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Garlic Roasted Shrimp Pasta

IMG_4698

If it were up to my main squeeze, there would be a lot more pasta cooked in our house. Don’t get me wrong; pasta is one of my favorite things to eat. Cream sauce, red sauce, pesto. I’m all in. But I try not to overdo it. Everything in moderation. Including moderation. Right?

This shrimp pasta dish has become a quick go-to at our house. The recipe only dirties two pans, and I usually have all the ingredients at home. Due to our sad landlocked state, I keep bags of frozen shrimp in the freezer for fast meals like this. And you can skip the broccoli altogether if you want. See? Easy.

Garlic Roasted Shrimp Pasta with (or without) Broccoli
Adapted from Ina Garten
Serves 2 to 4

2 cups broccoli florets
Olive oil
Kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper

½ stick butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon rosemary leaves (fresh or dried), minced
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper
1 lemon
1 10-oz. bag frozen raw shrimp, peeled & deveined (Of course you can always use fresh, but I keep these bags on hand.)

½ box thin pasta such as vermicelli, capellini, or thin spaghetti

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • If using frozen shrimp, quickly rinse under cold water to thaw. Set aside.
  • Sprinkle broccoli with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat. Spread in one layer on a baking sheet and place in the oven.
  • Next melt the butter in an oven-safe sauté pan over low heat. Add the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, red pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook one to two minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and zest the lemon into the sauce. Toss in the shrimp and spread into one layer (overlapping is fine).
  • Slice half of the lemon into thin rounds, and tuck those rounds into the shrimp.
  • Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon coarse salt and ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper.
  • Place sauté pan in hot oven. Check on the broccoli and toss.
  • Roast the shrimp for 12 to 15 minutes until they are firm and pink. Do not overcook!
  • Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions.
  • All elements—pasta, shrimp, and broccoli—should finish cooking around the same time. Drain the pasta and pour it directly into the shrimp. Toss to coat the noodles in the buttery sauce. Squeeze the other half of the lemon juice over the pasta.
  • Add the broccoli and toss again.
  • Serve in large pasta bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if you’re into that sort of thing.


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Snow Day Taco Soup

tacosoup

A snow day seems like a good time to come out of blogging hibernation. This gap has been filled with getting engaged and making plans and tying the knot and honeymooning and newly-wedding and blessing upon blessing upon blessing. I am so thankful!

So today was a work-from-home snow day, which called for soup for me and my husband. (Pronounced huzzzz-buuund. Because even though I love saying it, I’m not totally used to saying that yet.)

This recipe contains a lot of cans and a little time. The hardest thing you have to do is chop an onion. Though that can be a feat with all the tears and runny mascara. At least that’s what it looks like for me sometimes. So, this soup is not exactly fine dining. But it is warm and super delicious with loads of yummy toppings.

Taco Soup
Inspired by Paula Deen
Serves 8

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can pinto beans, rinsed & drained
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 can whole kernel corn, rinsed & drained
1 can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
2 cans tomatoes with chiles
1 can diced green chiles
½ package taco seasoning
½ package ranch salad dressing mix
2 cups chicken stock
Accoutrements: Fritos, Greek yogurt (or sour cream), grated cheddar cheese, chopped scallions, chopped jalapeño, sliced avocado
Um, yes, I totally just called Fritos an accoutrement.   

  • Brown the ground beef, onion, and garlic in a Dutch oven. Drain any excess grease.
  • Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer on medium-low for an hour. Stir occasionally, checking the level of liquid. If too thick, add more stock. If too thin, remove lid while simmering.
  • Serve hot will desired toppings. I recommend all of them.


