Penne with Smoked Salmon

Smoked salmon is something we have on hand regularly. We use it on pizza with red onions and capers. It is great as an appetizer, etc. If you have any leftovers, this makes a great and fairly easy meal.

Penne with Smoked Salmon

Ingredients

  • 1 1-pound box penne pasta
  • 1 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1 bunch fresh dill, chopped
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 8 ounces smoked salmon, or more, cut into ribbons
  • a sprinkle or two sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions

Cook penne in lots of boiling salted water until al dente cooked through and tender but still retaining some texture and chew.

Scoop out some of the starchy cooking water and reserve. Drain the pasta but not quite all the way. Leave it a bit wet. Put the pasta back into the pot along with a splash or two of the reserved water.

While the pasta is still steaming hot, immediately add the rest of the ingredients except the salmon. Stir with a wooden spoon as the cheese melts and forms a creamy sauce.

At the last second briefly stir in the smoked salmon; this way it won’t break up as much. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Salsa Mac and Cheese with PACE salsa

No pics today, as this recipe was devoured by two hungry men…LOL. I was actually searching for a recipe about dressing up that CANADIAN KD – better known as Kraft Macaroni and Cheese! Thankful that I found this one on the Pace Salsa website! It comes together very quickly once you have prepared the pasta. It should actually feed four people. I skipped the tortilla chips since I was already carb heavy with the macaroni.

Pace* Salsa Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1/2-pound boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium green pepper, cut into 2-inch-long strips (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 cups Pace® Chunky Salsa
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fajita seasoning
  • 2 cups water
  • 12 ounces (about 3 cups) uncooked elbow macaroni or cavatelli pasta
  • 1/2 cup coarsely crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Step 1

Heat the oven to 350°F. While the oven is heating, season the beef with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until well browned and cooked through. Remove the beef to a plate.

Step 2

Add the green pepper to the skillet and cook for 3 minutes or until tender-crisp. Remove the green pepper to the plate with the beef.

Step 3

Heat the salsa, fajita seasoning and water in the skillet to a boil. Stir in the elbows (press the elbows down to submerge in the salsa mixture). Reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 8 minutes or until the macaroni is tender, stirring occasionally. Return the beef and green pepper to the skillet with the macaroni and cook until the mixture is hot. Season to taste. Sprinkle with the crushed tortilla chips and cheese.

Step 4

Bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle with the cilantro just before serving, if desired.

Meatless Lasagna

One of our close friends has decided that he would stay away from meat for awhile. It just so happened that he was coming for dinner one Sunday! For anyone else that might have someone like this in their lives, this recipe fit the bill and it tasted great! Who needs meat? It comes together fairly quickly and I was able to prepare it the day before and just refrigerate it until just before he arrived on Sunday. Bring the casserole out of the refrigerator 30 minutes of so before placing in the oven!

Meatless Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. package lasagna noodles
  • 8 oz. fresh mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 large zucchini (cut in half (lengthwise) and sliced)
  • ¾ cup green bell pepper (chopped)
  • ¾ cup onion (chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 24 oz. jars pasta sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 15 oz. container part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Prepare the Lasagna according to package directions!

2. Add olive oil to a large saucepan on medium-high heat. Stir in mushrooms, green peppers, zucchini, onion and garlic and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir in pasta sauce and dried basil; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.

3. Mix together ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, and eggs.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9×13 inch dish. Spread 1 cup pasta sauce into the bottom of the baking dish. Layer lasagna noodles, ricotta mix, and sauce (in that order). Repeat layering, and top with remaining cups mozzarella cheese.

10. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Carbonara with Shrimp and Scallops

Dinner with friends again, so I opted to make this old recipe again, which it seems I never posted before? I added some shrimp to the original.

Carbonara with Pan Seared Scallops

Ingredients for Scallops

  • 12-16 large scallops 3-4 per person + deveined shrimp
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Salt and Pepper

Ingredients for Carbonara

  • 8 slices thick cut bacon diced
  • 1 shallot finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic leave whole
  • 4 green onions
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup parmigiana Reggiano grated
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 14 oz (400g) pasta of your choice -I used Linguine

Pasta Carbonara

1. Start cooking pasta in large stainless-steel pot.

2. In small bowl mix together cream, egg yolks and 3/4 of cheese.

3. In large skillet cook bacon until crisp, add shallots and ½ green onions.

4. Smash down garlic clove a bit, add to bacon. (remove prior to adding pasta)

5. When pasta is finished cooking, drain well, then add to skillet of bacon.

6.. Toss well, then transfer to large bowl.

7. Add cream mixture to pasta and combined well. Make sure pasta is still hot in order to cook the eggs and melt the cheese.

