Creamy Tomato and Shrimp Pasta

Last night we eat dinner late. So bad. I read a few different blogs about healthy eating, especially my FAVORITE : http://www.dietitiancassie.com/ . Do I follow all of her rules? No. Should I? Maybe yes… maybe no? Everyone’s body is different. But she is very smart and has a lot of good information on how to naturally keep our bodies healthy, and how to think about food and what we put into our bodies completely differently than what we’ve been taught… and stay healthy! Check out her page!!!

Anyways… back to eating late. I know I shouldn’t have dinner that late… but I was making a blanket for my daughter, Madilyn and I was almost done crocheting it and I looked up and it was almost 8:00 and I hadn’t started dinner! Woops! Luckily it only took me 20 minutes to make from start to finish… so… pretty darn good!

This one is simple, full of flavor, quick and very filling. Yes, it does have pasta. I, of course, am steering you to Dietitian Cassie’s website and she’s pretty much grain free… and here I am writing a blog post with pasta in it. But… still read her blog. And.. decide for yourself what to eat…. ? 🙂 But… for me? I eat carbs/grains 1 time per day MAX, if not less often. I try my best to fill up on veggies and protein during the day… which really works for me! I’m not starving and HANGRY come dinner. I also have go to healthy fat, high protein snacks that I grab while I’m cooking that really help. I love celery with 1 TB sunflower seed butter. Also, when I am having a sugar craving, I grab 1 or 2 of these Butter Mints: http://empoweredsustenance.com/stop-sugar-cravings/ . Lots of good ideas!! 🙂

Here’s the delicious… pasta filled, quick and easy dinner recipe with some amazing and tasty shrimp:

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for 3-4 servings

Ingredients
  • 1/2 lb shrimp (I used Trader Joes Argentinian Red Shrimp) (cooked and deveined)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne powder
  • 2 TB parmesan cheese
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (I used this on a garnish on my husband’s bowl since it’s too spicy for me… but he loved it)
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 can diced petite tomatoes (with the juice in the can as well)
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup white wine (I used a Riesling… just use your favorite)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • spaghetti noodles
  • fresh parmesan for garnish
  • fresh parsley for garnish

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Instructions
  1. On a baking sheet, place the shrimp (I do mine from frozen) on a foil lined sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, splash of white wine, a bit of lemon juice and salt and pepper. Place in a 375 degree preheated oven and bake for 12-15 minutes (depending on size of shrimp).
  2. While the shrimp is cooking, in a skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil, and saute the onions and garlic until soft.
  3. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, cayenne powder, can of diced tomatoes, white wine and salt & pepper.
  4. Cook until the liquid is reduced to half.
  5. While the tomato mixture is simmering, boil the spaghetti noodles according to the package directions.
  6. Once the tomato mixture is done simmering, add the shrimp back into the sauce, stir and remove from heat.
  7. Stir in the heavy cream and the 1/2 of the parmesan cheese.
  8. Toss the tomato and shrimp sauce with spaghetti noodles.
  9. Garnish with fresh parmesan, red pepper flakes and fresh parsley
  10. Serve Immediately
  11. ENJOY!

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And now, for the quote of the day:

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Lemon-Dill Salmon Over Buttery Pasta with Peas and Spinach

I’ve been trying to perfect salmon for a WHILE. Like, a serious while. I can’t quite get it perfect, but I’m getting there!!!

I have definitely learned to not attempt to cook it from frozen. Always thaw it. Ha. Should be obvious, but I like to try shortcuts. 🙂

I have also learned, yesterday, that it’s hard to cook it perfectly while paying attention to it when you have two little kids. Most likely, on that day, your three year old will run into the kitchen with blood pouring out of his lip while he is scream-crying with your 5 year old girl running after him (also crying) screaming “I didn’t do it on purpose!”. Yes, that happened last night while I was trying to perfectly cook my salmon. Let’s say that it was ALMOST perfect! Pretty good huh??!!! I was proud of that accomplishment after such a “traumatic” incident. He was fine by the way… his big sister just bopped him… hopefully it really was “by accident”.

