Archive for Dinner

Shrimp Pasta in Sundried Tomato Cream Sauce

Hafa adai, everyone!  It’s been quite a while since I added a new recipe.  What can I say?  Life happens. 🙂  Let’s see…since my last post, I retired from the Army (after 23 years and some change), my oldest graduated from high school and went off to college, my youngest started high school and is a budding artist, I got a new full-time job as a defense contractor, and I’ve re-discovered an old passion for knitting and crocheting.  See–my creativity doesn’t just reside in the kitchen. 😀

Despite all that, I’ve been accumulating a lot of recipes to share, so be on the lookout for new posts.  This is the first of many new favorites that I’m sure you’ll enjoy as much as my family does.

Let’s get to it then, shall we?

As you probably know from some of my other recipes, my family loves pasta.  This is a super easy dish to make.  While we love traditional spaghetti sauce, I love making a sauce using cream, sun-dried tomatoes, and Parmesan cheese.  You can add a variety of other ingredients such as mushrooms, basil, and spinach leaves to take it to a whole new level.  The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

I added baby portobello mushrooms, basil paste and fresh spinach leaves to this recipe.  See below for the type of sun-dried tomatoes I used.  I use the ones packed in oil.  I use the flavored oil to saute the mushrooms, which enhances the flavor of the whole dish.

If you’re a follower of my recipes, you know one of my signature ingredients is a powdered beef seasoning called Dashida.  You can find this any Korean market (or most Asian markets).  If you can’t find Dashida, use beef bouillon, or add salt to taste.

Start by slicing the mushrooms. Set them aside for now.

In a LARGE skillet over medium high heat, saute the shrimp with the seasonings (see my full recipe below).  I use a 17-inch skillet; if you don’t have one this large, you may want to use a large pot as we make the sauce and add the pasta and shrimp all together midway through.

Set a pot of water to boil while you prepare the shrimp. When the water is boiling, add the pasta to the pot (you can a couple of teaspoons of salt to the water as well). Only cook the pasta partway, about half the recommended cooking time suggested on the package.  The pasta will finish cooking in the sauce later, so you want to make sure you don’t overcook it now.

Cook the shrimp for about 5 minutes, stirring to ensure even cooking on both sides.  Remove the shrimp from the pan and set them aside for now.

To the same pan, add the mushrooms and some of the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes.

Cook the mushrooms until they reduce in volume, then add the sun-dried tomatoes to the pan.  Cook for another 2 minutes or so.

Add the remaining seasonings to the pan as well as the heavy cream.

Add the grated cheese to the pan.  Stir to combine all the ingredients.

The pasta should be ready by now.  Drain the pasta then add it to the sauce.

Add the basil paste and spinach leaves to the sauce.

Stir to combine all the ingredients.  The heat up to medium high; cook for a few more minutes, just until the pasta is done.  Look how good it looks already, and we haven’t even added the shrimp back in yet. 😀

Add the shrimp and any liquid that may have accumulated in the dish back to the pan.

Stir to get all that delicious shrimp mixed in.  Cook for a minute or two to reheat the shrimp.  Oh my….are you drooling yet?

Serve and enjoy!!

<span class="mceItemHidden" data-mce-bogus="1"><span></span>Shrimp Pasta in Sundried Tomato Cream Sauce</span>
 
Author:
Ingredients
For the Shrimp:
  • 2 pounds shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon Dashida
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
For the Sauce:
  • 8 oz. baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 8.5 oz. sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
  • ¼ cup oil from the sundried tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon Dashida beef seasoning (you can sub with salt, to taste)
  • 2 pints heavy whipping cream
  • 8 oz. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons basil paste
  • 5 cups baby spinach leaves
Pasta:
  • 1 pound box uncooked penne pasta
Instructions
Cook the Shrimp:
  1. In a large skillet, saute the shrimp with seasonings.
  2. Cook over medium high heat for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Cook the Pasta:
  1. Place a pot of water to boil according to the instructions on the box of pasta.
  2. Cook the pasta for half of the recommended cooking time. The pasta will finish cooking in the sauce.
Make the Sauce:
  1. Turn the heat to medium high.
  2. Add the mushrooms and sun-dried tomato oil to the same pan used to cook the shrimp. Cook until the mushrooms soften and reduce in volume.
  3. Add the chopped sundried tomatoes. Cook an additional 2 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining seasonings to the pan; stir to combine.
  5. Pour in the heavy whipping cream.
  6. Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium low.
Finishing:
  1. Add the partially-cooked pasta to the sauce.
  2. Turn the heat back up to medium-high. Cook for a few more minutes, just until the pasta is done.
  3. Add the basil paste and spinach leaves to the pan. Stir to combine.
  4. Add the cooked shrimp to the pan. Stir to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes to reheat the shrimp.
Serve and enjoy!

