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.