Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Quick Post: If you like spice, love shrimp and adore carbs and cheese – this is the dinner for you! We thoroughly enjoyed this meal, and I will make this again. I served it with some quick garlic bread (I forgot to roast the garlic for this), but it hit all the right buttons ūüėČ I used a loaf of this, lots of chopped garlic, butter and four different Italian cheeses. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Shrimp Fra Diavolo – adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

    • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined
    • 1 teaspoon salt, plus additional as needed
    • 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
    • 1 cup dry white wine
    • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
    • 3 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves

Directions:

 Heat the 3 tablespoons oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat, add the red chili flakes to the oil. Add the shrimp and saute for about a minute, add the salt and toss, and continue cooking until just cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a large plate; set aside. Add the onion to the same skillet, adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan, if necessary, and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices, wine, garlic, and oregano. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Return the shrimp and any accumulated juices to the tomato mixture; toss to coat, and cook for about a minute so the flavors meld together. Stir in the parsley and basil. Season with more salt, to taste, and serve.

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Quick Post: This pesto has rich flavor and was perfect mixed in to goat cheese for stuffed chicken breasts. I plan on using this again in some pasta and probably tossed with some kind of mild white fish. I bet it would taste amazing spread onto a grilled chicken sandwich – I’ll have to try that too ūüôā I had just enough sun dried tomatoes left for this and the food processor makes this a breeze to whip up. Also, the recipe makes about two cups and keeps well in the fridge for up to six weeks according to the author. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto – adapted from Imafoodblog

  • 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup toasted whole almonds
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • the zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 generous packed cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Directions:
An hour before you make this, soak your sun dried tomatoes in hot water for at least an hour. Drain and slice, set aside.

Toast your almonds in a dry shallow pan. They will take about 10 minutes, and you will smell when they are done.

In a large food processor, combine the basil, toasted almonds, garlic, lemon zest, and salt. Process until coarsely chopped.

Add the sun dried tomatoes and parmesan cheese and process until the tomatoes are coarsely chopped.

Now stream in the olive oil slowly and process until the pesto comes together.

Serve immediately or store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 6 weeks.

Vodka Cream Pasta with Italian Sausage

I was introduced to tomato/cream pastas some time last year…dangerous! I don’t make them very often at all and our favorite so far is Penne al la Betsy via The Pioneer Woman. The first time I made it, I subbed chicken for the shrimp – see that was before I was comfortable cleaning, deveining, and cooking shrimp. My family loves shrimp, even my picky eater loves shrimp. Thankfully, she loves sausage (and bacon) too, and if she knows what’s good for her, she’ll eat some of this too!

I cooked the sauce much longer than what the recipe specified – actually, it doesn’t give a time limit at all. I also thought it best to use 1/2 cup of vodka and about the same amount of heavy cream, because 1 cup of each seemed like over-kill to me!

Verdict: rich, creamy, flavorful, yum! This makes a lot of pasta, so unless you want to deal with all the leftovers, invite some friends over! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Vodka Cream Pasta with Italian Sausage Ingredients – adapted from Eclectic Recipes

  • 5 links sweet Italian sausage, cut in bite size pieces
  • 1 32 oz can Italian tomatoes (I used crushed San Marzano tomatoes)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup vodka (I used 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup cream (I used about 3/4 cup)
  • a large bunch of basil, roughly chopped or torn
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • penne pasta (I used angel hair)

Directions –

Preheat large skillet. Drizzle with olive oil and add sausage to pre-heated pan. Brown sausage. Add onions and garlic and saute until translucent. Add tomatoes. Add vodka. Turn heat to a simmer. Break up tomatoes with a spoon or potato masher.

In a separate saucepan, while sauce is simmering, bring water to boil for pasta. Cook pasta according to package directions.

When pasta is done, Add cream to sauce and bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Add basil and stir until just wilted. Serve over pasta, and don’t forget the garlic toast!


Meatball Subs and Marinara Sauce

Ooh…these were good. Even my picky eater enjoyed these, which is always a great because she often refuses to eat anything new. Another great thing about these recipes is that they made enough to become spaghetti and meatballs with marinara for last nights dinner. I’m so happy that my husband who hates spaghetti loved eating that meal too. Maybe it’s because this was all from scratch and not from a jar or package. I love being able to cook like this for my family and what makes that even better is that I thoroughly¬†enjoy the process of it. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Meatballs – adapted from The Comfort is Always Here

  • 1/2 lb of ground beef
  • 3 Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 slices of white bread, crusts removed, torn into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 shallot, grated
  • Italian loaf of bread, or Italian rolls
  • 4 slices of mozzarella cheese per sandwich

Warm your marinara sauce in a deep skillet or a large saucepan while you prepare your meatball mixture.

Begin by soaking the bread in the milk for a few minutes. In a large bowl, add the meat, eggs, basil, seasonings, cheese and grated shallot. Squeeze the milk from the bread and add to the bowl. Thoroughly combine all ingredients, but be careful not to over-mix. Next form your balls and think about the size of them as you will place them onto the sub.

Cook your meatballs right in the sauce. Make sure the meatball is completely covered, and continue to cook on simmer for about 45 minutes, or longer.

When you are ready to make your sub, you have a couple of options. I hollowed out the top of mine, thinking I could place the cheese on the bottom, fill with meatballs, and place a couple of more slices of mozzarella on top. The choice is yours. You decide.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Add two slices of cheese to the bottom of the bread, and cook in the oven for about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the oven, and set your broiler. Add the meatballs to the top of the cheese, cover with two more slices of the cheese, and place under the broiler. Watch it carefully – the toasty goodness happens quick!

Marinara Sauce – adapted from Food.com

  • 3 -4¬†tablespoons olive oil¬†(I use enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of my pot)
  • 1¬†large onion, chopped
  • 4 -6 garlic cloves, minced (or to taste, the more the better I use 6 extra large cloves)
  • 1¬†tablespoon dried basil
  • 2¬†teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2¬†teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes¬†(optional or adjust to taste)
  • 1¬†(6 ounce)¬†can tomato paste¬†(can use two cans for a thicker richer sauce if desired)
  • 1¬†(28 ounce)¬†can¬†whole roma tomatoes, undrained (break up with a fork before cooking, go ahead and use two cans if desired!)
  • 1/3-1/2¬†cup dry red wine¬†(you may omit if desired but good to add in, can use white wine)
  • 2¬†teaspoons sugar¬†(optional or to taste)
  • 1¬†teaspoon salt¬†(or to taste, a good tomato sauce needs lots so don’t be shy with the salt)
  • fresh ground pepper

In a heavy bottomed stock pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic, dried herbs and pepper flakes saute for 3-4 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Add canned tomatoes and wine and simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 – 2 hours stirring occasionally. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. You can add more water if you prefer a thinner sauce.