Thursday, May 30, 2013

Two Pepper Pasta

Two Pepper Pasta

Tonight I have for you a comfort style dish - I love macaroni and cheese type dishes.  I'm always on the lookout for a new one to try.  There are so many ingredients to experiment with.  While this is not exactly my own creation (I tweaked it a bit), I was excited to make it because it has pickled jalapeno peppers and Peter Piper picked a peck of them (say that 3 times fast!).  Those added quite a zing and brought it to a whole new level.  The original recipe called for regular bread crumbs but I substituted panko - they are so crispy and light.

The DIY Guy really enjoyed this dish too - I think I saw him go back for thirds!  I don't think I would change a thing from my version - if you wanted some protein, add some cooked chicken.

Two Pepper Pasta

by Deb Attinella
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (serves 8)
  • 16 oz penne pasta (or rigatoni)
  • 3 T butter
  • 1 large red pepper chopped
  • 3 T flour
  • 3 cups 1% milk
  • 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 T minced pickled jalapeno pepper
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t pepper
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 cup panko crumbs
1. Preheat your oven to 375.
2. Cook the pasta and drain well
3. In a large saucepan, melt 1T butter over medium heat. Add the red pepper and sauté for 5 minutes then add to the pasta
4. To make sauce: melt 1T butter then add flour to combine. Stir milk in gradually whisking until smooth. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Remove from heat then add the cheeses – mix until smooth. Stir in jalapeno, green onions and S&P
5. Spray a 9x13 pan then add mixture.
6. Melt 1 T butter and mix with the panko crumbs and place on top. Bake for 20 minutes – if you would like the crumbs darker, place under broiler for a bit.
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Two Pepper Pasta

Two Pepper Pasta

 I hope you like my dish and give it a try!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Chicken Chowder with Chipotle

Chicken Chowder with Chipotle

Happy Tuesday!  How was your long weekend?  Did you do anything fun?  Well it's official, you can wear white now - the sandals, the shorts, capris, etc.  But remember you only have until Labor Day!  At least that is what I was told growing up and to be honest I do follow that "rule"  It's ingrained in the brain - I might be dating myself - ha!

While we had fun this weekend... we haven't seen a peek of sun since Friday.  I really hope that is not a sign of what we can expect this summer.  So today when I was planning dinner, I was just in a soup mood and found this recipe full of veggies, chicken and kicked up a notch with chipotle chiles.  It really hit the spot and with a side of cornbread, the meal was complete.

Have a great week!!  Send me some sun!

Chicken Chowder with Chipotle

by Deb Attinella
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients (8 servings)
  • 1 chipotle chile with 1 tsp adobo sauce
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 lb boneless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 2 cups diced red potato
  • 1 can (15 oz) corn drained
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 plum tomatoes seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • lime wedges
1. In a large pot or dutch oven heat oil over medium high heat. Add chile, onion through garlic and sauté about 7 minutes until onion is soft – stirring frequently.
2. Stir in broth and bring to boil and simmer covered for 20 minutes. Using a stick blender, puree the mixture to desired consistency. Add potatoes and simmer for an additional 20 minutes until potatoes are soft.
3. Stir in chicken and cream and simmer 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients (sauce, tomato, cilantro and S&P) Serve with lime wedges.
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Monday, May 27, 2013

Guest Post Today

Today’s the day! I’m so excited to be participating in an Old Fashioned Recipe Blog Swap! Julie {White Lights on Wednesday}, Kelley {Miss Information} and Rachel {i love my disorganized life} have paired up 30 incredible bloggers to trade recipes on each others blogs for the day. Be sure to stop by one of the hosts to see all the posts!

I was lucky to be paired with Heather - glad to have her and just look at this!!!