 

 

 

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Salmon Cakes

Salmon cakes are my take on one of my favorite seafood dishes — crab cakes.  These savory patties are crisp on the outside, thanks to a quick pan-frying, and moist and flavorful on the inside. To finish it off, top with a dollop of lemon-garlic aoili and a sprinkling of green onions. Mmmm mmmm mmmm…these are soooooo good!

Salmon cake

I usually make this for a meal, but you can easily make these into appetizer-sized portions.  This recipe makes between 10-12 salmon cakes, depending on how big you make them.

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This is a quick and easy version, using canned salmon. I’ve also made this using fresh salmon.  To prepare fresh salmon, bring about 2 cups of broth (seafood or chicken) to a boil in a small saucepan.  Add boneless, skinless salmon pieces to the boiling broth.  Cook until done, about 6-8 minutes, depending on the size of the salmon pieces.  Let the salmon cool then use a fork to break the salmon apart into small chunks.  You’ll need about 1 1/2 pounds of fresh salmon for this recipe.

This is an easy recipe that your kids can help with.  There is something about forming the patties that appeal to kids, or at least it appeals to my kids.  Maybe it’s because they get to “play” with food. 😉

You can find my complete recipe at the bottom of this post.  Give it a try.  I’m sure you’ll like it. 🙂

Start out by making my super-simple lemon-garlic aioli.  Mix all of the aioli ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

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Once the aioli is prepared, start making the salmon cakes.  Place all of the ingredients for the salmon cakes into a medium-sized mixing bowl.

Salmon cake

Use a spatula to fold the ingredients together.  Be gentle…the salmon breaks apart easily.  You want to still see small chunks of salmon after mixing.

Salmon cakes

The mixture will be a little “wet.”  This is perfectly okay and is key to creating tender and juicy salmon cakes after frying.

Place the remaining panko bread crumbs into a small bowl.  Form patties out of the mixture then generously coat in bread crumbs. Place the coated salmon cake on a plate or tray; finish forming/coating the rest of the mixture.

Because the mixture is quite moist, I find that refrigerating the coated salmon cakes for about 30 minutes BEFORE frying makes them easier to lift from the plate to the frying pan.

Salmon cakes

When you’re ready to fry the cakes, place a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil on a heated non-stick skillet.  I actually prefer to use a cast-iron skillet when I make this.

Pan fry over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crisp.

Serve with garlic aioli and ENJOY! 😀

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Salmon Cakes
 
Prep time
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Savory salmon patties seasoned with cajun seasoning, topped with a delicious lemon-garlic aoili
Author:
Serves: 10-12 patties
Ingredients
Cajun Garlic Aoli
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Salmon Cakes:
  • 3 cans boneless salmon (6-oz each)
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup mayo
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 stalks green onions, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
Other:
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs, for coating
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
Instructions
Make the Aoili:
  1. Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Make the Salmon Cakes:
  1. Drain the water out of the cans of salmon then place into a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the ingredients for the salmon cakes to the bowl. Fold the ingredients together until combined.
  3. Form the mixture into patties, coating each one with the remaining 2 cups of bread crumbs.
  4. Heat a non- stick or cast-iron pan over medium high heat. Lightly coat the pan with vegetable oil (a couple of tablespoons will do). Pan fry the salmon cakes for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Add more oil to the pan if needed.
Serve with aioli and enjoy!

 

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Baked Sushi Casserole

My family loves, LOVES, LOVES sushi.  We love both the sushi with cooked ingredients (especially those with tempura shrimp — YUM!) as well as the ones with raw fish (spicy tuna is a fave).

We especially love the sushi that is either baked or fried and is served piping hot with the saucy filling practically oozing out of the wrapper.  OMG — I’m drooling as I type this.

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Rather than make one sushi roll then bake sliced pieces, this recipe is made casserole style in a 9×13 baking dish.  Serve the baked casserole with sushi wrappers and you have a quick and easy — not to mention inexpensive (or at least not as expensive as buying sushi at a restaurant) — and delicious dish.  This is also great for potlucks too.

While you can use the large sushi wrappers with this dish, my family prefers serving it with the “snack sized” seasoned seaweed wrappers (pictured below).  You can find the smaller wrappers in the Asian aisle of most grocery stores.

