Sharing our food successes and failures, new recipes and old favorites
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Monday, July 25, 2011

Champagne Shrimp Over Pasta

I've been itching to make this one since I saw it on (my faaaavorite recipe site!), but always forgot the champagne when at the liquor store. I finally remembered it during last week's trip and made it tonight for the boy and myself. He didn't get home until 7:30 and I knew it was one of those dishes that wouldn't reheat well, so the kids were stuck eating grilled cheeses while we enjoyed this. We LOVED it and definitely will add it to the rotation! The original recipe calls for plum tomatoes and sauteed mushrooms to be added with it, but the boy won't eat the 'shrooms and neither of us are big tomato people.

Champagne Shrimp Over Pasta

8 ounces angel hair pasta
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 cups champagne
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 cup heavy creamsalt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water for 6 to 8 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  2. Combine shrimp, champagne, and salt in a frying pan, and cook over high heat. When liquid just begins to boil, remove shrimp from pan. Add shallots to champagne; boil until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup, about 8 minutes. Stir in 3/4 cup cream; boil until slightly thick, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add shrimp to sauce, and heat through. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  3. Toss hot, cooked pasta with remaining 1/4 cup cream and parsley. 
  4. To serve, spoon shrimp with sauce over pasta, and top with Parmesan cheese. 

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    Oriental Steak & Veggie Stir-fry

    It's rare I come across a recipe that everyone will eat and enjoy equally well. Everyone in our family has unique taste buds, and I often struggle finding stuff that satisfies all of 'em. Usually it's the boy and me stuffing our faces while Linds and Luke refuse to eat...but today was a different story. Now, I knew the boy and I would be fine, but that Luke would for sure not eat this, so I heated the little man up some mac and cheese (I keep reminding myself that Linds was picky until she turned 3 or 4, so just give him some time). Linds I wasn't too sure about - she can be hit or miss with beef dishes or rice dishes.

    Normally I would have skewered the beef and veggies and grilled it all up, but the dark skies and 90+ degree heat were too unappealing, so I just stir-fried it up on the stove. To my amazement, Linds finished her ENTIRE bowl. I was beyond shocked...even when she likes a meal, she rarely finishes it. She scarfed down zucchini and squash with an overzealous appetite, eagerly ate our garden's peppers (and chattered endlessly about how cool it was to eat food that we grew ourselves), and declared the red onion her new favorite vegetable. She even ate a few bites of the beef and polished off the rice. Honestly, it was like it was some alien child sitting in her seat - I was speechless. You know, it's one thing when the boy thanks me for dinner and said it tasted good, but when my once-picky daughter inhales her portion and waxes philosophical about all the components of a meal - well, that just makes me feel like I'm doing my job right.

    I'll post the marinade recipe below, but the rest of it is to your liking. I tossed the veggies we had on hand in a little olive oil and soy sauce and fried those up in one pan, cooked our rice in the rice cooker, and then cooked the beef in the marinade stove top in another pan. Let everyone do their own mix and match and, voila!, dinner.

    Oriental Beef Marinade
    1 lb sirloin steak, cubed
    1/4 cup soy sauce
    1/4 cup honey
    1/4 cup lemon juice
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1 packet Lipton Beefy Onion dry soup mix

    1. Mix soy sauce, honey, lemon juice, olive oil and soup mix in a Ziploc bag.
    2. Add beef and let marinate at least 8 hours.

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    Pork BBQ & Potato Salad

    I knew my afternoon was going to be a hectic one. We have a wonderful couple who comes in and cleans our house every other week (upon my insistence once I started working again...the boy wasn't keen at first and has quickly changed his mind!), and they come in at 3:00. It's a tough time of day - still nap time for the kiddos and not much do to late afternoon that doesn't interfere with dinner. Plus, it eats up my prep/cook time, so I need quick, easy and CLEAN meals to make for dinner (I don't want to mess up the house that quickly!).

    I was home all day yesterday and bored by 3ish, so I decided to put together stuff for pork BBQ to crockpot all day, and to use the onions, eggs and potatoes we got from the farm for a potato salad before they go bad. It was the PERFECT day to have dinner ready - not a particularly bad day, but as a friend put it, one of those days where you get so many papercuts that it leads to one big injury. Not only was it nice to have dinner ready to go as soon as I got home from errands tonight, it tasted so flippin delicious!

    And the best part: it was a hit amongst the ENTIRE family! Linds ate two full sandwiches and a big scoop of the potato salad, the boy chowed down when got home from work, and kid who really only eats hot dogs, pizza, pb&js and chicken nuggets - well he ate half a sandwich. I was shocked to say the least! The prep for this meal took an hour or two, but I doubled the pork because I had a 6 lb roast and potato salad is always going to take forever. The recipe below is for a 3 or 4 lb roast. The potato salad doesn't have many ingredients either, but is still very tasty - almost like a loaded baked potato! YUM :)

    Pork BBQ
    1 teaspoon vegetable oil
    1 (3 or 4 pound) pork shoulder roast
    1 cup barbeque sauce
    1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
    1/2 cup chicken broth
    1/4 cup light brown sugar
    1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
    1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    1 tablespoon chili powder
    2 large cloves garlic, crushed
    1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
    8 hamburger buns

    1. Pour the vegetable oil into the bottom of a slow cooker. Place the pork roast into the slow cooker; pour in the barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar, and chicken broth. Stir in the brown sugar, yellow mustard, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, garlic, and thyme. 
    2. Cover and cook on low (10-12 hours) or high (5-6 hours) until the roast shreds easily with a fork.
    3. Remove the roast from the slow cooker, and shred the meat using two forks. Return the shredded pork to the slow cooker, and stir the meat into the juices. Serve on hamburger buns. 

    Red-Skin Potato Salad
    2 pounds clean, scrubbed new red potatoes
    6 eggs
    1 pound bacon
    scallions, finely chopped
    2 cups mayonnaise
    handful of cheddar cheese

    1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and set in the refrigerator to cool.
    2. Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool, peel and chop.
    3. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.
    4. Chop the cooled potatoes, leaving skin on. Add to a large bowl, along with the eggs, bacon, and onion. Stir in mayonnaise. Chill overnight.

      Monday, July 4, 2011

      Our garden is growing!

      I wish I could take credit for our veggie garden production, but the boy gets the nod for this one! At my direction (insistence?!), he was the one who bought the plants, taught Linds how to create a veggie garden, makes sure everything is watered daily, and has been picking everything. This year we've already had a little of the three types we planted, which is way better than our last attempt. Last summer we tried zucchini, peppers and beans and all we ended up with were beans. This year we've picked enough beans for a few meals, 2 peppers and a single strawberry (we're having issues with some critters snacking on our berries).

      All of our haul from our own garden goes along with what we pull in from our CSA (red potatoes, spring onions, garlic, peas, beans, swiss chard, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, etc.). I tell you what - the 35 minute drive to pick stuff up may be a bit of a pain, but knowing all of our veggies are 100% pesticide/herbicide free and picked fresh within hours of us receiving them is pretty cool. Plus, supporting this young Mennonite couple who are trying to turn their hobby of growing into their source of money is rewarding.

      Below is an updated photo of our garden. For those not familiar with the bell, it used to sit atop the boy's grandparents' barn on their farm in Lititz. After they sold the farm, they moved it to their front yard of the home they purchased. It's an important relic to the boy, and when his grandfather was contemplating selling it, Scott insisted on keeping it as a family heirloom to pass down to future generations. We thought it was fitting to sit at the head of our garden since it once overlooked the farm, so with a little rebuilding effort, the boy installed it last summer. It's a neat reminder of the Rissers' roots!

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