Bored Cook In The Kitchen

Tried and true recipes, new twists on old favorites, and new dishes to expand my family's palate.

Category Archives: Pasta

Shrimp & Macaroni Salad

This is my all time favorite macaroni salad, and my family would agree with me.  It’s simple and easy to throw together and I make it often in the warm weather months.

The shrimp I use in this dish are the “tiny” version found in a can.  Before you cover your eyes and run away from that idea I promise you they work and they work well.  I’ve tried it with fresh shrimp and frozen tiny shrimp and just was not happy with the results.  The canned “tiny” version is what works best and I’ve never had anyone who has tried it tell me they didn’t love this salad.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

SHRIMP & MACARONI SALAD:

  • 8 oz. Elbow Macaroni (or any small pasta)
  • 2 Stalks Celery, diced
  • 1 Small Onion, diced
  • 1 Carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 2 Cans “Tiny” Shrimp, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 – 1 Cup Mayonnaise (Use the good stuff!)
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the macaroni.  Cook until just done.  When done, drain and rinse with cool water and set to the side.

Dice the celery and the onion and grate the carrot and set to the side.

Drain and rinse the shrimp and set to the side.

In a large bowl add the macaroni, celery, onion, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, garlic powder and the grated carrot.  Mix well and add more mayonnaise if needed.  Once mixed, add the two cans of shrimp and fold in.  Cover and refrigerate for an hour or two before serving. 

Stir well before serving and enjoy!

 

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Shrimp & Feta Over Pasta (Mediterranean Shrimp Skillet)

I saw this dish in a recent issue of Taste of Home magazine and knew I had to make it.  Feta, shrimp, lemon and pasta?  Yup, I can fall in love with that combination.

Being Catholic, and it being Lent, I look for new and different meatless recipes to serve for the next few weeks.  This one was on the top of my list.  Of course, after I made it and was cleaning up I realized this recipe calls for chicken broth, and, yes, chicken broth would be considered a meat when cooking that should not be used on a meatless day during Lent.  I’m sure God forgave me for that minor mistake.  I hope. 

I only made one change to this recipe, and that change came about because I couldn’t get one major ingredient.  Fresh basil.  I see it all the time in any of our grocery stores, even during the winter, but for whatever reason, fresh basil decided to evacuate itself from all produce sections in my area last week.  I did, however, have  two bunches of fresh cilantro in my fridge.  In fact, I always have fresh cilantro in a mason jar in my fridge because I can’t live without the stuff. 

I was hesitant at first to make the switch from the basil to the cilantro, but after reviewing the ingredients again I realized cilantro would work just as well, if not better.  I do plan on making this again using basil, but if you find yourself in a pinch like me, I highly recommend the substitution of cilantro if need be.  That was the only thing I changed about this recipe. 

Mediterranean Shrimp Skillet

From Taste of Home Magazine February/March 2011 issue

  • 8 oz. uncooked angel hair pasta (I used spaghetti)
  • 1 1/2 lbs. uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil (I used dried cilantro)
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 4 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, sauté shrimp in oil until shrimp turn pink.  Add the garlic, salt and pepper; cook 1 minute longer.  Remove and set aside.

In the same skillet, heat 1 cup broth, lemon juice and dried basil.  In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and remaining broth until smooth; stir into the pan.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Stir in spinach and shrimp; cook until spinach is wilted.

Drain pasta; serve with shrimp mixture.  Sprinkle with feta cheese and fresh basil.

Enjoy!

Baked Stuffed Shells

 This is just one of my oldest son’s most favorite meals to eat.  And it’s simple since you can throw it together early in the day, or even the day before, and then pop it in the oven to bake for a bit when you need a quick dinner on the table.

I’m not going to go nuts about giving precise measurements for this dish because I don’t really have any.  I can give hints of how much of this and that I’ve used, but in all honesty, it’s really just something you can throw together without worrying about being exact with the amounts.  Most of how I cook is really me throwing this and that in together and seeing how it comes out.  If there were one area of my blog I could say I struggle with its coming up with precise measurements for recipes.  While sometimes I’m able to provide that easily, I can’t say it always works out that way.  Sometimes I just need to make something a second or third time before I publish it so that I can really focus on exactly how much of an ingredient I’m using. 

With that being said, use this as a general guideline of ingredients and measuring and don’t make yourself crazy about how much of each you use.  It’s food, folks.  We are meant to enjoy it, not stress over it.

BAKED STUFFED SHELLS:

  • 1 – Box Jumbo Pasta Shells
  • 1 – 24 oz. Container Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 – 16 oz. Block mozzarella Cheese, freshly grated
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Freshly Made or Store Bought Tomato/Pasta Sauce (roughly 4 – 5 cups)
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

If you are making your own homemade tomato sauce, good for you.  There is nothing else in the world like it.  But, if you aren’t, use whatever brand you prefer.

