Friday, February 17, 2012

Zesty Artichoke Alfredo

I threw this together making it up as I went along and it actually turned out very nice!

I love this with crab! You can serve with crab cakes or just add some crab to your Alfredo sauce. It also is great for dipping bread sticks in.

Zesty Artichoke Alfredo

  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 packet of Italian dressing mix
  • 1 cup marinated artichokes
  • 1 cup milk
In a skillet heat butter on medium high. As it melts quickly stir in 1 Tbsp of flour. As it forms a paste add 1/4 cup of cream. Repeat this with the flour and cream until you have used it up. Use a whisk and work fast or your flour will form clumps. If it's too thick, repeat process with milk until you get a thick yet runny consistency. Also to increase the amount of sauce continue this process until you achieve the amount you desire. Stir in garlic (I always add extra garlic) and half of dressing mix. There is a lot of sodium in dressing mix so usually half is enough however if you would like more go right ahead. The dressing mix I use comes from Germany and is Knorr brand. I like it because it's very tangy and zesty. To add tang to your sauce just add a little lemon juice or 1/2 Tbsp of white wine vinegar. Stir in artichokes and cheese. At this point you can add your crab meat if you choose to.

Serve over your favorite pasta and top with Mozzarella cheese and parsley. I love to serve with garlic bread and sparkling grape juice!

Fancy Schmancy Asparagus

I really wanted to wow my husband on Valentine's Day. I know how he loves asparagus but I didn't want to serve it with the traditional Hollandaise sauce since we were having a creamy sauce on our pasta. So, I came up with this idea that really intrigued him. "What is this yummy stuff you put on the asparagus?" was all he had to say to tell me I hit a home run with dinner!

Fancy Schmancy Asparagus
  • 1 bunch of fresh asparagus, sliced into threes
  • Marinated olives (red, green and black)
  • 1 lemon
  • Minced garlic
  • roasted red peppers (in a jar)
  • Capers
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Okay, so there really are no measurements for this. To be honest, I went to the olive bar at Smith's and purchased 8 oz of this stuff already prepared, so it was very easy. To make it yourself, just mince up your olives and roasted red peppers and place in a bowl (about 1 cup of minced olives and 1/2 cup minced peppers). Stir in minced garlic, about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of capers, 1/4 cup olive oil, squeeze a fresh lemon and salt and pepper.

Steam your asparagus or I like to boil mine for just a few minutes (I like them crisp not soggy). Then place them on a serving platter. Toss in your olive mix and evenly coat. Then squeeze more fresh lemon over the top and grate a lemon for some nice lemon zest flavor. Enjoy!!

Black Cherry Ice Cream Cake

This is so delicious that I prefer it to regular cake any day. The frozen cake holds together so well that there are no crumbs and yet it is soft. It cuts so easy! This cake that I made tasted just like an ice cream sandwich and was very delicious with homemade frosting. I am all about easy too - so here is the recipe I threw together for Valentine's day!

You can try different variations of this such as vanilla cake mix and strawberry or peach ice cream. Try a cool whip/jello frosting with fresh strawberries or peaches swirled in. Perfect for spring or summer!

Also, try cake mix cookies and spread the ice cream in the middle to make yummy ice cream sandwiches. You can roll the sides in nuts or sprinkles then freeze.

Black Cherry Ice Cream Cake

  • 1 box of devil's food cake mix (eggs, water and oil)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tub of black cherry ice cream

Sour Cream Frosting
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup dairy sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup melted chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Milk
Prepare cake mix according to directions on box and bake following the directions for (2) 8 inch round cake pans. Add the sour cream which I recommend for softness and flavor! Grease your cake pans and dust with flour before pouring in batter. Once both cakes are cool, take a large butchers knife and slice lengthwise through the center. You should have four layers of cake when you are done slicing.

A 4 layer cake can be a challenge to work with, so I recommend a sandwich cake (2 layers). (You can take the remaining layers and crumble them up then pat them down into mini Ramekin dishes for mini ice cream cakes. See above.) Also, if your cake is too moist and seems to be falling apart or the ice cream is melting faster than you can work with, it's fine to build the cake inside the cake pan and serve it from the cake pan. You can guarantee it will hold it's form.

Take your bottom layer and lay flat on a plate (it needs to be able to fit back in your freezer). Take softened ice cream and spread a nice thick layer over the first layer of cake. Then continue with other layers and top with last layer of cake. The top layer needs to be an actual top of one of your baked cakes. The other top layer of cake needs to be leveled on top in order to work as a layer in between your cake. Otherwise it will have a mound on top and the next layer will slide off.

Place in the freezer and freeze for about 45 minutes. In the meantime prepare your frosting. In small bowl combine powdered sugar, sour cream and butter. Blend until light and fluffy. Blend in chocolate and vanilla on low speed. Add milk 1 tsp at a time until right consistency.

Remove frozen cake and frost. (I like to take a large cookie cutter and place on top of the cake and fill with ice cream. Then I remove the cutter right before serving and it looks amazing as the ice cream holds it's form.) Place back in freezer and freeze for 4-6 hours. Enjoy!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Spaghetti Boats

Okay, I have resurrected my original spaghetti squash spaghetti recipe and made it even more delicious! I call this one Spaghetti Boats because if you serve it in the shell it looks like spaghetti in a boat! I didn't serve it in the shell this time around.

Now, this the recipe that my kids really love, however (heart healthy tip) I leave out the butter and majority of the salt on my serving. But you know how kids are when it comes to cheese, butter and salt! I always enjoy this recipe becuase I get my Italian pasta fix without the pasta! I lost an extra pound this morning after having 2 platefuls of this stuff!

Spaghetti Boats
  • 2 medium spaghetti squash
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1tsp minced garlic
  • 1 can tomato paste (save can)
  • 1 1/2 cans water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place squash in the microwave for for 6 minutes each - to soften skin. Slice each squash lengthwise down the center. Scoop out seeds. Place face down on a cookie sheet. Bake for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook turkey in a skillet adding minced garlic, green onions, and green pepper. Cook until turkey is browned. Add tomato paste and water. Stir well. Add salt, oregano, basil, pepper and cinnamon. Simmer on low.

Scoop all of squash out of each shell and place in a medium sized bowl. Make sure it is very hot, but be careful. Stir in butter. Carefully add salt 1/4 tsp at a time while stirring to be sure that it blends well into squash. Be sure to taste in between stirring to make sure the amount of salt is to your liking. Add garlic powder, pepper and basil. Stir well and dish up onto plates or back in squash shells.

Scoop 1 cup of sauce over each serving of squash and top with Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!