Sara Purse for Kelli

Pattern: Sara Purse by Charlene Brown

Yarn: 5 hanks of Cascade 220

Needle: US size 11

Start: January 12, 2011

Finish: March 14, 2011

Verdict: I am so glad that it’s finally finished! I just hope she can find the time to complete the sewing project for the inside, and then gets lots of use out of it:)

Pan Seared Shrimp & Four Cheese Ravioli with Vodka Cream Sauce

Quick Post: I came across this recipe today, not even looking for something like this at all. The picture on the blog sold me on the idea. My family loves shrimp, tomato cream sauces, and lots of cheese so why not? Shrimp was on sale – thankfully it was the easy peel kind! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Pan Seared Shrimp & Four Cheese Ravioli with Vodka Cream Sauce – adapted from Jane Deere
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 2 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning (* I used some lemon zest and Italian seasoning )
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-20 oz package refrigerated Four Cheese Ravioli (used: Buitoni)
  • 1 jar prepared tomato & basil pasta sauce (used: Bertolli)
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup vodka (* I used 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
Directions –
Start a large pot of boiling, salted water for ravioli.In a medium sauce pan, add prepared tomato sauce and vodka and simmer over medium-low heat until the mixture reduces by 1/4, stirring often, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a saute pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon butter and two tablespoons canola oil.  Allow butter to melt and stop foaming, do not brown.

Toss the shrimp with lemon pepper seasoning and add to the pan, in a single layer.  Sear shrimp for 1 minute, then flip and continue for 1 minute more.  Remove to a plate; set aside.

While shrimp are cooking, add ravioli to boiling water and cook for about 8 minutes.  Drain well.

Once the shrimp are cooked, add the shallots and garlic and saute until fragrant.  Add broth to deglaze the pan and simmer for 1 minute until slightly reduced.

Add cream cheese to the deglazed pan; cook over medium heat and whisk until smooth and melted.  Stir in the tomato sauce until well combined.  Remove from heat and whisk in parmesan cheese until well blended.  (If sauce is too thick, begin whisking in hot pasta water until desired consistency is reached: sauce should coat the back of a spoon)  Stir in chopped parsley.

Add shrimp and ravioli and toss to coat.  Serve warm with hot garlic bread and salad.

Puh-sketti and Meat Sauce

Quick Post: Yum! I used this marinara sauce but before I started the marinara sauce directions, I browned three links of Italian sausage and one pound of lean ground beef. I knew M wouldn’t appreciate it unless there was meat in it…If the sauce becomes too thick for you, add tomato sauce or water if you’d like. I ended up adding two 8 ounce cans of tomato sauce and the same volume  of water to make it a little thinner. Once the spaghetti noodles were finished cooking, I ladled about five cups of the sauce along with parmesan and Pecorino Romano cheese. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Oh, this is too good! While searching for a recipe to use up leftover roasted chicken, I came across this. I had to buy the cheese but I had everything else on hand which is always good:) While reading through a few of the comments, I noticed that several people wrote that this recipe makes “a ton” but they successfully halved it. Well, that sounded like a good idea to me because I didn’t have enough chicken to make three cups anyway. The recipe also doesn’t seem so decadent when you halve the amounts of cheese and butter;) Everyone enjoyed this, but M still prefers this one over all others I’ve made. Honestly, I’m looking forward to eating leftovers;) Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese – adapted from Food Network

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup hot sauce (preferably Frank’s)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 pound yellow sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (I used Gorgonzola)

Directions –

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and garlic and cook 2 minutes, then add 1/2 cup hot sauce and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 more minute.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and mustard with a wooden spoon until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half, then add the remaining 1/4 cup hot sauce and stir until thick, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, then whisk in the sour cream until smooth.

Spread half of the macaroni in the prepared baking dish, then top with the chicken mixture and the remaining macaroni. Pour the cheese sauce evenly on top.

Put the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted. Stir in the panko, blue cheese and parsley. Sprinkle over the macaroni and bake until bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Bread (just keeping it real)

Note to self: impatience is NEVER rewarded. I learned this the hard way. I’ve made this bread twice this week (and plan on making it again next week – hopefully with better results). The first time was fine because I didn’t bother getting the loaf out of the pan while it was still hot and just cut the pieces out of the pan. There is a short window of opportunity to get loaves out of their pans before they stick, so I wanted to work on it within seven minutes of taking it out of the oven. That obviously didn’t help either. This loaf sticks like crazy, so now with two failed attempts at de-panning, I know now that I need to butter the pan and then put a piece of parchment paper on top of that. Next week we’ll see if that works! It better because this is not something I want to happen again.
Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Fresh Strawberry Bread – My Baking Addiction
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups strawberries, rinse, dried and chopped

1. Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
2. With electric mixer cream butter, sugar and cream cheese until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla.
3. In separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Blend flour mixture with butter mixture just until blended. Add buttermilk and only stir until just combined; do not over mix.
4. Carefully fold in strawberries. Dough mixture will be thick.
5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes.

Breakfast Burritos

The tots made these burritos!;) M requested breakfast burritos and I immediately thought they would have eggs, cheese, sausage and/or bacon, salsa, and tater tots! These were so easy and the longest part was waiting for the oven to heat up and then for the tots to bake. I will have to make these and variations of this more often. Oh, look at what my hairdresser gave me – my very first basil plant! Lets hope that I have the ability to keep it alive…I’ve never had any kind of plant to take care of.  I’ll make sure to keep you posted on its progress:) Thanks for reading!

Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix

Quick Post: Ranch dressing mix isn’t something I use often enough to warrant making, but I’ve become a bit of a food snob! When I think of the junk that is in that packet (like MSG for instance) my skin crawls. Now, yes it would have been much more cost-effective to just use the packet that I have (it’s at least four years old…no expiration date) but I decided to look for a recipe instead. A few bucks, and a flat of Mason jars later I have a mix full of flavor and no MSG! It smells fresh and I’m not afraid to use it!;) More on what I’m using this for later this week! Thanks for reading, enjoy:)

Ranch Dressing Mix – adapted from Everything’s Coming Up Daffodils

  • 1/3 cup dry buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
Directions –
Place all ingredients in your food processor and whirl for a minute just to blend and crumble those parsley and onion flakes.  Store in an airtight container.  Mason jars work great.