Archive for the ‘Main’ Category

Smoked Salmon Pasta

I had some leftover smoked salmon and decided to find a pasta recipe to use it in. I came across a recipe for Tortellini with Smoked Salmon Walnut Gorgonzola Cream Sauce. I opted not to use Tortellini but used bow tie pasta instead. While this dish was good, be careful how much of the smoked salmon you use as it can get salty really fast.

Bowtie Pasta With Smoked Salmon Walnut Gorgonzola Cream Sauce (AlaskaSmokehouse.com)


1 cup heavy cream1 Tbs. butter

  • 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 2 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup crushed walnuts
  • Smoked Salmon (I didn’t measure.. so add as much or as little as you want), drained and crumbled
  • 8 oz. bowtie pasta (cooked)
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese for garnish


  1. In a large saute pan, combine 1 cup heavy cream and 1 tablespoon butter.
  2. Bring to a light boil.
  3. Add 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, 2 tablespoons minced garlic, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon dried oregano.
  4. Add 1/2 cup crushed walnuts and 3/4 cup crumbled smoked salmon.
  5. Continue to reduce for 2 to 4 minutes then add 8 ounces cooked bow tie pasta.
  6. Saute until pasta is hot.
  7. Garnish with shredded Parmesan cheese and serve hot.

Read Full Post »

Homemade Pasta

Wow.. It’s been 8 months since my last post. Moving to a new house has disrupted my life but with 2011 upon me, I plan to start back up with my cooking blog. I have still been cooking and trying new recipes but not updating. So, lets begin the year with homemade pasta!

I recieved a pasta maker attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer and tried it out for the first time tonight. I suspect that making pasta will be trial and error for awhile but my first attempt was very successful. The only real issue I had was the spaghetti noodles stuck together a bit.

Spaghetti Egg Noodles (Kitchen Aid Pasta Attachment Manual)


4 large eggs
1-3 tbs water
3.5 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp salt


Place eggs, water, flour, and salt in a mixer bowl. Attach bowl and flat beater. Turn speed to 2 and mix 30 seconds. Only add as much water as needed for the dough to come together (start with 1 tbs and add more as needed).

Exchange flat beater for dough hook. Turn to Speed 2 and knead for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from bowl and hand knead for 1 to 2 minutes. Let it rest for 20 minutes. Divide dough into 4 pieces before processing with the Pasta Roller attachment.

Starting with level 1, roll a pasta. Fold it in half and roll again. Repeat until pasta is very pliable. Then roll once at level 2, then level 3. Now dust with flour and then us the Spaghetti cutter a attachment to cut the pasta. Hang to dry and separate pasta. I found that dusting with generous amounts of flour made it easier to separate the pasta but I need to master this skill more. Hang to dry on a drying rack for 5 minutes.

Cooking in salted boiling water for 2-5 minutes.

Read Full Post »

Chicken Marsala

A very simple delicious chicken dish that you can make on any night after work. It really doesn’t take that much time at all.

Chicken Marsala (What’s Cooking Chicago)

4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
All-purpose flour, for dredging
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced (I used bacon since thats what I had on hand)
8 ounces crimini mushrooms, stemmed and halved
1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (skipped)

Put the chicken breasts side by side on a cutting board and lay a piece of plastic wrap over them; pound with a flat meat mallet, until they are about 1/4-inch thick. Put some flour in a shallow platter and season with a fair amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly.

Heat the oil over medium-high flame in a large skillet. When the oil is nice and hot, dredge both sides of the chicken cutlets in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess. Slip the cutlets into the pan and fry for 5 minutes on each side until golden, turning once – do this in batches if the pieces don’t fit comfortably in the pan. Remove the chicken to a large platter in a single layer to keep warm.

Lower the heat to medium and add the prosciutto to the drippings in the pan, saute for 1 minute to render out some of the fat. Now, add the mushrooms and saute until they are nicely browned and their moisture has evaporated, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Pour the Marsala in the pan and boil down for a few seconds to cook out the alcohol. Add the chicken stock and simmer for a minute to reduce the sauce slightly. Stir in the butter and return the chicken to the pan; simmer gently for 1 minute to heat the chicken through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

Read Full Post »


When you have an abundance of basil in your garden, the best thing to do is make pesto. Lots and lots of pesto. It freezes so well that you can enjoy it for several months after your basil plants have stopped producing. I love to use it for pasta, pizza, and even just to dip bread into. Its super simple to make too.

Basil Pesto (Joelen’s Culinary Adventures)

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves (2-3 bunches)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Place all the ingredients in a food processor; pulse a few times, then process until fairly smooth, or to the desired consistency, scraping down the sides occasionally.

