It’s lacrosse season here in Michigan, so that means that most of my evenings are spent at games (both my son and daughter play). This means that the blog suffers and we eat out a lot. There are some nights that I’m able to cook dinner, but I try to keep it really simple – usually grilled chicken, fish or meat, and a simple side dish. I have a plethera of pasta combinations, but this is a favorite of ours. I almost always have cherry or grape tomatoes in the refrigerator, and I always try to keep fresh basil on hand; in a week or so I will have it fresh in the garden. This pasta side dish (or can be served as a vegetarian entree) comes together in no time – it really only takes a few minutes more than whatever the cooking time is for your pasta. This is a classic – simple and good. (Serves 4-6).
- 1 Lb. of Linguine (or your favorite pasta)
- 1 Cup Grape or Cherry Tomatoes (cut into halves or quarters)
- 3 Cloves Fresh Garlic- finely chopped
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Basil – rough chopped
- 3-4 TBS. Olive Oil
- 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese – grated
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Add the pasta to the boiling water. In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large, deep saute pan. Add the garlic and saute until tender. Add the tomatoes and saute until softened. When cooked to desired tenderness, drain the pasta, reserving about 1/4 cup of cooking water. Add basil to saute pan, stir and then add pasta directly to the pan; add the parmesan cheese. Toss the pasta to combine and add pasta water if necessary. Season well with salt and pepper. Serve with additional grated parmesan cheese.
I love to serve a rustic boiled seafood dinner. My former almost sister-in-law gave me the inspiration… just cover the table with craft paper (I found some cute table paper that has a fancy silverware pattern) and put out a huge bowl of seafood – everyone just stands around, eats, and leaves a mess that gets rolled up and tossed in the trash. Crab legs are often requested for birthday dinners in our house, but I like to buy them when they’re on special because it’s just hard to pass them up. Recently, I decided to try to mimic the spicy crab that I had when visiting Singapore. In looking for recipes on-line, I was distracted (shocking, I know) by a couple of posts about roasted crab legs. Essentially, all of the crab legs that you can buy are pre-cooked, steaming or boiling them is simply a method for heating them. In this preparation, you heat them in the oven, but most importantly, you first smother them in butter and seasoning. Butter and crab legs are almost inseparable. I used Old Bay seasoning, minced garlic (fresh), and a fancy salt mix that I had. You can really use any combination of seasonings that you enjoy. This is a great method if you’re not making a huge batch of crab because an oven preheats much faster than a huge pot of water. This crab feast was only for three of us, so it doesn’t look so impressive, but it sure was tasty! Also, the snow crab legs were on sale (as opposed to the Alaskan King Crab Legs), so they are the ones I featured – they are very sweet, tender, and delicious. (Serves 2-3).
- 4 Lbs. Crab Legs (Snow, King, or Dungeness)- cooked (thawed, if frozen)
- 1/4 Cup Butter
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- 4 TBS. Old Bay Seasoning (or other seafood seasoning)
- 4 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
- 1 Medium to Large Shallot – finely chopped
- 3 TBS. Fresh Parsley – chopped
- 2 TBS. Fresh Thyme Leaves
- 1 TBS. Red Pepper Chili Flakes (optional)
- 1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
Preheat oven to 500 Degrees. In a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil. Add garlic, shallot, and herbs; saute for 2-3 minutes until garlic and shallot are softened and fragrant. Add Old Bay, red pepper flakes (if using) and lemon juice. Simmer over medium heat until lemon juice is reduced by 1/2. Place crab legs in an oven proof roasting dish – pour sauce over crab and toss until crab is well coated. Plate in oven and roast until heated through (10-15 minutes depending on size of crablegs). Serve immediately. Hint: make extra butter sauce to reserve for dipping if you are feeling particularly indulgent.
Lavender Honey Ice Cream
What I love most about homemade ice cream is that you experiment with all sorts of ingredients, and you can control the sweetness. This ice cream is the perfect example of just both. I had some lavender syrup and wanted to make an ice cream that was fitting for spring. I did cheat a little bit and added some blue food coloring to give the ice cream it’s beautiful lavender color, but sometimes you have to abandon being a purist for the sake of beauty. This is, by far, one of the best flavors of ice cream I’ve ever made, and it’s just fun and unique. You can find lavender syrup at specialty spice stores or on-line. There are some recipes on-line for homemade lavender syrup, but I haven’t experimented with that yet. To impress guests, I recommend garnishing this with dried lavender – I didn’t have any on hand, so I wasn’t able to. I did use an ice cream maker to prepare this.
- 1 Cup Whole Milk
- 3 Cups Heavy Cream
- 1/2 Cup Lavender Syrup*
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 2-3 tsp. Honey (plus extra for garnish if desired)
- Blue Food Coloring (optional)
Whisk together all ingredients. Add a few drops of food coloring until desired color is reached – this step is optional. Pour into ice cream maker and prepare according to manufacturers directions (mine churned for about 20 minutes). Transfer ice cream to storage containers and freeze for at least a couple of hours. Garnish ice cream with dried lavender and drizzle with additional honey if desired.
Pasta with Italian Sausage and Kale
Oh how we do love pasta in my family! This recipe is another positive result of throwing together ingredients that I had available. I always keep sausage in my freezer (I buy the most delightful sausages at the local farmer’s market) and I certainly always have pasta around. The kale was the wildcard- I had made a chopped kale salad (yum!) and had leftover kale. I also had mushrooms that needed to be used, and they were a nice addition, as were the chick peas (my daughter and I both love them). I made this with regular sweet Italian sausage, but you could certainly use hot Italian sausage (or a combination of both would be great), or you could use turkey or chicken sausage. There are also such a great variety of sausage flavors available, that you could really get creative. This is a super easy fast dish to put together, great for a weeknight dinner; plus the leftovers are great for lunch.
- 1 Lb. Sausage – casing removed
- 4-5 Cloves Fresh Garlic – finely chopped
- 4 Cups Kale (or other dark green leafy vegetable) – thick stems removed
- 1/4 Cup White Wine (optional – if omitting, add extra chicken stock)
- 1/2-3/4 Cup chicken Stock (or broth)
- 3 Tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1 Cup Mushrooms – sliced
- 1 Cup Chick Peas
- 3/4 -1 Lb. Pasta (Penne, Rigatoni, or a hearty noodle of your choice)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a large saute pan, cook sausage over medium heat (breaking up sausage into bite size chunks); transfer sausage to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Cook garlic in pan with remaining sausage drippings until softened and fragrant but not browned. Add mushrooms and saute until mushrooms just begin to become tender. Add kale, stock and wine. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. In the meantime, add pasta to boiling water and cook according to directions – when cooked to al dente, drain and set aside. After kale and other ingredients have simmered for about 10 minutes, add tomatoes, chick peas, and cooked sausage to pan. Simmer for another 2-3 minutes just until tomatoes start to become tender. Add pasta to pan, toss until all ingredients are well incorporated. Serve immediately garnished with Parmesan cheese.
Posted in Kid Favorites, Main Dishes, Pasta, Pork, Poultry, Recipes, Uncategorized
Tagged and Chick Peas, Kale, Mushrooms, Pasta with Italian Sausage, Pasta with Kale, Pasta with Sausage and Kale