Quick Pasta Carbonara…..

What is it about pasta that is just so comforting? I love it! There is a family favorite that I used to make all the time….carbonara. It’s the ultimate comfort food. But wow is it ever heavy and rich. My version is loaded with sausage, bacon, cream, butter, cheese. You know…..all the good stuff. Ha! Well, I don’t make that one much these days. But maybe I should and share it with ya’ll  sometime soon.

Recently, I saw a super quick simple version of carbonara on a cooking show. I was skeptical but I tried it and was surprised at how good it was. It was too easy and quick to be that good!  There is no cream in it….no liquid at all, but you would swear there is! It’s very creamy, but it’s from the eggs and cheese.

If you want a quick, filling comfort dish, well then here ya go! Here is my version.

I am not at all happy with my photo quality lately. I am in need of a better camera. Bear with me!


Quick Pasta Carbonara

approx. 3 cups hot cooked  spaghetti
Bacon, diced (as much as you like)
2 eggs
1/4 cup parmesan or romano cheese (grated fine)
1 Tblsp butter
crushed red pepper, optional
In a large skillet, cook the bacon. While the bacon is cooking, in a small bowl, whisk the eggs really well. Mix in the grated cheese. Set aside.
Once the bacon is cooked, leave a couple of tablespoons of the bacon fat in the pan. Add the hot, drained pasta to the pan. Add the butter and give it all a toss to coat the pasta with all that yummy goodness.

Add the egg/cheese mixture and quickly and vigorously mix it all together for 1 to 2 minutes. It should look nice and creamy. Sprinkle with black pepper or red pepper flakes. Serve immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homemade Rice a Roni….

I really like those little boxes of Rice a Roni. Bad thing is, they’re loaded with salt. But they come in handy and make a great side dish. The combination of rice and noodles….Yum!

The other night, I was looking for a side dish for some beef that I cooked. I had some leftover rice and some leftover angel hair pasta. Hmmmm, I thought…….I will make my own rice-a roni!!! 

It was really good. Super simple too. It was pretty basic, but you could add whatever you want and make it your own!

Not much else to say about it, so let’s get to it….

Homemade Rice a Roni

angel hair pasta, cooked and cooled
leftover rice, chilled (don’t use just cooked hot rice. It will be mushy)
1 chicken, beef or vegetable bouillon cube ( 1 cube per 1 cup rice and 1 cup pasta)
black pepper
chopped chives or green onion
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup water

Melt 2 tblsp butter in a large non stick skillet. Add the water, garlic powder, bouillon cube and black pepper. Add the pasta and rice and gently stir it all together. Don’t over mix or you will have a glumpy mess. Once heated through, add the chives or green onion. Serve immediately.

 

Worlds Best Cookie?…….

So, have you all heard about this cookie that is supposed to be THE best cookie ever? I keep seeing it on the talk shows, the news, blogs……pretty much everywhere. It’s basically a shortbread cookie loaded with chopped chocolate, and sprinkled with sea salt. Sounds good right? I do love shortbread cookies. Super simple to make and it’s pretty much just flour, butter and sugar. No eggs! But to claim it as the Worlds best cookie???? Really? That’s quite a claim.

I’ve made so many kinds of shortbread. But of course I just had to see what all the hoopla was about. So what makes this so different from other shortbread recipes, is that the dough is shaped into a log, chilled for several hours, brushed with egg wash and rolled in a coarse sugar. I used turbinado sugar. I don’t care for a salty cookie, so I never use the suggested sea salt.

I’m not exactly great at waiting…so I did make a batch after chilling the dough for only 2 hours. Then I tried another batch 2 days later! 2 whole days!!!!!! That is pretty much a miracle for me!

So, worlds best cookie? Hmmmm. I mean, ok, it’s good. Darn good. But overall, I think it’s all a bunch of hoopla? It depends on what your preference is in a cookie. Ya know? Like what you may be in the mood for at a specific time. Here are my thoughts on this cookie….

Short chill time (2 hours) – Good flavor. Baked at the time recommended…..a softer shortbread than I like. Liked the crunch from the course sugar. My daughter liked them a lot. Like me, she loves shortbread. Two other tasters were not impressed. They both said “I can think of several other of your cookies that are way better”. I think I chose the wrong tasters though, since neither of them are big shortbread fans. But they do both love cookies, so……..

2 day chill time – Much, much better flavor. Seriously.  The butter really comes through. I baked a bit longer than the first batch and it gave me the crunch I like in a shortbread. But keep in mind, the brown sugar is what makes this a softer shortbread. True shortbread is made with white sugar only.

