Shrimp Pasta with Spinach Sauce Topped with Crispy Brussels Sprouts

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I didn’t really know what I was making when I was making dinner tonight. I had three recipes in front of me, that somehow morphed into one dish. It all worked together very well. I had the pasta, a dipping sauce for the shrimp, the shrimp and tomatoes, and the brussels sprouts all separate. I took a step back and realized this dish would be perfect as a pasta dish (instead of having the pasta on the side.) And I was right.

Had I known I was going to do this, I would have thickened the spinach sauce up a bit – but the flavors were all great.

Though this was not the dish I had intended to make for this month’s Pasta Please, I figured I should share it, because as life seems to prove time and again, I’m bad at getting blogs done. So if I have something that qualifies, I should get it in!

Pasta Please is a fun monthly roundup, hosted by Tinned Tomatoes, but this month at SliceOffMe.

pasta please

Shrimp Pasta With Spinach Sauce Topped with Crispy Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients
8 oz dried spaghetti noodles
juice from 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb uncooked shrimp, deveined and peeled
1 lb Brussels sprouts
olive oil, enough to fry the brussels sprouts
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2/3 cup baby spinach
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tsp milk
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook per the box’s directions. Drain and set aside.

2. When the pasta is cooking, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic. Add the shrimp and set aside for at least 10 minutes.

3. To prepare the Brussels sprouts, trim the stems. Peel back and separate the leaves of the Brussels sprouts. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. In a cast iron skillet pour in the vegetable oil to sufficiently cover the bottom. Heat until sizzling. Add the Brussels sprouts leaves and fry, flipping continuously so they don’t burn. Once they have browned and begin to fold, remove them from the skillet with a slotted spoon and place on the lined baking sheet.

4. In a blender or food processor combine the spinach, green onions, yogurt, milk, vinegar, mustard, and 1/4 tsp of salt. Process until smooth.

5. Place the drained Brussels sprouts leaves in a bowl and toss with red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste.

6. Heat a skillet with Pam over medium heat. Cook the shrimp and cherry tomatoes, for approximately 3 minutes or until the shrimp are no longer pink.

7. Toss the pasta with the sauce, shrimp, and tomatoes. Sprinkle the Brussels sprouts leaves on the top.

* serves 4
* Besides Pasta Please, this dish is being shared with Small Victories Sunday

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Blackberry Lemon White Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I intended to start my Christmas baking at the beginning of the month (and I sort of did, I made the cookies that will be featured on the 16th in the Annual Cookie Swap way at the beginning of the month.) And then.. I stopped. I got busy with work. Busy with trials. And then I got sick. I’m finally getting over this cold and I’m still in the middle of trial, but today I was having one of those days where I just didn’t want to think about work too much. I did what I needed to stay on top of my business, but I didn’t focus on it all day – which I could have. But I’m low on energy lately and I needed some Christmas in the house. Yesterday I spent the day decorating. I made the first wreath I’ve ever made in my whole life, I decorated the mantle, I finished buying Christmas presents, and we hung lights outside the house. As I’m sitting here though, I realize there’s more I should have done. For instance, my Halloween Scentsy warmer is still out. Ghosts for Christmas? Unless we’re talking about the Ghost of Christmas Past, I think not. That needs to get switched.

Anyway, I decided to start my cookie baking today. I don’t know what I’m actually going to do with them, because I don’t have really anyone to hand them out to this year … I guess I’ll bring some to work.

I made four cookies today and I intend to try to make a cookie everyday from now until Christmas.

Can I do it?

Probably not. Given my inability to even update with dinners I am actually cooking, who knows. It seems the cookbook of this lawyer is pretty sparse as of late.

But without further ado, let’s talk about THESE COOKIES! This recipe was actually one that used blueberries in it. I had blackberries in the freezer, so that’s what I went with. The cookies were flavorful and very colorful – without the use of any food coloring!

Blackberry Lemon White Chocolate Chip Cookies
(source)

Ingredients
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 cup blackberries, chopped
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar in a stand mixer. Add the egg and beat until well combined.

