Archive | Pasta

Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

I can’t really say that I love red peppers.

But I do like them in some dishes and I’m pretty much in love with the roasted red pepper and lobster soup at Cafe Zupas.  Are there any other lovers of that soup out there?

Here’s another question:  Are you a liker, lover, hater, or neutral on the whole roasted red pepper thing going on right now?

I haven’t really gotten on the roasted red pepper bandwagon but I’ve seen lots of different roasted red pepper pasta sauces floating around pinterest for the last couple of years (all pretty similar but with a few little variations) and I finally decided to try my hand at combining a few ideas into my own creation – you know, just to see what all this craze was all about.  I thought I would like it but I wasn’t sure how well.  It was so good!  What I mean is, it was super delicious!  It was actually the topic of conversation at least three different times that evening after dinner, and we were already looking forward to the leftovers!

So give this sauce a try and see if it becomes one of your favorites ways of eating pasta, too.

Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter (or olive oil)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves minced garlic
  • 24 ounces roasted red pepper, undrained
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning (a little less or a little more depending on your taste for this seasoning)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup (plus more for serving) finely shredded Romano cheese (or parmesan)
  • 1 pound Rotini pasta

Directions

    Cook the pasta first.
  1. Cook pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Drain. Set aside.
  2. While the pasta cooks:
  3. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium low heat.
  4. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and cook until it's fragrant, about 1 minute.
  6. Remove from the heat and put the onion & garlic into a blender or food processor.
  7. Add the roasted red peppers, chicken or vegetable stock, basil, salt, pepper, basil, and Old Bay Seasoning. Puree until smooth.
  8. Return the sauce to the pan and stir in the heavy whipping cream. Heat the sauce up over low heat.
  9. At this point taste the sauce and then add more salt, pepper, or Old Bay Seasoning if you want more.
  10. Add the 1 cup of Romano cheese and stir until it's melted.
  11. Combine the sauce with the noodles and stir gently to combine.
  12. Serve with additional shredded Romano cheese.
http://www.abrightandbeautifullife.com/pasta-roasted-red-pepper-sauce/

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Bobby’s Favorite Goulash

Bobby's Favorite Goulash ~ This goulash is delicious plain, but topped with sour cream is what boosts it up to goulash superstar status.

OK.  So I know I’m dropping Bobby Deen’s name like I know him and he gave me this recipe personally.  But this is his recipe by the same name, which I wanted to change but just plain ole goulash sounded so… well, plain, and I didn’t know what else to name it so I left it at Bobby’s Favorite Goulash.  Hopefully he won’t mind.

My mom used to make a goulash similar to this and I always liked it because it was so hearty and tasty.  This one has some different seasonings than hers but is just as delicious.  And it has just a bit of spiciness, thanks to the cayenne pepper.

I’ve never, ever, thought to top goulash with sour cream (the recipe actually says to use plain fat-free Greek yogurt but I don’t like plain yogurt) but that’s what actually sends it up to goulash superstar status.  My hubby liked it just as well without the sour cream.  But for me, so many things taste better with sour cream, including this goulash.

Bobby’s Favorite Goulash

Bobby’s Favorite Goulash

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, pureed
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, pureed
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, pureed
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can ( 8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup elbow macaroni
  • 3 green onions
  • sour cream

Directions

  1. Heat a large nonstick pot over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook, stirring and breaking it up, until it loses its pink color, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the onions and peppers and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, soy sauce, basil, oregano, garlic powder, cayenne, and black pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer covered for 20 minutes.
  4. Stir in the macaroni and let simmer, covered, stirring occasionally until tender, about 15 minutes.
  5. Let stand for 20 minutes before serving.
  6. Top individual servings with green onions and a dollop of sour cream, if desired.
http://www.abrightandbeautifullife.com/bobbys-favorite-goulash/

 

Recipe source: From Mama’s Table to Mine by Bobby Deen, slightly adapted

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Mediterranean Pork and Orzo

Mediterranean Pork and Orzo

Would you believe this is only the second time I’ve ever cooked orzo?  I like it but when I cook pasta it’s usually for something substantial like mac and cheese or spaghetti or baked ziti.  Also, orzo doesn’t seem like pasta.

Does anyone else out there have rice/orzo brain confusion?  Or am I the only one that thinks rice when I see orzo? ~ When I see pictures with recipes that have orzo my brain and taste buds think rice and so I just usually skip on over them because even though I like rice I wouldn’t like it in the recipes using orzo.  And I like orzo but wouldn’t like it in recipes using rice.  I’m not sure if I’m explaining myself very well.  All I can say is I wish orzo had a different shape so my brain wouldn’t be perplexed.

For some fortunate reason though, when I saw this Mediterranean Pork and Orzo in the June/July 2014 issue of Taste of Home it looked delicious to me and I didn’t eliminate the possibility of making it.  Instead, I put it on our menu and added orzo to my shopping list.  My brain did keep thinking rice but I forced myself to make it anyway because I love Mediterranean food and I had a pork tenderloin hanging out in the freezer.

And now this weird little story comes to an end.

I loved the orzo in this dish.  It gave it just the right amount of substance and texture without being noodle-y.  All of the flavors blended together well and the pork was cooked to perfection ~ a little bit crusty on the outside and super tender on the inside.  It isn’t overly seasoned, which I liked and the feta was in perfect balance with the other ingredients.  The original recipe calls for grape tomatoes but I don’t like them {it’s a texture thing, another weird story} so I used campari tomatoes from Costco and quartered them.

