Saturday, January 28, 2012

Shrimp Pasta with Broccoli

This is one of my favorite meals . . . a variation of Shrimp Pasta.

Sorry, I don't measure anything!

Shrimp Pasta is one of those meals that just evolves from whatever is in the refrigerator at the time.  We had lots of veggies that needed to be used, so they all went in the pot!

First of all, the feature of the meal is shrimp.  
We use 1 pound for a regular batch of sauce.
We prefer large, but whatever your preference.

While the shrimp are thawing out . . .

Gather up, wash and cut all the veggies . . . in this batch I used:

2 bunches of green onion, cut up . . . I use all but the roots
1 large basket of button mushrooms cut in half, smaller ones left whole
3 poblano peppers (deseeded and white veins trimmed)
4 plum tomatoes, quartered
1 whole broccoli head, tips only

I use all fresh veggies, but you can use frozen if that is your preference.

In my large heated skillet, I heat up olive oil with a large heaping spoonful of minced garlic and immediately throw in the green onion and peppers . . . season with a dash of cayenne pepper and a handful of dill weed.  Saute around 15 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, mushrooms and broccoli.

Cook at least 45 minutes with the lid on . . . it will produce a nice flavorful juice.  

The aroma is fabulous . . .

Add two jars of white pasta sauce (I love the roasted red pepper flavor).  We add one jar of no fat half and half, but you can use any type of milk or cream that you prefer.  

In my opinion, the no fat tastes just as good with a fraction of the fat.  You can also add some cream cheese to give it a richer taste, no fat cream cheese also adds richness without the fat.  I make it different ways, depending on what I have on hand.

This is how I doctor up basic white pasta sauce that comes in a jar.  It is often buy one, get one free . . . so I stock up and always keep it on hand.  This sauce will not taste like it came out of a jar!

Simmer on medium-low heat covered with lid at least one hour!

Looking good!

Peel and devein shrimp sometime while the sauce is simmering.

When the sauce is ready, cook pasta of your choice.  In the last four minutes of pasta cooking time, stir the shrimp into the sauce . . . put lid back on the pot.

Drain pasta, top with shrimp, veggies and sauce with lots of parmesan cheese.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Carrot Cake

Valentine's Day will be here soon and it is once again time to feature sweet treats to make for your sweetie.

Mr. Food, one of my favorite chefs, claims that this is the best ever carrot cake with the most amazing cream cheese frosting.  It is one of my favorite cakes, although I have not made it in years and I'm having a craving for it . . . we will be making this cake soon!


  • CAKE:
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 3 cups grated (about 1 pound) carrots
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

  • (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat two 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray; lightly flour the pans.
  2. In a large bowl, with an electric beater, combine granulated sugar, oil, eggs, baking soda, flour, cinnamon, salt, coconut, carrots, and walnuts, blending for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until a smooth, thick batter forms. DO NOT OVER-MIX! Pour batter evenly into prepared cake pans. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and the tops are golden. Let cool completely.
  3. In a large bowl, with an electric beater, make frosting by combining cream cheese and butter; mix well. Add vanilla; mix well. Gradually add confectioners' sugar, continuing to mix until well combined.
  4. Place one cake layer on a serving platter and frost top of cake. Place other layer on top of frosted layer. Frost top and sides of entire cake. Serve immediately, or cover and chill until ready to serve.

Source:  Mr. Food

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Creamy Crab Wontons

Creamy Crab Wontons are crispy outside and creamy inside.  The Captain and I have made similar crab wontons, but had no recipe, just made it up as we went along . . . they were awesome.  Our version was deep fried and we used real crab.  I'm looking forward to try making a healthier version of wontons in the oven instead of the deep fryer.

It is my recommendation to use real crab . . . 
maybe it is just me, but imitation crab
just doesn't taste right!

