Monday, August 23, 2010

WFD 8/22 and 8/23

At a friend's request, I am posting last night's dinner (even though it was pretty basic and didn't require actual recipes--I think he just wants to make it on my blog. Here you go, Matt!) and tonight's dinner.

Last night, we brought dinner to the Glatzels' new home in Edina. They just moved back from Milwaukee, and we're THRILLED to have them closer again. We brought barbecued chicken, corn on the cob, baked potatoes, and watermelon. Kind of a quintessential summer meal (especially since the corn and watermelon were from the farmers market!).

The chicken was just the Gold 'n' Plump "best of fryer" (which I always thought was just a whole chicken cut into pieces, so I bought two packs; each pack, among the other chicken parts, had three breasts. Poor chickens...). I baked the chicken at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Then I slathered it with barbecue sauce and Dan grilled it over pretty low heat (otherwise the barbecue sauce burns and you have very black, crispy chicken) for about 20 minutes.

Tonight's dinner is penne a la vodka. Which reminds me, I need to buy some vodka. :)

1 pound penne
6 ounces prosciutto, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 can whole tomatoes (drain and reserve juice), chopped
1 cup half and half
½ cup vodka
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (or 1 tablespoon dry)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup parmesan cheese

Cook pasta.
In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, saute prosciutto and garlic in olive oil for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, ½ cup (or more) reserved juice, half and half, vodka, parsley, basil, and salt. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the parmesan.
Drain pasta and toss with sauce.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

WFD 8/17

Spicy Cajun Shrimp! This is one of Dan's favorite meals (and I really love it too), but I hardly ever make it! And of course, every time I do, I think, "Gosh, I should make this more often!" It's not difficult at all. It's just a matter of having all the right stuff around. :) I'm including a really easy recipe for a green bean side dish. It's just what we always have with this meal!

Spicy Cajun Shrimp
3 pounds shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ teaspoon dry thyme
½ teaspoon dry basil
½ teaspoon dry oregano
⅓ cup butter
1½ teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce¼ cup beer, room temperature
1 cup tomatoes, dicedView full recipe

Combine seasonings in small bowl. Combine butter, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and seasonings in large skillet over high heat. When butter is melted, add tomatoes, then shrimp. Cook 2 minutes, stirring evenly. Add beer and cover; cook 1 minute longer. Remove from heat.

Serve with saffron rice.

Green Beans and Pine Nuts
2 quarts green beans
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup pine nuts, chopped

Boil beans in salted water for about 7 minutes. Rinse in cold water and drain. Mix with olive oil and pine nuts. Serve luke warm.
View full recipe

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

WFD 8/10

Last night was family dinner night, and we gathered here for pizza on the grill. It actually ended up being a disaster. But I want to try it again sometime. So I really have no great pointers when it comes to the grill, but here are some other tidbits:
  • You must buy your pizza dough at Trader Joe's. It is $.99 for a ball of dough. You can't beat that! They have white and wheat, and I know in the past they've also had an herb dough. The only problem is that the directions say to bake the crust/pizza at 350 degrees, and that was not NEARLY hot enough. Crank it to 400. Also, bake the crust for 5-7 minutes before adding toppings. Then continue baking to finish the crust and melt the cheese.
  • Our favorite combination was pesto instead of sauce, chicken, and mozzarella. (Mom also added eggplant, mushrooms, and caramelized onions to her end).
  • My personal favorite was (and always is, really) sausage, green peppers, and mushrooms. Mmmm.
We'll try this again someday! I think we learned a lot. :)

p.s. Leah is 13 months old today. But just like I did with Jack, I'm taking a break until 18 months. Then I'll probably write a letter every year. It did feel funny to write 8/11 today. I said, "Leah, you're 13 months today!" and Jack said, "Holy cow!" 13 months must sound really old. :)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

WFD 8/3

WFD=What's For Dinner ;)

Last night was National Night Out. Since my neighborhood doesn't do anything, and Dan is out of town for work, and my parents' neighborhood DOES do something, we headed over there for the festivities. To contribute to the potluck table, I brought one of my favorite things to make in the summer. It's a pasta salad with pesto, and it's the besto. (Hahaha).

This is the perfect time of year to make lots of pesto and throw it in your freezer because basil is SO STINKIN' CHEAP at the farmers market! A couple of weeks ago, I got three HUGE bunches (they pretty much filled a plastic Target bag) for $3.

So, here's a simple recipe for pesto:
1 garlic clove
1/4 toasted pine nuts (I've also used walnuts)
3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
Roughly chop garlic and add to food processor, along with pine nuts, basil, and about 1 T olive oil. Pulse until ingredients are finely chopped. With machine running, add remaining oil in a slow, steady stream. Add parmesan and pulse to combine. Season with salt and pepper. This makes about 1 1/2 cups of pesto.

Now, on to the rest of the salad:
1 lb bowtie pasta (Barilla is the only brand that I've found that sells bowtie pasta in a 1-pound box. Other brands sell 12 oz).
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
3/4 cup pesto
Cook pasta. Drain and run under cold water. Combine pasta and pesto and stir until pasta is well-coated. Add feta and tomatoes and mix. Enjoy!