Saturday, May 2, 2009

Leeky Linguine with Shrimp and Asparagus

This was another one of those recipes I've been meaning to try for quite some time now, and I finally got around to it last week. I knew I'd like it... shrimp and asparagus... how could it go wrong? But I was worried about the boys liking it and expected them all to turn their noses up at it. Surprisingly, they loved it! They completely cleaned their plates and had seconds and even Jared dug in. This was super easy and fast and very tasty. It's not a "saucy" pasta but, it's really light, perfect for a spring pasta, and has just a hint of a "kick" from the red pepper.

I got this off of Taste and Tell, one of my favorite sites, and she got it from Every Day with Rachel Ray (be sure and check out her picture... it's much prettier and more appetizing looking... I'm terrible at getting good pictures of food!). The original recipe didn't include the asparagus, but I felt like it needed something and it was definitely a welcome addition.

Leeky Linguine with Shrimp and Asparagus
Makes 4 (large) portions (With the addition of the asparagus, it fed a lot more than that)

1 lb. large shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 T plus about 4 T extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Pinch of kosher salt
Black pepper to taste
1 lb. linguine
4 leeks --- trimmed, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise and washed
1 bunch asparagus, cleaned, trimmed, and cut into chunks
1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth (or chicken broth)
1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Parmesan Cheese

In a bowl, toss the shrimp with 2 tablespoons EVOO, lemon peel, garlic and crushed red pepper; season with salt and black pepper.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 5 minutes.
While the pasta is working, in a large skillet, heat the remaining 4 tablespoons of EVOO. Add the leeks and asparagus and cook until the leeks are wilted and asparagus is tender crisp, about 5-8 minutes. Push the leeks and asparagus to the side of the pan, add the shrimp to the skillet and cook until pink and firm. Pour in the wine (or broth) and stir, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.Add the pasta to the skillet; season with additional pepper if desired. Add the parsley and a healthy sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and toss.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Garlic Cheese Bread

I got this recipe from one of those copy-cat recipe books. This is supposedly the Black Angus Garlic Cheese Bread Recipe. I don't know how much this recipe tastes like the stuff from Black Angus, but it is so good! I'm made it twice now, the first time following the recipe exactly, and we thought it was too much topping. So, the second time, I halved the recipe and it was just perfect for my two halves of French Bread. I thought it was much better with less, so those are the instructions I'm posting. It's similar to Pioneer Woman's Olive Bread, also posted on the site, but without the olives for all you olive haters out there.

1 loaf french bread
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup shredded jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded Asiago cheese (I just used a pizza blend here.. couldn't find Asiago that day at the grocery store)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 bunch green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced

1. Split french bread loaf into halves horizontally.

2. Mix butter, cheeses, mayonnaise, green onions and garlic in a bowl, blending well. Spread the
cut side of bread with spread.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 7 minutes, then place under broiler about 3 minutes longer. (I found mine needed longer under the broiler to get that nice broiled look... more like 5 minutes. Just watch it carefully) Cut into slices and serve.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Creamy Lemon Bars

I've had this recipe in my "must try" pile for quite some time now, and I finally got around to making it today for dinner group. And may I just say, "you're welcome." I sacrificed the two pounds I finally lost last week just to bring you this. Granted, I didn't have to eat half the pan, but it really was completely unavoidable. They had to be eaten, and it was just as easily done by me than someone less deserving of these remarkably beautiful bars. Remember that Lemon Cheesecake I raved over back at Thanksgiving? This is a simpler, quicker version that will satisfy that same lemon craving. These are creamy, refreshing, and simply perfect.

I found the recipe on a site I like to peruse quite a bit, The Daily Bite. The original recipe is enough for a square pan, but really, that's laughable... that's about enough for my breakfast. So, I've taken the liberty of doubling the recipe for you. Again, you're welcome.

40 Nilla Wafers, finely crushed
1 cup flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup cold real butter

2 pkgs. (8 oz.) cream cheese (you can use 1/3-less fat cream cheese)
1 1/2 - 2 cups granulated sugar ( I used a full 2 cups, but I think you could get away with less)
4 eggs
4 Tbsp. flour
6 Tbsp. grated lemon zest, divided
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (definitely go fresh if you've got it)
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 9x13 inch square baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Spray lightly with non-stick spray and set aside. (The foil isn’t too pretty, but it makes clean-up and cutting the bars a cinch!)

In a bowl, combine Nilla Wafer crumbs, flour and the brown sugar. Chop butter into small pieces and then cut into crumb mixture with a pastry blender. If you don’t have a pastry blender, just use 2 knives, or even your fingers to break up the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 min.

While crust is cooking, beat cream cheese and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 4 Tbsp. flour, and baking powder; mix well. Blend in 2 Tbsp. lemon zest and lemon juice and then pour mixture over crust.

Bake 25 to 30 min. or until center is set. (Mine didn't brown at all... but the center was completely set after 25 minutes) Cool completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight. These bars improve with time. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and remaining grated lemon peel just before cutting into squares to serve. Store leftover squares in refrigerator. (As if you'll have leftovers!)