Read Full Post »

Dinner Party – Part 3

Part 3 covers the main course of my dinner party.

  • Bruschetta w/White Beans, Sun Dried Tomatoes & Basil
  • Spinach, feta, raspberry, candied nut salad w/ raspberry vinaigrette
  • Chicken with Goat Cheese and Sundried Tomato Sauce
  • Saffron Rice and Red Pepper Pilaf
  • Strawberry Mascarpone Tart

The goat cheese and tomato sauce is really good and easy to make. However, its the saffron rice that really steals the show. I have made this countless times since and it always turns out amazing.

Chicken with Goat Cheese and Sundried Tomato Sauce (Elly Says Opa)

2 chicken breast halves, about 5 oz. each
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup white wine (I used Chardonnay)
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp sundried tomatoes, chopped and drained, if they are oil-packed
2 ounces herbed goat cheese
salt and pepper

Sprinkle chicken breast halves with salt and pepper.

Heat skillet over medium heat and add oil.

When oil is hot, add chicken breasts. Cook through, about 3-6 minutes per side depending on how thin they are. Set aside and keep warm. Drain the pan if there is a lot of excess oil.

In the same skillet, add wine and chicken broth. Increase heat to medium-high and cook liquids down until reduced by half, being sure to scrape up the browned bits from the chicken.

Add in sundried tomatoes and heat through. Take skillet off the heat and stir in goat cheese.

Saffron Rice and Red Pepper Pilaf (epicurious.com)

5 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups chopped red bell peppers
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups basmati rice or other long-grain white rice
3 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon (generous) crushed saffron threads
6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Parmesan cheese shavings

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add peppers and onion. Sauté until soft, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add rice; stir 1 minute. Mix in 3 cups broth, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and saffron. Bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 18 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in 6 tablespoons grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper. (Pilaf can be made 30 minutes ahead. Keep covered. Rewarm over low heat, adding more broth by tablespoonfuls to moisten if necessary.) Stir 1 1/2 tablespoons chives into pilaf. Mound in serving bowl. Top with cheese shavings and remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons chives.

Read Full Post »

Chicken Tikka Masala

I’ve tried quite a few recipes for Chicken Tikka Masala and none of them ever tasted right. A friend gave me a new cookbook for my birthday and I gave this recipe a try. I found it to be really delicious and much closer to what you would find in an Indian restaurant. Its also really simple to make (no toasting of spices or grinding) and thats always a plus.

Chicken Tikka Masala (America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook)

This dish tastes best when prepared with whole-milk yogurt, but low-fat yogurt can be substituted; do not use fat-free yogurt. For a spicer dish, do not remove the ribs and seeds from the chile. The sauce can be made and refrigerated up to 4 days in advance; gently reheat the sauce before adding the hot chicken. Serve with basmati rice.


Chicken Tikka
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, trimmed
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Masala Sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, minced (about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 serrano chile (I kept the ribs and seeds), minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Combine the cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with the spice mixture, pressing gently so it adheres. Place the chicken on the plate, cover with saran warp and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, oil, garlic and ginger. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering (hot). Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden (8-10 minutes). Add the garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala. Cook while stirring frequently until fragrant (3 minutes). Add the tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cream and return to simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and cover to keep warm.

3. As the sauce simmers, heat up the grill (medium high). Spray the grill with some nonstick spray if you wish. Using tongs, dip the chicken into the yogurt mixture and place on the grill. Grill until chicken reaches 160 degree; flipping halfway through.

4. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks. Stir the chicken pieces into the warm sauce (do not simmer the chicken in the sauce). Stir in the cilantro, season with salt to taste, and serve.

Read Full Post »

This pasta is delicious and very easy to make on a weeknight. You can control the level of heat by adjusted the amount of cayenne pepper you add.

Spicy Shrimp & Bell Pepper Pasta (Joelen’s Culinary Adventures)

1 cup syrah wine
1 1/2 lbs frozen raw shrimp, de-shelled with tails on
2-3 cloves minced garlic
dried rosemary, oregano, thyme to taste
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I used 1.5 teaspoons to give it more of a kick)
2 cups homemade or prepared tomato sauce
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chopped bell peppers (red, yellow, orange, green)
1-2 tablespoons butter
1/2 box dried bow tie pasta, cooked

In a saute pan, pour in wine and allow it to reduce by half over medium heat.
Once reduced, add your tomato sauce and garlic and stir to combine.
Season with dried rosemary, oregano, thyme to taste.
Add 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper and stir.
Add the shrimp and bell peppers and cook until shrimp turns pink and absorbs the wine sauce.
Add the cream and butter; stir.
Add the pasta, toss to combine and serve with freshly grated parmesan.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »