Cooking For One

I really hate when Kevin is out-of-town, but we both deal with it.  I talked about it over on Nikki’s blog a while back.  Well, he’s out-of-town this week, and although I’ve missed him terribly I’ve enjoyed not cooking too much.  Now, Kevin has never once expected me to cook dinner, actually he’s the one who cooks most of our meals.  However, when he’s gonna be home late and I’ve been home all day it’s the least I can do.  While he’s been away I’ve pretty much snacked all day and have not been too hungry for dinner.  I do have the opportunity to cook some of the meals I like, that may not be Kevin’s favorite, or I can cook meals that don’t have meat involved.  You all know I am a meat-eating southern girl, but to be honest, sometimes I just don’t feel like dealing with the protein of the meal.

So tonight was one of those nights.  I just looked through my pantry and created this pasta dish.  It was very delish.

These are all the ingredients you will need.

And a small onion.  I decided to add this after I took the picture.

Heat about 1/4 cup olive oil in a skillet. Add about 1 teaspoon of garlic (or more depending on your love for garlic) and a few shakes of red pepper flakes (or more depending on your love for red pepper flakes).  Cook for a few minutes but don’t let it burn.

Meanwhile cook the pasta.

I saw on Pinterest if you put a wooden spoon over the pot it won’t boil over…it works, we do it every time.

Also, meanwhile, caramelize some onions.

Now you can add your drained tomatoes to the olive oil.

You can see how you’re gonna have a nice little sauce.

Once the onions are done add them to the tomatoes.  Then drain the pasta and throw that in too.

Mix together and that’s it!

Of course I add a little Parmesan.

What I loved about this was you instantly taste the heat from the red pepper, but then some sweetness from the caramelized onions.

You can easily adjust this to your liking.  You can add chicken or shrimp, and any other veggies you had on hand. I also think a few sun-dried tomatoes would be good. Oooh and maybe some feta sprinkled on top…

I also have  a feeling that this may be one of those pasta dishes that is good cold right out of the fridge.  I can let you know as I’m sure I’ll be enjoying my leftovers tomorrow.

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Roasted Vegetable Pasta

I have to give my sis-in-law Susan (who also made our wedding cake) credit for this recipe.  She made it for dinner a while back and I knew I would be making it.  This is super easy (I say that a lot but this really is) and delish.

Start with whatever veggies you want to use.  I used a red onion, zucchini, tomatoes, and red pepper.  Just cut those up into bite size pieces and place on a cookie sheet. I also added some turkey sausage.  (Susan added Italian sausage, but I had these ingredients on hand.)

I drizzled some olive oil and salt and peppered, then put in a 400 degree oven to roast.  I actually don’t know how long I left them in the oven, lets say 15 minutes…but just take them out when they’re done.

Meanwhile, cook your pasta.  I used the tri-color bow ties.

Drain, and add a bunch of Parmesan cheese. Then add your veggies and mix together.  The olive oil and other juices from the veggies make a nice little sauce.

This is seriously good, and so many ways you can change this up.  You can obviously change the pasta, and the veggies, but you can also add some fresh herbs.  I was really close to adding cilantro, and I probably will next time.  Chicken would also be a good addition.

Enjoy!

Grilled Pork Tenderloin Burritos with Cucumber Pico

You all know we love to cook.  Kevin especially loves to get in the kitchen and try new recipes while I enjoy sipping a cocktail and helping out if he needs me…what?

A few weeks ago we had plans to do nothing, and had no clue what to have for dinner.  I found an old movie on TV that we wanted to watch so I paused that while we went to survey the food in our house.  The result, delicious pork tenderloin (left over) quesadillas.  Let me tell you, they were so good.

Now, here we were a few weeks later, still remembering how good those quesadillas were and decided to tweak that a bit and create a recipe.  We knew we wanted to grill the tenderloin, so Kevin decided to make a rub for the pork.  This consisted of salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and my fave, cumin.

He rubbed that on the tenderloin and grilled it, (we go old school with charcoal), until it reached an internal temp of around 160 degrees.

Meanwhile, I was preparing a pico to go along with our meal.  We wanted something fresh, so what better than a little pico? We wanted to have a little twist on it, so we’ll call this a cucumber pico. Basically it is your normal pico, tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, lime, and garlic with cucumbers added.  (We also made a mango pico but decided we didn’t like it as well with this recipe). How many times can I say pico in one description?

So now you have your pork tenderloin which you need to shred.  Kevin boiled some water on the grill, (in a heat proof dish, such as cast iron) placed a wire rack inside the pot and steamed some whole wheat tortillas.  (You’ve got to try to steam the tortillas, they are so much better than regular heating.)  He then made a burrito with the shredded tenderloin, and colby jack cheese.  Now go put these back on the grill for a minute to let the cheese melt and get some good grill marks.

