Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summery Lemon Shrimp Pasta

A while back I made a shrimp scampi pasta and this dish reminds me a lot of that, but without the specialty ingredients like clam juice.  This is all made with things I had on hand in the fridge or pantry.  This also makes good use of the littlest and the cheapest shrimp.  The flavors of the garlic and lemon are strong an can stand up to the frozen shrimp quite nicely. 

Summery Lemon Shrimp Pasta

8 oz pasta of your choice
12 oz cocktail shrimp (gasp, I used frozen)
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
1 large shallot
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large lemon
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth or pasta cooking liquid
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh chives
Salt and pepper

Vest lemon and combine with salt, pepper, garlic and 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Mix in shrimp and set aside to marinate. 

Cook pasta to al dente in salted boiling water.  I used short pasta because the Little Mouths like it better and it is easier for them to eat. 

Mince shallot and brown in a large skillet on medium high heat.  Toss in shrimp and cook through until shrimp are opaque. 

Add the wine, chicken stock or starchy cooking liquid reserved from pasta.  Using both the wine and lemon might make it a bit too sharp for many little mouths.  Prepare it to the tolerance of your little taste buds and use more cooking liquid or chicken stock to compensate for the liquid. 

Add in the drained pasta and butter and mix to combine.  Chop the fresh parsley and chives and toss just prior to serving.

Thumps up from Little Mouths and Big Mama.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Marmalade Pork Chops

Okay, again, this isn't my picture.  Again, I was hungry, I ate, I then remembered the photo.  Too late.  But it actually looked a lot like this, only oranger.

Marmalade Pork Chops

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup chicken or veg. broth
1/3 cup orange marmalade
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 pork chops
Salt and Pepper

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the pork chops with the salt and pepper. Brown the pork chops but don't cook all of the way through.  Remove pork chops and cover with foil. 

Deglaze the pan with the orange juice and chicken broth.  Add vinegar, marmalade and bring the mixture to a simmer.  When marmalade is melted and combined, add pork chops back into the mix and simmer, turning every few minutes to coat in the sauce until the pork is cooked completely.  150 degrees on an instant read meat thermometer. 
Transfer the chops to serving dish and turn off the heat.  Add the tablespoon of butter to the sauce and whisk until combined.  Drizzle over the chops and serve. 

Thumbs up from Big Mama and Little Mouths.  If you're not from the south, and I'm not, then the whole sweet meat thing took a minute.  I did find the sauce a little sweet on first taste, but I added a splash of vinegar to cut it a bit.  Next time I'm thinking about adding a little Dijon mustard to see what that taste's like.  I served these with real mashed potatoes from the deli at Fresh Market.  Sometimes, especially on Monday nights when I only got four hours of sleep the night before, side dishes are just too much for me.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Antipasto Chicken Sliders

After a great day out with Pedicures and Pizza with my friend and fellow challenge-ee Shirley Jump, I felt inspired and stopped by Fresh Market on my way home.  I love Fresh Market with all my heart and dream of being able to shop there daily as much as I dream of seeing my name on the NYT Bestseller list...but I digress.  I wondered around for awhile and came up with this new recipe, inspired by their antipasto bar.

Antipasto Chicken Sliders
(Could easily be made as that case, I'd serve on ciabatta)

1 pound ground chicken
6 slices turkey bacon (Fresh Market has this awesome turkey bacon that's really thick.  I'm not sure regular turkey bacon would hold up to grilling)
1 Tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
1 Teaspoon fresh thyme
1 large or two small chopped shallots
3 cloves of roasted garlic, minced, crushed or grated
1 teaspoon white Worcestershire sauce
12 marinated bocconcini (little mozzarella balls)
6 rolls (I got these adorable little herb yeast rolls at, you guessed it, Fresh Market)
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Preheat grill on high. 

Combine the chicken, parsley, thyme, shallots, garlic, white Worcestershire sauce.  Mix with a fork to keep the mixture from being too mashed down and form into six or eight patties.   

The secret to making tasty chicken or turkey burgers, is adding texture to the meat.  Beef has texture because of the little pockets of fat that liquefy and drain out of the burger during the cooking process, leaving little holes in the burger.  Our mouths like that texture and like the fat.  With chicken and turkey, there is no fat, or very little so we either have to put fat back in or replace it with something.  The shallots, garlic and fresh herbs are what we are using here.  You might be able to get the same taste with dried herbs and onion and garlic powder, but you won't get the same texture and thus, the burger won't be as satisfying.  The fresh ingredients have moisture that will evaporate during cooking.  The herbs, shallots etc. will shrink and leave a little pocket of air...thus creating that texture we love. 

