Tuscan Shrimp Fettuccini

When I go out to eat, I scan the entire menu looking for inspiration for new recipes, in addition to what I am going to order for that meal!

If I find something that sounds delicious, I look at the ingredients and try to figure out the recipe for myself and to my liking.

For instance, I don’t care for mushrooms or olives all that much. I may use them if they are finely chopped but they are not a favorite of mine so I generally omit them.

Also, not a fan of peas and lima beans but I do like asparagus tips, spinach, kale and broccoli so I might swap the peas or beans for another green that I do like.

I always get the Zuppa Toscana at Olive Garden, but honestly, I like mine better!

The other night I made this delicious Tuscan Shrimp Fettuccine. I’ve seen this on menu’s, have ordered it and loved it!

I was in heaven with this dish, it is so good! It also works well with chicken.

The dish comes together pretty fast, so have all of your ingredients assembled before you start. The first time I made this I did not and regretted it!

You’ll want to start your pasta water. I used fettuccini noodles for this but because the sauce is fairly thick, you could also use penne pasta.

In a large fry pan with about 2 T of melted butter over medium heat, sauté your shrimp and onions. I sprinkled in garlic powder, but you can use finely diced fresh garlic if you want. I don’t use garlic that much so I usually just have the powder in my pantry.

When the shrimp are almost done, add some chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Pour in about 1 T of the oil from the jar of tomatoes. I have also used jarred, roasted red peppers instead of the sun-dried tomatoes. Delish as well!

You can add other veggies too, small broccoli florets and asparagus tips work.

After the shrimp are cooked, add chicken broth. A good white wine can be substituted. Cook over medium heat until the broth reduces.

Then lower the heat to a medium low and add half and half, light or heavy cream, your choice.  My tummy can’t handle all that cream so I use half and half!

Also toss in about 2 cups of torn spinach and 1 cup of fresh grated parmesan cheese.

Cook over a low heat, stirring often. Turn the heat off as soon as it thickens.

Ladle in the cooked noodles and toss gently. Serve with chopped parsley and more grated cheese. If the sauce is too thick, you can add a little bit of the pasta water.

Tuscan Shrimp Fettuccini

This makes 2 large servings

8 oz fettuccini noodles, half of a one pound box

2 T butter

1-2 T garlic powder

25 large raw shrimp, deveined, peeled and tail removed

Half of a medium onion, diced

½ cup sun-dried tomatoes jarred in oil, chopped

1 T sun-dried tomato oil

½ cup chicken stock, white wine will work as well

½ cup half and half

2 handfuls spinach

1 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese

  1. Bring water to boil for pasta, salt well.
  2. While pasta cooks, assemble ingredients and begin sauce.
  3. Melt butter over medium heat, add the shrimp, onions and garlic powder.
  4. When shrimp and onions are almost cooked, add the chopped sun-dried tomatoes and 1 T of the oil from the jar. Sauté for about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the broth or wine, continue to cook over a medium heat until sauce reduces to about half.
  6. Reduce heat to medium low and add the half and half, spinach and cheese. Stir often and turn off heat when thickened and the spinach is wilted.
  7. Ladle in the noodles and toss gently.
  8. Top with parsley and more grated parm cheese.

My Cherished Winter Break

These long, cold, and dreary winter months can sometimes be depressing for many people. And I get that. But for me, they offer me a break from yard work. These cold months offer me a time of relaxation and a time to rejuvenate spiritually, physically and emotionally.

But in all honesty, it has not been very cold here. Mostly rain and cloudy days, no snow.

I can use these months to settle in and catch up on reading; concentrate on self-care and exercising, bible study and prayer as well as meditation and yoga.

Winter allows me to catch up on hobbies that I have either already started and set aside or that I have been wanting to start.

This time also allows me to finally get some things done inside the house like painting rooms, cleaning out closets and dresser drawers. And I can finish sorting through all the boxes in the basement that contain family heirlooms.