3. In another bowl combine the dry ingredients: the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in the stand mixture.

4. Fold the lemon juice, blackberries, and white chocolate chips into the cookie dough.

5. Scoop 2 tbsp scoops of the cooke dough onto the baking sheet, leaving enough room between each cookie. I fit 12 cookies on each cookie sheet.

6. Bake for 11-14 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

* makes about 2 dozen cookies
* shared with See Ya In The Gumbo

White Chocolate Lemon Ice Cream

White Chocolate Lemon

I’ve moved! I’m no longer a Northern California girl, though at heart I always will be. I now live in the desert of San Bernardino, CA, east of Los Angeles. I’ve moved into a wonderful house that’s probably double the size of the house I left. Moving was a disaster, but when isn’t it? It’s always stressful, it always could go smoother, but it always ends. And this time it ended 8 1/2 hours away in a beautiful house in the middle of the desert.

I was worried I’d hate it here. But I really don’t. It’s beautiful. It isn’t the ocean. And it isn’t the forests. But it’s the desert. I’m surrounded by cactus, by Joshua trees, and I have quail and roadrunner running through my backyard. It’s beautiful in it’s own deserted way. I start my job a week from today, so until then, I’m just getting my house in order and playing around with my nice kitchen.

Funny enough though, the heat here isn’t as bad as Sacramento, which I just left. The day we moved it hit 108 in Sacramento. It’s been mid-90’s here. That’s a lot more bearable. Today even I didn’t have my AC on until about 1PM and my house was only 75 degrees.

But we still think of heat when we think of the desert, so to celebrate my arrival I decided to join in with We Should Cocoa’s (conceived by Choclette and Chele) challenge this month – chocolate ice creams and toppings hosted at Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary.

My favorite ice cream of all time is Orange Chocolate. I decided to take a twist on that and use white chocolate and lemon. It is SO satisfying! And because this town is so small and doesn’t have an ice cream parlor, I guess I’ll have to be my own! There will hopefully be more ice cream recipes to come in the future.

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White Chocolate Lemon Ice Cream

Ingredients
2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
3/4 cup milk
zest from 2 lemons
9 oz Ghiradelli white chocolate chips
6 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
few grains of salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp orange extract

Directions

1. In a heavy pot, combine 1 cup of cream, milk, and lemon zest. Stir over medium heat until the mixture begins to simmer. Remove from heat and cover the pot with a lid. Set aside for 20 minutes.

2. In another bowl, pour the chocolate chips. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat 2/3 cups heavy cream. Stir often until it gets very hot. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Whisk the cream with the chocolate until it melts and reaches a smooth consistency.

3. In another bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, salt, and the remaining 1/3 cup of heavy cream.

4. After the zest mixture has sat for 20 minutes, reheat and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat. Slowly add the hot zest mixture to the eggs, making sure to beat the eggs constantly so they don’t cook. Return to the pot and cook the custard until the temperature reaches 174 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat.

5. Gradually stir half the custard into the melted white chocolate, then return to pot and stir well. Stir in vanilla. Strain the custard through a very fine strainer over a large bowl.

6. Allow to cool. Once cool, cover with a paper towel covered by plastic wrap. Let sit in the fridge for 6 hours to overnight.

7. Once the mixture has chilled, remove from the fridge and stir. Pour into ice cream maker and churn according to the ice cream maker instructions. When there’s 5 minutes left before the ice cream is done, add the orange extract. Place in the freezer to completely freeze until ready to eat.

* Besides We Should Cocoa, this recipe is being shared with Mix It Up Monday

Rosemary-Lemon No-Knead Bread with Baked Spinach Artichoke Yogurt Dip

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2014 has started on a busy foot. I’ve been applying to jobs and working for free. If you’re thinking about going to law school, this is something to consider. Do it because you love it. Not because you think you’re going to get rich quick. I mean, maybe you will. But you probably won’t. It’s good that wasn’t ever my plan.

I’ve been counting my calories again, because I let myself go this last year and gained far too much weight. I’ve been indulging too much and not exercising at all. So 2014 that will change. It’s not a new year’s resolution. It’s just a new life resolution.

