Cajun Shrimp Spaghetti Squash

The most difficult part of making this dish was cutting the squash in half.  Wow!

After getting that squash cut in half and removed the seeds and strings, I drizzled avocado oil over the meat of the squash.  You can use olive oil if you want, avocado is my new favorite.  Salt and pepper well.

You could use other spices here too.  I definitely could have driven the Cajun spice home and dusted the uncooked squash with it but salt and pepper were just fine.

I placed each half meat side down on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and popped them in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Just before I pulled the squash out of the oven I coated about a dozen large shrimp (deveined and shells and tail removed) in Cajun seasoning and sautéed them in a little butter and oil until done, only takes a few minutes.

Using a fork, scrape the inside of the roasted squash and pull the spaghetti strands out of the shell and put on a plate.  After you have it all scraped out, place the spaghetti strands back into the shell and top with the cooked shrimp and drizzle some of the oil/butter.  Top with your favorite cheese, I used grated parm.

You can put the noodles in a pasta dish but sometimes I like to put the noodles back into the shell and serve it that way.

I like to think this dish is healthy, wouldn’t you agree? Very little butter, avocado is a good oil, and squash instead of pasta.  Yep, healthy!

Cajun Shrimp Spaghetti Squash

1 cooked and prepared spaghetti squash, with the noodle put back in the shells

1 dozen large shrimp, deveined with shells and tail removed

1 T Cajun seasonings, or to taste

Avocado oil and butter

Grated Parm cheese for topping

  1. Just before the spaghetti squash is finished roasting, make the shrimp.
  2. In a bowl toss the shrimp with the Cajun seasoning.  Depending on how much spice you like, start wit one tablespoon and go from there.
  3. Place shrimp in a hot pan coated with oil and butter, sauté until cooked.  Only a few minutes.
  4. Divide the shrimp over each shell, drizzling some of the oil/butter over the shrimp.
  5. Top with grated parm cheese and serve.
  6. You could also pop them back in the oven to melt the cheese if you want.  Just keep an eye on it. Set as
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Game Day Food

It’s game day!  No matter which team you are cheering for, let’s be honest…. the commercials and the game day food are really the highlights of the day!

Here are some yummy idea’s from some previous posts.

This Cheeseburger Quesadilla is really yummy!  Easy to make and you can cut them into smaller slices for easier serving for your crowd.

And I can’t forget the Chicken and Avocado Quesadilla. These quesadillas can be made earlier in the day and reheated in the oven.

This Three Cheese Roasted Red Pepper Dip is unbelievably good!  I haven’t made this lately, but it’s a sure thing for my next gathering.

Don’t forget the Taco Dip!! This is just a basic taco dip but it is always a crowd pleaser.  Over the years I have changed up the ingredients using black olives, guacamole, various seasonings, chopped roasted red peppers, chopped jarred jalapenos, and chopped onion.  This list could go on and on!

Enjoy your day and the game!

 

Mudslide Hot Chocolate

This hot chocolate is perfect for these cold, snowy Pennsylvania nights.

I’ll get right to it….

In a small saucepan over medium low heat, heat your milk, about 1-3/4 cups.

Meanwhile in a microwavable cup, add a heaping tablespoon of cocoa, 1 square of semi-sweet chocolate (or whatever you have on hand), and about 2 or 3 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk. Heat it for about 10 seconds, remove it and stir and pop it back in for another 10 seconds. Do not over heat the chocolate but it should be completely melted.

The milk needs to be hot when combining with the chocolate mixture. Use a small whisk if you have one but a spoon will be just fine. Stir or whisk until the chocolate and the milk are well combined.

Add about 1-1/2 shots of Kahlua. Is there such a thing as one and half shots?? Whatever. It worked for me. Be a rebel and add 2 if you want!

If you are going to be fancy, and why not be fancy! Use a clear glass mug, drizzle with chocolate syrup. Pour the hot chocolate into the fancy chocolate swirled mug. Top with marshmallows, whipped cream, or nothing. Would that be naked hot chocolate?

This alone can be a dessert, it is just that rich.

Enjoy!

Sausage, Corn and Potato Chowder

I love hot and hearty soup on a chilly day. It hasn’t been too chilly yet but the soup is still a wonderful meal.

This soup is easy to put together, and can be on the table and in your tummy in no time!

I started with a pound of loose sausage, I usually like using a spicy Italian sausage, which would be great for this soup but this time I opted for just a plain sausage. I wanted to use my own spices this time around.

