Thursday, September 6, 2018

Chicken Bacon Pasta Salad




















When you don’t really feel like cooking but still want something delicious and filling, why not go for a pasta salad with that left over rotisserie chicken you have in the fridge?  Tonight, I made a quick trip to my garden for a fresh ripe tomato and some green onions. Then a quick snip of some chives from my herb garden and I’m ready to begin!  

Chicken Bacon Pasta Salad

1 box of Rigatoni pasta
6 slices of bacon, chopped and fried
2 cups of chicken, cubed (I used a rotisserie chicken)
1 large tomato, chopped
2 spring onions, both green and white sliced





















Ranch Dressing

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 package (1 oz.) dry ranch dressing mix
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup chives chopped

In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, dressing mix, garlic powder and milk. Add in the chives and whisk until smooth and creamy.  Cover and keep in refrigerator until ready to use.



















Cut the bacon into bite sized pieces and fry until crisp.  Drain and set aside.

Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain very well in a colander.  Transfer the pasta to a large bowl.  Add the bacon, chicken, and tomatoes.  























Add the dressing and toss well.  Sprinkle with green onions and extra bacon.  YUM!























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BLT Ham Sub























Because sometimes you want more than just an everyday ham sandwich, right?  Sometimes you want to create a masterpiece.  Just for you….because you’re special!  So you fry up some bacon, make your own special mayo, pick a big beef steak tomato from your garden and you begin to create!  Here's my idea of a masterpiece.

BLT Ham Sub

1 sub roll (Italian baguette, or any kind of roll you like)
1 tablespoon garlic mayo (see recipe below)
3 slices American cheese (or your favorite cheese)
1 large garden ripe tomato, sliced
Iceberg lettuce
6-8 slices of your favorite Deli Ham
6 slices of cooked bacon, drained

Split roll lengthwise and open like a book. Spread garlic mayo on both sides.  













Lay cheese slices on bottom half of roll. Top with Sliced tomato. Tear lettuce leaves and lay on top of tomato slices.  Top with slices of ham and strips of bacon.












Fold over roll, making sure to stuff the filling back in if they try to escape, and secure with toothpicks. Cut in half and serve.











Garlic Mayo

1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoons sour cream
Pinch of garlic powder


In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream and garlic powder until smooth.  Spread on top of your bread or roll.   





















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Sunday, August 26, 2018

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Nuggets























Because sometimes you just need a nugget or two or three or a dozen. And because sometimes you don’t want to go through a fast food line to get less than mediocre nuggets. And because sometimes you want good homemade old fashioned wholesome food without all those chemicals.  Because sometimes a few nuggets now and then just make you happy.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Nuggets

2 boneless skinless chicken breast
1 cup buttermilk
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons buttermilk

Pat the chicken breast with paper towels to remove moisture. Using a sharp knife, cut the breast into chunks.  










Pour the buttermilk into a deep bowl and add in the salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne and paprika and stir well.  Add in the chicken and stir to coat in the marinade.  Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least for four hours.










Remove the chicken from the refrigerator when ready to fry.  In a large shallow bowl, combine the flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and baking powder. Whisk until well combined, then add the buttermilk and stir with a fork until mixture is doughy and clumpy. 











Place a few nuggets into the flour mixture turning them to coat thoroughly. Press down on the breading to make sure it adheres to the nuggets and place them on a plate.  Once you have dredged all the nuggets you are ready to fry.











Heat about 1-2 inches of vegetable oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat.  When the oil is sufficiently heated, begin cooking the nuggets a few at a time. Cook them for about a minute and a half or so on each side. When golden and crispy, remove them to a paper towel-lined plate.  Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. Yum!











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Shrimp in Tomato Basil Cream























So good. The perfect comfort food. Served with a side salad and some crusty Italian bread….what more could you want? This is so creamy and melt in your mouth delicious. Loaded with sun dried tomatoes, spinach and basil.  AMAZING!!!

    Shrimp in Tomato Basil Cream

3 cups cavatappi pasta
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

CREAM SAUCE
1/4 cup unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup vegetable broth, or more, as needed
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 cup heavy cream, or more, as needed
1/3 cup julienned sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.
 























To make the tomato basil cream sauce, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute.























Gradually whisk in vegetable broth and basil.  Cook, whisking constantly, until incorporated, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in heavy cream, sun dried tomatoes and Parmesan until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add more heavy cream as needed; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in spinach until it begins to wilt, about 2 minutes.  

Stir in pasta and shrimp, and gently toss to combine.
Serve immediately.
 