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Very little preparation is needed to make this yummy casserole.  Step-by-step instructions and photos follow.  See my complete recipe at the bottom of this post.

First, chop up some imitation crab meat.

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Pre-cooked salad shrimp also cuts on the preparation time.  I prefer to chop these up as well, but you can certainly use them whole since they are rather tiny.

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Place the chopped imitation crab and shrimp into a large mixing bowl.

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Add sour cream, mayo, and furikake to the bowl.

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Furikake is a seasoning consisting of chopped seaweed, sesame seeds, sugar, and a few other spices.  It comes in different flavors; I use the “regular” furikake pictured below.  You can find this in the Asian aisle of your grocery store as well.

furikake

Stir to combine the ingredients for the shrimp and imitation crab mixture.  This is good just as it is, but sometimes I mix in a little squeeze of Sriracha sauce, or if you have it, some Kimchee Base as well to kick it up a notch.

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I love a lot of “meat” in this dish, so into the bowl goes real lump crab meat.  Sometimes the can of crab meat has a few crab shells in it, so if you see any, be sure to pick them out and discard them.

Fold the crab meat into the shrimp and imitation crab mixture.

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As I mentioned above, I love a lot of filling in this dish.  I don’t like using too much rice as I think it detracts from the deliciousness of the filling.

I cooked just two cups of rice for this recipe then spread it in the bottom of a 9×13 pan.  The rice layer is pretty thin — just how my family likes it.  If you like having more rice, by all means, cook more, and create a thicker layer.

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The entire bowl of the shrimp and crab mixture gets spread on top of the rice.  It may seem like too much, but trust me, it’s the PERFECT amount.

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Add more real crab meat to the top of the shrimp and crab mixture.  Hey, I did say I loved a lot of “meat” in this dish. 😉

If you prefer, you can add more salad shrimp instead of crab meat, or splurge and use both! 😀

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More furikake goes on top of everything.  Because I didn’t season the rice or shrimp-crab mixture, the seasoned furikake is where most of the flavor and seasoning comes from.  Do not skimp on this or your casserole will taste quite bland.

Bake for 20 minutes in a 375-degree oven.

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After baking, add as much or as little roe as you like.  We use capelin roe, or masago.  One of my children LOVES extra roe on hers.  She loves it so much that her serving looks completely orange with all the roe she adds.

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This is the brand of Capelin roe or Masago that I buy.  It’s sold frozen in our local Asian supermarket.

Masago

Serve the piping hot casserole with seasoned seaweed and ENJOY!

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Baked Sushi Casserole
 
Cook time
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Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
Crab Mixture:
  • 12 oz imitation crab meat, finely chopped
  • 12 oz cooked salad shrimp, chopped
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup furikake
  • 1 cup real lump crab meat (I use lump claw meat)
Other Ingredients:
  • 2 cups medium grain rice, cooked
  • ½ cup real crab meat (I use lump claw meat)
  • ¼ cup furikake
  • ¼ cup seasoned capelin roe
  • Packages of seasoned seaweed wrappers, for serving with the casserole
Instructions
Make the Crab Mixture:
  1. Place the chopped imitation crab meat and chopped shrimp into a large mixing bowl. Add the mayo, sour cream, and furikake to the bowl. Stir the ingredients together.
  2. Fold the lump crab meat into the shrimp mixture. Set aside.
Layer the Sushi Casserole:
  1. Spread the cooked rice in the bottom of a 9x13 pan.
  2. Spread the crab and shrimp mixture on top of the rice.
  3. Spread the remaining lump crab meat on top of the crab-shrimp mixture.
  4. Sprinkle more furikake on top of the lump crab meat.
Finish it up:
  1. Bake the casserole for 20 minutes in a 375 degree oven.
  2. Top with roe.
  3. Serve with seasoned seaweed wrappers.
ENJOY!

 

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Tender and Juicy Burgers

I love grilled ribs and steaks, but occasionally I crave a really good, juicy burger.

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I’m not talking about those flat, plain, frozen patties you can buy in bulk, and taste like cardboard after cooking.  Rather, I’m talking about thick, juicy and tender burgers packed full of flavor.

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My family and I are trying to eat healthier, so I created this burger that added quality (and healthy) ingredients without sacrificing flavor.

You can find my complete recipe at the bottom of this post.  For THMs, this is an “S” recipe.