Pile on the pico right on top and enjoy.  Let me tell you, these are seriously good.  We’ll certainly be enjoying this meal  again.  (Update since originally written…we’ve enjoyed these at least 3 more times.)

We served this with yellow rice as well as some grilled mango.

Who wants an invite the next time we cook?  You can sit and have a cocktail with me!

Grilled Pork Tenderloin Burritos with Cucumber Pico    serves 6-8

2lb pork tenderloin, large whole wheat tortillas, grated cheddar cheese

For the Pico

4 tomatoes seeded and chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 jalapeño seeded and chopped

Half of a cucumber chopped

Juice of 1 lime

Chopped cilantro, to taste

Garlic salt

Combine all ingredients; add more lime, garlic salt and cilantro as needed.

For the Rub

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

Mix together in a small bowl.

Trim the silver skin off of a 2 lb pork tenderloin, and coat the tenderloin with the rub.  Cook on the grill, turning as need until it reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees.  Remove from the grill and wrap in foil.  You want it to continue to cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees.  Shred the tenderloin.

Place a pot (large enough to fit the tortillas) with enough water to steam on the grill.  We use a wire rack placed in the pot to steam the tortillas.

Once your tortillas are steamed (or heated) assemble the burritos by adding some of the pork and cheese.  Roll tightly so there are no opening and place back on the grill to heat and melt the cheese.  Top with the cucumber pico and serve.

 

 

Grilled Flatbread Pizza

I have to give Kevin total credit for this recipe.  He created this Sunday night, and I couldn’t have been happier…

This is a Smoked Gouda, prosciutto, tomato, basil, flatbread.

Are you seeing all of that melted Gouda?

All he did was roll out some refrigerated pizza dough.  He then infused some olive oil with garlic, (just heat them together on the stove), and brushed both sides of the pizza dough.  Next he took it to the grill.

We’re a charcoal family.

Meanwhile, I cooked the prosciutto in a skillet for just a bit.

Once the dough was cooked (this only took a few minutes) Kevin topped it with shredded Gouda, tomatoes, and the prosciutto and put it in the oven just to get it all melty.

Once it’s melted add some chopped basil and serve!

This had a ton of flavor…and for a girl who loves Smoked Gouda, I was in heaven.  Now, obviously you can use whatever toppings you want, or you could just grill the dough and dip it in some hummus, whatever!

So what’s your take on the smoked cheeses?  If it’s smoked, I’m a fan.

Grilled Flatbread Pizza

1 roll refrigerated pizza dough, 1 package prosciutto, chopped tomatoes (to taste) chopped basil (to taste) 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 cloves garlic, 1-2 cups smoked gouda

Directions:  Before you begin get your toppings ready.  Shred the cheese, cook the prosciutto, and chop the tomatoes and basil. Put aside. Unroll the pizza dough on a foil lined cookie sheet.  In a small saucepan heat the olive oil and garlic together being careful not to burn the garlic.  Brush both sides of the dough with the infused olive oil. Place the dough on a hot grill for about 2 minutes each side.  Remove from the grill and add the toppings. Place in a 350 degree oven until the cheese is melted.  Cut and serve.

Whole Wheat Penne With Lobster, Shrimp and Bacon

Kevin and I were in the mood for a seafood pasta, and while searching for one we’ve made before, we came across this one.  It had us at lobster, and bacon…..

This recipe comes from my girl Giada De Laurentiis.  The other seafood pasta we were going to make was also one of hers…basically you can’t go wrong with seafood pasta and Giada.

First of all, if you aren’t a seafood fan you can easily substitute chicken.

Here’s what you need.

Let’s see, we have pasta, diced tomatoes, heavy cream, basil, garlic, clam juice (you would think eeeewwww, but you can’t even taste it), and bacon.  One whole pound of thick cut bacon.

And some shrimp.

And these guys.

It’s worth asking to have the shells removed, sometimes they will sometimes they won’t.

Now this is real easy.  Cook your lobster, remove shells.  Cook your pasta right in that water you cooked the tails in.  Meanwhile cook the bacon, remove to a paper towel but keep all that bacon grease.  Yep, you heard me.  Begin to add the remaining ingredients.

Add the shrimp and cook a few minutes until done.  Add the lobster and bacon.  Pour this over the drained pasta.  Delish.

And this is good reheated the next day.

Whole Wheat Penne with Lobster and Bacon
Kosher salt
Two 4-ounce lobster tails
1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
1 pound thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into ¼-inch-wide strips (about 2 ½ cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced
One 14 ½-ounce can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup clam juice
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup chopped fresh basil
Freshly ground pepper
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

instructions


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the lobster tails and cook until they begin to curl, 5 to 7 minutes. Using tongs, remove the lobster tails and set aside until cool enough to handle. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but still firm to the bite, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain and place in a large serving bowl.