Perfect Pan Seared Scallops (+ shrimp)

1. Blot scallops with paper towel to remove any water. Salt and pepper.

2. Heat large non-stick frying pan, add 2 tablespoons olive oil.

3. Make sure frying pan is hot before adding scallops but not smoking.

4. Add scallops leaving plenty of space between. Overcrowding the pan will drop the pan temperature and cause scallops to steam rather than sear. (may have to do in batches)

6.  Sear for about 2-4 minutes or when bottom is a nice golden brown. Don’t move them around in the pan or you will prevent them from forming that nice brown crust. After a couple of minutes have peek under to see if golden brown.

7.Turn to sear other side. (about 1-3 more minutes)

8. Spoon the melted butter over the scallops as the other side finishes cooking.

10. Transfer to paper towel covered plate.

11. Keep warm in oven, if making in batches.

12. Add butter to another frying pan. Cook shrimp until pink flipping once!

13. Add shrimp and scallops to pasta and mix well

14. Serve with more Parmesan cheese.

Seafood Casserole

When you check your freezer and find a small package of shrimp and another one of scallops which still look perfect thanks to our FoodSaver, what else to do but a seafood casserole!

Seafood Casserole

  • 6 oz uncooked spaghetti, broken
  • 1/2 lb fresh scallops, cut in half or quarters if large
  • ½ lb fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined. Smaller ones are best.
  • 6 Tbs butter
  • 4 Tbs flour, divided
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups half and half cream
  • 4 Tbs white wine or sherry
  • ½ cup sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 8 Tbs parmesan cheese, divided

Instructions

Cook spaghetti per directions on package. Drain and rinse with hot water.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter a 2-quart casserole dish, or 4 individual 2 cup ramekins.

Thoroughly rinse scallops and shrimp in cold water, drain, and cut scallops to desired size. I like a bite sized piece.

Melt 3 tbs of butter in a sauté pan.

Add seafood and mushrooms and sauté over medium high heat.

Cook 6-8 minutes, or until scallops are opaque.

Remove from pan and set aside.

 In same pan, melt remaining butter. Add flour, salt and pepper and blend well.

Add half and half all at once.

Cook until mixture thickens. This should take about 5 minutes. Stir constantly with a whisk.

Add 4 T of parmesan cheese.

 Add scallops and mushrooms back to the pan.

Add wine and peas. Continue stirring until heated through.

Place spaghetti into saucepan with seafood mixture, and stir it all together until well mixed.

Place it all in the buttered casserole.

 Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until light brown and bubbly around the edges.

Macaroni and Cheese

No luncheon meats in the house and the cleaning lady is here today. What to give her for lunch? Penne. Large bag of Kirkland cheese blend. Whipping cream. Onion powder. Parmesan. Panko. Milk. Macaroni and cheese!!!

If you do not have gruyere experiment with another shredded cheese…

Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces pasta, I had penne
  • 1½ cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 tablespoons butter melted or olive oil or canola oil
  • ½ cup parmesan grated
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ⅓ cup all purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups cheddar cheese shredded
  • 2 cups gruyere shredded O or whatever shredded cheese you have on hand
  • 1½ teaspoons onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9×12 casserole dish.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta. Prepare noodles al dente. Drain, drizzle with oil to prevent sticking and set aside.

3. In a small bowl, combine panko, butter or oil and parmesan. Set aside.

4. Melt butter in large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute.

5. Whisk in flour. Whisk continuously until golden, about 1 minute.

6. Gradually whisk in milk and heavy cream until smooth. Whisk about 5 minutes.

7. Add onion powder, paprika and pepper.

8. Remove from heat. Gradually whisk in cheeses until smooth.

9. Fold in pasta. Stir until well combined. Transfer to casserole dish or bake in Dutch oven.

10. Spread panko mixture evenly over the top.

11. Bake approximately 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.

Smoked Salmon Carbonara and Spaghetti Squash

Since we now find spaghetti squash very often in our grocery stores, I decided to give this recipe a try. I also happened to always have the Norwegian smoked salmon (Costco) . They went together very well indeed! It actually tasted better than my photo shows.

Smoked Salmon Carbonara

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cooked spaghetti squash, shredded (save the other half for another dinner OR freeze it)
  • 3.5 g smoked salmon cut into ½ inch strips
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1⁄2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1.5 teaspoons cracked black pepper
  • sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons chopped chives

Instructions:

*See instructions below if you are unsure how to bake a spaghetti squash!

While the squash is baking, whisk together the egg, egg yolks and pepper.

Put the cooked, shredded squash into a pan on the stove on LOW heat.

Place the butter along with 1 tablespoon of warm water into the pot with the shredded squash and stir to coat.

Add the egg mixture to the pot and stir vigorously. The goal here is to cook the egg sauce onto the pasta without scrambling it.

The sauce is cooked by the residual heat from the pot bottom. If the sauce is not thickening after 5 minutes of stirring, the pot should be heated again. Place the pot back on to a heated burner (lowest heat) and continue to stir the pot so the egg does not scramble.

