Snowquester-Meals

I have really taken a liking to that show, The Taste –
I started off watching it because I know Chef Huda from various events in the DMV and she was going to be one of the finalist and I wanted to see how well she did.
She made it some where in the middle.
She got kicked off the night she served raw chicken.
However, the various combinations that these chefs have had to come up with has made me really get into making more dishes in the kitchen that I have either not tried before or have not tried in a while.
The best times are when you get threatened with a snow storm that never comes and you have only the basics in the kitchen- so what do you make?
Not to mention, its times like these where you are forced to stay off the roads that Amos cancels his evening work obligations and for that, I think he should be treated to a nice home cooked meal.
The ladies at the church can’t be the only ones dropping off good food.
SO, last night I made Snowquesters finest: Garlic Butter Shrimp and Pasta Risotto
It was so good, I felt like sharing with you something that you can try.
Note: Pasta Risotto is such a great base for your meal that you can serve with any protein or veggie that you choose, which is the beauty of it. I also made sure this time to pay attention to my measurements so that I could share it with you.
Ingredients:
1 Box – Barilla Plus Spaghetti Noodles
1 Bag – Frozen or Fresh Shrimp
1 – small white onion or shallots (to be split between pasta and shrimp)
1/4 cup – white whine (Rhine was used however, you can use any dry white)
1/4 cup – Kraft Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup – Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
4 tsps – Butter (to be split between pasta and shrimp)
4 cups – Chicken Stock
1/2 clove – Garlic
1 tsp – Parsley
Salt and Pepper
Here’s what you need to Prep in advance – because cooking the dish is hands on and goes fast

Take your box of Spaghetti and break into small peices
You want them to be approximately that size to half the size of the piece shown below.
Also, de-vein and peel the shrimp. Make sure the tails are removed for easy eating.
Place them in two separate prep bowls.
Mince your small onion and place in a prep bowl
Also, heat your chicken stock in a small sauce pan on low boil and let it sit warm until its time to use.
Lets get started:
In a Medium Sauce pan – Take 2tsps of Butter and 1/2 of the small onion and let sautee until translucent.
Slowly pour in your broken pasta.
As little by little falls in make sure you are stirring to cover the pasta with the butter.
Stir for 2 mins ( I used a pan safe spatula) to make sure that the pasta is completely covered and until the butter is completely absored.  
As you are waiting for the butter to be absorbed into pasta on low heat:
Sautee your other 2 tsps of Butter and other half of small onion or shallots in a large frying pan.
When melted, lay Shrimp in the pan and season with salt and pepper
2 mins in add your fresh garlic and parsley
Place on low heat and watch them turn pink.
Back to the Pasta:
Take your 1 cup size measuring cup –
dip it into your warmed chicken stock and pour into your Pasta – one cup at a time.
Stir until its absorbed (you know it is if you can see the bottom of the sauce pan with no liquid like shown below)
Keep repeating this process until all four cups are in the pasta and absorbed.
Keep stirring periodically once all four cups have been added until Pasta is cooked and tender.
Time to add the cheeses!
Take 1/4 cup Kraft Grated Parmesean
Add to the pot.
Stir.
Take 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesean
Add to the pot.
Stir.
Once Shrimp is cooked and once pasta is stirred –
It’s time to Plate your Meal!
Viola!
You are finished and its delicious!
You have got to try this and tell me how it turned out.
If you do send me a link in the comments or tag me in your photo on Instagram

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Garlic Parmesean Wings

What do you do with the threat of Sequestration hanging over your head? When you fear furlough’s and possible loss of some resources and jobs for some? You adjust your budget and learn to eat in more.
My hubby and I love Garlic Parmesean Wings.
In particular we like them from this carry out called America’s Best Wings.
We decided that we would give making them at home a try, so I figured I would share with you how we made them in case you are also looking for other recipe ideas.
These are two different versions of Garlic Parmesean Wings: Regular (on top) and Double Fried.

