Friday, July 25, 2014

July 25, 2014

Its been a whirlwind of a week - home from vacation in the middle of the week and then Hannah had oral surgery the next day!  Since she can only eat soft foods, she's been eating mac and cheese and the like, but then she suggested spaghettios.  If you read this blog (or know me personally) then you know I like to DIY recipes of all kinds. hard could this be?  It turns out, not very hard at all!  I found ring pasta at the grocery store which really made the recipe a great match.  Hannah was very happy with it, and the boys enjoyed it as well!

Liam has been enjoying the chance to eat lots of mac & cheese with Hannah, and one night Owen was at a friend's house for dinner.  Ryan and I took the opportunity to make one of our favorite dinners - shrimp scampi.  It is very easy to throw together and absolutely delicious.

While we were away on vacation our garden didn't take a break...I harvested 2 zucchinis the first morning we were home and oh my word!  Talk about large...certainly not the little zucchinis that make fantastic zucchini boats.  I showed some of my friends the zucchinis, each almost 3 lbs (I know, crazy!), and one told me about his favorite zucchini chocolate cake he would enjoy as a child.  I asked them to get me the recipe and I made it for him and his family; it was a hit!  We all loved it, and he thought it tasted like he remembered.  A keeper for us, and a tasty memory for him from the past!

All in all, not a bad week.  Three recipes and we just got home on Wednesday!

New Recipes
Homemade Spaghetti-Os
Lenore's Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Tried and True
Shrimp Scampi

Homemade Spaghetti-Os

* 4 oz pasta rings, cooked according to box directions
* 8 oz tomato sauce
* 1 tbsp tomato paste
* 1/2 cup milk
* 2 tsp fresh grated Parmesan cheese
* pinch of salt to taste

1. Add tomato sauce and paste to a saucepan and cook over medium heat until heated through.
2. Reduce heat to low and slowly whisk in the milk and Parmesan cheese.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is heated through.
3. Stir the pasta rings into the sauce.  Season with salt to taste if desired.  Serve and enjoy!

The recipe suggested 2% or whole milk, but we used skim milk successfully.  This recipe can easily be scaled as needed, but my kids enjoyed it best the day it was made; we found the pasta absorbed the sauce when saved as leftovers.

Lenore's Zucchini Chocolate Cake

* 1/2 cup milk
* 1 tsp
* 1/4 cup butter, softened
* 1/2 cup oil
* 1  3/4 cups sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1 tsp vanilla
* 2 cups grated zucchini
* 2 1/2 cups flour
* 4 tbsp cocoa
* 1/2 tsp  baking powder
* 1 tsp baking soda
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp allspice
* 1/4 tsp salt
* vanilla frosting, cream cheese frosting, or powdered sugar, optional

1. Mix the vinegar with the milk and set aside to sour.
2. Combine the butter, oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla.  When well blended add the zucchini.
3. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients (flour through salt).
4. Add half the dry ingredients to the batter and then half the milk.  Repeat.
5. Prepare a 9x13 pan by spraying with cooking spray.  Then line the pan with a parchment paper sling, and lightly grease the paper.  Pour the batter into the pan and then bake the cake for 45-50 minutes in a 350 preheated oven.
6. After 45 minutes check for doneness with a toothpick.
7. Let the pan cool, then remove from the pan to serve.  If desired, lightly frost the cake or sift powdered sugar on top.

While we were away our garden our zucchini grew way way too big!  One of them was 2 lbs 10 oz!  Yikes!  This kind of zucchini is only good in baked preparations.  One of our dear friends mentioned that he enjoyed a chocolate zucchini cake that his mom made for him.  He got the recipe from his mom, gave it to me and then I made it for him.  He loved it as did w and it earned keeper status!

If you happen to have buttermilk in the fridge, you can use it instead of the soured milk.  This is a slightly sweet cake that is delicious as an unfrosted snack cake.  However, if your cake eating audience is traditional and believes frosting is to cake as sand is to the beach, then feel free to add some.  I used a light layer of vanilla frosting and it was great.

Shrimp Scampi

* 2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
* salt and pepper
* 1/8 tsp sugar
* 2 tbsp olive oil
* 3 tbsp unsalted butter
* 4 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
* 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
* 1 tbsp dry wine white
* pinch cayenne pepper
* pasta, optional (cooked as directed on the box)

1. Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels then season with salt, pepper and the sugar.
2. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a 12 inch skillet over high heat.  Add half the shrimp to the pan in a single layer.  Cook until the shrimp are curled and pink on both sides, about 2 minutes.  Transfer the shrimp to a bowl and keep warm with foil.  Repeat the process with the remaining oil and shrimp.
3. Add 1 tbsp of the butter to the skillet and melt over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook until frequent, approximately 15 seconds.  Off the heat stir in the lemon juice, parsley, wine and cayenne.  Whisk in the remaining butter and then season with salt and pepper.
4. Return the shrimp and any accumulated juice to the skillet.  Toss until the shrimp are well coated with the sauce.
5. Serve, or if desired mix in the cooked pasta.

This is a great quick meal!  Ryan and I love it.  Even though it is quick and easy, and feels decadent and we even like to use our china when we eat it if it is just the two of us!  We always add a small amount of linguine or angel hair.  If you do add pasta, the sauce will be very light, so if you are going to add quite a bit of pasta (more than 1/3 of a lb) think about making a double batch of the sauce.