I like to indulge though, that’s the problem. One of my favorite things to indulge in is spinach dip. I am obsessed with the spinach dip that Safeway sells. In fact, just typing that makes me start salivating. It’s that good. I decided yesterday to make a homemade, way lower calorie spinach dip. It’s definitely different than what I get at the store, much less creamy, but delicious in its own right.

This dip is my entry to this month’s AlphaBakes challenge. The letter for January 2014 is Y. This dip is made with yogurt, cheese, spinach, and artichokes. The yogurt definitely makes it meet this challenge requirement!

AlphaBakes Logo

Baked Spinach Artichoke Yogurt Dip
(source)

Ingredients
6 oz jar artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
5 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained
4 oz plain yogurt
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 green onions, minced
1 garlic clove, minced

Directions

1. Combine all the ingredients together in a baking dish. Mix together well. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Voila!

Anyway, you can’t have spinach dip without having some delicious bread to dip in it. So I decided to participate in Cooking with Herbs and create a lemon-rosemary loaf. Karen asked for some citrus to be included with our herb cooking. The combination of lemon and rosemary was divine!

I followed a recipe from Williams-Sonoma. Additionally, a post at Serious Eats also really helped me with this loaf. The science behind this no-knead bread is fascinating. You let the dough sit for 12-18 hours and let the yeast do its business on kneading on its own. While this bread isn’t something you can whip up in a few hours, the amount of work to create a beautiful loaf of bread is minor.

I followed the Williams-Sonoma recipe, but I put the uncooked dough in the fridge for three days as per Serious Eats. I also determined when the loaf as done based on the temperature of the inside of the bread, which I also learned from Serious Eats.

This may have to be my go-to recipe. It’d be so easy to manipulate into many wonderful tasting breads.

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If I can lose weight and eat bread and spinach dip, I think this will be a good year/life.

IMG_9322* Besides AlphaBakes and Cooking with Herbs, this delicious duo is also being shared with #FoodieFriday & Foodie Friday

Fried Tilapia with Lemon Sauce

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I’ve been trying to make this fish dish for a few days, but thins kept getting in the way. There just kept being a reason I couldn’t cook or didn’t want to cook.  But I needed to make this dish for this month’s Pantry Party: FISH!

I decided to use the container of bread crumbs I had stuffed in the back of my cabinet to make a fried fish dish. Though I initially had followed a recipe, the dish evolved into its own creation when I actually realized I didn’t have the right ingredients to follow the recipe.

My changes though were great, This is a dish I’d cook again.

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Fried Tilapia with Lemon Sauce

Ingredients
2 tilapia fillets, cut in half
3/4 cup beer
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp cornstarch, divided
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, divided
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp water
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 1/2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
vegetable oil for frying

Ingredients

1. In a shallow dish combine the beer, flour, 1/2 tbsp cornstarch, salt, garlic powder, and 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper. ix together until you create a batter. In another shallow dish, spread with breadcrumbs.

2. Dip the fish in the batter. Once coated, dip in the breadcrumbs. Set fish aside.

3. In a cast iron skillet heat vegetable oil until hot. Add the fish and cook 4 minutes per side.

4. Remove and set on a wire rack.

5. In a small pot whisk together 1 tbsp water and the remaining cornstarch. Add the lemon, honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and the remaining cayenne pepper. Whisk together. Put on low heat until it begins to thicken.

6. Spoon the sauce over the fish.

* serves 2
* Though made for Pantry Party, I’m sharing this dish with Mix It Up Monday

Lemon-Strawberry Parfaits

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I try on holidays to get pictures of the entire meal. But on Easter this year I neglected that due to drinking too much and forgetting. What do I mean by drinking too much? I had half a glass of wine and a margarita. I have no tolerance. Before I had the little amount of alcohol that proved to be excessive for my body, I had made a very messy looking parfait. I figured out a strategy to get them to look nice once I was already done, so that was ineffective. But regardless, I remembered to take a picture of the parfaits because I made them in the morning.

