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

Vegetable Fideua (but not really)

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Where did this recipe go wrong?

– I should have used thinner noodles.
– I misunderstood what it meant to break the noodles – I didn’t interpret that as smaller pieces than how I broke it up. But afterwards, when I looked at other recipes for this dish, it’s obvious the noodles are supposed to be substantially smaller than I had them here.

The dish wasn’t bad, but I’m sure it’s nothing like what fideua is supposed to be like. For what it was though, it wasn’t bad. Nothing like a standard noodle dish.

And truly, that was the point. Rachel of Rachel Cotterill is hosting this month’s Pasta Please, a monthly blog round up of pasta dishes based around a certain theme. Rachel set the theme this month as fusion. She challenged us to make a vegetarian pasta dish that steps away from the Italian influences.

So what did I do? I googled “Spanish noodles” and I got this dish. I followed this recipe loosely in making the dish that wasn’t very Spanish nor like fideua, but still tasty.

So here’s my tips for you, future fideua makers: break your noodles A LOT smaller than mine are. And maybe use angel hair pasta instead or something thinner than a spaghetti noodle.

pasta please

Vegetable Fideua

Ingredients
8 oz thin noodles
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
2/3 cup onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
6 oz frozen green peas
3 tomatoes, diced
1 1/3 cup vegetable broth
salt, to taste

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400. Lay the noodles on a baking dish. Bake the noodles for 5 minutes, or until they start to brown. (mine got too brown)

2. In a large oven safe pan heat the vegetable oil. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the green bell pepper and cook until it softens. Add the green peas and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for several more minutes.

3. Add the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Crush the noodles and sprinkle them over the vegetables. Stir the noodles into the dish. Simmer until the noodles are tender.

4. Place the pan in the oven set at 400 for a few minutes, so the remaining liquid can be cooked off.

* serves 4

Butternut Squash Parmigiana

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I was going to make eggplant parmigiana, but I decided last week mid-week that I wasn’t going to do any grocery shipping and I was going to use the ingredients I had in the house. I had planned to make this eggplant parmigiana, but didn’t have an eggplant . . . so I searched through my fridge and found a butternut squash that was asking for me to use it. I’ve made mini pizzas on butternut squash before, so I figured this was a good choice of foods to make parmigiana with. I really love butternut squash. This meal turned out to be decadent – with the sweetness of the squash mixed with the salty of the tomato sauce . . . YUM!!! I’m going to not go grocery shopping more and force myself to make do with what I have in the house, because this was magical.

Butternut Squash Parmigiana

Ingredients
3 cups crushed tomatoes
2 medium butternut squash
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350. Slice the squash into slices 1/3 of an inch thick. Make sure you clean out the center of the squash, disposing of the seeds.

2. Brush the squash slices with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until tender.

3. Raise oven heat to 400. Place the tender squash slices in a casserole dish, layering the bottom of the dish. Spoon the tomato sauce on top, followed by the mozzarella, and then the parmesan.

4. Cover the casserole dish with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

5. Cool for 10 minutes before enjoying!

* serves 4
* shared with Tasty Tuesdays

Turkey Sandwich with Roasted Tomatoes

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This month’s Food ‘n Flix film is The Breakfast Club, hosted by Debra at Eliot’s Eats. This wasn’t the first time I’ve seen this movie, so I was surprised to see this as the movie for the month. I mean, it’s not what I would consider a foodie movie. So I rewatched The Breakfast Club with an eye for food this time. Rather than just seeing a bunch of high school students in detention, I looked for food. And while not entirely dominating the movie, food I saw.

breakfast-clubThough not quite as . . . creative as this lunch sandwich (eaten by Allison,) my sandwich would have been welcomed by me to have for a high school lunch. Though I did consider making Allison’s cereal filled sandwich, I didn’t know if I could actually bring myself to eat it. When I was in high school my mom made me lunch almost everyday, but she rarely made me sandwiches. This was due to my own demanding nature. For some reason I just . . . I preferred rice a roni I guess. And I was spoiled.

But anyway, this movie did bring me back some. I remember the one occasion I had detention in high school. It was because my shirt was too short when I raised my hand in class. All it taught me was not to volunteer in class, because the hour I had to sit in detention just pissed me off. Saturday detention sounds absolutely horrible though. And incredibly unproductive. You think they’d at least let them do their homework.