I am SO happy to be blog swapping and recipe sharing here today!
{looking for Deb, you can find her at my place today}

 milkyway brownie

When I made these brownies sundaes a few weeks ago, I knew I'd have to try another version...and soon. They were SO much better than good; maybe one of the best desserts I've made. {at least that 's what the kids thought} It's hard to top the combo of chocolate, brownie, and peanut butter cups, but chocolate and caramel comes very close. Snickers are one of my favorite candy bars, But Charlie will not eat nuts. {strange seeing as how this kid takes a jar of peanut butter and a spoon up to his room} However, if that peanut butter is still in nut form, forget it. That's okay, Milky Way bars are just as good.

  mw brownies

To make the brownie bites you will need: 1 box of brownie mix plus the ingredients to make the brownies 1 1/2 - 2 cups of vanilla and chocolate ice cream (I used a vanilla/chocolate swirl} caramel sauce {recipe here} 2 milky way bars whipped cream line a muffin tin fill each liner with 1 tbsp of brownie batter bake @350 for 15 minutes while the brownies are baking, chop up one of the milky way bars blend the ice cream with the candy once the brownies are out of the oven, top with a scoop of ice cream add 1 tbsp of caramel sauce to each cup place in the freezer for at least 2 hours right before serving chop the second candy bar top each brownie with whipped cream and a candy   Enjoy!


Thanks for having me for the day Deb:)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Shrimp and Broccoli Stir Fry

Shrimp and Broccoli Stir Fry

How many of you subscribe to Cooking Light?  I've been a subscriber for about 5 years.  I like knowing how many calories are in my meals and most of their recipes are pretty easy and made in a short amount of time.

When I make stir fry, shrimp is my go-to ingredient.  We like the flavor it provides overall to the dish and, well, because sometimes I don't have good luck with chicken - it is probably chef error! While this recipe called for broccoli, you could add other veggies you like - carrots, peppers, snow peas - the list is endless.  Often I will add those cute baby corns (canned in the asian aisle section of your grocery store).  And sometimes I buy pre-made sauce but for this recipe I used what it said - including minced ginger - aaaah, there is something about ginger that not only smells good while cooking but also provides a great flavor.

Hope you enjoy this recipe.... I still haven't mastered the chop sticks - they are just a prop :-)

Shrimp and Broccoli Stir Fry

by Deb Attinella
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes

Ingredients (4 servings)
  • 12 oz medium shrimp, cleaned
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 2 ½ T canola oil
  • 1/4 cup green onions, cut on diagonal
  • 2 t minced fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic sliced thin
  • 1 medium head of broccoli florets (2-3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 T rice vinegar
  • 1 t honey
  • 1/4 t crushed red pepper
1. Place shrimp and cornstarch in bowl and toss to coat
2. In a wok, heat 1 T oil over medium high heat. Stir fry the shrimp about 2 minutes each side then remove
3. Add another 1 ½ t oil to wok, then add green onions, ginger and garlic. Stir fry 45 seconds then add the mixture to the shrimp
4. Add 1 T oil and stir fry broccoli for 2 minutes; add shrimp mixture back in with remaining ingredients.
5. Bring to boil and cook about 1 minutes until heated through and shrimp done
6. Serve over rice
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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Herbed Pasta with Tomatoes

Pasta with Herbs

Recently my June Cooking Light magazine came and the cover alone made me excited to check it out.  So fresh looking with tomatoes, corn and grilled chicken on a pretty plate.  I quickly came upon this recipe that I knew I wanted to try pronto!  The main ingredients are penne pasta, baby heirloom cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and fresh parsley with just a bit of olive oil.... oh and peas too, but if you aren't a fan, you could leave those out.  The final product is topped with shaved parmesan cheese. 

While it isn't tomato season here yet, I was able to get what I wanted at my local Trader Joe's - one of my favorite grocery stops.  I find the fresh ingredients I am looking for and they have a great cheese section.  My favorite item is their virgin olive oil... great price and flavor.

I also loved how quick and easy this was - from start to finish only 20 minutes.  So when you get home from work and want a quick, easy and healthy recipe, give this one a try!

