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Archive for the ‘Main Dishes’ Category

Clams Casino Pasta

I’m a huge fan of clams casino and will often order it when it is on a restaurant menu.  I mean, what’s not to love … clams, bacon, peppers, butter, garlic …

**wipes drool from lips**

Ahem, sorry about that.  Anyway, I came across this recipe on How Sweet It Is the other day and couldn’t wait to make it.

This pasta dish is wonderful and tastes just like clams casino!  It was easy to put together and the flavor is really outstanding.  We’ll definitely make this again soon!

INGREDIENTS
2T. Olive oil or bacon grease
1/2C. Chopped red peppers
1/2C. Chopped onions
3 Cloves garlic, minced
2 cans Minced clams in clam juice, 13 ounces total
1/2C. Dry white wine
1T. Butter
4 Slices bacon, fried and crumbled
1/2lb. Pasta of choice
1/4C. Parmesan cheese + more for garnish
Freshly chopped parsley for garnish

DIRECTIONS
Cook pasta according to package directions.

While pasta is cooking, heat a skillet on medium heat and add olive oil (or, if your bacon isn’t already cooked, cook the bacon first and reserve a little of the grease to use when cooking the veggies).  Add chopped onions and peppers with a pinch of salt and saute until soft, about 8 minutes.  Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds.

Add in both cans of clams + juice and bring the mixture to a boil.  Add white wine and let mixture simmer for about 5 full minutes.  Stir in butter.

Turn heat down to low and add cooked linguine. Toss to allow the noodles to soak up the sauce. Add Parmesan cheese, crumbled bacon and parsley.

Serve with additional Parmesan.

Husband Rating – 4.5 out of 5 – “I wanted to write a haiku about this dish, but it just wasn’t happening tonight – just know I loved it enough to spend 5 minutes trying to write a clams casino haiku.

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Orange Chicken

I’ve never ordered orange chicken in a restaurant before, so I don’t have anything to compare this to – but WOW!  I don’t think any take-away food could ever be better than this!

The chicken was moist yet crispy and the sauce was a little sweet and a little spicy.  The orange flavor was not obnoxiously orangey, which was great.

Orangey…is that even a word?  Well, it is now!

Recipe from What’s Cookin, Chicago?.


INGREDIENTS
Marinade & Sauce:
1 1/2lb. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
3/4C. Low sodium chicken broth
3/4C. Fresh squeezed orange juice
1 1/2t. Orange zest
6T. Distilled white vinegar
1/4C. Low sodium soy sauce
1/2C. Dark brown sugar
3 Garlic cloves, minced
1T. Grated fresh ginger
1/4t. Cayenne pepper
1T. plus 2t. Cornstarch
2T. Cold water

Coating & Frying oil:
3 Egg whites
1C. Cornstarch
1/2t. Baking soda
1/4t. Cayenne pepper
3C. Frying oil (I used vegetable oil)

DIRECTIONS
Place the chicken in a 1-gallon zipper-lock bag; set aside.

Combine the chicken broth, orange juice, grated zest, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and cayenne in a large saucepan; whisk until the sugar is fully dissolved. Measure out 3/4 cup of the mixture and pour into the bag with the chicken; press out as much air as possible and seal the bag, making sure that all the pieces are coated with the marinade. Refrigerate 30-60 minutes, but no longer.

Bring the remaining mixture in the saucepan to a boil over high heat. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and cold waterl which the cornstarch mixture into the sauce. Simjmer, stirrig occasionally, until thick and translucent, about 1 minute.  Set aside.

Place the egg whites in a pie plate, using a fork, beat until frothy. In a second pie plate, which the cornstarch, baking soda and cayenne until combined. Drain the chicken; thoroughly pat the dry. Place half of the chicken pieces in the egg whites and turn to coat; transfer the pieces to the cornstarch mixture and coat thoroughly. Place the dredged chicken pieces on a clean plate.  Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Heat the oil in a dutch oven or staight sided saute pan over high heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Carefully place half of the chicken in the oil; fry to golden brown, about 5 minutes, turning each piece with tongs halfway through cooking. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Return the oil to 350 degrees and repeat with the remaining chicken.

Reheat the sauce over medium heat until simmering, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and gently toss until evenly coated. Serve immediately.

Husband Rating – 4.5 out of 5 – “Loved the chicken…thought the sauce was just a little too sweet…but I could totally eat those fried chicken pieces all day long!