So, the recipe I’m sharing with Food ‘n Flix this month is a sandwich. This sandwich hopefully could full any high school student through Saturday detention. It’s simple enough but has a kick that makes it special!

Turkey Sandwich with Roasted Tomatoes

Ingredients
2 slices of bread
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1/4 tsp paprika
2 slices tomato
1/2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
a pinch of dried basil
3 slices deli turkey
1/2 slice Swiss cheese
a tiny handful of arugula

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the tomato slices on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and basil. Roast for 25 minutes.

2. Toast the bread. While the bread is toasting and the tomatoes roasting, mix together the mayonnaise and paprika.

3. Put your sandwich together! Spread the paprika-mayonnaise on the bread. Place the turkey, roasted tomatoes, Swiss cheese, and arugula on the sandwich.

* makes 1 sandwich
* Besides Food ‘n Flix, I’m sharing this sandwich with Souper Sundays & See Ya In The Gumbo

 

Not-Really-Nicoise-Salad

IMG_9295This month at Food ‘n Flix we watched A Good Year, a movie about a man who goes to France and something or other. This movie was hosted by Squirrel Head Manor.

Frankly, I wasn’t enamored with the movie. Really, I found it boring. I didn’t find any of the characters likable. I wasn’t inspired. I do still love participating though, even when my inspiration is lacking, so I decided to find some way to participate.

The gist of the movie is Max goes to France when he learns his deceased uncle has left his chateau to him. A plus about the movie is that the scenery and sets are beautiful – I did quite want to go to France (and live on a Vineyard no less.)

Anyway – this inspiration came from a part in the movie where Max was helping as a waiter at a French restaurant. An American tourist orders a salad “nee-swa-zay” with low-cal ranch dressing and some bacon bits sprinkled on top. Max then gets indignant and makes some remarks about fast food.

I decided to make the Salad Nee-Swa-Zay for that American tourist – though she probably still will hate it because I just couldn’t do ranch dressing on this salad.

A Good Year

I don’t think I can call this a Nicoise salad, because I sort of don’t have any Nicoise olives on it. That’s cheating, right? But if I’m making it for the American tourist, she probably wouldn’t want those olives – because I don’t like olives. And I even gave it some fresh bacon bits. I mean, I’m sure the tourist would have preferred the type out of a jar, but I can only sink to a certain level here.

So I have no idea what a Nicoise salad actually tastes like, but this not-really-Nicoise-salad was quite delicious with my heavy American hand.

Not-Really-Nicoise-Salad

Ingredients
3 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp onion, diced
2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste
4 slices bacon
10 small yellow potatoes, cubed
1 head lettuce, torn into bite size pieces
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 can tuna
4 oz green beans, trimmed

Directions

1. In a small bowl stir together the lime juice, olive oil, onion, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

2. In a small skillet, fry the bacon. Once fried, drain on paper towels. Set aside and let cool.

3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Boil the potatoes. Boil until tender. Drain and set aside.

4. While the potatoes and bacon are cooking, toss the lettuce with 2 tbsp of the dressing made in step 1. Divide onto two plates. Divide the tuna between the two plates and place in a scoop on top of the lettuce.

5. Toss the tomatoes with 1 tbsp dressing. Arrange in a mound around the lettuce.

6. Toss the eggs with 1 tbsp dressing. Arrange in a mound around the lettuce.

7. Toss the potatoes with 2 tbsp dressing. Arrange in a mound around the lettuce.

8. In a pot, bring water to boil. Boil the green beans for 3 minutes. Drain and blanch, by running cold water over them for 30 seconds. Arrange in a mound around the lettuce.

9. Chop the bacon. Sprinkle on top of the salad. If any dressing remains, drizzle it over the salad.

* Besides this month’s Food ‘n Flix I’m sharing this salad with Wednesday Whatsits and Cast Party Wednesday

Spaghetti Bolognese

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This month’s Food ‘n Flix film was hosted over at This Mama Cooks! We watched a movie called Toast. Toast is the story of Nigel Slater. The movie shows us Nigel’s version of his life, based on his memoir.

The movie depicts Nigel and his family. It shows his venture into the land of culinary arts. Having grown up with a mother who only cooked from cans, Nigel always wanted something more than . . . toast. At one point Nigel has a conversation with his mother:

Nigel: Can I have Spaghetti Bolognese?
Nigel’s Mom: I don’t know how to cook such a thing.
Nigel: I’ll show you.