Best of all, I begin to plan my vegetable and flower gardens. That does make me anxious for spring and to get outside to play in the dirt even though I am enjoying being snuggled in a blanket on my sofa.

Sounds like a busy winter for me doesn’t it 😊

But what I really like is that I can be a hermit and just stay inside (other than my 8-5 job of course!) and snuggle on the sofa with my pup and watch movies. I prefer staying busy but I have mastered the art of being a lazy bum too, and sometimes we need to allow ourselves that time to just be quiet and relax and rejuvenate.

What are you doing during the winter months?

 

Shrimp Pita Pockets with Paprika and Cilantro Lime Sauce

I served shrimp for Christmas. I was happily surprised that my sons and grandson actually saved some for me to eat the next day. They devoured almost the entire platter pretty darn fast!!

I made these pita pockets with the leftover shrimp and made a paprika and cilantro lime sauce to top it off. They were so good that I have made them several times since Christmas, and each time I have made them just a little different.

I don’t steam my shrimp, I remove the shell and tail and I only buy the deveined shrimp. Then I toss them in a bowl with some oil and a ton of spices, spread them out on a baking sheet and bake until done.

I did chop them into bite sized pieces after they were cooked for this recipe.

I filled each pocket with spinach, chopped roasted red pepper, and then I added the paprika and cilantro lime sauce, YUM!  Last I added the shrimp.

The next time I made them I added spinach to the pocket, some grated cheese, chopped shrimp, the sauce and then another layer of spinach, cheese and shrimp!

I also took all of the ingredients to work for lunch one day, that was a nice lunch break!

 

I did not measure anything for the sauce, I used sour cream as the base but mayo would work too. I sprinkled in some paprika, just a dash or two. Then a little zest of the lime and a squeeze of half the lime for its glorious juice, and a little chopped cilantro.

I think chicken would be good in this recipe, and salmon too. I love blackened salmon so I’m sure the blackening spice would work well with the paprika cilantro sauce.

I see many versions of these pita pockets in my future.

My Mom’s Hamburger Barbeque

My Mom’s barbeque, or sloppy joe’s, was a staple in our home growing up. It eventually became a staple in my home when I had my kids.

I vaguely remember Dad making the canned stuff once, he was in charge a making dinner a few nights a week so that was the only time it was permitted. I can’t remember if my brother and I actually liked the canned stuff or not. Regardless, we had to eat what was put on the table.

When I wanted to learn how to make my Mom’s barbeque, sadly there was no recipe. It was one of those things she just knew what to put in, so her trying to teach me was a trip!

And eventually, not measuring was exactly how I started cooking.

To this day I cannot tell you exact measurements to make the barbeque. I taste and add until I get it just right. Sometimes I make it with more heat with cayenne pepper, and other times I make it a little more “tangy” with the vinegar.

My daughter learned to make it the same way although she likes to put a lot of heat in hers! Whew! I can barely eat it.

And for the rolls, I just use regular hamburger buns like my Mom used.  I have tried other types but I just have stick with the usual.

So, if you’re interested, here is what I do:

The hamburger, let’s just say you’re using a pound of ground beef. Brown your burger with an onion. The size of the onion I would say a small to medium onion to one pound of burger, you can use more depending on your preference too. Salt and pepper well.

Ketchup. After the burger is browned, I just start pouring until I have what I think will work. Go easy at first because if you put too much in, you cannot take it back out. Turn the heat to a low/medium simmer, add more ketchup until you achieve the consistency that you like for the barbeque.

Mustard, just give it a good squeeze. I would guess about 2-3 tablespoons for a pound of burger.

Apple cider vinegar, we love the bite it gives the barbeque. You can use it or not. And I start with about 2 tablespoons and add more as I need it.

Worchesire sauce. Maybe 1-2 tablespoons, but again, I taste as I go and add more later as it simmers.

That’s it. My Mom was raised as a poor farm girl, most of the recipes I have from her pretty much show it too. Very basic. Sometimes I change things to suit my cooking preference or taste preference but, this recipe I never, ever alter.