To start off, I used lean grass-fed beef.  Now, this can be a bit pricey, so if this is not an option for you (or if you can’t find grass-fed beef in your grocery store), use “regular” ground beef.  I also used 98% lean beef in this recipe.  Now, I know what you’re thinking — how can beef that lean make juicy burgers?  Well, read on and I’ll tell you.  In the meantime, place the ground beef into a large mixing bowl.

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Most people start off with beef that’s no less than 85% lean (that means that 15% of what you buy is GROUND FAT).  Additionally, something called a panade — a mixture of bread and milk used to keep the cooked meat tender — is also added to the mixture.

Not in my kitchen.  Some fat is okay, but I still stick to no less than 95% lean when I buy ground beef.  98% lean is even better.

The juiciness come from my secret ingredient (shhhh…don’t tell anyone).  I add low-fat, part skim mozzarella cheese…yes, cheese…to the mix.  Don’t worry…if you’re mentally counting the fat and carb numbers in your head right now, I’ll save you the trouble.  Adding part skim mozzarella cheese to my recipe only adds <1g of carbs and 4.5g of fat per serving (one burger). 🙂

I like adding lots of flavor in the form of herbs, spices and vegetables.  I usually use whatever is in my fridge and pantry at the time, but the staples are diced onions (I used red here, but white or yellow onions are fine), garlic, black pepper, and an egg (use one egg for two pounds of beef).  Today, I also added onion powder, Italian seasoning, and rather than salt, I used a few tablespoons of powdered beef bouillon (look for one that has <1g of carbs per serving).  I also added a finely diced yellow bell pepper.

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There’s no good way to mix this using a utensil, so wash your hands, use that elbow grease and get right in there.  Mix, mix, mix.

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Separate the mixture into eight large meatballs.

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These are ready right now, as is, to flatten and cook.  However, by my count, I’ve added just a little more than 2g of carbs per burger with the addition of part skim mozzarella and beef bouillon, so I’m thinking we can afford one more gram of carb per burger.

Can you guess what that’ll be?  Yes!!  MORE cheese!  (I love cheese, if you haven’t figured that out yet.)  Not just ANY cheese, mind you, but Creamy Light Laughing Cow brand cheese.  It adds just one more teeny, tiny gram of carbohydrates to the burger, so we’re up to 3g now…still within “safe” numbers per serving (and these make HUGE burgers).

Take one meatball and make an indentation in the middle with your thumb.

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Make the indentation large enough to fit one wedge of Light Laughing Cow cheese.  Don’t make the bottom or sides too thin or the cheese will ooze out when you cook the burger.  You can leave the wedge like this but I recommend pressing it and spreading it out within the indentation you just made.

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Cover the cheese with the mixture, smoothing all around the sides to ensure the cheese is well-sealed within.

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Because of the low fat content in the ground beef, these burgers don’t shrink much during cooking.  However, slightly flatten it before cooking.  Cook on a hot grill pan over medium-high heat, about 5-8 minutes on each side.

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The burgers are done when clear juices start oozing out.  Do NOT poke or stab the burgers to check for clear juices…that will make your burgers dry out.  Slightly press the top of the burger with your finger; it’s done if the burger feels slightly firm when you press on it.

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Top with your favorite burger add-ons such as sliced avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, mayo, mustard, and bacon (hey, we cut back on fat so a little bacon won’t hurt). 🙂

Dig in and ENJOY!

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In case you’re wondering what type of bun that is in the photo above, it’s my gluten free, “Bun in a Bowl”.  You can find my recipe for it here.  For THMs, it’s an “S” recipe.

 

Tender and Juicy Burgers
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds 98% lean ground beef
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • 1 bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 cup finely shredded, part skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 3 tablespoons powdered beef bouillon
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 8 wedges Light Swiss Laughing Cow Cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place the ground beef into a large mixing bowl. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, mozzarella cheese, Italian seasoning, onion powder, beef bouillon, black pepper, and egg. Mix well. Separate into eight large meatballs.
  2. Make a small indentation in the middle of one meatball. Place one wedge of Laughing Cow cheese. Smooth the meat mixture around the cheese, sealing it in. Repeat for the remaining meatballs.
  3. Slightly flatten each ball into a burger patty. Cook in a grill pan over medium-high heat, about 5-8 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned all around.
Serve with your favorite burger add-ons and ENJOY!