First thing you want to do that is not pictured here:
Heat your Fryer (as you see we have a small one to the left of our stove)
or you can fry your wings in a skillet that’s deep enough for oil.
Second: While your wings are frying you want to make your garlic parmesean-
Here’s how:
Take your little chopper, blender or grater and mince your garlic.
I used fresh garlic, so I whipped out my mini chopper. (You know you are in your 30’s officially when you get excited about using a mini chopper – I remember when I got this for Christmas back in my early twenties and I wanted to give it right back!)
Peel the garlic and place the whole clove of a small sized garlic- ( I added about a 1/4 onion and some fresh parsley in the mix).
Mince it all up.
Add it to the pan with about 6 tsps of butter (this is for a large bag of wings), melt enough butter based on how many wings you need to coat.
Then add your already fried wings directly into the skillet. Just make sure they are coated all over then take them out, place them in a clean pan and let rest.
A few at a time and toss – then immediately retrieve and place to the side.
Again not pictured: Place about 1/2 cup of Parmesean Cheese (we used that large Kraft green jar) and place that in the bottom of a bowl.
Lightly toss your wings in the cheese
Retrieve you wings and let rest.
For double fried: after tossing in garlic, tossing in the parmesean, then toss back in the fryer for a quick sec.
Ready to eat?

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Her Way vs Mines: Rachael Ray’s Penne with Pistachio-Mint Pesto

What else do you do on long weekends? 
You try new recipes!
Seeing as though its Lenten Season, my parents are doing a Daniel Fast – 
my mom asked us were we going to join her this year and I told her that I would try some things from it.  So last night, I decided to make a dish that would be in line with what we did give up for Lent and in line with the Daniel Fast guidelines.
Being home on a mini-vacay, I got to watch a lot of my favorite day time shows – Rachael Ray being one of them. Yesterday she made a Penne with Pistachio-Mint Pesto. I asked my husband if he wouldn’t mind trying it and he didn’t so we set out to get the ingredients from the store. 
Of course, the way Rachael did things are a little different in my real life kitchen. 
1. Rachael cooks in front of a live audience – I just pretend I have one. 
I usually like to cook with my iPad or Laptop at hand when I am cooking from a recipe. 
I prepared all the ingredients and placed them all within hands reach. Because once the Pasta is done and the puree is made, it kind of goes fast. 

2. Rachael hand chops all fresh ingredients and does so quickly – no way, I use the freeze dried in the jar. If I love the recipe then I will spend the money to make it with fresh organic ingredients.
I decided to use freeze dried instead of fresh – only because we didn’t go to my usual favorite market – Wegman’s. And thats fine. It just meant that I had to adjust some of the measurements depending upon what the bottle said the transfer measurement. 
For instance, for the Parsley – 1 tsp freeze dried was equal to 1 tsp fresh.
For the Mint – 1 tsp freeze dried was equal to 1/2 tsp fresh, which meant I had to cut what the recipe calls for. 

3. Rachael made her Pesto in a food processor – I made mine in my Cuisinart Blender – It has a Puree button for a reason!
I puree’d the Pesto in my Blender and it handled the pistachios really well. It blended everything nice a smooth like. 
4. Rachael knows her measurement to a T, although she may fudge it. I on the other hand get a little lost once I start and start misreading the instructions. Oh well! 
The only thing I didn’t realize was that it only called for half of the chicken stock in the Pesto – I used the whole measurement. 
I did however have to add even more in the end. 
Either way, when I watched the show, she said to save some of the starchy water – I forgot and at the last minute grabbed the last bit of water coming through the colander. The other thing I think I may have even forgotten was to read how much pasta. Although I cooked one box, I feel like I had so much Pesto sauce, I could’ve made two boxes. 