When the sauce begins to thicken, add the parmesan cheese and continue to cook until the sauce is heated through and thickened.

Add the salmon strips to the spaghetti squash and stir to combine.

Serve garnished with chopped chives

*How to Cut and Cook a Spaghetti Squash

Instructions

1. Using a paring knife, cut around the middle of the squash making very small cuts with a paring knife. Continue cutting around the middle until you reach your original cut. Go back over the cutting line with your paring knife making your cuts a little deeper. Go all the way around again. The squash should come apart. Scoop out seeds.

BAKING IN OVEN FOR ONE OR MORE SPAGHETTI SQUASH

1. Spritz the cut side of the spaghetti squash with avocado, olive, or coconut oil. Sprinkle with salt and place cut side down in baking pan.

2. Bake at 350° for 60-75 minutes until fork tender.

3. Allow the squash to cool before removing the strands of spaghetti with a fork.

Spaghetti with Beef and Chorizo

By now you know me well enough that I shop at Costco, which means I always buy bulk. Chorizo (Argentinian sausage) is raw when purchased. It must be cooked! Leftover sausages can be easily frozen, which was the case here. Finding that I had all of the ingredients, this recipe went together quickly. Enjoy!

Spaghetti with Beef and Chorizo

Spaghetti with Chorizo and Beef

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons neutral cooking oil
  • 2 cups white onion, diced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 chorizo sausage, diced
  • 2 cups white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup red or green bell peppers
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 jar passata (tomato puree)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic crema (reduced balsamic vinegar)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 200 grams fresh spaghetti noodles
  • fresh basil leaves, to serve

Method:

Add oil to a large pot on medium heat. Cook onions for 5-7 minutes, until they begin to become translucent. Add salt, garlic and chorizo, and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and bell peppers. Season with dried basil, oregano, parsley and chili flakes.

In a separate pan on medium heat, cook the ground beef. Once cooked through, add to the pot with everything else. Add passata, balsamic crema, water, and combine well. Cover with lid and lower heat to medium-low, and let simmer for 30-40 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add fresh spaghetti noodles, and cook for 2 minutes before draining, reserving a little of the pasta water. Add sauce to the pot, combine well, and serve with fresh basil.

Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca

Puttanesca originated in Naples in the mid 19th century and is usually made with pasta, capers, tomatoes, garlic and hot peppers. Since I had a spaghetti squash I need to use up, I made this dish. It turned out wonderfully. Below is my own version of this!!

(Hidden under that luscious sauce is the shredded spaghetti squash!)

Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca

Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash cut in half horizontally with seeds removed
  • ½ pound lean ground beef
  • 1 diced jalapeno pepper or red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 2 stems of fresh basil leaves
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¾ cup of whole black olives (optional)
  • 2 cups of Prego pasta sauce
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish

Instructions

Drizzle olive oil over each half of squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cut side  down in a Pyrex dish and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven uncovered for 60 to 75 minutes.

Remove squash and let cool before shredding each half with forks. Be careful not to puncture the squash skin! Cover loosely with foil. Let it rest while preparing the sauce.

In a large frypan (or wok – I love using a wok when preparing sauce for spaghetti), brown the beef, stirring frequently. When there is no more pink, add the 2 cups of pasta sauce.

Stir to combine all of the meat, adding the diced jalapenos (optional) or red pepper flakes

Add the pitted black olives and 1 stem of basil LEAVES and stir to combine.

Uncover the bowl of spaghetti squash shreds and pour the sauce the shreds.

Garnish with Parmesan cheese and the leaves from the other basil stem.

Serve.

Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole

With a package of frozen meatballs in the freezer, a jar of marinara sauce, shredded mozzarella and rotini pasta in the pantry, this recipe was so easy to throw together. Best part You dont need to precook the pasta!!!

Just make sure those meatballs are thawed before you start the recipe…

Hidden meatballs…

Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole

Total Time 55 minutes         Servings 6 – 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) package uncooked rotini pasta
  • 1 (24 or 25 ounce) jar marinara sauce
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 (14 ounce) package fully-cooked miniature (cocktail-size) meatballs (if using frozen meatballs, make sure that they are completely thawed before using)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • Optional: Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped herbs (such as basil, oregano, and parsley for garnish)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. In a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, stir together uncooked pasta, marinara sauce, water, and meatballs. Season with salt to taste; stir. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes.

3. Uncover; stir. At this point you should check the pasta to make sure that it is al dente (firm but just about finished cooking). If it’s still too hard, cover the dish and return to the oven until pasta is al dente. Then move on to the next step.

4. Sprinkle mozzarella over the top and bake uncovered for 5-10 more minutes (or until cheese is melted and pasta is tender).