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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Aza

la and aza

My favorite 5-year-old neighbor came over to make cookies last night. And, bonus, she wanted to make my favorite kind—oatmeal chocolate chip without nuts! I’d never made these before, but this simple recipe turned out just right. The cookies were thick and chewy in the middle but golden and crisp on the edges. Yum.

cookie close up

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Makes 2½ dozen cookies

1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl; set aside.
  • Using a mixer, cream together the butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and then the vanilla.
  • Stir in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon or a spatula, then stir in the oats and chocolate chips.
  • Using 2 tablespoons per cookie, roll the dough into balls and evenly space them on the cookie sheet. Bake until the cookie edges are just golden brown, but the middles are still pale, about 13 to 15 minutes, rotating the sheet from front to back halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool. Stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

We had a blast! After the cookies came out of the oven, we ate them while we watched Brave. And we already have a plan for our next baking night—brownies.
aza


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Blueberry Lavender Jam

Summer produce is my favorite. Everything is juicier, sweeter, fresher, and cheaper. When pints of blueberries were on sale for less than $2, I decided to try making homemade jam. Jam is one of those things I’ve always wanted to make myself, but the task seemed daunting. I have canned strawberry jam with my mom in the past, and canning is such a process. But if you just want to make a couple of use-it-now jars, you should! Turns out, making your own jam is like making your own salad dressing—it’s so easy, why wouldn’t you do it yourself? I am a big fan of using lavender in my food, but if you’re not, that’s OK. Just leave it out. Your jam will still turn out thick and scrumptious.

jamingredients

Blueberry Lavender Jam
Makes 2 pints

6 cups (3 pints) fresh blueberries, rinsed & drained
1 lemon, zested
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1½ cups sugar
2 tablespoons culinary lavender

  • Make a lavender sachet using cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Simply place lavender inside and tie with string.

coffeefiltersachet

lavender sachet

  • Add blueberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar to a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Stir to combine.
    P.S. Did you know that you get more juice out of a lemon by cutting it length-wise? True story.

 

 

blueberriescook

  • Toss in the lavender sachet, and bring to a boil, stirring often.
  • Continue cooking for 25 to 35 minutes or until the mixture jells. Test for jell consistency by cooling a small amount on a plate and touching it with your fingers.
  • Remove and discard the sachet. Pour jam into jars and cool to room temperature. Store in the fridge & enjoy on muffins, toast, pancakes, and biscuits.

jamonmuffin

 


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Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup + Stock

cincybridge

A few weeks ago, I went to Cincinnati with my people to hang out and run a 5k.

runners

The run wasn’t so bad, but come Saturday evening I was sick. So sick, in fact, that I could not eat dinner. Which was a travesty, really, because I had to watch my friends enjoy massive, juicy burgers and hot dogs at Cincy hotspot Senate while I sipped ginger ale. Yes, major bummer.

For the next several days, the only thing that sounded edible was homemade chicken noodle soup. So I made some. This recipe is easy enough for a sick person to manage on her own. And it is everything you could ever want when you are under the weather.

servechicksoup

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Adapted from Ina Garten
Serves 6

2 quarts homemade chicken stock or low sodium stock in a box (not broth)
3 to 4 carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 cups wide egg noodles
1 rotisserie chicken
¼ cup flat leaf parsley
Salt & pepper

  • Bring chicken stock to a simmer. Add carrots and celery and return to a simmer. Add egg noodles. Simmer 10 minutes or until noodles are cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, pick all the meat off your rotisserie chicken and chop the parsley. Seal the chicken bones in an air-tight bag, and place in the freezer.
  • Add chicken and parsley to soup and warm through. Serve with Premium saltine crackers and ginger ale on ice.

chickensoup4thesoul

Now, let’s make stock! It’s so easy. I buy a rotisserie chicken about once a week, so I save the bones and make stock one night while I’m vegging out at home. I usually have all the other ingredients on hand, and if I don’t, I just use what I have. No big whoop.