Using kitchen scissors or a heavy knife, cut along the underside of the lobster tails and remove the meat. Chop the meat into 3/4-inch chunks. Set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until brown and crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels.

In the same skillet, add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes (and juices), clam juice, cream, 1/2 cup basil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Add the shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add the lobster and bacon. Simmer until warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes.

Pour the tomato mixture over the cooked pasta and toss until coated. Garnish with the remaining 1/2 cup basil and season with salt and pepper.

 

Creamed Corn With Bacon

This is quickly becoming my new favorite side dish.  It’s easy, but does take a while considering it is only a side, but this one is very impressive.

This recipe is from Michael Symon.  We searched food network for a good corn side.  Okay, actually we searched food network for a corn with bacon side.  We knew we were having steak, and a few weeks ago we had some delicious creamed corn with bacon at a steak restaurant, so we wanted to recreate it.  I love Kevin, and love that when he searches for a recipe he gravitates to the more difficult ones, the ones with a lot of ingredients and steps.  I go with it, cause they are always amazing and become part of the rotation.

Anyway, this recipe is in 2 parts.  You make the corn stock (not difficult at all, and smells much better than the shrimp stock we made once….). Here are the ingredients for that.

Onion, garlic, coriander seed, bay leaf, salt, and the ears of corn (shucked) and water.

Just dump everything in a pot and boil.  Simmer for 20 minutes or until you have about 2 cups of liquid.

Next you make the corn.   Cook the bacon, then add onion and garlic. Add the corn and the stock.

Reduce the liquid again. It will begin to thicken.  Add the crème fraiche, (the first time we used Greek yogurt, it was good but the crème fraiche is better) cilantro, and lime.  (The first time we made this we used the lime. For us the lime was overpowering.  This time we left out the lime, and prefer it this way.)

We want to try this with canned corn and chicken broth, just to see if it is as good.

What is your take on cilantro?  I LOVE it, want it on everything.  You have to like cilantro to like this dish….or leave it out I guess…..

Ingredients

Corncob stock:

  • 5 shucked ears corn (kernels removed and reserved*)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 onion peeled and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 quarts water

Corn saute:

  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 pound thick-cut bacon cut into lardons
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • *Reserved corn kernels
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups reserved corncob stock
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 lime, zested

Directions

For the stock:

Place all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a lively simmer and cook to reduce liquid to 2 cups, approximately 30 minutes. Strain and reserve, keeping stock warm.

To finish the corn:

Begin heating a large saucepan, and glaze bottom with the extra-virgin olive oil. Add the lardons and cook over medium heat, rendering the fat and browning the pieces, stirring as needed. Add the onion and sweat, about 45 seconds. Add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring, another 30 seconds. Add the corn and salt, continuing to cook for another 2 minutes. Add the reserved corncob stock and bring to a simmer, cooking until the liquid reduces to approximately 2/3 cup. Add the creme fraiche and simmer 3 minutes or until the mixture begins to thicken. Add the butter and stir. Remove pan from heat; stir in cilantro and lime zest. Check for seasoning and serve.

 

White Bean and Chicken Chili | Recipes

Make this for dinner.  It’s now one of my favorite meals.  We had this at a friend’s house for Superbowl, and I made it later in the week.  This recipe is from Giada De Laurentiis and I will post the recipe at the end.

You will need these ingredients.

Because we keep things in stock in our kitchen (you can read about that here) I only had to buy the ground chicken and cannellini beans.  Oh and the spinach.

Cook the onion and garlic in a large pot/dutch oven, until cooked.  Add the chicken and spices, cook until done.

Add flour.  Stir in beans, spinach (the recipe calls for Swiss chard, we like spinach), corn and chicken stock.

Simmer for about an hour.  the liquid will reduce and it will thicken.  Add red pepper flakes and any more salt/pepper.  Simmer another 10 minutes.

Serve with Parmesan cheese.  (the Parmesan cheese was excellent with this…)

Make this, and then let me know how you liked it!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds ground chicken
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 (15-ounce cans) cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 bunch (about 1 pound) Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves chopped into 1-inch pieces  (we used spinach)
  • 11/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the ground chicken, 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, fennel seeds, oregano, and chili powder. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Stir the flour into the chicken mixture. Add the beans, Swiss chard, corn, and chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Simmer for 55-60 minutes until the liquid has reduced by about half and the chili has thickened. Add the red pepper flakes and simmer for another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Ladle the chili into serving bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.