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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Crab Linguine in Parmesan Garlic Sauce




















This is one of my favorite meals to make for friends who come for dinner. So easy to make and a dish that everyone remembers! Creamy smooth sauce over linguine with just a hint of Old Bay Seasoning over sweet succulent crab! So good.

Crab Linguine in Parmesan Garlic Sauce

1 package of linguine
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 clove garlic, finely minced
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid from pasta
3/4 cup freshly grated parmigianno reggiano
1 lb lump crab meat

Cook pasta as directed on package. Salt water very well and bring to a boil. Before draining, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and set aside. Place linguine back into hot pot and stir in butter, cream, garlic, salt, pepper and cheese until butter and cheese start to melt and create a sauce. If it is too thick, use some of the reserved pasta water to thin it to the consistency you like. Adjust the seasonings to your taste.

Next add the crab and toss lightly so as not to break up the larger pieces. Pour into a casserole dish and add topping.

Topping

1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning (2 tsp if you want a kick)
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

Mix ingredients and sprinkle over top of crab linguine. Turn oven on broil and watch carefully until your bread crumbs are crisp and golden.

You can also make this with shrimp, scallops or lobster.

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Maryland Steamed Crabs



















 

What's a Maryland girl serve at her summer holiday parties and cookouts?  If you're from my neck of the woods you already know!  My family and friends will arrive and my table will be set just as you see in the photo. My menu will include Maryland Steamed Crabs and sweet corn on the cob. Some coleslaw and potato salad and maybe some hot crab dip and steamed shrimp on the side. There's always newspaper for the tablecloth of course and lots of paper towels and mallets and melted butter. A meal like no other and a true Maryland tradition! Sweet and succulent tender crabs steamed in Old Bay Seasoning and Beer. Sweet corn Basted in melted butter and sprinkled with more Old Bay!  Oh My!

Maryland Steamed Crabs


36 fresh blue crabs 
 1/2 cup Old Bay Seasoning 
 1/2 cup salt 
 3 cups beer 
 another 1/4 cup Old Bay for topping 

Combine 1/2 cup seafood seasoning, salt, beer, and vinegar in a large stockpot over high heat. If you have a steamer with a basket that's even better. Bring to a strong simmer. Fit a screen over the beer mixture and layer the crabs on the screen. Be sure that the crabs are above the simmering liquid. Cover.Steam crabs until they turn bright orange and all of the blue/green color is gone, 20 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup seafood seasoning before serving. 

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Monday, June 4, 2018

White Chocolate Cheesecake with Ganache Topping




























 
This is my favorite cheesecake. I love white chocolate everything but especially cheesecake....and with the addition of milk chocolate dripping down the sides.....oh my. Well let's say, you'll never forget it.

White Chocolate Cheesecake with
Ganache Topping


Crust
10 ounces graham crackers, crushed into crumbs
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
 
Cheesecake Filling

3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces Ghirardelli or any premium white chocolate, chopped
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt
boiling water

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and press into the bottom of a 10 inch spring form pan. Bake for 10 minutes and then allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees while crust is cooling and you make your batter. 

























Place the chopped white chocolate into a heat safe bowl and set aside. Bring the 1/2 cup of cream to a simmer over medium heat in a small sauce pan. Pour the hot cream over the white chocolate, and allow to stand for one minute. Stir the chocolate gently until melted completely. 

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth and lump free. Add the sugar and mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. On medium speed, slowly add the white chocolate mixture. Once combined you can add the eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed until each egg is incorporated. Once you've added all the eggs, mix in the vanilla and salt and pour into your prepared crust that has cooled in your spring form pan. 














Set the pan onto a couple of heavy duty, large sheets of aluminum foil and smooth them up the sides of the pan to waterproof. Set the cheesecake into a larger roasting pan and then place in the oven. Pour the boiling water into the roasting pan, filling to about one inch. 

Bake at only 325 for the first hour and then reduce heat again down to only 300 degrees and bake for another hour or so or until the center is just set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool chill for at least 4 hours before serving.













Chocolate Ganache Topping
1 cup chocolate chips (use dark chocolate or milk chocolate)
1/2 cup heavy cream

Raspberries for garnish

Add water to a large pot and bring to a simmer. Place a heatproof glass bowl over the pot and add the chocolate and heavy cream. Slowly stir with a spoon until the chocolate has melted, careful not to incorporate too much air. Once melted, remove from heat. Pour chocolate ganache over cheese cake and allow to drip down sides.

























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