Nigel made a beautiful bolognese. And his mom didn’t eat it. She ate toast. She was so intimidated by that big plate of noodles with meat sauce that she just couldn’t do it and resorted to the one thing she was sure of. Young Nigel tried so hard to get his mom to love food and love to cook, but unfortunately that was a joy she never shared.

The story continues to explain more of the culinary creations that Nigel creates and explains how he became the chef and the man he is today.

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For this meal I loosely followed Nigel’s own bolognese recipe. I made adjustments, as always, to suit my pantry, refrigerator, and life on whole. I mean, I really didn’t have 2 hours to let the sauce simmer for after having worked all day long. Now – don’t get me wrong . . . I know pasta sauce is lovely when cooked for hours and gets this dynamic that is hard to replicate on a quick cook, but I just didn’t have the time. I turned the heat up and cooked the sauce way quicker than Nigel would have approved of.

But I was left with a delicious pasta sauce that was easy to make. With some garlic bread, delicious!

Spaghetti Bolognese

Ingredients
1 tbsp unsalted butter
4 pieces bacon, cut into pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
4 mushrooms, chopped
7 oz ground beef
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste
6 oz spaghetti noodles

Directions

1. Melt the butter in a heavy based pan. Stir in the bacon and ground beef and cook for 5 minutes or until the bacon is crispy. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and mushrooms, stirring well. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, allowing the vegetables to get tender.

2. Pour in the milk. Then pour in the tomatoes, white wine, and chicken broth. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat for about a half hour, or until the liquid has mostly evaporated.

3. Cook the pasta per the package directions while the sauce is cooking. Drain. Toss with the sauce.

* serves 2
* Besides Food ‘n Flix, I’m sharing this dish with Cast Party Wednesday

 

Faux Tom Yum Soup

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This month at Cooking Around the World we’re heading to Thailand. My google-fu suggested I make Tom Yum Soup. I agreed.

Now . . . I live in a very Asian area. I very easily could have gotten all the ingredients I needed to make this authentic. But I just don’t have money to be spending on ingredients I don’t use frequently. So I subbed and I skipped and I made a soup with too many noodles (oops!) But you know, it doesn’t matter. It still tasted delicious.

If you want the authentic recipe go to the source. If you want mine . . . well, it’s below.

Bloggers Around the World Logo

 

Faux Tom Yum Soup
(source)

Ingredients
1 package soba noodles
2 1/2 cups water
1 stalk lemongrass
1 tomato, chopped
12 shrimp, peeled and deveined
12 mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
3 tbsp lime juice

Directions

1. Cook the noodles to the package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. In a pot bring the water to a boil. Add the lemongrass, tomato, shrimp, mushrooms, and chili garlic sauce. Boil until the shrimp is cooked all the way through. Turn off the heat and add the lime juice. Stir together.

3. Pour the broth over the noodles. Toss the noodles into the sauce.

* serves 2
* Besides Cooking Around The World, this is shared with See Ya In The Gumbo

 

Mediterranean Chicken

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This month,the Random Recipes challenge was the GRAB AND RUN challenge. What does this mean? Dom asked us, “If you have 10 seconds to pick one book, which would it be?” I immediately thought Cook Yourself Thin. Since I’ve bought it, it’s been my favorite cookbook. I’ve made many recipes out of it, everything’s pretty easy, and everything’s absolutely delicious. To just top it off, everything in the book is healthy.

I’ve cooked out of this book for Random Recipes before, when I made breakfast sandwiches. This time I opened the book to page 152, which has the Mediterranean Chicken on it. This recipe is actually broken into three smaller recipes: the chicken, the topping (which the book calls the salsa verde,) and the tomatoes.

The topping was SO great. And on top of that, the tomatoes paired perfectly with the chicken and the topping. I couldn’t have picked a better recipe from the book (though, everything’s good in it, so I probably could have picked something as good.)

randomrecipes2

 

Mediterranean Chicken

Ingredients

CHICKEN:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried rosemary
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

SALSA VERDE:
1 cup parsley, chopped
1 cup mint, chopped
2 cups basil, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp capers, rinsed and chopped
4 anchovy fillets, boned and chopped
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/8 tsp pepper

TOMATOES
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
splash of balsamic vinegar

Directions

1. In a large plastic ziplock bag, combine all of the ingredients in the chicken category. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for at least a half hour.

