Sunday, March 25, 2018

Shrimp Parmesan with Homemade Bucatini Pasta

I don't cook shrimp often because it can be finicky - ok so I am the one who is the problem here.  Shrimp takes so little time to cook that I often get distracted and end up with a less than delectable rubbery shrimp.  Not a good thing.  So this night I was determined to keep my eye on it and cook it quickly - and lo and behold - it was perfection.  Fear of shrimp - gone - or at least diminished!

I have also been enjoying making my own pasta - not sure I will EVER buy another bagged or boxed pasta unless I need a shape I cannot substitute. What amazes me after all of these years of being afraid to make pasta, is that it is SO easy and so delicious.  There really is nothing like FRESH!!

The recipe called for linguine, but I wanted to try the bucatini die in my Kitchen Aid pasta maker because it looked like fun - no other reason - why not make it all about the fun?!?  So I made the dough in the mixer and ran it through the pasta extruder and let it sit while waiting til it was closer to dinner.  I wanted to have it ready in advance so I could just add it to the sauce easily and not have my timing off.

Just look at those beautiful strings of pasta -

The pasta strands are resting on a floured sheet of parchment 

So back to the shrimp.  I sautéed it in a mixture of butter and olive oil until it was done (literally about 2-3 minutes) and put it in foil to keep warm.  The rest of the details are below.


adapted from Cooking Classy

8 oz. medium shrimp, peeled and cleaned
3 T. butter
3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3 c. water
1 c. half and half (or 1/2 c. heavy cream and 1/2 c. whole milk)
1 c. shredded Parmesan cheese (freshly shredded is the BEST)
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
12 oz. pasta (your favorite - recipe for Bucatini below)

Melt 1 T. butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally and watch carefully.  As soon as the shrimp is opaque, transfer it to a piece of foil and wrap it to keep it warm.

Add the remaining 2 T butter to the skillet and melt. Add the chopped onion and cook for 6-8 minutes until the onion is translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Then add the water,hald and half, noodles and season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a gentle boil,, stirring frequently until the noodles are cooked.  If using fresh pasta, they will cook in 3-5 minutes. Keep stirring as the sauce will thicken. Remove from heat when the pasta is cooked and add in the shredded Parmesan cheese.  The cheese may clump initially, but continue stirring until the sauce is smooth again.  Thin with a little half and half or milk if needed.  Add the cooked shrimp, toss gently and sprinkle the chopped fresh parsley on top.  Serve immediately.


from the Kitchen Aid website

Love how this photo shows the holes in the bucatini - 
so this pasta can really soak up a sauce!

4 large eggs
1 T. water
3 1/2 c. flour, sifted
1/2 t. salt

Using the flat beater (paddle) of the mixer, mix all of the ingredients in a stand mixer at the speed of two for about 30 seconds.

Exchange the paddle beater for the dough hook and continue mixing on speed 2 for two minutes.  The dough should start to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If not, add 1 tsp of water at a time and knead a bit before adding more. The dough should be pliable, but not sticky.  You should be able to pinch a small piece in between two fingers and it should stay together when pinched, not stick to the fingers or be crumbly and fall apart.

Take the dough out and hand knead it for about 2 minutes. Cover in plastic wrap and let it rest for about 20 minutes.  Follow manufacturer's instructions to make the desired pasta shape.

Good enough to eat??  You bet!!  Try this soon...

I am so glad there were leftovers because it was THAT GOOD!  Sent a serving home with Rob and have enough left over for my dinner tonight.  I usually don't get excited about what's for dinner, especially when I am eating alone, but this dish I am eager to eat again and think it will be on the repeat menu soon!  (Well after I wrote this I took the leftover down to my SHE enjoyed what was left.  Hence, no beautiful pic of just one serving but will do that next time.)  Will definitely be on the spring and summer menus!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup -

I combined two recipes and also changed a few things...... it was delicious!

This recipe caught my eye a few months ago and I continued to see other food bloggers coming up with variations.  I had never had gnocchi (*gasp* - I know) so I wanted to try that, but also wanted to wait for a cold "soup" day.  I love soup, but when I make it, I want the weather to at least be in the low 60s (yes I know - that is spring weather for some of you - but in southern California, that is our winter weather - 50s and 60s).  I am not complaining, and I really love it when it gets cold aka "California cold"!!

We have had a cool March, so I have been making soup a lot which makes me a happy gal.  This is a delicious recipe that I am happy to share - and there are more to come. (homemade pasta next!)


16 oz. mini potato gnocchi (you can use regular - I just like the size of the mini)
4 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2-3/4 c. chopped onion
1/2 -2 c. sliced baby carrots (I used about 12-15 baby carrots as I always have those on hand)
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 c. sliced mushrooms (optional - I love the flavor they add)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. fresh chopped thyme
1 tsp. fresh chopped rosemary
1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
6 Tbsp. flour
4 c. (1 quart) half and half
4 c. chicken broth  *See Note Below
2 handfuls baby spinach, roughly chopped
2 chicken breast halves, cooked and shredded (poach and reserve the water - perfect broth!)
1-2 tsp. salt to taste
1/2 tsp, ground pepper to taste
grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the gnocchi 3-4 minutes.  The gnocchi will float to the top as they are done. Take them out with a slotted spoon and place on a parchment lined baking pan and set aside.  Try to separate them so they don't stick together.

These are mini gnocchi but they worked really well in this recipe.

In a Dutch oven, melt the butter and add the olive oil. .  Add the onion, carrots, celery and cook, stirring occasionally until tender..  Then add the garlic, thyme, rosemary and mushrooms and cook gently for 1-2 minutes. (the mushrooms will finish cooking in the soup).

Stir in the flour, mix well and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Continue to stir while pouring in the half and half.   Then add the grated nutmeg.

Increase the heat to simmer, stirring until thick.  Then pour in the chicken broth and heat until the soup has thickened slightly, stirring occasionally.

Add the chopped spinach, shredded chicken, cooked gnocchi and salt and pepper.  Cover and cook until the spinach has wilted.

Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.

*Measure the reserved liquid from poaching the chicken.  If not 4 cups, add enough water to measure 4 c. and add 1 tsp per cup of powdered instant chicken broth or 1 chicken bouillon cube per cup water).


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Sunday, March 11, 2018

February Cards

Well here it is March, and I am finally posting some cards from February.  I think I am close to catching up, only because it is taking me so long to get cards made.  I have been trying to push myself to try some new things and it has been fun, but not always successful - hence the extra time to complete a card.

Here is a brief overview of my creative attempts in February...... sympathy cards for a friend who lost her grown daughter and another who lost her husband and birthday cards - one for my grandson and
another for a lifelong friend.

File origin is unknown - it's just titled "Deco Cross" - no clue where it came from, but I love it!
Was printed on standard card stock and foiled with silver glitter foil and the FoilMaster. - 
and then cut out.

You can see the beauty of the luster card stock from Paper Temptress.

This design is from SVG Cuts.  Papers are from PaperTemptress - Mica, vellum and gold luster.
I love the simplicity of it...

Found this image online. Star background is a FoilMate from
Gina K Designs. 

Couldn't resist making this image have some
galactic sparkle!

This beautiful flower is from Graciellie Designs. 
Card stock is Pop Tones from Paper Temptress. 
 I watercolored with Spectrum Noir aqua pens and SN Sparkle pens. 
The raised areas of the embossed background are highlighted with NUVO embossing mousse.

Thanks for reading.  Look forward to sharing some recipes next!

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