So, luckily at that time, the salmon had JUST gone into the oven to finish, and my pasta was done and was “marinating” in the butter. So, if I can do it, YOU CAN TOO!! 😉

Try this one out if you like Salmon!!

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This is for 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tso kosher salt
  • 2 medium salmon steaks (filets)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1TB olive oil
  • 3 TB butter
  • 1/2 lb. farfalle (bowtie) pasta
  • 1 large handful of baby spinach rough chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp fresh or dried Dill Weed (I used dried)
  • 1 Tb parmesan cheese
  • splash of white wine for cooking and deglazing the pan

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Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Meanwhile, if you’re using whole grain pasta, cook it in water according to package directions.
  • Drizzle olive oil in an oven safe skillet like mine or Oven Safe Chef’s Classic Skillet and heat to medium.
  • Place salmon steaks skin side down into the hot skillet to get a nice crispy skin.
  • Top the salmon with salt, pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice, minced garlic and the dill.
  • Place the butter into the pan with the salmon and melt. (Put skillet onto medium low – 3, and melt butter).
  • Put a splash of white wine into pan if desired.
  • Spoon the butter/lemon/wine sauce over the salmon for 2 minutes and then place pan with the salmon in it directly into the oven. (Which is why you need to have an oven safe pan shown in the link above or similar).
  • Bake for 6-8 minutes depending on the thickness of your salmon. Remove the salmon from the oven BEFORE the white albumin starts to ooze out. It’s not fun to have on your salmon. REMEMBER TO USE A HOT PAD  WHEN YOU REMOVE IT!! Once the salmon is removed from the oven, remove salmon from pan and SAVE the sauce. Place the salmon onto a plate and let sit for 5-7 minutes.
  • Transfer the noodles and peas into the butter sauce remaining in your skillet and toss to coat.
  • Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and garnish with dill.
  • Serve into bowls.
  • You can either leave the salmon steak whole, or you can “shred” it with your fork and disperse it throughout the dish as I did below.
  • ENJOY!! This one is a winner!!

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And now, for the quote of the day:

Most won't think this belongs here, but emotions can run hot sometimes and peaceful protests can get out of hand. So this is an important thing to remember, for everyone involved.

Creamy-Cheesy-Spicy Hearty One Pot Pasta

Do you want something creamy, and yet with a kick of heat at the same time? Something cheesy that still makes you sweat?! Who doesn’t!???? Right?
This dish is IT! And, it’s filling and yummy. Like, real yummy. (You’d never know I was an English major in college would you? I’m not going to discuss how long it’s been.)

This dish takes 20 to 25 minutes to complete, and only 1 pot dirtied! So, if you get home late, pop it in the pan with almost all of the ingredients, simmer… finish and serve! Love these types of dinners!

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Creamy-Cheesy-Spicy Hearty One Pot Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Turkey Kielbasa cut up
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (10 oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • 1/2 cup half&half
  • 8 oz dry pasta (I used whole grain spaghetti, you can use whatever)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, each
  • 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach chopped
  • garnish with parmesan cheese and a bit more spinach (chopped)

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Instructions

  1. Add Olive Oil to a 4-5 quart saute pan over medium high heat. Add sausage and cook until lightly browned. Add garlic powder and onion powder and cook for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, pasta, and seasonings. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until pasta is tender.
  3. Turn off the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of cheese, and half&half. Sprinkle spinach in and let wilt.
  4. Garnish with parmesan cheese, and a bit of extra spinach.
  5. Makes about 4 servings. YUM!

And, my favorite things to cook and stir with, that also makes sure that I don’t scratch my awesome pans are:

Ioven 8.5 inch Silicone Spatula Set of 4

Totally Bamboo 5-Piece Utensil Set

wpid-1427934476316.jpgAnd now, for the quote of the day:

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Lemon Ricotta Spaghetti with Spinach

So, as I have decided to lose a few LB’s and cut out my carbs except for at dinner, carbs are kind of my focal point at dinner. When you look forward to it ALL day… it’s a special meal! I never knew you basically go through a type of detox from carbs and sugars when you start to cut them out. I mean, back in college I did the “South Beach Diet” and I remember something about that. 🙂 I truly am realizing it though. Cravings because your body is wondering what the heck is going on!
So, I decided I need carbs. I do need to cut back as I’ve previously said because it gets a bit ridiculous. … but I needed more veggies and greens and FRESH fruits in my life!
At least this pasta dish has spinach greens and lemon zest! Right?! 🙂 Ricotta cheese adds protein too!  I calculated an approximate 8g of protein per serving, and if you toss some shrimp or chicken in it (as suggested by my awesome friend) it will up that protein content quite a lot!