Brown your sausage and a chopped onion, salt and pepper. As it was browning I added paprika and a few dashes of cayenne pepper.

As soon as the sausage is cooked I added 4-5 cups of chicken stock and 2 cups of cooked, diced potatoes, 1-1/2 cups of corn. And I tossed in a rather large sprig of fresh thyme from my garden.

I love using thyme in just about everything. Last year I was lucky, our winter wasn’t too terribly cold and my thyme lasted all winter. I have it in a large pot by my back door. My rosemary survived as well.

Bring the soup to a light simmer, adjust the spices to your preference. After about 15-20 minutes, remove the sprig of thyme, and serve.

Sausage, Corn and Potato Sausage

Serves 4

1 pound loose, ground sausage

1 small onion, chopped and diced

4-5 cups chicken broth or stock

2 cups cubed cooked potatoes

1-1/2 cups corn

1 tsp paprika

few dashes of cayenne pepper

salt and pepper to taste

1 sprig of thyme

Brown sausage and onion in olive oil in a soup stock pot, salt and pepper to taste.  Add the cayenne pepper and paprika.

When the sausage is cooked, add your broth, about 4 cups to start.  Adding more if you prefer.

Add in the corn, and potatoes and bring to a light simmer, add sprig of thyme. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Taste and adjust your spices. Remove sprig of thyme before serving.

Enjoy!

 

Pumpkin Crumb Muffins with a Cream Cheese Center

Fall has finally arrived! And with that comes hot chocolate, soups, and pumpkin. Pumpkin everything! And I am one of those people that loves everything pumpkin.

I also love muffins. And cream cheese.

Last year I made a pumpkin muffin that had the cream cheese swirled in it, this year I made them with a cream cheese filling. Oh. My. Gosh.

First you will need to make the cream cheese filling and pop it in the fridge to chill. Super easy, just take an 8oz block of cream cheese, room temperature and blend in 1 cup of powdered sugar.

Next, make the sugar crumb topping. I used ½ cup sugar, about 6 tablespoons of flour, 1 tsp cinnamon and 4 tablespoons of butter cut into chunks. Cut the butter into the sugar and flour until it resembles crumbs. Guess that’s why it’s called crumb topping! Anyway, I usually like to use my hands towards the end of the blending as I can get better crumbs. Just my thing. Set aside.

Now for the muffins! I used my stand up mixer for this. Pour in your bowl 1 cup of vegetable oil, one 15oz can of pumpkin puree, 1-1/2 cups sugar, and 4 large eggs. Mix until just combined.

Then add your spices, I used 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg, ½ teaspoon ground cloves, and ½ tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice. Also add 1 teaspoon of salt and baking soda. Blend until the spices are just blended in.

Now add your flour, one cup at a time, 3 cups total. Scrape the bowl often. Once the flour is blended in do not mix any further.

Preheat your oven to 350 and line your muffin tins with paper cups. I still spray the paper cups. Remove the cream cheese filling from the fridge and be prepared to assemble!

Put a little of the batter in each of the cups making sure that the bottom of the cup is totally covered. Drop in about 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese filling. Then fill the muffin cup with batter until no less than ¾ full. I tap the muffin tin gently on the counter to make sure there are no air bubbles and that the cream cheese is completely surrounded with the batter.

Top with a sprinkling of the sugar crumb topping. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan to cool.

I can’t tell you how long they will last because I can promise you ….. they won’t! You and everyone that you share them with will scarf them up!!

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Crumb Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling

Makes 24-26 muffins

 Cream Cheese Filling:

1 8oz block of cream cheese, softened to room temp

1 cup powdered sugar

Blend until soft and creamy, refrigerate until ready to use

Sugar Crumb Topping:

½ cup sugar

6 T flour

1 tsp cinnamon

4 T butter, cut into cubes

Cut butter into sugar, flour and cinnamon mixture until crumbly, set aside

Muffins:

1 c vegetable oil

1 15oz can of pumpkin puree

1-1/2 sugar

4 eggs, large

Blend until combined

Add in 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, ½ tsp ground cloves, ½ T pumpkin pie spice, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda. Mix until just combined.

Add 3 cups of flour, one cup at a time and only mixing until blended, scraping bowl frequently.

Preheat oven to 350, line muffin tin with paper cup liners. Drop in enough batter to cover the bottom of the paper liner, drop in about 1 T of the cream cheese filling, fill the rest of the cup with batter. No less than ¾ full. Tap the muffin tin on the counter to remove air bubbles. Sprinkle with crumb topping. Bake for about 20 minutes. Remove from pan to cool.