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Beef and Sausage Chili

I’ve already admitted to liking not-so-popular foods like meatloaf, mushrooms and dried plums …so I might as well admit to another – I LOVE baked beans!  Like, love love them!  Hubs thinks it is hilarious how much I like baked beans.

When I saw this chili recipe on Milk & Honey, that includes a can of baked beans, I knew it was going to be a winner – and it was!  Wow!  This is ridiculously good.  Spicy (I’m still feeling the heat on my lips as I type this) but oh so good.  I am absolutely stuffed right now but already can’t wait for leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

Source: Bride & Groom First and Forever Cookbook


INGREDIENTS
1T. Vegetable oil
1 Large yellow onions, chopped
3T. Garlic, chopped fine
3T. Chili powder
2T. Paprika
1T. Cumin
2t. Dried oregano
1lb. Lean ground beef
1lb. Italian sausage links, removed from casings and crumbled (I used hot sausage links)
2t. Kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 28 oz. can Crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz. can Kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz. can BBQ baked beans
1T. Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely chopped

DIRECTIONS
Heat oil in an 8 quart heavy-bottom stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, 7 to 10 minutes.

Add the ground beef, sausage, and 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt.  Increase heat to medium-high and cook the meat, stirring frequently, until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.

If the meat is looking a little greasy, tilt the stockpot and spoon out some of the fat.  If you used lean meat, then you shouldn’t have to do this.

Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin and oregano and stir until the spices are coating the meat.

Stir in remaining ingredients. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Adjust the seasonings with more kosher salt or chipotle chiles if necessary. Serve with your favorite chili toppers (and if you’re like us, serve over elbow noodles).

Husband Rating – 4.5 out of 5 – “Almost the perfect chili recipe.  This is amazing!”

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Chili Con Carne

I’ve never made chili with anything other than ground beef or ground turkey.  And, after seeing this yummy-looking recipe in this month’s Bon Appetit magazine I decided it was time that I made a ‘real’ chili – you know, the kind with big beefy chunks.

This recipe is quite involved (definitely not something for a weeknight – unless you spread it out over two nights) and I’m not certain it is worth the effort.  The flavors were good and are even better the next day, but I think I’m just a fan of ground beef in chili.


INGREDIENTS
4T. Vegetable oil, divided
4lbs. Well-trimmed boneless beef chuck (from about 5 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 Medium onions, chopped
1 Head of garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2C. Ground ancho chiles
2T. Ground cumin
1/2t. Ground allspice
1/4t. Ground cinnamon
1/4t. Ground cloves
1 12-oz. Bottle dark beer
1 28-oz. Can diced tomatoes in juice
2t. Dried oregano
2t. Coarse kosher salt
2T. Tomato paste
3T. Masa (corn tortilla mix)

Toppings of your choice – which can include:
Coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese
Chopped green and/or red onion
Chopped fresh cilantro
Diced fresh tomatoes
Sour cream

DIRECTIONS
Heat 1T. oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add 1/3 of beef; sprinkle with salt. Cook until browned, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer beef to large bowl. Repeat 2 more times with 2T. oil and beef.

Reduce heat to medium. Add 1T. oil and onions. Sauté until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic; stir 2 minutes.

Add ground anchos, cumin, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add beer; stir 1 minute, scraping up browned bits. Return beef and juices to pot. Add tomatoes with juice, 2C. water, oregano, and 2t. coarse salt. Bring chili to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover with lid slightly ajar, and simmer gently until beef is tender, 2 hours.

Cool 1 hour, then chill uncovered until cold. Cover; chill overnight.

Spoon fat from chili. Bring chili to simmer over medium heat. Stir in tomato paste. Sprinkle masa over; stir to blend. Simmer uncovered until thickened and beef is very tender, stirring often, and adding more water by 1/4C. increments if too thick, about 30 minutes.

Divide chili among bowls. Top with garnishes and serve.

Husband Rating – 3 out of 5 – “Very good, but I like our usual chili better.”

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I just knew this recipe would be a winner the minute I read the title.  I mean, what’s not to love?  Lots of yummie green veggies with pasta and shrimp.  And best of all, it was very simple to convert to be a dairy-free recipe.

Adapted from Gimme Some Oven!