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Ingredients

Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pound spaghetti
1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 TB lemon juice
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 cup chopped (or whole) baby spinach
2-3 tsp. Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup pasta water set aside

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Preparation

Prep: 5 Minutes
Cook: 10 Minutes
* Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes.
* In a bowl, stir together ricotta, olive oil, lemon zest and salt&pepper, garlic salt, grated parmesan, lemon juice, oregano and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
*Drain spaghetti, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water. Return pasta to pot and stir in ricotta mixture, spinach and 1/4 cup pasta cooking water. Toss well, adding more pasta cooking water 1 Tbsp. at a time, if necessary. Serve hot.

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This was quite delicious! Filling as well! I enjoyed every last bite! 😉

And now, for the quote of the day:

My husband’s current favorite meme going around the Internet

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Chili Cheesy Homemade Hamburger Helper CopyCat

Today was absolutely crazy… so much so, when my husband came home from work dinner wasn’t even started! So, I picked something quick and filling… very reminiscent of those Hamburger Helper dishes I had as a kid and in college. Lately I’ve started to try and make dishes that are not processed and don’t come out of a box. So, how do you make such a dish from scratch? It’s seriously a lot easier than I thought it would be!
This is one that the whole family would enjoy and just gobble up! I have a feeling that even the leftovers are going to be amazing! You could even use leftover chili with this one and just kind of add a few ingredients to make this yummy dish!

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INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tsp. Garlic powder
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 lb. ounces 85/15 grass fed organic ground beef
3 cups vegetable stock
1 (14.5-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 can canned black beans drained and rinsed (or you can use kidney beans!)
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8-10 ounces uncooked pasta (I used egg noodles, you can eve use elbow pasta)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 TB unsalted butter
3 TB half&half
1 tsp cornmeal (optional!) For thickness and flavor

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INSTRUCTIONS

Heat olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add garlic powder, onion and ground beef, and cook until browned, about 5-10 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef as it cooks; REMEMBER to drain the excess fat.
Stir in vegetable stock, tomatoes, beans, chili powder and cumin; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a simmer and stir in pasta. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 13-15 minutes. Add the 1 tsp of cornmeal and stir in.
In a separate pan, melt the butter and then add the half&half. Do not let boil. Drop in 1/2 cup shredded cheese and stir until a smooth cheesy sauce. Should only take 2-3 minutes total. Pour into chili mac pot and stir until well blended.
Top each serving with some shredded cheese!
Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

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Enjoy! This one will definitely be made again. Simple, not too spicy, and quick!

And now for the quote of the day… this one made me giggle!

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Pasta Primavera

Today everyone wanted leftovers… taco leftovers that is, except for me. I wanted my favorite pasta… and since I have decided to only eat bread or pasta like carbs at dinner time, I was CRAVING those carbs! So, I made this!

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Ingredients

8-10 baby carrots cut into thin strips
1 large zucchini, cut into bite size pieces
1 yellow squash, cut into bite size pieces
1 onion sweet yellow onion thinly sliced
4 sweet mini peppers cut into thin strip (remove pith and seeds)
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp dried Italian Seasoning
1 tsp lemon zest
1 TB lemon juice
1 TB butter
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 pound small pasta – I used egg noodles – you can use farfalle, or fusilli
Optional: grape tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

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Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In a cake pan, or baking sheet toss all of the vegetables with the oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs to coat. Bake until the carrots are tender and the vegetables begin to brown, stirring after the first 10 minutes, about 20 minutes total.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain, and set aside in serving bowl with the 1 TB of butter stirred in to prevent sticking.

