Friday, October 31, 2014

Spinach & Artichoke Baked Pasta

I love a good spinach & artichoke dip! This pasta dish is a close second. Originally found on the WD recipe finder, it's a quick easy dish to make.


12 ounce(s) short pasta, such as orecchiette or mezzi rigatoni
1 tablespoon(s) olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt and pepper
4 clove(s) garlic, finely chopped
3/4 cup(s) lowfat sour cream
4 ounce(s) lowfat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup(s) grated Parmesan (2 oz)
2 teaspoon(s) lemon zest
1 tablespoon(s) lemon juice
1 package(s) (10 oz) frozen leaf spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess moisture
1 can(s) (13.5 oz) can artichoke hearts, rinsed, squeezed of excess moisture and chopped
4 ounce(s) mozzarella, shredded (about 1 cup)


Cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, then drain the pasta.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Heat broiler. In a large bowl, combine the sour cream, cream cheese, Parmesan, lemon zest and lemon juice; stir in the onion mixture.
Add the pasta to the bowl and toss to coat. Stir in the spinach, artichokes and 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid (adding more liquid if the pasta seems dry). Fold in 1/2 cup mozzarella.
Transfer the pasta mixture to a broiler-proof 2 1/2- to 3-qt casserole dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and broil until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Make it ahead: Line the casserole dish with foil, leaving a 3-in. overhang on two sides. Fill the dish with the prepared pasta mixture and freeze until just firm, about 20 minutes. Using the overhangs, lift the pasta out of the dish in one piece. Wrap in plastic, then foil, and freeze for up to 2 months. To serve: Let thaw in the refrigerator, remove the foil and plastic, and transfer the pasta to a broiler-proof casserole dish. Reheat, covered, in a 375°F oven, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella and broil as directed.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Nutella Hot Chocolate with Hazelnut Liqueur

Who doesn't like a nice warm drink when the weather starts getting nippy? This one, found here, has become a new favorite!

1 cup milk
2 tbsp. Nutella
1 tbsp. hazelnut liqueur, such as Frangelico (optional)
Whipped cream, for serving

Heat milk in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium heat until just beginning to bubble at edges, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining ingredients until smooth. Top with whipped cream to serve.

How easy is this?!?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Stop the world, I want to get off...

No, really.

Failing that, I would like to have Tom Hiddleston & Michael Fassbender delivered to me ASAP.

Friday, October 17, 2014

KFC Copycat Recipe

I periodically get the urge to eat fried chicken. I've never been a big fan of dealing with chicken bones though, so I tend to make it with boneless breasts/tenderloins. As a child, KFC extra crispy was one of my favorite treats.

Well, poking around on the internet, I found this copycat recipe for the 11 herbs & spices. Here it is- maybe I'll make a batch this weekend if the weather is cool!

11 Secret Herbs and Spices (KFC Copy Cat)

Minutes to Prepare: 10
Minutes to Cook: 10
Number of Servings: 1


2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon onion salt
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon basil leaves, crushed
1 teaspoon marjoram leaves, crushed finely


Combine all ingredients as listed in a small jar with a tight fitting lid (baby food jars work good). Shake mixture to combine. Stores for months. Keep out of direct sunlight, heat and humidity.
(makes about 1/3 cup)
To Use:
Mix together 4 teaspoons mixture, 1 cup flour, 2 Tbls. packed light brown sugar and 1 teaspoons salt. Place in a doubled plastic food bag and add chicken to coat. Fry, drain on paper towels, serve!

yields : 1/3 Cup

Number of Servings: 1

Friday, October 10, 2014

Foodie Friday: Basil Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Have you READ the ingredients on a bottle of salad dressing lately? All those chemicals...UGH. I've decided to start making my own. This one, originally found here, is tasty.

Makes about 2 cups

2 tablespoons minced shallot

2 tablespoons chopped basil

2 tablespoons chopped chives

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 small clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons teaspoons lemon juice or white wine vinegar

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons yogurt or sour cream

1 cup well-shaken buttermilk

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, optional

Honey, as needed

In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the shallot, herbs, garlic, vinegar or lemon juice, mayonnaise, and yogurt or sour cream. Screw on the the lid and shake the jar to combine. Stir in most of the buttermilk. Check for consistency, and add more if needed. Taste, then season with salt, pepper and paprika. If the dressing is too sharp, drizzle in some honey to mellow the acidity. Taste again, and adjust if needed. Cover and refrigerate for an hour before using, to allow the flavours to blend and develop.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Like The Weather

"The color of the sky is gray as I can see through the blinds
Lift my head from the pillow and then I fall again
I get a shiver in my bones just thinking about the weather"

From "Like The Weather by 10,000 Maniacs. Lyrics found here

We've had another weird spell of weather here. I went from sporadically running the air conditioner to turning on the central heat, digging out the blankets, and praying for a quick death as my sinuses exploded. Today is beautiful. Tonight, it's supposed to rain and get icky again. I give up.

The good thing in all of this is that the little black furball has been coming inside and is being very sweet and cuddly. I spent Monday mostly unconscious with Nightshade snuggled against me. You know you feel bad when a raspy kitty tongue on your forehead feels good!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Foodie Friday- Pumpkin Spice Cake

Pumpkin Spice Cake (Country Living)
Serves: 16 Yields: 1 eight-inch 3-layer cake
Oven Temp: 350
3/4 cup(s) (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup(s) firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup(s) sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup(s) pumpkin purée
1/2 cup(s) buttermilk
1 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon(s) fresh-ground nutmeg
1 recipe Pumpkin Cream-Cheese Frosting

Prepare cake pans: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat three 8-inch cake pans with softened butter. Cut three 8-inch circles out of parchment paper and fit them into the bottom of the cake pans. Lightly coat the paper circles with butter and set aside.
Make the batter: Cream butter until smooth in a large bowl with an electric mixer set on medium speed. Add the sugars and mix until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until the mixture is smooth and light. Set aside. Combine the pumpkin purée, buttermilk, and vanilla in a medium bowl and set aside. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and nutmeg in a large bowl and set aside. In thirds, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to the butter mixture, blending well after each addition until smooth.
Bake the cake: Pour batter into the prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean -- 35 to 40 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pan on wire racks for 30 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and return to the wire racks until completely cool.
Assemble the cake: Place one layer on a cake plate and top with one-third recipe of Pumpkin Cream-Cheese Frosting. Repeat with the second and third layers. Serve or store refrigerated for up to four days.

Pumpkin cream-cheese frosting:
Yields: 3 1/2 cups
1 package(s) (8-ounce) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup(s) pumpkin purée
1/4 cup(s) (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon(s) fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon(s) grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
4 cup(s) confectioners' sugar, sifted
Blend the cream cheese, pumpkin purée, butter, orange juice, zest, and vanilla in a large bowl using an electric mixer set at medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and creamy -- about 5 more minutes.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October and the Lack of Monthly Goals.

So last month's goals, as listed here should have been easy-peasy.

Short version of long story- they mostly didn't get done. Dad had several massive setbacks and I just plain couldn't cope with much of anything. The Shady-cuddling is about the only thing that I managed.

I'm not setting any goals for October. It's just not working right now. Actually, I take that back- my sole goal is to make it through October without checking myself into the local psych ward.