INGREDIENTS
1lb. Asparagus spears
3 handfuls baby spinach leaves
1/2C. Soy Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1C. Pine nuts (did not use)
1/4C. Olive oil, plus 1T. for cooking the shrimp
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1lb. Pasta
1lb. Raw shrimp, deveined and peeled
1t. Garlic powder
Kosher salt
Black pepper
2-3T. Blackening spice

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the rough ends off of the asparagus spears and then cut the remaining spear into 3 pieces.  Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil then sprinkle with kosher salt, garlic powder and pepper.  Toss to coat and bake 10-12 minutes.

When cooked, set aside the pretty asparagus tips and keep warm.  The bottoms will be pureed for the pesto.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions.

If using, put the pine nuts in a single layer in a large skillet. Heat on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned.  Remove and set aside.

Add the asparagus, spinach, garlic, Parmesan, and 3/4 cup of the pine nuts to a food processor. Purée and, with the motor running, drizzle in the 1/4 cup of olive oil until a paste forms. If too thick, thin it with a bit of the pasta water. Add the lemon juice, salt, and black pepper and continue pureeing until mixed.  Set aside.

In a medium-sized skillet, heat 1T. olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add in the shrimp, and immediately sprinkle with blackening powder.  Stir until it is mixed in, and then continue stirring occasionally until the shrimp are pink and just cooked.  Remove to a small bowl and set aside.

After draining the cooked pasta, toss immediately with the asparagus pesto.  Add in the shrimp and asparagus tips, and stir briefly until well mixed.

Serve sprinkled with the remaining pine nuts (if using) and some extra Parmesan.

Husband Rating – 4 out of 5 – “YUM!  This is delicious!”

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Turkey Parm Mini Burgers

I have had a craving for turkey burgers lately, and when I saw these on Joelen’s blog this week, I knew I had to make them for dinner soon!

They were very good.  Honestly, I liked the chicken parm burgers I made back in July better.  But, hubs loved these burgers and will have the leftovers while I’m at school tomorrow night.

Adapted from What’s Cookin’, Chicago?


INGREDIENTS
1lb. Ground turkey
1t. Dried basil
1/4t. Poultry seasoning
1t. Dried oregano
1t. Italian seasoning
1t. Granulated garlic
1t. Onion powder
2T. Soy Parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste
4 slices Soy mozzarella cheese, each slice cut into quarters
1/4C. Pasta sauce
6-8 Basil leaves, sliced thin
8 Dinner rolls, split & toasted

DIRECTIONS
Toast buns under hot broiler and set aside to keep warm.

In a bowl combine the ground turkey, all the spices, cheese and salt & pepper. Form 8 large meatballs and flatten to create small patties. Cook in skillet with a little oil – about 5 minutes per side – until done.

Top all browned patties with a teaspoon of pasta sauce and a couple slices of cheese. Cover skillet to allow cheese to melt.

Spread a teaspoon of pasta sauce on the bottoms of the split dinner rolls. Transfer each patty onto the bottoms of the rolls and top the burgers with basil and the tops of the dinner rolls. Serve immediately.

Husband Rating – 4 out of 5 – “Very tasty!”

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Onion Beef Roast

Well, slight change of plans here today, folks.  We’re currently being slammed with Winter Storm Benedict.  We’re slated to get approximately 2 feet of snow before all is said and done.

Here’s the view from my kitchen window (and it’s not even done yet!)

Work was canceled for both of us today and school was closed for me.  So, I decided to switch up our menu plan for the week and make this onion beef roast today while we’re snowed in.

This was the perfect meal for a snowy day and so tasty!  I’ll definitely be making this again.

Found on Crockpot Tuesdays (who found it on Tasty Kitchen).

I know, it’s not very photogenic, but it sure was tasty!

INGREDIENTS
1.5-2.5 lb. Chuck roast
1 pkg. Dry Lipton onion soup mix
2T. Butter (or vegan margarine), melted
1/2C. Red wine

DIRECTIONS
Place roast in bottom of the crockpot. Pour melted butter over the roast, then sprinkle on the onion soup mix. Pour red wine on top of everything. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Serve over egg noodles or rice.

Husband Rating – 4 out of 5 – “It’s kind of a no-fuss version of my favorite – Boeuf Bourguignon.  Yum!”

And, just because he’s so darn cute – here’s a pic of our little boy.

Mo knows the best spot in the house when it’s cold outside!

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