Toss the pasta with the vegetable mixture in a large bowl to combine. If desired, add tomatoes. Add lemon juice and zest at this time to moisten. Season the pasta with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve immediately.

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This one hit the SPOT! Lower in calories, a ton if veggies, and just enough pasta to curb that craving. DELISH!

And now… my ongoing problem where I’m the only person who knows where anything is deserves this quote:

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Shrimp Alfredo

I’ve decided I am going to try my best to restrict most of my carbs to dinner. I, personally, cannot give up carbs without going a little bit crazy. So, in trying to tone of my slightly soft figure… carbs and sugars are being lowered and I am making choices using healthy fats… as much as possible. I am also watching my portions.
This alfredo recipe uses all natural ingredients, it’s inexpensive to make, delicious, and if you’ve been good all day, a great treat at the end of the night! And… if you want to eliminate the carbs… remove the pasta and use spaghetti squash! I got this from food network, and it’s one of Giada’s recipes. I made a few changes, but this is a really really good one! Giadas Alfredo

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Ingredients

10-12 ounces fresh pasta
2 cups half&half
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cups grated Parmesan
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1 teaspoons grated lemon zest
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper

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Directions

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Drain.

Stir 1 1/2 cups of the cream and the lemon juice in a heavy large skillet to blend. Add the butter and garlic, and cook over medium heat just until the butter melts, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Add the pasta and toss. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of cream, and Parmesan to the cream sauce in the skillet. Add the lemon zest, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Toss the pasta mixture over low heat until the sauce thickens slightly, about 1 minute.
Serve immediately and enjoy this lemony, creamy, fresh dish!
I added shrimp to mine! I follow Ina Garten’s recipe and drizzle with olive oil, and salt and pepper and then roast them at 350 in the oven  for 10-12 minutes. They always come out PERFECT!

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We all know food is important. Some of us get what is called “hangry” like I do. When I’m hungry… sometimes I act a little crazy. I’m ashamed… but it’s true. Gotta remember to keep snacks with me for me AND the kids! Here’s a shirt to go with this statement! I may need to purchase it!

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Baked Penne/Ziti with Mini Meatballs

It’s Sunday night and I seriously have no idea what to write today. I seem to be completely out of words! So, I’m just going to stick to the recipe!! 🙂

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This is baked “Penne” – Ziti … with Mini meatballs …

Inspired by Giada’s recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/baked-ziti-with-meatballs-recipe.html

First, I used my own recipe for the meatballs, because I don’t put dairy or eggs in them. If you’d like to refer to it, the link is here: https://dancinandcookininthekitchen.com/2014/08/22/italian-orecchiette-pasta-bowl-with-homemade-meatballs-and-tomato-sauce/

Make the meat balls as listed above, and then set them aside.

Ingredients

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ziti or penne
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 jars pasta sauce of your choice
1 cup whole milk ricotta
1 tsp dried oregano
2 Tb fresh basil
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 TB butter

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Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot, bring 4-5 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain pasta in a colander and set aside. If not using immediately, cover top with plastic wrap so that pasta does not dry out. Do not rinse pasta with water since you want to retain the pasta’s natural starches so that the sauce will cling to the ziti or penne.

In a large skillet heat the oil over medium-high heat. When almost smoking, add meatballs in batches and without moving or turning the meat, allow it to brown for about 3 minutes. Turn meatballs and brown other side. Continue to cook until all sides are golden brown. Remove meatballs to a plate.

In a large bowl, combine the spaghetti sauce and ricotta and mix well. Add the cooked penne and meatballs and toss gently.

In a large greased baking dish, pour in pasta mixture. Sprinkle the mozzarella, Parmesan, and remaining Romano all over the top. Dot with the butter. Place baking dish on top of baking sheet covered with aluminum foil to collect any drippings from the dish. Bake until top is golden brown and bubbly, about 30 to 40 minutes.

And… ENJOY!!!!