 

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Penne with Sausage and Pumpkin Cream Sauce

Pumpkin in pasta sauce?!  Why, YES! 🙂

My daughter, Hannah, loves pasta.  Actually, my entire family loves pasta.  She wanted to make something off the beaten path of the usual alfredo or meat sauce so she browsed several websites and recipes and found one (by Rachael Ray I think) and wanted to give it a try.  I must say that it’s absolutely delicious (thank you, Rachael).

This is Hannah’s take on Rachael’s recipe (original recipe found here).

Give it a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

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Cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Hannah made enough pasta for dinner for our family of four, plus enough for everyone to pack lunch the next day, so she cooked two boxes of penne pasta.

Drain the water from the pot; keep the cooked pasta in the pot (no need to dirty another serving bowl).  Set aside for now.

Meanwhile, brown the sausage in a large frying pan.  Hannah used sweet/mild Italian sausage, but if you like a spicier pasta, use spicy sausage.  Remove the browned sausage from the pan and place on top of paper towels to soak up any excess fat.

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Using the same pan you used to brown the sausage, cook the onions and garlic until the onions are translucent and beginning to caramelize.  To save on cooking time, we usually buy a jar of chopped garlic.  We like LOTS of garlic, so Hannah added a couple of HEAPING tablespoons of chopped garlic to the pan.

There was enough grease in the pan from cooking the sausage so there is no need to add more oil to cook the onions and garlic.

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Roughly cut the sage leaves and toss them into the pan.

Bay leaves are savory herbs used often in Italian cooking.  The photo below doesn’t look as if she did it, but Hannah slightly crushed the bay leaves before adding them to the pan.  Crushing bay leaves brings out more of its natural oils and intense flavors.  Be careful that you don’t crush the leaves and maket them too small; you want to remove them from the pan after cooking (don’t eat the leaves).

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Add the wine to the pan.  Hannah used a Pino Grigio for this recipe.  Because my kids are eating this (even though a lot of the alcohol cooks off), I wanted her to use a light-bodied wine with a clean and fresh taste — Pino Grigio was it.

Turn the heat up to high and bring the mixture to a boil, cooking until the wine reduces by half.

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Add the chicken broth to the pan once the wine reduced.

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Stir in the pureed pumpkin.  Pumpkin in pasta, you ask???  Don’t fret; you won’t even notice the pumpkin is in there.  The taste is not overpowering at all, but it’s just enough for you to ask, “hmmm…what IS that that tastes so good?” 😉

Since Hannah made a large pot of pasta, she used a good amount of pumpkin, about 2 cups.

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Add the cinnamon and nutmeg to the sauce.  The nutmeg and cinnamon compliment the pumpkin flavor quite nicely.

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Stir in the heavy whipping cream.

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Reduce the heat to medium.  Bring the sauce back to a simmer; cook for a few minutes (about 5 or so).  Taste the sauce; add salt to taste.  Hannah added about 2 tablespoons of Dashida powdered beef seasoning instead of salt.  Don’t add too much, however; you’ll be adding cheese to the pasta, which also has salt.

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Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the cooked pasta.  Hannah used LOTS of cheese here.  The cheese will melt when your pour the hot pasta sauce over the noodles, helping to thicken the sauce.

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CAREFULLY pour the hot sauce over the pasta and cheese.  Stir to combine.  It may seem very saucy at this point but the noodles will soak up some of the sauce (we love saucy pastas in our house).

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Serve with a side of cheesy garlic bread and more shredded Parmesan cheese and ENJOY! 🙂

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Penne with Sausage and Pumpkin Cream Sauce
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds bulk sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 8 fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 2½ cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups 100% pure pumpkin
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons Dashida seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 box Penne Pasta, cooked per package directions
  • 1½ cups grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Pour out the cooked pasta into a colander to drain out all the water. Return the cooked pasta to the now-empty pot. Set aside.
  2. Brown the sausage in a large frying pan. Remove the cooked sausage from pan; place in a paper towel-lined bowl to allow the excess fat to drain off.
  3. Cook the onions and garlic in the same pan used to cook the sausage. Cook until the onions begin to caramelize.
  4. Add the sage and bay leaves. Slightly crush the bay leaves before adding them to the pan.
  5. Add the wine to the pan. Turn the heat up to high and bring the mixture to a boil, cooking until it reduces by half.
  6. Stir in the chicken broth, pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir to combine.
  7. Stir in the whipping cream. Reduce the heat to medium. Bring the sauce back to a simmer; cook for a few minutes (about 5 or so).
  8. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the cooked pasta. Pour the sauce over the pasta and cheese. Stir to coat the pasta with the sauce.
Serve with more shredded cheese and ENJOY!

 

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