If you have never made any type of wontons before, you must try them!  We have made all types . . . the best had apple pie filling.  We have also experimented with chocolate filled wontons . . . yummy . . . so were the wontons with cherry pie filling and cream cheese centers!

Serves: 30
Cooking Time: 25 min

  • (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups chopped imitation crabmeat (about 3/4 pound)
  • 30 refrigerated wonton wrappers (1/2 pound)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, bread crumbs, and garlic powder; mix well with an electric beater. Add crabmeat, stirring until thoroughly mixed.
  3. Place 1 teaspoon crab mixture in center of each wonton. Brush edges lightly with water; then fold in half (one point to an opposite point, like a turnover) over crab mixture, and press to seal. Place on baking sheet.
  4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp and golden, turning once halfway through baking.

Source:  Mr. Food

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Easy Egg Rolls

Love this basic recipe from Mr. Food for egg rolls that leaves lots of room for variation like substituting pork, chicken or crab for the shrimp.

Makes: 1 dozen
Cooking Time: 15 min
  • (14-ounce) can bean sprouts, well drained
  • (6-ounce) can shrimp, drained and chopped
  • scallions, chopped
  • celery stalks, chopped
  • medium carrot, grated
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 12 egg roll skins (see Note)
  • egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine bean sprouts, shrimp, scallions, celery, carrot, soy sauce, and ginger; mix well. Divide mixture equally in center of the egg roll skins.
  3. Brush edges of egg roll skins with beaten egg. Fold one corner over filling. Fold in 2 sides and roll up.
  4. Place on baking sheet and brush with vegetable oil.
  5. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until crisp and golden.

Source:  Mr. Food

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Disneyland's Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Loaded Baked Potato Soup from Carnation Café at Disneyland Park

This recipe comes from Disneyland's Carnation Cafe . . . a park favorite that is perfect for those chilly days of winter.  

I can't wait to try out this version of one of my favorite soups!

1 pound bacon, roughly chopped
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
3/4 cup diced celery
4 large Russet potatoes, peeled and diced
4 medium red potatoes, diced
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 cups heavy whipping cream
Optional garnishes: chopped chives, bacon bits, sour cream, shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese
  1. In a 6- to 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, fry bacon until crisp.
  2. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels, reserving half for garnish. In bacon fat, cook onions, carrots, and celery until the onions are translucent. Add potatoes and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Whisk in flour and stir constantly over low heat until the flour is cooked and the mixture has thickened slightly, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add chicken stock and half of the bacon. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Over medium-high heat, bring the soup to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Mash some of the potatoes for thicker, creamier texture. Add whipping cream and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Adjust thickness by adding water or stock. Soup should have a creamy consistency.
  6. Season to taste, and garnish with toppings.
Cooks’ notes: Soak diced potatoes in cold water until ready to use to keep them from turning brown. To make bacon easier to chop, lightly freeze.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup


  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1-1/2 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-1/4 cups uncooked medium egg noodles
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley


  • In a large saucepan, saute the carrot, celery and onion in butter until tender.
  •  Stir in the broth, chicken and seasonings; bring to a boil. 
  • Reduce heat. Add noodles; cook for 10 minutes or until noodles are tender. 
  • Sprinkle with parsley.
  • Yield: 6 servings.

Recipe and Photo Source:  Taste Of Home

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Extra Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing

Making your own salad dressing is an awesome idea!  While it is so easy to pick up a bottle of premade Blue Cheese Salad Dressing, which is my favorite, the blue cheese flavor is always a bit too strong for me and I usually end up mixing it with mayonnaise.  Can't wait to try Mr. Food's recipe so I can control what goes into the dressing!

This recipe is part of a series of 31 homemade salad dressing recipes on Mr. Food's website.  The link is at the bottom of the page!

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • (4-ounce) package crumbled blue cheese
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  1. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except the blue cheese; whisk until smooth.
  2. Add blue cheese and stir to mix well. Serve, or cover and chill until ready to serve.

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