Tasty Tuesday–Salmon Pasta

Lent means fish sales. I especially love it when salmon goes on sale, because I love to bake it will a little lemon juice and olive oil. I love it even more when I have salmon leftovers, because then I get to make one of my very favorite pasta dishes! If you don’t love capers as much as I do, feel free to reduce the amount in the recipe.

  • 16 oz. fettuccine
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • leftover salmon, flaked
  • 1 to 2 cans of artichoke hearts, quartered or chopped
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
  • 7 oz. capers, drained
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.

In a large skillet, heat butter; add garlic and cook for one minute. Stir in cream and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer two to three minutes until thickened, stirring constantly. Add salmon, artichokes, salt, and pepper.

Drain pasta and add to skillet. Stir in cheese, basil, capers, and lemon zest. Serve when heated through.

Tasty Tuesday–Beef Barley Soup

Our family loves pot roast, and we also love using leftover pot roast to make beef barley soup. It’s such a hearty, filling meal, especially on a cold winter night!

  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 10 cups beef broth (if you don’t have enough, make up the rest with water)
  • Approx. 2 cups chopped leftover pot roast
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 11 oz. box quick-cooking barley
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

In a large saucepan, saute carrot, celery & onion with salt in butter until translucent.

Add the broth, beef, tomatoes, barley, pepper, rosemary, basil, and oregano; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until barley is tender, stirring occasionally.

Tasty Tuesday–Peppermint Hot Chocolate Bread Pudding

Even though I wasn’t planning on making a dessert for New Year’s Day, once I stumbled across this recipe, I knew I had to try it. I did have to make a few changes, based on what was available to me at the store, so you’re getting the recipe I actually used, not the one I found. I also used Kahlúa in place of the coffee required in the original recipe, because I wanted to add more mint flavor, plus, I’m always looking for a new booze-soaked dessert recipe!

  • 4 large whole eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup peppermint hot chocolate mix
  • 1/4 cup peppermint mocha Kahlúa
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 16 ounces stale challah bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows, divided

Place the eggs in a blender and blend on the lowest speed for 30 seconds. Slowly add the sugar and then add the hot chocolate mix and blend until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the Kahlúa, milk, and vanilla and blend until well combined.

Butter a 9 by 13-inch dish and place 1/2 of the cubed bread in the pan. Sprinkle half of the chocolate chips and 1/4 cup of the mini marshmallows on top. Add the rest of the bread and pack tightly. Sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips and another 1/4 cup marshmallows.

Slowly pour in the custard. Press down on the mixture with a spatula or the back of a spoon to thoroughly saturate. Cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.

Bake at 325, uncovered, for 45-55 minutes or until the bread cubes are crisp and browned and the center is firm.

Remove the dish from the oven and top with the remaining mini marshmallows.

Switch your oven settings to broil and broil for about two minutes, or until the marshmallows are toasted to your liking. Watch it closely, the broiler will burn the marshmallows easily.

Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

A Brazilian Feast for the Opening Ceremonies

The Olympics always provide us with an opportunity to try some new recipes that reflect the food and culture of the host country. I decided to jump right in this year, and have our first Brazilian meal for the Opening Ceremony.

But before we get to dinner, there was first an Olympic snack this afternoon. We made Olympic “torches” again this year…pretzel rods dipped in white chocolate, and topped with red and yellow sugar crystals for the “flame.” I added some Olympics-themed Hershey Kisses that I bought on an impulse at the grocery store this week. I also made Brazilian lemonade (which is made with limes, not lemons…I have no idea why), which was a huge hit!

On to the dinner feast. I tried three new recipes. The main course was a Brazilian black bean stew, which also had ham, chorizo, sweet potatoes, and mango. I served it with Brazilian rice, which was cooked in a similar way to risotto, and had garlic and onion in it. We also had Pao de Queijo, which is a Brazilian cheese bread made with tapioca flour. I was a little worried that this meal would be a little too different for the children, but it was a huge hit!

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For dessert, I made a Pudim De Laranja, which is a Brazilian orange flan. I screwed up the caramel part a little bit, but it was still delicious!

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I have a few more recipes to try over the next few weeks…are you making anything special to celebrate the Olympics?

Mardi Gras 2016

Today we had our annual Mardi Gras celebration. We started the day as we always do…with pączki. I’m still planning on making them from scratch one of these years! Like last year, we had red beans and rice for lunch. Much to everyone’s disappointment, I didn’t make beignets this year (there are only so many hours in the day!), but I did try a new recipe for dinner at Bunny’s request: shrimp gumbo. I even made my own shrimp broth, which was a new and entertaining experience. We finished the day with butterscotch bread pudding for dessert. I know,..that’s Southern, not Mardi Gras, but I really don’t like king cake, so I thought it was a decent substitute.

The celebration is over, and we’re ready for Lent to begin tomorrow!

Celebrating the Year of the Fire Monkey

Since we’ve been learning about Asia this year, I wanted to make a special meal to celebrate the Chinese New Year. I decided on homemade egg rolls (which Turkey has been begging me to try making for quite some time), Szechuan shrimp, pineapple fried rice, and (store-bought, of course) fortune cookies for dessert (yes, I did get the world’s most generic fortune…”Your future looks bright.”).

Everybody liked at least one part of the dinner (Ladybug, my most adventurous eater, liked it all!), and the egg rolls were especially popular. It was fun trying some new foods from a different culture!

Tasty Tuesday–Turkey, Cranberry, and Goat Cheese Quesadillas

I modified this recipe from one our local grocery store suggested as a way to use up leftover turkey…the combination of flavors is amazing! I will definitely be adding this one to our Thanksgiving leftovers permanent collection!

  • 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup leftover or whole berry canned cranberry sauce
  • 8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 8 oz. package chèvre (goat cheese) with herbs, softened
  • 2 cups chopped leftover or cooked turkey
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • salsa and/or guacamole

Zest limes. In small bowl, stir together cranberry sauce and lime zest.

Place tortillas on work surface; evenly spread each with one ounce chèvre, then cranberry sauce mixture. Evenly top four tortillas with turkey and jalapeño; top with remaining tortillas to close quesadillas.

In batches, spray 12-inch skillet with cooking spray; add 1 quesadilla and cook over medium-low heat 2 to 3 minutes or until bottom is golden brown. Spray top of quesadilla with cooking spray; turn and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer or until bottom is golden brown. Cut each into 6 wedges; serve with salsa and guacamole.