Tag Archives: dinner

Springing into Spring with Tortellini and Spring Vegetables

Last weekend, the weather was perfect. Beautiful blue skies, white puffy clouds, and temperatures in the 70s. It was great. The weather got everyone excited for spring, including me. And when I think of spring, I think of spring food…and spring veggies.

This recipe combines one of my favorite pastas, tortellini, with peas, asparagus, and onions, sautéed in delicious bacon grease. Finished off with a little 1/2 and 1/2 and some Parmigiano cheese, it’s perfect! The bacon and vegetables are crisp, the sauce is rich and creamy, and the tortellini are the perfect cheesy carriers for this deliciousness!

Chop 6 strips bacon into thin, small strips. Cook the bacon in a large pot or dutch oven over medium low heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. I use the lid for this process so the bacon doesn’t splatter everywhere. Once the bacon is crisp, remove to a plate, but keep the bacon fat in the pot on the heat.baconslicedcookingcookedChop 1 medium onion. Cook in the bacon fat until golden and softened, about 5 minutes. Mince 4 cloves garlic. Add to the onion, and cook for another minute.chopped onioncooking onioncooked oniongarliccookedMeanwhile, set a large pot of water on the stove, and bring to a boil. Chop 1 lb asparagus into 1 inch pieces. Once the water is boiling, add the asparagus. Blanch for 1 minute, then use a slotted spoon to remove to a bowl. I do this instead of draining with a colander because that way you can use the same water for the pasta.

water boilingasparagusblanchingblanched asparagusAdd the asparagus and 1 lb peas to the onion mixture. I used frozen peas, but if you can get fresh, go for it. I don’t find a huge difference in flavor, so if you can’t, frozen works. Cook for a few minutes until heated through. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 cup dry wine. I didn’t have any white open, so I used red. The flavor stays the same, it just adds a slight pink to the sauce. 🙂 Simmer the wine for a few minutes until reduced some, then add 1/2 cup 1/2 and 1/2. Bring to a boil and boil for a few more minutes until creamy and thoroughly combined.adding asparagusadding peasadding winesimmering wineadding 1/2 and 1/2almost readyIn that reserved water, cook 2 lbs tortellini according the package directions. Once cooked and drained, add to the sauce along with the bacon. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmigiano cheese. Roll up 10 basil leaves and thinly slice into ribbons. Add to the pasta and enjoy!cooked tortelliniadding tortelliniadding baconadding cheesebasil leavesslicedadding basilall readyAlthough I don’t know if I mentioned it sooner, pasta is my one of my favorite meals. It’s no wonder I turn to this recipe when spring has sprung! 🙂

Delicious Steak with Blackberry Sauce

Things have finally settled down at the house, and that has meant I’ve been able to do some cooking again. While I love the new kitchen, the granite counters, large island, beautiful views of the woods, I am not thrilled about the electric stove. Yes, I said it, I now have an electric stove. 😦 I’ve always had gas, and, I’ll admit, I miss it. There is so much to be said for being able to really control the heat. However, I am adjusting and trying to get by. Thankfully, gas or electric didn’t matter this past weekend for some steaks with a blackberry sauce.kitchenThis recipe comes from The Deen Brothers. I remember years ago watching the recipe on Paula Deen‘s show on the Food Network, and we headed to the grocery store right away to make it. Thankfully, it didn’t disappoint then, and it doesn’t disappoint today!

To start, you’ll need 4 steaks, about 6 oz each. The recipe calls for filet mignon, which is great if you have it, but any steak that you would cook on the stove will do. We used New York strip for this one. Salt and pepper the steaks. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Sear the steaks for about 4 minutes on each side for medium. My saute pan is not that big, so I had to do this in a few batches, which is fine. Just add more oil if you need it. Transfer the steaks to a plate and keep warm while you prepare the sauce.steaksseared steaksUsing the same pan, saute 1/4 cup chopped shallots for a few minutes until translucent. Add 1/2 cup dry red wine and deglaze the pan. Let the wine reduce by half for a few minutes, then add 1 cup beef broth and 3 tablespoons seedless blackberry jam. Allow the sauce to boil for a few minutes while the preserves melt and the sauce reduces by half. Add 2 tablespoons butter, and season with salt and pepper. Top the steaks with fresh blackberries, and pour the sauce over both. shallotscooked shallotswinejambutterblackberriessteak and blackberriesThe slightly sweet sauce with the rich wine and beef flavor works great with the steaks. It has become one of our go-to meals, especially when you want something a little nicer. It’s perfect with a simple risotto or some mashed potatoes. You want something that will soak up that sauce! 🙂

Also, if you haven’t checked out Fiesta Friday yet, you definitely want to. Angie has created a great forum for people to share amazing recipes and ideas on a weekly basis. Check it out, I promise you, something will peak your interest (http://fiestafriday.net/2015/03/27/fiesta-friday-61/)!

Easy and Delicious Pot Roast for those Cold Nights!

olive oilOne of the best things about the winter months is making big, hearty meals that warm your body and your soul. Those comforting meals do wonders in the cold, dreary months. It’s been cold here, and somewhat dreary. While I’m still waiting for a big snow storm, we’ve had lots of little ones! So, this week, it was the perfect week to make a simple and delicious pot roast.

To start, you need a 3 lb chuck roast. I look for one that has good marbling but isn’t too fatty. In a dutch oven that’s heated over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sear the roast on all sides, about 5 minutes on each side until nicely browned. Then set the roast on a plate to rest while you continue with the vegetables.chuck roastseared chuck roastIn the same pot, brown 3 medium onions, chopped. I like to use sweet onions, but whatever you like, or have on hand, is fine. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until brown and soft. Next, add 4 celery stalks, chopped, 8 small carrots (4 large, although I keep getting small ones at the store), peeled and chopped, and 6 cloves garlic, minced. Cook all of the vegetables together for about 5 minutes.onionscooked onionscarrots and celerychoppedgarliccookingOnce the vegetables are ready, add the roast back to the pan, on top of the vegetables, along with 1 cup red wine, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, and 2-3 cups beef broth. You want the liquid to just cover the meat. Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover the pot, and set in a 375 degree oven for about 2 1/2-3 hours. You’ll know it’s ready when the meat can be pulled apart with a fork.tomato pasteready for ovenWhile the pot roast is cooking, quarter 24 oz button mushrooms. You’ll also need 4 tablespoons butter. Add 1 tablespoon butter to a saute pan over medium-high heat. Cook 1/4 of the mushrooms in the butter until brown. Continue with the rest of the butter and mushrooms, cooking in 4 batches.mushroomsquarteredbuttersauteing mushroomssauteed mushroomsWhen the pot roast is done, remove from the oven. Take out the meat and shred with two forks. Be careful to remove any large pieces of fat. Add the meat back to the pot along with the mushrooms.shreddingbeefIt’s warm, rich, meaty, and delicious! I hope it keeps you warm on these cold winter nights!