Pasta with Herbs and Tomatoes

by Deb Attinella
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients (4 servings)
  • 8 oz penne pasta
  • 1 cup thawed frozen peas
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 cloves sliced garlic
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t fresh pepper
  • 1/3 cup thin sliced basil
  • 2 T chopped fresh parsley
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese
1. Cook the penne and during the last 2 minutes add the peas; drain
2. In a large skillet heat the oil over medium heat then add the garlic and sauté until it begins to brown.
3. Increase the heat then add the tomatoes and cook for about 90 seconds.
4. Add the pasta, peas S&P to skillet and cook until heated through – about 3 minutes
5. Lastly add in basil and parsley – serve with cheese sprinkled on top
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Light Pasta Herbs and Tomatoes

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Get Your Chef On - Chocolate

Chocolate Pecan Tart

It's another edition of Get Your Chef On and this time the featured ingredient is Chocolate.   I'm not sure about you but a day without chocolate makes me a little sad.  So when I get a craving even a few chocolate chips can be satisfying (I have a secret stash in the cupboard!)  When I was trying to decide what recipe to make, this one came to me - it has the chocolate (in the crust and a healthy drizzle of ganache on top) but it also has caramel and pecans.  It's like a candy bar in a tart!  Oh so rich and delicious! 

Chocolate Pecan Tart

by Deb Attinella
Prep Time: 10 minutes then chilling time
Cook Time: NA

Ingredients (12 servings)
  • 2 cups crushed chocolate wafers
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 30 unwrapped caramels
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipped cream
  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipped cream
1. Preheat oven to 350; combine the crumbs and melted butter and press into a 9” springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes
2. In a saucepan combine the caramels and sauce, stirring constantly until melted and smooth – remove from heat and add ¼ cup cream, stir until mixed then add pecans. Pour on top of crust and refrigerate an hour
3. In another saucepan melt chocolate chips over low heat until melted, remove from heat and add ¼ cup cream.
4. Drizzle or frost top of pecans. Place and store in refrigerator. Keep at room temp about 30 minutes before cutting.
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Would this satisfy your craving???  Go on - you know you want to make it!

Thanks to the GYCO sponsors and I can't wait to see what everyone will be linking up... stop by to see Jen or Julie!

Jen from Four Marrs and One Venus
Julie from White Lights on Wednesday

Another dessert recipe you might like - Peanut Butter Pie

Monday, May 20, 2013

Reveal Day...

Baby Reveal Cake

Last Monday we were invited to our daughter's ultrasound... to (hopefully) find out what the baby would be.  We were so excited to go! Unfortunately her husband was unable to attend due to his work schedule.  First, the plan was for Kristina to find out then tell Benj when he got home, then it was going to be the tech would write it down and put it in an envelope for them to both open but then I had the idea of making them a 'reveal' cake.  I had seen some similar ideas on Pinterest.  Both Kristina and Benj really liked this idea so the morning before we went, I made 2 cakes with tinted batter, frosted them white with colored sprinkles, boxed them up, coded them and we went on our way.

The ultrasound was so amazing to watch.... at one point the face came into clear view and we could even see "it" yawn and their fuzzy hair.   Then it came to the point where the tech was going to look so Kristina turned her head and we watched while the tech typed the sex on the photo...

In the parking lot I handed the box to Kristina and she went home to wait for Benj....

All morning I had a strong feeling what it was going to be and I was right

It's a Girl!!

We are excited and can't til summer until we can meet our granddaughter!

P.S.  The DIY Guy and I ate the blue cake for dessert that night :-)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Spinach Lasagna

Vegetarian Spinach Lasagna

I've been on a kick lately to try and lighten up some of the meals we're eating and at the same time, eat more veggies!  This meal fits both of those requirements.  It makes a 9x13 pan and each serving (1/8) is about 330 calories.

In a typical lasagna, one of the ingredients is usually ricotta cheese - this uses cottage cheese that is processed until smooth with an egg.  Very similar texture to ricotta but fewer calories.  Don't worry though - there is still some yummy cheese - romano (or parmesan) and fontina.  A creamy sauce is also made with 1% milk and spinach.  Are you a fan of no-boil noodles?  Yep, those are in this too.  It is a bit time-consuming to make but the results were fantastic.  It even reheats well.