In a 13″ x 9″ baking dish, spoon some sauce across the bottom.

Cook your pasta shells for half the amount of time listed on the box.  You don’t want them aldente for this dish.  You only want to partially cook these since they will continue to cook while you bake the dish in the oven.  Make sure to salt the water well before cooking the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, in a large bowl, add the ricotta, 3/4 of the shredded mozzarella, chopped parsley, grate parmesan and salt and pepper.  Stir together well and then spoon into a large Ziploc bag.  You may want to only spoon in half the mixture to work with and then refill it with the rest when you’re done.  It makes the bag easier to manage while you are filling the shells.

Once the pasta is done, strain it and rinse with cold water.  Once cool to the touch, begin filling each pasta shell with the ricotta mixture.  You don’t want to over fill the shell’s, but put just enough in each shell so that you can easily fold the shell so that each open end meets.

As you fill and fold each shell, place them seam side down in the baking dish.  Continue repeating until you have filled the dish. 

Spoon on some tomato sauce, followed by a sprinkling of the shredded mozzarella. 

At this point you can either place them in the fridge until you are ready to bake them, or throw them into the oven and bake them right away.

Place them, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven and bake until heated through and bubbly and the cheese has completely melted.

Enjoy with a salad and some garlic bread!

Note:  I ended up with about 38 cooked and stuff shells.  I was able to fit 27 of them on the first layer of the baking dish.  I covered those with sauce and mozzarella and then added the remaining stuffed shells to the top of them, spaced out as evenly as possible, and topping those with sauce and shredded mozzarella as well.  You can do it this way with the extra shells that don’t fit into a single layer in the baking dish, or you can just make a smaller batch in a smaller baking dish.  Your choice.  Either way, nothing goes to waste.

 

 

 

Slow Cooker Chicken With Broccoli

I found this recipe in one of my cookbooks and realized as I was making it that it was no longer going to really resemble the original recipe at all.  I think the original recipe was a good foundation for this dish, but it needed more.  A lot more. 

All three of my children have always loved broccoli.  Over the past year my 8-year-old decided he hated it and his 4-year-old sister decided to agree.  My oldest still eats it.  My husband will not even look at broccoli let alone eat it, so I was hesitant to add it to this dish in fear that nobody would touch it.

I ended up being pleasantly surprised.  My husband didn’t come near it, which was no surprise, but my youngest son liked it and my daughter ate two helpings of it, asking for more broccoli than chicken.  Go figure.

The original recipe called for frozen broccoli, but I opted to use fresh instead and I think I made the right choice.

I would definitely make this again, but it needs some serious color.  The lack of color from the sauce, pasta and chicken, with only with the green of the broccoli doesn’t make it aesthetically pleasing to look at.  Tastes good, but it needs a little color.  The next time I make this I plan on adding a small jar of drained and chopped pimento.  I have a feeling that will fit in perfectly here!

SLOW COOKER CHICKEN WITH BROCCOLI

  • 4 Large Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Packet Good Seasons DRY Italian Dressing Mix
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium white or yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Low Fat Sour Cream
  • 1 8 0z. Brick of Cream Cheese (I used Neuchâtel for a lower fat content)
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. Paprika
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. Mrs. Dash Original Salt Free Blend
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Small Jar Chopped Pimento, drained. (I didn’t add this to this version I made but plan to in the next one) *optional
  • 2 Cups Fresh Broccoli Florets
  • 1 Cup Chicken Broth (low sodium)
  • 1 Can Campbells Health Request Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1 Pound Penne Pasta
  • 1 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter

Add the chicken, olive oil, italian dressing mix and the Mrs. Dash and set to high.

In a skillet set to medium, add the butter.  Once hot, add the onions and sauté until soft.  

Once the onions are soft, add the can of soup, sour cream, cream cheese, chicken broth, nutmeg, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper and stir well with a whisk.  Allow the mixture to come to a low simmer.  Once this is achieved, pour the sauce over the chicken in the slow cooker and stir well to combine.  Cover and allow to cook on high for one hour.

After one hour, turn the slow cooker to low and allow to continue cooking for another two hours.  At the end of the two hours, add in the broccoli florets and the drained pimento, if using.  Stir again to combine, cover and allow to cook on low for an additional hour.

Just before done, cook the pasta in a large pot of well salted water.  Once aldente, drain and add to a large bowl.  Pour the sauce over the pasta and mix well.  Serve immediately with some additional grated parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!

 

 

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