Ok, so after making the first batch with the impatient wait time of only 2 hours, I was like ok…good but I may not make again. But I am so glad I made the 2nd batch with the longer chillin time. The cookies are way better. Like, WAY.  I will make these again.

But, overall, I wouldn’t claim this to be the Worlds Best Cookie. But it certainly is good. I’d be curious to hear  what you think.

Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookie

1 cup plus 2 Tblsp. of  butter, chilled and cut into cubes
1/2  cup white granulated sugar
1/4  cup light brown sugar
2  1/4  cups all purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla
6 oz semi sweet chocolate, chopped (not

1 egg (for egg WASH, not to be included in your dough)
1/2 cup coarse sugar or turbinado sugar

In a mixing bowl, mix the butter and sugars and vanilla together until smooth and fluffy. Add the flour and mix briefly until just barely combined. Add chopped chocolate. Don’t mix it to death.

Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a log about 10″ long. Wrap each in plastic wrap and CHILL. (both YOU and the dough) 🙂 Please try to let the dough rest for at least 4 hours. But trust me, the longer chill the better.

When you are ready to bake, heat oven to 350. Whisk the egg in a little bowl. Brush it all over the logs. Roll the logs into the turbinado sugar . Cut into 1/2″ slices and place slices on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-18  minutes. I prefer 18 minutes. Allow to cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes. Move onto a baking rack.

These are not very good eaten warm out of the oven. Allow them to cool completely. Store in an air tight container.

Quick Smothered Chicken…

Another comfort meal here. A real tummy warmer. We’ve actually had a little rain here in San Diego lately. Shock, right? So this is one of those meals that I happen to like on a rainy day.

This chicken dish is some good stuff. It’s good with rice or noodles, but I will pick rice every time! Ohhhh, when that hot rice absorbs that creamy sauce. Holy crap it’s so good.  This is such an easy dish. I prefer chicken thighs, but chicken breast works just as well. You could of course make your own mushroom sauce, but why???!!! This is supposed to be a quick meal, so I just use the soup in a can. Seriously, it works just fine. I like making homemade soups, but when you’re making a casserole type dish, the canned soups work just fine.

Let’s get to it….

Quick Smothered Chicken

4 chicken thighs or half breasts
2 cans of cream of mushroom soup
2-3  cloves of fresh garlic, minced or 1/2  tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 to 1 cup milk, depending on how thick you want your sauce
cooked rice or noodles

Place 2 Tablespoons of oil in a large skillet, over medium heat, brown the chicken on both sides.

In a bowl, mix together the garlic, soup, milk, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the chicken and heat to a medium boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover the pan and allow to cook for about 30-45 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Serve over or with rice or noodles.

LOL Muffins…………

Lemon, yes. Orange yes. Lime, yes. I love citrus anything. To me, there is nothing that smells as good as freshly grated zest from lemons, oranges and limes. Ahhhhhh, I just love that smell.

I make an orange muffin that is just heavenly.  But I decided to add some other citrus flavors this time. So, thus the LOL  muffin….lemon, orange and lime. These are so good. I sprinkled them before baking, with a mixture of the 3 fruit zests and sugar. YUM!

These are super easy to whip up and I think you will love them. They must be healthy, right? Full of vitamin C? Hmmm, I think we’ll just go with that.

LOL Muffins (lemon, orange, lime)

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup orange juice
1 Tblsp milk
1/3 cup oil
1 egg
2 Tblsp fresh grated zest of orange, lemon and lime

Fruit Sugar
3 Tblsp granulated sugar
1 Tblsp of a mixture of Lemon, orange and lime zest
Mix together with a fork till well mixed

Heat oven to 375. Lightly spray muffin pan (bottoms only) with non stick spray, or lightly grease with oil. You can use baking cups if you prefer.
In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the orange juice, oil, milk, zests and egg. Add the wet to the dry flour mixture. Stir JUST until dry stuff is moistened. It’s ok if your mixture has lumps…..it should. Lumps are good. Fill the cups 3/4 full. If you are using the orange sugar topping, sprinkle on top of muffins and bake for approx. 17 minutes for the extra large muffins and 12-14 minutes for the regular size . Check with a toothpick cuz you DONT want dry muffins. Blekh. Cool just for a bit in the pan. Remove and enjoy.
Makes 5 very large muffins, or 8 regular size.