I think next time I might add some cooked chicken...I know the DIY Guy would appreciate that!

Spinach Lasagna

by Deb Attinella
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (12 servings)
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 T olive oil
  • S&P
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 3 cups 1% milk
  • ½ t nutmeg
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 2 9 oz boxes of frozen spinach (thaw, drain and squeeze very well)
  • 1 ½ cups romano cheese
  • 8 oz cottage cheese (do not use low or non fat); drain if watery
  • 1 egg
  • 12 no boil lasagna noodles
  • 7 oz fontina cheese shredded
1. In a large saucepan sauté the onion, 1/8 t salt and oil covered over medium-high heat until soft (about 8 minutes). Add in the garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
2. Add all but ¼ cup milk, bay leaves and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer.
3. Take the remaining milk and mix with cornstarch then whisk into saucepan. Whisk constantly until slightly thickened (5-6 minutes). Remove from heat and remove bay leaves. Stir in spinach and ½ cup romano cheese – set aside.
4. Heat oven to 425. In a food processor combine cottage cheese, egg and some S&P until smooth.
5. Soften the noodles by placing them in a 9x13 pan that has an inch of boiling water in it. This takes about 5 minutes then remove onto paper towels to drain.
6. In a 9x13 baking dish, place a ½ cup of spinach sauce; layer 3 noodles, top with ¾ c spinach sauce and 1 c romano cheese. Layer with 3 noodles, ¾ c spinach sauce and half of fontina cheese. Layer with 3 noodles then top ¾ c spinach sauce and cottage cheese mixture. Layer last 3 noodles and top with remaining sauce and fontina cheese.
7. Spray a piece of foil with PAM and cover dish. Bake for 20 minutes until bubbly; turn on broiler, remove foil and place on top rack for about 5 minutes until lightly browned.
8. Let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Strawberry Margarita Shortcake

Strawberry Margarita Shortcake

Happy Wednesday!  Today is the Spiked Challenge reveal day with tequila.  I really had to think about this one (rules state it can't be a drink--that would be too easy).  So I wasn't sure if I should go sweet or savory (I had ideas of a grilled chicken or maybe a cheesecake).  Then one day I was walking through Trader Joe's and they had the most beautiful looking strawberries that seemed to call out -- eat me!  So I bought myself a 2 pound box and went on my way.  At home I made a margarita and instead of drinking it, I mixed it with sliced strawberries and marinaded them for about an hour.  While that was happening, I made the biscuits.  So far so good but wait - it gets even better with a whipped topping made with heavy cream and Grand Marnier.

I served these to my family last Saturday (minus tequila for one family member) and they were a hit. The strawberries took on a nice flavor with the mix and the orange flavor of the Grand Marnier really came through in the whipped topping.  I made ours with the strawberries drained and yes, we did drink the juice - very strawberry-ish!

To make a non-alcoholic version, just use the margarita mix (minus alcohol) and orange juice for the Grand Marnier.

Be sure to head over to Julie's or Carrie's to see what everyone links up.

Strawberry Margarita Shortcake

by Deb Attinella
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

    For strawberry marinade
    • 4.5 oz tequila mix
    • 1.5 oz tequila
    • .5 oz triple sec
    • 2 lbs strawberries hulled and sliced
    Whipped topping
    • 2 cups heavy cream
    • 2 T Grand Marnier
    • 4 T confectioners’ sugar
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 T baking powder
    • 1/4 t salt
    • 2 ½ T sugar
    • 1 stick butter, cut into 12 slices (chilled)
    • 3/4 cup heavy cream
    1. Place sliced strawberries in a large baggie and add marinade. Add drink ingredients and keep in refrigerator for at least one hour but no more than two.
    2. Preheat oven to 425. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar with a pastry cutter in a large bowl and then add butter using cutter until it resembles coarse meal. Make a well, add cream and combine with fork until moist and then let rest for one minute. Turn onto a floured surface and knead a couple times only (don’t overwork). Pat in a 6x12 rectangle and cut with a 3” round cutter. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. If desired, brush cream on top and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 10-15 until golden brown.
    3. Whip heavy cream with Grand Marnier and confectioners’ sugar until it holds a soft peak
    4. To assemble – drain strawberries (save juice), split biscuits, place whipped cream and strawberries in middle and top with additional cream.
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    Sunday, May 12, 2013

