chicken pot pie with cream cheese biscuits, salad
crockpot TexMex chicken stew, rice
out to Gino's East
apricot pork chops, duchess potatoes, broccoli
braised short ribs with parmesan gnocchi, peas
minestrone soup, garlic breadsticks
chicken and bacon flatbread tacos, black beans

Monday, March 30, 2015

Winter Dinner Party

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Winter Dinner 09
C invested in a Mountain Collective Pass this season, which meant he took ski trips to Whistler, Alta, Jackson Hole and of course, Aspen/Snowmass. During his weekend in Utah, I hosted a dinner party while Miss F enjoyed some time with her grandparents. I originally envisioned a table all in silver and white. I ordered the runner and napkins from Amazon, which arrived just hours before the party began.  I still have no idea why they were so delayed, but at least they arrived.  I ended up raiding the marked down flower section at the grocery store.  Bunches of pale pink tulips and roses were only $4 each, so pale pink was incorporated into the scheme quite nicely.

I went with an Italian influenced menu.  We started with prosciutto wrapped melon, artichoke bruschetta and fresh tomato dip with crostini.    The tomato dip was a last minute addition since my mom brought over a great amount of tomatoes from her garden.  I opted for a soup course instead of salad since it was "winter."  Even though winter in Houston would be equally well served with a salad.  I served C's favorite, minestrone, which I had prepped in advance and just added the pasta when it was time to serve.  The main course was beef tenderloin rosa di parma with garlic roasted broccoli.  Of course, mozzarella basil bread had to make an appearance, it helps absorb all the wine.  We ended the evening with chocolate cappuccino cheesecake, which was divine.  I had made two cheesecakes, but due to last minute cancellations, I probably could have worked with one.  But who doesn't love extra cheesecake?

Look for recipes in the coming days.  As always, it was an incredibly lovely weekend with some of my most favorite girlfriends.  I am so lucky to have so many amazing women in my life.
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Friday, March 27, 2015

Slow Baked Lemon Salmon

Slow Baked Lemon Salmon
Baking salmon low and slow is one of my most favorite ways to prepare it. I saw this 'recipe' on The Devil's Punchbowl, I was intrigued. The salmon steams in its own little pouch, making the moist salmon even moister.  This salmon is ridiculously easy to prepare and comes out perfectly.  And it cooked up in the same amount of time it took me to steam an artichoke on the side.  Miss F firmly rejected both the salmon and the artichoke, but I was a happy diner.
Slow Baked Lemon Salmon

1 lemon, sliced
4 salmon filets
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay out a large sheet of aluminum foil. Lay the sliced lemon on the foil, then place the salmon filets over the lemon slices. Top each salmon filet with a pat of butter, sprinkle salt and pepper over top. Wrap the salmon filets in the foil, sealing tightly. Place the salmon packet on a baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes, serve.
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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Easy Penne alla Vodka

Easy Penne alla Vodka
Penne alla Vodka is one of Miss F's most favorite pastas. It only trails behind spaghetti and meatballs or Daddy pasta.  I have several recipes that I like, but I really wanted to simplify it for an easier weeknight meal, something that didn't involve hours in the oven or a food processor.  This meal was a huge hit, I served it with pizza chips and broccoli, with barely any leftovers of anything.  Miss F called dibs on what was left for her lunch box the next day.  I liked the fact that the sauce came together in the same amount of time as it took to cook the pasta.
Easy Penne alla Vodka

1 pound penne pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
½ small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup vodka
1 tablespoon tomato paste
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Prepare the pasta per package instructions, drain and set aside, reserving the pasta water. In a large skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, saute for 2 to 3 minutes, until the onion is soft. Add the vodka to the pan, bring to a simmer and swirl in the tomato paste, simmer for 2 minutes more. Stir in the red pepper and tomatoes, bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cream and salt, once the mixture begins to bubble, stir in the Parmesan. Add the pasta and ½ cup of the reserved pasta water if the sauce needs thinning. Serve topped with additional Parmesan cheese.
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