In the end: It was YUMMY! 
I would give it a you should try this!
If you don’t like meat less dishes, this would be good to add shrimp or chicken too. 
I felt so accomplished, it was my first time making my own pesto – I think that I may have to do that again and just bottle up the extras. 
Updated to say: I ate the leftovers the following day. It was Yummy the first day, but it was just so much Pesto to me- but next day once out of the refrigerator – I placed it in a pot on the stove with 2 tsp of oil and about a 1/2 cup of water and stirred until the water had boiled out – the consistency of it was SO MUCH BETTER – therefore so much more yummier. I will definitely try this recipe again now.

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Benefits of this East Coast Weather

So, it has been just our luck on the East Coast that we keep getting hit by storm after storm.
My hearts and prayers still go out to those in New York like my sister and New Jersey and all the other areas that were hit the hardest during these back to back storms.
Hurricane Sandy had me “stuck” happily at home for three days.
We had minor damage and thankfully because of new construction didn’t lose power.
However, we prepared for it just in case.
Now we have the Nor’easter that was at first forcasted to come through here and luckily we just got the rain and not the snow because of the elevation that we live in.
Being home through the storms and constantly preparing has allowed me to discover some new things:
1. I got to see the Breaking Amish series that I kept hearing about thanks to a marathon and I LOVED it.
In all honesty, I was cooking and didnt have the hands to change it therefore, stuck I was watching it and getting sucked into the story line. They are off the hook crazy! Couldn’t be me.
2. Cooking what? you may ask. I tried another Skinny Taste Recipe and thanks to the storms, I had no where to go and could take my time cooking.
My kitchen usually looks like this when I am trying to follow a recipe. This one was a Skinny version of cajun chicken pasta.

I really thought I was Chef Boyardee, but thats fine because it came out GREAT! YUMMY!
3. We FINALLY mounted the television in our bedroom after all this time it had been propped up on a box. Happy to say that our TV is now secured to the wall and looking awesome!
4. In addition to suffering from cabin fever, we cleaned the entire house, which made it easy to have an impromptu Election Night party.
5. In the midst of all these storms, Daylight Savings Time changed again… can I just say that thanks to my inner clock (because if you don’t know – I never set my alarm to wake up, I just wake up the same time every day) I am now an hour early to work every day! Which works out great for me because now I can leave work an hour early. YAY!
If you are on the East Coast what did you get done in the storms while you were home from work?

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It’s Mardi Gras! : How to Make a Mini King Cake

                         Source: mozhanalexandra.tumblr.com via Carrie on Pinterest
Today is Mardi Gras! BAY BEH *in my New Orleans accent*

 …and although Mardi Gras is celebrated in all kinds of ways (we usually would do a Pancake Supper with a side of Chicken and Dumplings),  in college it was fun to hang with those who were from the New Orleans area and learn their different traditions.

What I found out was that, during Mardi Gras, there would be King Cake.

Now, King Cake is a cake that is associated with the pre-lenten season. So apparently, (according to Wikipedia) there is a small plastic baby in the cake or placed under it that represents the Baby Jesus. So whomever gets the baby or trinket has various obligations or duties. So yea, if you get the trinket in the cake in the Gulf Coast, your supposedly obligated to provide the king cake for next year.

I don’t know about you but, I don’t see the benefit of getting the trinket- I would avoid the baby Jesus at all costs! 🙂

SO, if I were to get the trinket, I would definitely be looking for an easier way to make King Cake because baking is not my specialty just yet.  So in trolling for new recipes, I found this cute idea for mini King Cakes.

Traditionally, King Cake is a twisted brioche bread that resembles a cinnamon roll with icing and Mardi Gras colored sprinkles.

Well, Ma from Phar-ma Blog offered up this idea… since she has a toddler and a newborn at home she had to be creative on how to make things quickly. 
Here’s how you do it:
Pillsbury Cinnamon Roll twisted into a circle
Pour on some icing 
then sprinkles… and WAH LAH! or ABRA CA DABRA!
and you have mini King Cakes fit for little mouths with little time. 
Happy Mardi Gras!

Did you try this? or some other sweet treat for Mardi Gras? Let me know!


All photos courtesy of Phar-ma.com and Wikipedia File Photo.

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