    Tomato and Basil Quiche

    Tomato Basil Quiche

    As the weekend comes to an end, I wanted to share this delicious breakfast (Tomato and Basil Quiche) that was prepared by my older daughter and her husband.  They are both fantastic cooks and I felt very spoiled.  I woke up to hustling and bustling in the kitchen - the DIY Guy had the coffee ready (yay), the "kids" were preparing this meal, and I was just able to relax and read the paper. In addition to the quiche, we had monkey bread and a nice, fresh bowl of fruit.  I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated all they did for me!

    Later in the day, daughter #2 came.  While guys worked outside on our landscaping project and us girls visited and before everyone left, I made some fried ice cream (more on that another day).  I'm excited too because next year I won't be the only mom in our immediate family... we will have a little one to spoil in about 3 months.... will it be a boy or girl?  We are supposed to find out this week!  Stay tuned.

    Saturday, May 11, 2013

    Chicken Parmesan

    The Best Chicken Parmesan recipe!

    Today I have for you a Chicken Parm recipe that is easier on the calories but still provides great flavor!  I love chicken parm and it tends to be my go-to order when we hit up our favorite Italian restaurant.  All that gooey cheese melted all over a seasoned crispy chicken breast served over pasta...yum!

    This version has all those elements.  The main difference is baked chicken coated with toasted panko crumbs.  I just discovered panko crumbs a couple years ago and have substituted regular bread crumbs for these in some of my recipes.  They are much crisper.  Also, as you can see there is not a lot of that gooey cheese on top but I really don't think you'll miss it (or add more to your heart's delight).

    This dinner came together in 30 minutes and it looks like you slaved all day.  The DIY Guy went back for seconds too! 


    Chicken Parmesan Serves: 6 Calories: na Prep Time to Table: 35 min

    - flour
    -3 egg whites beat until foamy
    -1/2 t garlic powder
    -1 ½ cup panko crumbs toasted
    -1/2 c parmesan cheese
    -1 T olive oil -S&P
    -6 (6 oz) boneless chicken
    -8 oz angel hair pasta
    -1 jar your favorite meatless pasta sauce
    -4 oz mozzarella cheese shredded
     -basil for garnish

    1. Preheat oven to 475 and line a baking sheet with foil then place a cookie type wire rack on top then spray with PAM.
    2. Cook pasta; warm sauce
    3. Pound chicken to about ½” and season with S&P.
    4. To prepare chicken – dredge in flour (with added garlic powder), then egg whites and press in panko crumbs (that have been mixed with cheese, oil and S&P)
    5. Place chicken on rack, spray with PAM and bake for 15-20 minutes until done then top with sauce, mozzarella cheese and return to oven until melted
    6. Serve over pasta that has been tossed with sauce and top with fresh basil.


    Thursday, May 9, 2013

    Cashew Chicken Stir Fry

    Cashew Chicken Stir Fry

    Do you ever get Chinese take-out?  Do you wish you could make a lighter version at home in under 30 minutes?  Then I think you are really going to like this recipe.  I came across this in an America's Test Kitchen Comfort Food Makeovers cookbook and was anxious to give it a try.

    A couple things make it lighter.... the veggies are steamed and the chicken is only cooked in 1 T of veg oil.  I liked that the veggies retained their color and had a crispness to them that normally won't happen if you stir fried them in oil.  Do you like spicy?  This calls for a bit a red pepper flakes but you could kick it up a notch by adding a bit more... we tend to like our dishes spicier.  The cashews and water chestnuts also provide a nice texture.  Of course, because you know I like my Uncle Ben's 90 second rice, I served it over that.