2. Next, mix all the ingredients from the salsa verde list in a small bowl. Set aside.

3. When you’re ready to cook the chicken, spray cooking spray into a cast iron skillet. Heat over medium high heat until smoking.

4. Remove the chicken from the  marinade and pat off any excess. Place the chicken in the skillet and cook for 3 minutes per side. Flip the chicken and cook for 2 more minutes. Depending on how thick your chicken is, you may need more time. Make sure you cook the chicken all the way through.

5. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Add the garlic and tomatoes and the balsamic vinegar. Saute for 3 minutes, until the tomatoes are warmed through. Crush lightly with the back of wooden spoon.

6. Top the chicken with the salsa verde and serve the tomatoes on the side.

* serves 4
* this recipe is also being shared with Full Plate Thursday and Showcase Your Talent Thursday

Portuguese Style Rice + White Wine and Paprika Chicken

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I announced it already, but to make sure it doesn’t get lost in the rubble, Pantry Party still exists but July and August themes will be combined. What I mean to say in more concise language is that I’m extending the RICE Pantry Party round-up to occur end of August. You now have until August 28th to get your rice recipes in. The rice doesn’t need to be the star of the dish, but it does need to be used.

I’m sure I’ll make more rice before August 28th, because I eat rice a lot. I usually eat it just plain with curry on top of it, but for my theme entry I decided to make something different.

The flavors in the rice and the chicken melded together so well. I was very happy with how this dish turned out. I didn’t really do what I had intended with the rice – instead I took the lazy man route and dumped everything in the rice cooker. While I use the rice cooker frequently, I’ve never used it like this. I was skeptical and was convinced we’d be going to get hamburgers after the rice failed, but it actually came out perfect. I guess lazy works sometimes.

Portuguese Style Rice
(source)

Ingredients
3 slices bacon
1 cup onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp crushed rosemary
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups basmati rice
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp parsley, chopped

Directions

1. Cook the bacon until crispy. Set on paper towels to drain. In the bacon drippings stir the onion, garlic powder, rosemary, and pepper together. Cook until the onion is tender.

2. Pour everything (including the bacon and the cooked onions) into a rice cooker. Cook according to manufacturer’s instructions.

* serves 6

White Wine and Paprika Chicken
(source)

Ingredients
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp white wine
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp vinegar
1/2 tbsp apple juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup onion, diced

Directions

1. Combine the garlic, white wine, 1 tbsp olive oil, vinegar, apple juice, and salt together in a small dish. Pour over the chicken. Cover the chicken and marinate for at least a half hour.

2.  Heat the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high. Remove the chicken from the marinade using a slotted spoon. Discard the remaining marinade. Place in the hot oil in a single layer.  Cook for 3 minutes, until browned on one side. Then stir fry for 3 more minutes or until the chicken is cooked all the way through. Remove the chicken from the pan.

3. Add the onion to the pan on medium-high. Cook for 2 minutes, until the onion begins to brown. Spoon the onions over the chicken.

* serves 2

* Besides Pantry Party, this recipe is being shared with Cast Party Wednesday

Taco Salad

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I’m part of the website swap-bot. I participate in a lot of recipe swaps. Recently one of the swaps I participated in was called Send Me Some New Recipes. The swap required that you mail an envelope with at least 25 recipes in it, taken from anywhere. I sent recipes to my partners cut from magazines, handwritten from my personal collection, and printed from blogs online. One of the envelopes I received was a ton (25) recipes written on neon index cards. I added these to my recipe box collection, which has become significantly fuller since I started swap-bot.

This recipe was written on a neon green index card. This was a super easy recipe and was very delicious.

Taco Salad

Ingredients
1 lb ground beef
2 tbsp Penzey’s Bold Taco spice
3/4 cup water
10 cups romaine lettuce, torn into pieces
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup onion, chopped
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup salad dressing of choice
1/2 cup tortilla chips, crushed
sour cream, optional (also, guacamole could work!)

Directions

1. In a large skillet cook the ground beef over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain. Stir in the taco spice and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, cooking for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes.

2. In a large bowl combine the lettuce, tomatoes, onion, and cheese. Stir in the ground beef. Drizzle with the salad dressing and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the crushed chips. Serve with option sour cream or guacamole (or both!) on top.

* serves 5
* shared with Weekend Potluck, Foodie Friday, & #Foodie Friday