poulet au reisling, mashed potatoes
pork kebabs with cucumber yogurt sauce, naan, cous cous
famous salmon, green beans
chicken sriracha stir fry, rice
chipotle chicken tostadas, cilantro rice
copycat Mellow Mushroom pizzas, salad
out to Quattro

Friday, July 25, 2014

Baked Penne with Corn, Zucchini and Basil

Baked Penne with Corn, Zucchini and Basil
I am always looking for new ways to prepare zucchini. It is so bountiful in the summer and one can only eat so much zucchini bread, I can even get tired of chocolate zucchini bread, though Miss F would disagree completely. This recipe is perfect for a dinner party. The casserole can be assembled in advance and then just baked once the guests arrived. Be sure to use fresh summer corn, it really makes a big difference.  This recipe is adapted from Williams-Sonoma.  It makes a huge pan, so cut the recipe in half and bake in an 8x8 for a usual dinner.
Baked Penne with Corn, Zucchini and Basil

Kosher salt, to taste
1 pound penne pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kernels cut from 4 ears of corn
2 pounds zucchini, cut into half moons
½ yellow onion, diced
4 tomatoes, cored, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 cloves garlic, sliced
½ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
¼ cup white wine
½ cup thinly sliced fresh basil
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Boil the penne for 8 to 10 minutes, drain and run under cold water. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the corn kernels, salt and pepper to taste and saute for 3 to 5 minutes, until just tender. Stir the corn in with the penne. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan, then saute the zucchini for 5 to 7 minutes, until just tender. Stir the zucchini in with the penne. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan, reduce heat to medium-low and saute the onion for 3 to 5 minutes, until translucent. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and white wine, cook for 3 minutes more.

Stir the tomato sauce and basil into the penne, along with the mozzarella and half of the Parmesan. Pour the pasta mixture into a glass 9x13 dish. Top with the remaining parmesan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown on top. Serve warm.
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Shrimp Scampi Bites

Shrimp Scampi Bites
I love serving shrimp as an appetizer at parties. They cook up quickly and are usually a crowd pleaser. I decided to take traditional shrimp scampi and adapt it to make an appetizer. All that is really needed for the conversion is a toothpick inserted into each shrimp. I harvested fresh parsley from my mom's garden, her garden provided so much for my dinner party.  I peeled the shrimp, but left the tail on, but you could peel the entire shrimp if you prefer. 
Shrimp Scampi Bites

2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup butter, melted
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
juice from one large lemon or two small lemons
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the shrimp in a single layer in a glass baking dish. Stir together the butter, garlic, salt and pepper. Toss the shrimp with the butter mixture. Bake for 5 minutes, remove from the oven, flip the shrimp and pour the lemon juice and half of the parsley over top. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes more, top with the remaining parsley and serve with toothpicks.
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Monday, July 21, 2014

Italian Creme Cake with Strawberries

Italian Creme Cake with Strawberries
I had never made an Italian Crème Cake before, in fact, I am not even sure I have ever eaten one before I made this cake.  Since there were so many guests at the dinner party, I knew I wanted a sizable cake to serve.  This is the first time I have ever made a cake that needed skewers for stability.  I must admit that I forgot to pull them before slicing the cake, so apologies to my guests who got a special surprise in their cake slice.  This cake is the perfect way to use summer strawberries.  I finally have a second bowl for my KitchenAid mixer, so that made things even easier.  Thanks to Restless Chipotle for the amazing recipe.
Italian Creme Cake with Strawberries

6 eggs, room temp
2 cups of sugar, divided
1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, room temperature
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ to 2 pounds of powdered sugar
A little buttermilk to thin if needed
2 quarts ripe strawberries, hulled and sliced

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans. Separate the eggs, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add ½ cup sugar gradually, beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside. Cream the butter, remaining sugar, vanilla and salt. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until the mixture resembles whipped cream. Stir the baking soda into the buttermilk. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Add the buttermilk and flour mixture to the butter mixture in half cup additions, ending with the flour mixture. Gently fold in the egg whites. Spoon the batter into prepared pans, bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool in pans for 5-10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks and cool completely.

Beat the cream cheese and the butter together, add the vanilla. Add the powdered sugar, a little at a time, beating until it reaches a creamy consistency. Add a tablespoon of buttermilk to thin, if needed.

Place one cooled layer on a cake plate, spread a layer of cream cheese frosting over top. Top with a layer of strawberry slices. Top with the second cake layer, cream cheese frosting and another layer of strawberry slices. Top with the final cake layer and stabilized with wooden skewers. Frost the cake with the remaining cream cheese frosting. Stabilize layers with straws or wood skewers and frost with remaining cream cheese frosting. Arrange sliced strawberries on top of the cake. Chill for three hours, bring to room temperature before serving.
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