    One more thing I want to mention is that since the chicken is marinaded for a bit, it was so tender.  Get your chopsticks out and dig in (though I must confess I used a fork!)

    Cashew Chicken Stirfry Serves: 4 Calories: 300 Prep Time to Table: 20 minutes plus marinade time

    - ¼ cup soy sauce
     -2 T rice vinegar
    -2 T cornstarch
    -1 t sugar
    -4 t sesame oil
    -2 t fresh grated ginger
    -12 to 16 oz boneless chicken cut into small pieces
    -3/4 cup chicken broth
    -1 garlic clove minced
    -1 T vegetable oil
    -1/4 t red pepper flakes
    -1 red pepper cut into thin strips
     -8 oz fresh snow peas
    -8 oz sliced water chestnuts drained
    -1/4 unsalted cashews coarsely chopped

    1. In a small bowl whisk the soy sauce, vinegar, cornstarch and sugar. Take out 2 T of the mixture and place in large baggie and add 2 t sesame oil and chicken. Marinade for 15-30 minutes in the refrigerator.
    2. Add the broth the remaining mixture and set aside. In a small bowl combine garlic, ginger, pepper flakes and 2 t sesame oil.
    3. Place the red peppers and snow peas in a small microwave dish with about ¼ cup water and cook for 90 seconds and then drain.
    4. In a large skillet or wok, heat the veg oil then add the chicken and stir fry until the chicken is light brown on each side. Push chicken off to side and in the middle add garlic mixture and cook/stir for 30 seconds.
    5. Add the steam veggies, water chestnuts and cashews. Whisk the sauce and add to skillet – simmer until the chicken is done. Serve over rice.


    Tuesday, May 7, 2013

    Pizza Night

    >Recipe Below

    What's your favorite pizza and toppings?  I'm always on the lookout for new pizzas to try that are out of the ordinary.  This past weekend, I was going through my refrigerator and remembered that I had some leftover alfredo sauce.  I got to thinking what I could do with that and had a vision of a white-type pizza with the following ingredients:
    • Diced cooked chicken
    • Roasted bell peppers (jarred, drained on paper towels and sliced)
    • Fresh Mozzarella cheese (grated or sliced thin)
    • Fresh basil
    • Balsamic Glaze (from Traders Joe's... this is the best stuff!)
    (My original dough recipe can be found here and for assembly/cooking method click here for a tutorial).

    On top of the dough I placed about 3 oz of the alfredo sauce, spreading it out near the edge, leaving about an inch.  Next I placed the diced chicken (about 1 cup), roasted red peppers and topped with thinly sliced fresh mozzarella cheese.  Baking time was about 13 minutes and after it was removed and cooled down for about 3 minutes, I added fresh basil and drizzled the balsamic glaze.

    Wow - the flavors really hit the spot.  I really liked the glaze and sweetness it provided.  I'll be keeping this one in the rotation!

    Monday, May 6, 2013

    Gift Card Extravaganza!

    Happy Monday!  I hope you're ready for a Monday pick-me-up... I'm participating in a fun giveaway hosted by Julie @ This Gal Cooks.

    ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
    Good morning and Happy Monday! Yea, Happy Monday, you are probably thinking "Mondays, Happy? NOT!" Mondays aren't really that bad but they are a little difficult to adjust to after having two days off from work or having to get the kids ready for school and such. Well, you can turn those Monday frowns upside down because I have something fantastic for you to brighten your Monday. Drumroll please....