Despite being sloppy, they tasted delicious. I’ve never made curd before and the microwave method definitely proved easy. I probably could have left a few of the lemons out, because the dish was super lemony, but it was yummy after a festive Easter dinner. I also cheated and didn’t make the pound cake from scratch, but sometimes it’s just necessary to cheat. With all the other preparations we had to do for dinner (for our lamb, for the couscous, the crab cakes, and the veggies) baking a pound cake would have made the whole process more hectic.

Lemon-Strawberry Parfaits
(source)

Ingredients
1 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 cup fresh lemon juice
zest of 3 lemons
1/2 cup butter, melted
sliced pound cake
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp sugar

Directions

1. In a microwave bowl whisk together the sugar and eggs. Then whisk in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and butter. Place in a microwave and heat for one minute on high heat. Remove and whisk. Return to microwave for another minute. Remove and whisk. Continue until the mixture sticks to the back of a spoon. This takes about 4 minutes. Press the mixture through a sieve into a bowl.

2. Using a biscuit cutter, cut the pound cake into 8 circles.

3. Beat the heavy cream with the 2 tbsp of sugar until you have whipped cream.

4. Start layering the ingredients in a cup. Start with the pound cake. On top of the pound cake layer the lemon curd. Then layer the strawberries. Then layer the whipped cream. Repeat.

* serves 4
* shared with Wednesday Whatsits, Cast Party Wednesday, & Catch A Glimpse Party

Fish Pie

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This month over at BakeBakeBake the challenge is British. Frankly, my experience with British food is very small. All I can think of is fish and chips. But a baked British dish? Google was required to find something to meet the challenge! Fish pie is a pie made with white fish. It is a traditional British dish. Upon googling I found Jamie Oliver’s Fish Pie recipe, using a combination of fish, shrimp, carrots, celery, lemon, tomato, spinach, and mashed potatoes.

I was skeptical, but clearly I had no reason to be. This dish was time consuming (until it went into the oven) but came out perfectly with a beautiful crispy potato topping.

Fish Pie

Ingredients
2 lbs white potatoes, cut into pieces
1 carrot, shredded
2 sticks celery, shredded
5 oz Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 lemon
2 1/4 lbs tilapia, cut into pieces
4 oz shrimp, cleaned and peeled
olive oil
1 handful baby spinach
2 tomatoes, quartered

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the potatoes and cook for 12 minutes. Once the potatoes are tender, mash together with several glugs of olive oil.

2. Place the grated carrot, celery, and cheese together in a baking dish. Zest the lemon into the baking dish. Cut the tilapia into bite size pieces. Mix the tilapia, shrimp, spinach, and tomatoes in with the grated vegetables.

3. Spread the mashed potatoes on top of the dish. Bake for 40 minutes.

* serves 6
* shared with Tasteful Tuesday Party, Tasty Tuesdays,  Tempt My Tummy, & Recipe Box 

Baked Orzo with Kale and Cheese

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Finding new ways to incorporate my veggies into my stomach has been interesting. I’m trying to include at least one veggie into my dinners. This is something I always intend to do, but have been slacking at considerably. I’m such a meat and potatoes girl. A pizza and ice cream girl. I like carbs and I like sweets and I like junk food. It’s a struggle to get my head into thinking otherwise. But I started this new year with a bang and so far have been pretty successful.

This was a smitten kitchen recipe which I slightly altered to make it work with the ingredients I had.

Baked Orzo with Kale and Cheese
(inspiration)

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
1 celery stalk, diced
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz uncooked orzo
1/2 tsp tomato paste
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 oz shredded mozzarella
3/4 oz grated Parmesan
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 head kale, sliced into thin ribbons
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and saute the celery for 3 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 more minutes.  Stir in the orzo and tomato paste and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the mozzarella, Parmesan, tomatoes, kale, lemon zest, vegetable broth, and salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.

2. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 20 more minutes.

* serves 2
* shared with Mix It Up Monday & Mealtime Monday 

Lemon Rolls

This month at LiveJournal’s BakeBakeBake the challenge was to make a baked good using yeast. I was hesitant to partake because last time I tried something involving yeast, it was just a massive fail. I think mostly my last failure had to do with the temperature of my house and less to do with me just sucking. This weekend was the opportune time to make something using yeast. It was hot, but not too hot. And I had time (between reading for classes.)