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Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/baked-ziti-with-meatballs-recipe.html?oc=linkback

And now, for the quote of the day:

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1 Pot Wonder: Sun-dried Tomato and Kielbasa Pasta

I was at a women’s church conference a lot of the last couple days and wanted something quick and easy when I came home today. This was definitely the answer! I like dishes that I can just toss in 1 single pot, only dirty 1 dish, and then serve from that same dish.
Have you ever gotten done cooking and looked around and seen like an entire sink full worth of dishes to wash?! I definitely have done that. I do try to wash and clean as I go, but in general I like to use as little dishes as possible. When I find one that I like, I have to post it!
Side note: So today our dog had dog training! Good thing, he’s doing really well! Bad thing, he doesn’t show his true colors when the trainer is around… ever. It’s really really annoying! It’s lime children and their babysitter or nanny. ANGELS compared to when they are with you! Ha! Hopefully his true colors will come out when needed.

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Ingredients

3/4 pound spaghetti
1 package all natural nitrate free turkey kielbasa, thinly sliced
1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes with some oil from the jar
2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp minced garlic
Kosher Himalayan sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Dash (1/8 tsp) cayenne powder
1 TB butter
1 cup grated Parmesan
Garnish with fresh parsley

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INSTRUCTIONS

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium high heat, combine spaghetti, kielbasa, onion, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, garlic, cayenne powder and 4 1/2 cups water; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until pasta is cooked through and liquid has reduced, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in Parmesan.
Serve immediately

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This one was a HIT too! So easy, and everyone went back for seconds and I still has some leftovers! Have a crazy day and need to have something quick to make? This is it! And I purchased all of these ingredients at Aldi! Give it a go!

And now, in honor of the women’s conference I went to this weekend, the quote of the day:

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Spicy Cajun Shrimp Pasta

So… it SNOWED! Woohoo!! Since I homeschooled, it didn’t really matter either way… we still did school today, but my kids got to go out and play in the snow! And yes, it was only a 1/2 inch MAYBE… but look at my daughter’s face…

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Priceless!!!

So what’s good for dinner on a cold day? Spicy food!!!! (And pretty much most other warm food… but spicy is on the menu for today!) And you know… I made my own “mild” version of spicy that my husband giggled at a little bit when I called it spicy. But you know, we can’t all be champions of the Taco Bell fire sauce like him, you know. 😉

So here we go:

Spicy Cajun Shrimp Pasta

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1/2 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used Trader Joes Red Argentinian Shrimp, it’s WILD CAUGHT!)
1 TB EVOO
1 TB unsalted butter
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup sweet yellow onions diced
1/4 cup sweet mini peppers chopped (I used 1 of each color)
2 TB fresh lemon juice, and the zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup white wine – I used Riesling – use what you like to drink
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 TB. Cajun seasoning, divided – I used Emeril’s Bayou Blast
1/2 tsp cayenne powder – or more to your spicy preference
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
8 ounces angel hair pasta, cooked according to package directions
1/2 cup reserved pasta water set aside

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Have pasta precooked and set aside. Angel hair pasta does not take very long to cook. Cook according to the packaging.

Preheat oven to 350. Toss shrimp in 1 TB olive oil, splash white wine, 1 tsp minced garlic and salt and pepper and 1/2 of the cajun seasoning. Put shrimp on cookie sheet lined with tinfoil, put pieces of approximately 1 TB of butter over the shrimp, and place into preheated oven. Bake for 10-12 min (depending on size of shrimp) until cooked thru and pink. If timed right, you will take the shrimp from the oven, and dump into skillet with onions and peppers right as they are cooked through.

Heat 1 TB olive oil  and 1 TB butter in a large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Saute the garlic, onions, and bell peppers, for 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice, zest and Worcestershire sauce, and half of the Cajun seasoning. Add the wine and remaining Cajun seasoning and reduce heat and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add a bit of cayenne powder at this point to spice it up a bit if you’d like to. If too thick, add the 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water at this time. Then, remove shrimp from the oven and place into skillet with all juices and sauce from the pan. Place the pasta into the skillet, and stir to coat well. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and serve!

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Enjoy being warmed up by this yummy dish!

And now, for the quote of the day:

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