Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuscan Sausage Pasta

5 links Italian sausage, medium or spicy
1 pkg. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 can black olives, drained and halved
1 can diced Italian tomatoes (with basil, oregano, and garlic)
4 c. fresh baby spinach leaves
bowtie or other pasta
shredded Italian blend cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.

Remove sausage from casings and brown. Drain well and return to skillet. Add mushrooms, olives, and tomatoes, cooking until mushrooms are tender. Add spinach and cook just until wilted. Pour over pasta and serve immediately. Top individual servings with cheese.

Serves 8.

Garlic Cheese Biscuits

(See photo below with Garlic Butter Shrimp recipe.)

2 c. Bisquick
2/3 c. milk
1/2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
generous dash of Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Mix together Bisquick, milk, and cheese; dough will be sticky. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto baking stone or greased baking sheet.

In small bowl, mix butter, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Generously brush tops of unbaked biscuits.

Bake 10-12 minutes, or until biscuits are golden brown.

Serves 8.

Garlic Butter Shrimp

served with Garlic Cheese Biscuits, similar to those served at Red Lobster

40-50 medium shrimp
1 stick butter
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 medium onion, chopped
cracked pepper, to taste

Peel and de-vein shrimp; chop onion and set aside.

In large skillet, melt butter; saute garlic and onions until clear. Add shrimp and cook until pink, stirring occasionally. Top with fresh cracked pepper. Serve over angel hair or other pasta.

Serves 6.

Tip: To save time and money, I purchased boiled shrimp rings at a buy one/get one free sale at my local grocery store and froze them until ready to use. I thawed one tray, took off the tails, and added the shrimp to the skillet just long enough to heat throughout. The whole meal was ready to eat in just under half an hour!

Chocolate Lava Cake

This microwave cake is quick, easy, and delicious - and it's good left over!

1 pkg. chocolate cake mix + ingredients listed on box for cake
1 can chocolate frosting

Mix cake as directed on box. Pour into 4-quart microwave-safe glass measuring cup. (The Pampered Chef's Classic Batter Bowl is great for this!)

Drop 5 scoops of icing on top of batter. Do NOT mix in.

Microwave on HIGH, uncovered, for 9 minutes (longer if you have a smaller-watt microwave).

Remove from microwave and turn out onto cake plate or large platter. Cake and measuring cup will be extremely hot, so use caution!

Slice and serve with ice cream.

Serves 12.

Note: I tried this with a yellow cake and a different flavor of frosting, but it wasn't as good - and it looked even worse. The dark color of the chocolate hides the cake's "ugliness".


A friend of mine gave me a homemade dry mix and instructions (from Southern Living, I believe) as a secret pal gift a few years ago. It tastes great! If you want to make it more "authentic" with veggies instead of seasonings, just make substitutions.

Dry mix:
1 c. uncooked long-grain rice
1 Tbsp. minced onion
1 Tbsp. green pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. beef bouillon granules
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/8 - 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper, depending on your personal preference

Remainder of recipe:
3 c. water
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1 c. cooked chicken, chopped
1 c. cooked ham or smoked sausage, diced

Bring mix, water, and tomato sauce to a boil in a large covered skillet; stir in meat.

Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20-25 minutes or until rice is tender.

Remove and discard bay leaf.

Serves 8.

Note: If you use brown rice, your cooking time will need to be extended to 45-60 minutes, depending on the package instructions. Also, add one additional cup of water to keep jambalaya from sticking.