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Chicken Ranch Ranchero Over Rice

Here is another recipe I marked on Pinterest.  Not a very healthy one (again), so it won't be in the regular rotation, but it was easy to make.  I only had 1 pound of chicken, so I cut the recipe to 2/3... I have no idea how you would fit the whole recipe in an 8x8 because mine filled it up, so keep that in mind.  Matt liked this more than I did... definitely needed more seasoning and spice.

Chicken Ranch Ranchero Over Rice
Serves: 4 (I say this serves closer to 6)

Calories: Approx 550 per serving (1/6 of recipe)

  • 3 cups rice, cooked
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 0.25 cups onion, chopped
  • 1 medium serrano pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 30 ounces tomatoes, diced (or be really authentic and use fresh tomatoes!)
  • 1 Tablespoons oregano
  • 0.5 teaspoons chili powder
  • 0.25 teaspoons salt
  • 1.5 pounds chicken breasts
  • 1 cups Ranch dressing
  • 1.5 cups Colby Jack cheese
  • 1  deep dish 8×8 pan

In a saucepan, heat the oil and saute the garlic, serrano pepper and onions for 2-3 minutes. Reduce the heat and add the tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes for 5-6 minutes. Add in the seasonings and simmer for about 5 more minutes. Set aside. Place the cooked rice in the bottom of the baking pan. Place the chicken breasts on top of the rice in a single layer. Add the Ranch dressing on top of the chicken. Pour the Ranchero Sauce (cooked tomato mixture) over the whole dish.  Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve.

Freezing Directions:
Follow directions above, but instead of baking, cover and freeze. To serve: Thaw. Uncover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve. (Double cooking time if chicken is still or partially frozen.)


I have never made applesauce before, but I will be doing this over and over again.. so easy and yummy!!  The store had apples for 59c a pound, so the first time I made this with Cortland and McIntosh.  The second time I made it with honeycrisp because they were on super sale.  Both times it was delicious!  You really should have an apple peeler/slicer machine thing for this.

I like my applesauce chunky so I cut the water and cooked it a little less.  All I needed was a hand potato masher (barely) because they just fell apart.   The second time I did cut back on the sugar some. 

Homemade Applesauce
Makes about 2.5 cups

  • 10 cups apples, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
  • 0.5 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 0.5 cup sugar or Splenda (optional, or to taste)

Place apples, water, cinnamon, and sugar in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours or until apples are tender and easily mash. Mash with a potato masher, or puree in blender or food processor until you teach the desired consistency.

Freezing Directions:
Divide and place among freezer bags or containers. Seal, label, and freeze. To serve: Thaw. Serve warm or cold.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


This was borrowed from here.  So was the picture.  I of course made modifications... and I agree, this is definitely a keeper!  Matt actually said he wouldn't change anything (well, to my version).  I think next time I would add some red pepper flakes to the sauce =)  And magically figure out how to cut the calories in half haha.

Chicken Manicotti with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Serves:  3-4
Calories:  640 calories in 2 pieces (ouch)

9 manicotti shells
2 cups chicken, cooked and finely chopped
1 (8 ounce) container chive and onion cream cheese
3-4 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 cup frozen tri color pepper and onion mix from Kroger
1/2 cup mozzerella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp pepper

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Combine all:
7 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained, I pulsed them in my mini food processor
1 (16 ounce) jar creamy Alfredo sauce
1.5 ounces of grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp pepper
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.

Stir together chicken and next seven ingredients.  (I cooked the spinach and peppers/onions in the pasta pot for a couple minutes to heat them thru and drain the liquid easier).

Put all the filling into a large plastic baggie and snip the tip.  Squeeze filling into the manicotti.  If you put some pressure on the pasta, the filling shoots right thru and doesn't split the pasta.  Place in a 8x11  baking dish.  Pour roasted red pepper sauce evenly over cannelloni.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until heated through.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Mexican Baked Penne

You should definitely make this.  I am also "borrowing" her photo because I am too lazy to take my own photos.  Click the link for the original recipe, my modifications are below (like cutting the recipe in half because I am not cooking for an army).

Mexican Baked Penne
Serves:  6
Approx 410 calories per serving

1/4 pound Garden Delight Radiatore Pasta from Ronzoni
12 oz ground beef
1 TBSP olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz frozen veggies (onion and 3 pepper blend from Kroger)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 jars salsa - 16 oz of Chi Chis Thick and Chunky Hot Salsa
1/2 can black beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper
1.5 cups shredded cheese, I used 'casserole' blend and pepper jack

Preheat oven to 350*.  Boil pasta according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, saute garlic, onions, and peppers in the olive oil over medium~high heat in a large non~stick skillet.  Season ground beef with salt and pepper and add to pan.  Add spices and additional salt and pepper to taste.  Cook ground beef until browned.  Drain and add to a large bowl.  Add the beans, salsa and pasta. Stir to combine.

Spray a 9×13″ (I think mine is a little smaller than this) baking dish with non~stick cooking spray.  Pour half the pasta mixture into the pan.  Top with 1/2 of the cheese cheese.  Cover with remaining pasta.  Then top with remaining cheese.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and the cheese is golden.

I topped with some green onions and sour cream... I think it definitely made the dish.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


This year's cider mill crawl was a huge success... the weather was gorgeous, the donuts and cider were awesome, and the company was so much fun.

If you missed out on previous cider mill blog posts, here is some background:

Because we have already mostly covered the southwestern metro Detroit area mills, we headed to the northwestern area.  Next year, east bound!  Check out a few pictures from the day here, but if we are friends on Facebook I will upload a bunch more when I am done blogging.