     Gift Cards Galore 2 

    That's right, folks. It's a gift card extravaganza! The fabulous ladies who bring you the blogs listed below and I have come together to bring you the chance to win four fantastic gift cards (that's right, winner takes all!) What would you do with $200 to Or how about $100 to Target? Need a coffee fix? (and we all need one of those on Monday morning.) We've got you covered with a $50 Starbucks card. And breakfast, lunch and/or dinner is covered too! With all of the fantastic choices at Panera Bread and your $50 Panera Bread gift card, you won't starve! Please note, if you live outside of the US and are selected as the winner, you will be given a $400 gift card to Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter. Thank these wonderful ladies and then enter to win this FANTASTIC prize pack!
      This giveaway runs from 8am est, Monday, May 6th and ends on Sunday, May 19th at 11:59pm est. A winner will be announced on Monday, May 20th. Good luck! 

    Saturday, May 4, 2013

    Pasta with Langostinos

    Pasta with Langostinos

    Raise your hand if you have heard of langostinos....  (ok, I see a few hands).  These are a type of shellfish - not lobster or prawns or shrimp - from what I've read they are part of the crab family and quite delicious.  To me they taste somewhat lobster-like.

    I've had a bag of these in the freezer for a couple weeks (found at Trader Joes - precooked).  In the past I have sauteed these with garlic butter and white wine served over angel pasta.  For this recipe I had wanted to use up some alfredo sauce I had leftover from another recipe along with some shallots.  And just for fun,  threw in some diced tomatoes but since I didn't want my sauce to turn pink, I drained and rinsed these.  The results were really good and the DIY Guy really liked it.  Your pasta choice is up to you or what you have on hand.

    We ate ours with pecorino romano cheese sprinkled on top and it also tasted good leftover.


    Pasta with Langostinos Serves: 3-4 Calories: NA Prep Time to Table: 20 minutes
    Recipe : Original

    - 8 oz pasta (I used farfelle)
    -2 T butter
    -1 T olive oil
    -2 T minced shallots
    -1/2 t oregano
    -1/2 t basil
    -5 oz. purchased alfredo sauce
    -3/4 c dry white wine
    -15 oz diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed
    -1 small bag of defrosted, cooked langostinos (I got my at Trader Joes in the frozen section)

    1. In a medium skillet, heat the butter and olive oil then add the shallots and sauté until light brown.
    2. Add the white wine and simmer until it reduces about 1/3 then add the spices, tomatoes and alfredo sauce. When this is heated, add the langostinos and simmer about 5 minutes
    3. Cook pasta while preparing the sauce and toss together when all is done.
    4. Sprinkle with romano cheese if desired.


    Thursday, May 2, 2013

    Book Club Night

    Last night our group of gals gathered for book club.  I'm wondering if you doing something similar, how your club works.  Do you spend much time discussing the book or move onto different topics?  Do you meet at someone's house and how do you select the book? If you've been following for awhile, you know we are a group of five and we started back in the summer of 2007 and try to meet monthly.  We rotate who picks the book and whose house we meet at - usually it is for dessert with an occasional dinner thrown in.  We do a lot of just visiting too - it's always great to catch up with each other!

    Our discussion this month was on the above book and below is the description.  We all liked it and spent time discussing the characters and story.  While not a true story, it certainly captures the time in the Nazi era.  A good read but sad to read what victims went through....

    In pre-war Prague, the dreams of two young lovers are shattered when they are separated by the Nazi invasion. Then, decades later, thousands of miles away in New York, there's an inescapable glance of recognition between two strangers...
    Providence is giving Lenka and Josef one more chance. From the glamorous ease of life in Prague before the Occupation, to the horrors of Nazi Europe, The Lost Wife explores the power of first love, the resilience of the human spirit- and the strength of memory.

    Our next read is a bit lighter and my pick....

    This is the sequel to Firefly Lane that we read a couple years ago.  I'm a huge Kristin Hannah fan and have read most (if not all) of her books.  She is very good at developing characters with good plots, and after Firefly Lane, I did wonder what happened to the characters.  I'm excited that the sequel is out, I've started it and like what I've read so far... hope the others do too!

    Thanks to Anne for hosting us for dinner and dessert tonight... she had the prettiest flowers on her table.  I can't remember what it is but I know it starts with an R!