Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Light Shrimp and Pasta

I bought a bag of frozen shrimp thinking I could make something great for my family. My daughter saw the bag in the freezer and immediately started asking if she could defrost them and start eating them. I kept telling her that the bag was going to be for a dinner and she could not have them as a shrimp cocktail. I figured I better make something fast before I came home to an empty bag of shrimp and my husband and daughter on a shrimp cocktail high.

Tonight I adapted a recipe to use up the shrimp. It was a big hit with my family. Hopefully you will enjoy it, too!

Light Shrimp and Pasta

1 lbs pasta
2 tbs oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 cup diced tomatoes (with out the juice, if canned)
2 ounces light cream cheese
1/2 cup evaporated 2% milk
12 ounces shrimp (fresh or frozen, cleaned and deveined)
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbs butter
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta to al dente.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet (I used my 12" stainless skillet). Add chopped onions. Saute for about 3 minutes until soften. Add tomatoes and garlic. Heat until hot. Move all vegetables to the sides of the pan and melt cream cheese in the center, when creamy and melted, add the milk and shrimp. Cook until shrimp are pink and cooked. Add Parmesan cheese, butter, salt and pepper.

Add pasta to the shrimp mixture to coat. Serve with extra Parmesan cheese.


Just so you know, I did leave some shrimp to the side for my daughter and husband to have a little shrimp cocktail! They were happy with the meal and the shrimp cocktail.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Cauliflower Ham Mac N Cheese

I saw a recipe somewhere for a Mac N Cheese that included cauliflower and thought "Great way to get my kids to eat vegetables!" I roughly scribbled the recipe on the back of an envelop (I think). I promptly lost the envelope and recipe!

Never letting the lack of a recipe deter me, I decided to make the recipe from memory, while changing it slightly. Well, it got great results from my family. I have to admit that my kids do not mind cauliflower in mashed potatoes, so there was precedence. I also had some leftover ham from the weekend, so I chopped it up and added it to the mix.

Here's what I came up with:

Cauliflower Ham Mac N Cheese

1 bag frozen cauliflower
1/4 cup milk (more or less)
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
1 lb pasta (I used a mixture of baby shells and elbow)
1 cup coarsely chopped ham
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup bread crumbs

In a sauce pan, boil cauliflower in water until tender. Take out the cauliflower and put into a blender or food processor. Add pasta to the cauliflower water. Cook until tender and drain.

Meanwhile, blend the cauliflower until smooth. Add some milk, all the cheese except about 3/4 cup, Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste.

Combine the cauliflower mixture with the pasta and ham. Pour into a casserole dish. Top with cheese and then bread crumbs. Bake at 400 degrees until golden and bubbly. About 20-30 minutes.

I hope you enjoy this. It's a great way to use leftover ham and get your family to eat some vegetables.

Monday, January 11, 2010

For the Love of Ham

I find certain items go on sale at regular intervals. For example, all baking supplies tend to go on sale before each major holiday. So, if I want to stock up on flour and sugar, I should purchase them at the rock bottom prices during the Thanksgiving/Christmas and Easter seasons. This year I purchased flour at $1.49 for a 5 pound bag and sugar at $1.25 for a 5 pound bag. When I bought my sugar at Target for $1.25 per bag, the guy behind me said, "What, are they giving it away?". I replied, "Practically!".

This week I went to my local PriceRite and noticed ham at $.49/lb and $.59/lb. I bought two. There was another women looking at the ham and said there must be a mistake with the pricing because the regular hams were so inexpensive and the spiral hams were regular price. I told her there was no mistake. Spiral hams definitely are more expensive because they are totally precooked and are already cut. But, I think spiral hams tend to be dry. I hardly ever buy a spiral ham because I want my ham really moist. The women ended up buying a regular ham.

What will I do with the hams? One went into the freezer for my daughter's birthday party in February. The other was cooked last night. When I make ham for my family, I just bake it at 300 degrees in my Stoneware Covered Baker. Cooking the ham this way, makes it "fall off the bone moist and tender"! We had this with sauteed cabbage (yum!) and corn. The corn was for my kids who only like cabbage in coleslaw.

What will I do with the leftovers? I put them in three containers. One will be use for sandwiches this week and to eat during the week. The other two will go into the freezer for meals when I do not have time to make anything or in a casserole, quiche, calzone, frittata, etc. There are so many ways to use leftover ham.

The bone is going into the freezer for a soup. There is nothing like a Ham and Bean Soup. I sometimes make split pea (double yum!), white bean, lentil, etc. So many options...all really good. Never throw away a ham bone! In fact, one of our local restaurants sells their ham bones for $1.00 each. I have bought one in the past and made some great soups for my mother and my family. My mother loves soup, too!

So when you see a ham at a rock bottom price, go buy it and make some great meals!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sausage Veggie Soup

This week I taught my cooking class at the Council on Aging. Every January, I have done two soup recipes. I made a Corn Chowder (I think I have this recipe in another post) and a Sausage Veggie Soup.

It was a perfect day for a soup class. It was bitter cold outside. As always everyone loved the soups. I have included the recipe for the Sausage Veggie Soup below. We added croutons in the soup instead of crackers. Enjoy!

Sausage Veggie Soup

1 lb Italian Sausage, casing removed
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
2 tbs oil
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 can beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
½ cup dried small pasta such as orzo, small shells, elbows
2 cans chicken stock
Garlic, salt and pepper to taste

Saute sausage, onion, carrots and celery for a 3-4 minutes in oil. Break up sausage. Add minced garlic. Add chicken stock and can of tomatoes with juice. Add shredded cabbage and zucchini. Bring to a boil. Add beans and orzo. Salt and pepper to taste. When hot and cabbage and zucchini are wilted, enjoy.