Brush turkey bacon slices and burgers with olive oil and place on preheated grill.  Cook turkey bacon until browned, but not too done or it will get very tough.  Flip burgers when they are nearly cooked through, place bocconcini on the browned side and drizzle with marinade.  Reduce head and lower grill lid to melt the mozzarella.  You can also tent with foil if you don't want to close lid. 

Brush rolls with oil or a flavored oil and place on the grill to brown.  Layer on rolls with bacon and Gooey Deliciousness!~

Terrible photo of something that tasted SO good!

Thumbs up from Big Mama and Little Mouths thought they were pretty good too...although Little Boy Mouth could have done without anything green in them.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Luscious Lemony Pancakes

Okay, so these aren't really my pancakes...but they looked just like this, I swear.  We forgot to take a picture, because we ate them so fast.   Thumbs up from Big Mama and Little Mouths, alike!

Luscious Lemony Pancakes

2 cups baking mix like Jiffy, Bisquick or Pioneer. I prefer pioneer.
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon sugar
Dash of salt

Don't skip the lemon zest! It adds such a yummy favor and works well with maple syrup. I have also used Orange zest, and that's great as well, but then I'd only used just a teaspoon of sugar.  

Mix by hand with a whisk until lumps disappear. Poor onto an oiled griddle or frying pan preheated over
medium heat.   Use a small ladle or measuring cup for evenly sized pancakes.

You don't want the mixture to be too thick or you will get gummy pancakes, too thin and you will have a hard time flipping. Test just one pancake the first time to make sure the batter isn't too runny (where the batter all 
runs off the pancake as you are flipping it) or too thick (gummy on the inside and hard to cook through and 
keep the outsides golden brown. If the mixture is too thick or thin, add baking mix or milk by the spoonful 
until you satisfied with the constancy and you have a light pancake that is cooked through when it is golden 
brown on the outside.

It just takes a little practice, but within a few batches, you have it down pat and can make perfect pancakes 
every time. And don't worry. Even the not-so-perfect pancakes taste pretty darn good!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Aioli with Herbed Grilled Potatoes

It was a challenge to get my herb garden in the ground this year with all of the rain we've had...and I almost threw in the towel and didn't plant it at all.  But now that my little patch is full of lushious yumminess, I'm SO glad I did. 

I usually make this with roasted fingerling potatoes...but they are $8 a pound this time of year and I didn't feel like making the trip to Fresh Market.  In a few weeks, the farmers markets around here will be in full swing and I'll have ready access to the buttery deliciousness of the Russian Banana Fingerling potatoes. 

But today I made it with regular Russets on the grill.

Herbed Grilled Potatoes and Aioli


4 Russet potatoes cut in 1/2 slices, then halfed.
A bunch of whatever herbs you have lying around.  I used Rosemary, Lemon Basil and Thyme.
2 Tablespoons olive oil.
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or so.  Then grill on medium until cooked through.  About 20 minutes or so, brushing them with the leftover marinade before turning.   


1 slice white bread with the crusts removed
2 tablespoons white wine or champaign vinegar
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 1/2 cups mayo (I used Kraft Olive Oil mayonaise)
2 teaspoons lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
Salt and Pepper

Tear up the bread and mix with vinegar.  Allow to sit for 5 mintues.  Squeeze out most of the vinegar and combine with the other ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix until smooth.  The more vinegar the more bite.  I like mine really sharp, so I don't squeeze too much of the vinegar out.

Big Mama LOVES Aioli. I made it for the first time last summer.  Aioli is traditionally made with raw egg yokes and oil, but I didn't have any pasturized eggs (which are VERY expensive) and so I skipped the egg yokes and oil and just used mayonaisse.  Safe for the Little Mouths and to tell you the truth, I liked it even better. 

Aioli is great on potatoes, sandwiches and I much prefer it on fish over tartar sauce. 

The flavors are pretty strong and one Little Mouth likes it and one doesn't...but all three of us liked the potatoes.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Haverhill Italian Beef

This was SO good and SO easy my lovely Auntie made it!  The recipe came from the teachers at Haverhill, my kid's school, thus the title, Haverhill Italian Beef.

This is actually last week's recipe, I've just been too swamped to sit down and get it posted.  Thumbs up from Big Mama's and Little Mouths alike.  In fact, Little Mouths had seconds.

6 oz. water
3 beef bouillon cubes
1 stick of butter
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons italian seasonings
2 tablespoons garlic powder (yes, tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 pound chuck roast

Combine all ingredients in a crock pot.  Cook 4 hours on high and 4 hours on low or some other combination like six hours on high or 12 hours on low etc.  Shread and serve on rolls that will soak up all of the yummy juice.
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