Homemade Chicken Stock
2 rotisserie chicken carcasses
2 onions, quartered
3 carrots, cut in thirds
3 stalks celery, cut in thirds
1 head garlic, halved lengthwise
1 bunch of parsley
1 tablespoon dried thyme (or fresh if you have it)
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns

  • Throw everything into a large stockpot. Fill pot with water (4 to 6 quarts). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Strain and discard the solids. I used a two-part straining system. First, using a large class measuring cup with a spout, pour the stuff through a colander. Press solids with a wooden spoon, squeezing out all the stock. This gets rid of most of the solids. I then carefully pour that through a fine mesh strainer into quart containers. Think this process through for yourself before you begin. This is nothing sadder than watching the liquid gold you have cooked for four hours spill on the counter.
  • Pour into 1 quart containers and place in the fridge overnight. The next day, skim the layer of fat from the top of each container. Use or freeze right away.

stock

 


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Springtime Baked Shells

I don’t know what was in the water 9 months ago, but several of my people are popping out babies. My friends Bridget & Zac had a beautiful baby girl, Ruby, on the first day of spring. A few weeks later came Beatrice to another set of friends. Ruby & Beatrice’s arrivals were two great reasons to make one of my very favorite pasta recipes. These new parents needed to eat, and springtime is the right time for this dish full of green veggies. It’s comfort food that you can justify.

golden bubbly

ingredients close up

Springtime Baked Shells
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

16 ounces medium pasta shells
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
½ pound broccoli, cut into small florets
1 medium zucchini, diced
3 green onions, chopped
½ cup frozen peas
30 ounces ricotta cheese
3 eggs
1½ cups Parmesan cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x13x2-inch baking dish. You can use a lasagna pan or something similar. When I need to deliver this dish, I like to use an Eco-Foil disposable 9x11x2 roaster/baker pan. It’s sturdy and comes with a domed lid for easy transport.
  • Bring a large pot of water to boil, and cook pasta until extremely al dente.
  • In a large pan, melt the butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low to medium heat. Add the asparagus to the pan and cook for five minutes. Sprinkle in a little salt. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the red pepper flakes, if using.
  • Next toss in the broccoli and cook for one minute; add the zucchini and cook for two more minutes; sprinkle in more salt and some pepper. Add the green onion and cook another minute. Turn off the heat and stir in the frozen peas. Set aside.

green veg 1

  • In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, eggs, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and a glug (about a tablespoon) of olive oil until well combined.

ricotta filling

  • Try not to step on the little dog under your feet who is patiently hoping you will drop something.

waiting

  • Assemble: Add half the pasta, then spread ½ cup* of the ricotta mixture over the surface (*NOT half of the entire mixture, just a ½ of a cup).

shells

spread

  • Sprinkle 1/3 of the Parmesan over the ricotta, then ½ of the vegetables. (The little dog is still lurking. Ignore him.)

layer veg action

  • Repeat with the rest of the pasta, the rest of the ricotta, and another 1/3 of the Parmesan. End with the remaining vegetables and top with the end of the Parm.

ricotta layer spread

ready to bake

  • Drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil, and bake for 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly-hot.
  • Serve with extra Parmesan and crusty bread.

golden bubbly angle


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Breakfast Tacos Con Huevos

Spanglish is my second language.

tacos

No matter what your native tongue might be, these breakfast tacos are sure to perk you up. Plus they’re packed with protein, so you can go-go-go until lunch. I like using whatever I have around for toppings. It’s kinda like a savory breakfast sundae. Kinda. Sorta.

ingredients

Breakfast Tacos
Makes 2 tacos

2 or 3 eggs
Splash of milk
½ tablespoon olive oil or butter
Salt & pepper
2 tablespoons black beans
2 or 4 corn tortillas
1 tablespoon shredded cheese
½ an avocado, sliced
1 green onion, chopped
2 tablespoons salsa

  • Whisk the eggs with the milk. Warm oil or butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Pour in eggs, sprinkle with salt & pepper, and scramble. For light, fluffy eggs, cook over medium heat until firm and puffed up but just shy of done. Stir constantly with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan as you go.
  • Meanwhile, heat the black beans and tortillas in the microwave.
  • Build your tacos. On each tortilla layer half the eggs, beans, cheese, and avocado. Top with green onion and/or cilantro. Serve with salsa and/or sour cream.

tacos 2

 

 

 

 

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