 Place settings with judging card

 Bags for this year's crawl... resuable totes from JoAnn's with little apple trees!

 Jacki and Katie enjoying the first taste of the day at Spicer's in Fenton

 Jill is very excited about the cider at Spicer's

 While Steph and I are stoked about the donuts at Spicer's!

 Second stop, Parshallville Grist mill in Parshallville just down the road from Spicer's

 Very tasty... Steph had to grab a bowl of caramel apple slices too mmmmm

 Jacki is impressed at Parshallville's selection of apples

 Hanging out at Diehl's in Holly... Katie is excited because she just caught a bee under a cup

 Slightly less excited faces at Long's in Commerce... something broke in their barn and it was closed inside.

 Back to my house for tasting and judging

 Katie had to leave early, but here is the rest of the cider mill gang

 After all that sugar and carbs, we had a light dinner of wraps, veggies, fruit, and salad

Thanks girls for another awesome crawl!  I cannot wait until next year for CMC4!

And now, for the results!!!!

Overall Experience:
1st-  Parshallville
2nd- Spicer's
3rd-  Diehl's
4th-  Long's

Best Donut:
1st-  Spicer's
2nd-  Parshallville
3rd-  Long's
4th-  Diehl's

Best Cider:
1st-  Spicer's
2nd-  Parshallville
3rd-  Long's
4th-  Diehl's

OVERALL RANKING (120 points possible)
1st-  Spicer's with 106 points  WINNER!
2nd-  Parshallville with 100 points
3rd-  Long's with 81.5 points
4th-  Diehl's with 62 points

Here are my thoughts:
Spicer's - It was very busy and seemed like there was a ton to do there.  Parking sucked and the line for donuts was confusing.  But... the cider and donuts were seriously amazing and would probably beat out any of the previous year's winners.

Parshallville Grist-  Adorable.  It was pretty empty but the other customers said that wasn't usually the case.  No activities to do here, but a very nice store area.  The cider and donuts were very close to Spicer's, so it is worth the visit.

Diehl's-  Not very impressive.  The cider was like apple juice and while the donuts were flaming hot, they were just ok.  There is a large parking area with tables and play areas but it is in the middle of nowhere.

Long's-  This is a little hard to judge because the barn was under repair so we could only buy donuts and cider from the stand in the parking lot.  The cinnamon sugar was coarser than the other places so it was crunchy.  These donuts actually held up the best over the couple days following the crawl.  I would have loved to have had them fresh and hot.

Definitely try this at home!!  Grab a few friends and head out to a couple places and do your own judging!  Here are a few tips:
1.  I highly recommend light meals before/after.
2.  Don't eat more than 1/4 donut of each kind at each mill if you are doing a tasting later as well.  It is hard, but limit yourself.
3.  Bring napkins because most places don't have them.  They usually have small cups for the cider.
4.  Throw a cooler in the car if you want to keep your cider cold.  Also, throw in some water because you will need something after all the cider.
5.  Three mills is really what you should be doing, we added a fourth because it made sense geographically.  But when you get to that fourth mill, you are a little sugared up and need a break.

Thanks for reading and good luck with your own crawls!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Salsa Chicken Tacos

So my random return to the food blog world is a fail in the picture department.  Sorry, you will just have to trust me that this is delicious.  I make it as often as I can but realized I never blogged it... at least I don't think so.  Either way, it deserves a quick post.

Salsa Chicken Tacos
Serves: 4ish

-3 frozen chicken breasts
-3/4-1 jar salsa (I like Pace thick and chunky- hot)
-1 cup frozen corn kernels
-1/2 block cream cheese
-1 cup canned (rinsed) black beans
-shredded cheese
-10 pk taco sized tortillas
-rice (plain white instant... 1 cup water/1 cup rice)

In a crockpot, throw in the frozen chicken and dump salsa over top.  Cook on low for about 6 hours.

Break up chicken in the crock, throw in the corn, cream cheese, and beans and stir.  Turn up to high and cook for about 30 minutes.  Stir to make sure it is all mixed up and hot.

Spoon into tortilla shells.  Top with cheese if you want.  We usually add some plain rice to the shell first because it can be kinda juicy and the rice will soak it up.

TA DA!  Difficult right?  Well it is ridiculously awesome so you should go make it (looking at you Pete).  It even works great as a dip... just add more salsa to make it thinner and scoop with chips.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Steak and Potato Salad

Matt insisted I blog this so we remember to make it in the future........Adapted from the Family Circle cookbook.

1 lb red-skin potatoes (3-4 large), cut into 8 pieces each
4 strips bacon
1 small red onion, chopped
1 lb steak, cut into strips
steak seasoning
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1/2 tsp cold water
baby spinach
Crumbled gorgonzola cheese

In a very large pan (I think it is a deep 12" pan), boil some water and throw in potatoes with salt.  Boil for about 15 minutes and drain, set aside.

In the same pan, cook the bacon until crisp, set aside to drain on paper towel.  In the bacon grease, throw in the onion for a minute over medium then add steak strips, season with steak seasoning, for about 2 minutes.  Remove and set aside.

Dump in the honey and vinegar, cook over medium for 2 minutes then add the corn starch solution for a minute.  Add the potatoes, steak, onion, crumbled bacon and stir to coat/warm up everything.

Spoon over a bed of fresh spinach.  Add cheese crumbles to taste.

Serves 4.  Per serving (approx): 450 calories; 15 g fat.