I actually was convinced these wouldn’t work though. In fact I threw out my first yeast/milk combination because I think I had the milk too hot and the yeast wasn’t having the reaction I wanted it to. When I finally made the dough, I was still convinced these weren’t going to work. In fact, I was so convinced that while my dough was rising I went to Jamba Juice to get something to eat because I just had this feeling my dough was going to end up in the trash instead of the oven.

I am glad I was wrong!

These rolls were delicious. Though similar to the traditional cinnamon roll, these are filled with a butter, sugar, lemon combination. They were so good I couldn’t even take the picture of them without eating one first. Or two. 🙂

Lemon Rolls

Ingredients
1 1/2 large lemons
1 envelope (.25 oz) active yeast
3/4 cup milk, warmed to about 100 degrees
1/2 cup + 3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cup white sugar, divided
2 tsp vanilla
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp nutmeg, divided
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp ground ginger
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar

Directions

1. Zest and juice the lemons. Divide the zest into three equal parts. Divide the lemon juice into two equal parts.

2. In a bowl of a stand mixer sprinkle the yeast over warmed milk and let it sit for about 5 minutes, until foamy. With the mixer paddle, stir the softened 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup of sugar, vanilla, and one cup of the flour into the milk mixture. Stir in the salt, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and one of the portions of lemon zest. Stir in the eggs and enough of the flour to make a soft yet sticky dough. I used about 3 1/2 cups of flour.

3. Switch to the dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes.

4. Lightly grease the top of the dough with vegetable oil and turn the dough over so it’s covered in oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and a towel. Let the dough rise until nearly doubled for one hour.

5. In a small bowl, mix together 1 cup of sugar with the 1/4 tsp of nutmeg and ginger. Add in a portion of the lemon zest and combine with your fingers until the sugar resembles soft sand. Slowly pour a portion of the lemon juice into the sugar. Stop when the sugar and lemon juice form a thick, clumpy mixture like wet sand.

6. Grease a baking dish. On a floured surface pat the dough into a rectangle about 10×15 inches.

7. Spread the 3 tbsp of remaining butter evenly across the dough. Spread the lemon-sugar mixture over the top. Roll the dough up tightly, starting from the top long end. Stretch the dough taut as you roll to keep the sugar inside. Cut the long roll into 12 even rolls. Pinch the bottom of each roll closed and place open and cut side up in the baking dish.

8. Cover the rolls with a towel and let rise for an hour.

9. Heat the oven to 350. Place the rolls in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.

10.While the rolls are baking, prepare the glaze. In a food processor whip the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the remaining lemon juice and blend until well combined. Add the powdered sugar and process until smooth and creamy.

11. When the rolls are done, smear them with the cream cheese glaze and sprinkle with the remaining lemon zest.

* makes 12 rolls
* Shared with BakeBakeBake, Mealtime Monday, Makin You Crave Monday, & Mix it Up Monday

Lemon Scones

I go through “things” as I like to call it. I’ve been through the cupcake “thing,” a pancake “thing,” and I think now I’m stuck in a scone “thing.” In the past few weeks I’ve bombarded my house with scones. I just can’t get over how easy they are. These lemon scones were made because one of the attorneys in the office I work in brought a 5 lb bag of lemons to work and told everyone to take them, because his lemon tree is going insane. I took about 4 lemons. I still have 3 left after making these scones, so I need some more lemon ideas.

These were delicious and crumbly.
I love scones.

Lemon Scones

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup crisco
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
Additional sugar for topping

Directions

1. In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the crisco so the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add buttermilk and lemon peel. Stir until just mixed.

2. On a lightly floured surface knead gently about 6 times. Shape into a ball.

3. On a greased baking sheet, pat the dough into a circle about 1/2 inch thick and 8 1/2 inches in diameter. Cut 8 wedges into the dough, not cutting all the way through. Top with the additional sugar.

4. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

* makes 8 scones