Make this Mediterranean Pork and Orzo this summer when you want a lovely, colorful one dish meal that’s also light and refreshing.

Mediterranean Pork and Orzo

Yield: 6 servings

Mediterranean Pork and Orzo

Ingredients

  • 2 pork tenderloins {3/4 lb. each}
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1-1/4 cups uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces fresh spinach {or more}
  • 3-4 campari tomatoes, quartered {or 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved}
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions

  1. Cut the pork into 1-inch cubes.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the pepper and stir it well to combine.
  3. Add the pork; cook and stir 8-10 minutes or until it's no longer pink.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Stir in the orzo and salt; cook, uncovered, for about 8 minutes.
  5. Stir the spinach in with the orzo and cook for 45-60 seconds longer or until the orzo is tender and the spinach is wilted. Drain.
  6. Add the orzo and spinach to the pork and stir to combine.
  7. Add the tomatoes and feta cheese just right before serving.
http://www.abrightandbeautifullife.com/mediterranean-pork-orzo/

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Fiery South-of-the-Border Mac and Cheese

IMG_6668

A few weeks ago I was looking through our local newspaper and this recipe for Fiery South-of-the-Border Mac and Cheese was one of the featured recipes for that particular day.  I have only ever tried three newspaper recipes over about the past 20 years ~ they just don’t ever sound very good to me.  But this one caught my eye.  I love Mexican food.  And macaroni and cheese.  So I thought this recipe had good possibilities for being tasty.  And it did not disappoint.  The salsa compliments the spicy mac and cheese perfectly.  My hubby and I talked about whether we thought a regular salsa would be as good and we both decided that it wouldn’t.  This salsa doesn’t have tomatoes but it does have a tasty flavor with just the right amount of spiciness.  So don’t skip making it ~ even if you are tempted to because it adds an extra step.  It’s easy to make and not at all time consuming.  And then the macaroni and cheese.  It is total yum.  Creamy.  Spicy.  Good texture and flavor.  We don’t usually like a bread crumb topping on our mac and cheese but the chips gave it a good crunch.  I’m not really sure if these photos do it justice. But give it a try.  Then let me know if you like it as well as we do.

*Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

Salsa:
8 ounces tomatillos {about 3}, husks removed and quartered
1 medium white or red onion, peeled, cut into 6 or 8 large chunks {I used a red onion}
1 serrano pepper, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons water

Macaroni and Cheese:
8 ounces small elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
2-1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
12 ounces grated pepper jack cheese {about 3-1/2 cups}
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen {no need to thaw if frozen}
2 whole pickled jalapeños, finely chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips

Directions:

For the Salsa:
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Put the tomatillos, onion, and serrano pepper in a bowl and toss with the canola oil, kosher salt, and pepper.
3. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes.
4. Let cool a bit then transfer to a food processor or blender.
5. Add the cilantro and water to the food processor or blender and process until mostly smooth.  Taste and add more salt or pepper as desired.

IMG_6675

For the Mac and Cheese:
1. Cook the macaroni noodles according to the package directions.
2. Drain and rinse with cold water.  Then return to pot.
3. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
4. Slowly whisk in the flour; stirring constantly until a paste forms.  Continue stirring or whisking until the mixture starts to darken slightly, 1-2 minutes.
5. Slowly whisk in the milk and salt; cook until the mixture starts to thicken, 5-7 minutes.
6. Add the cheese, one cup at a time, and allow all of the cheese to melt.
7. Stir the sauce into the pasta to coat well.  Fold in the corn and jalapeños.

IMG_66578. Transfer to a buttered 2 quart dish; sprinkle with the crushed tortilla chips.
9. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Let rest 15 minutes before serving.

IMG_6702
10. Serve topped with salsa and chopped cilantro leaves.

IMG_6718

Here it is all mixed together and ready to eat.

This recipe was featured on:
Sweet Bella Roos
Kitchen Meets Girl

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Our Favorite Macaroni and Cheese

Our Favorite Macaroni and Cheese

 

 

Aah, simple Macaroni and Cheese.  Pure, simple, comfort food.  Elbow macaroni is one of my favorite noodles because I love the feel of the firm texture of it in my mouth.  I think everyone probably has a favorite recipe.  We don’t like the kind with bread crumbs sprinkled on top and then baked in the oven ~ just the plain old basic creamy, cheesy, slightly seasoned white sauce kind.  So far, this is our favorite way to make it.

Ingredients:

11 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 cups shredded cheese {Cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a blend}
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Cook macaroni in boiling salted water according to package directions. Then drain.
2. While macaroni is boiling, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.
3. Add the minced garlic and cook it until it’s fragrant, about 1 minute.
4. Add the ground mustard, salt, and pepper.  Mix well to combine.  Let it simmer for several minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently.
5. Add the flour and mix with a wire whisk until smooth.
6. Add the milk, whisking until well mixed.  Heat until the mixture thickens, stirring frequently.
7. Gradually add the cheeses and stir well with a spoon until the cheeses melt and the sauce is smooth.
8. Add macaroni to the sauce and mix until well blended.

Our Favorite Macaroni and Cheese

Top with crumbled bacon and fresh cut-up tomatoes, if desired.

Our Favorite Macaroni and Cheese

 Or just tomatoes.  {my favorite}
Or eat it plain.

Do you have a favorite Mac and Cheese recipe?
I would love it if you would share it with me.

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