Pasta Bar Birthday Party!

4 Comments

This past Saturday, we had a pasta bar birthday party for my daughter’s 30th birthday.  It was a fairly easy, inexpensive way to feed lots of people and, best of all, it was delicious!

I have some new recipes to post from the party which I will be doing this week and in this post I’ll tell you how we put it together.

My daughter lives about an hour and a half away.  She bought the perishables and I bought and packed up to her house the produce and a bunch of odds and ends.  I bought buffet pans to keep everything warm after cooking and we used crockpots.  Some things didn’t need to stay warm as well.

For starters we had tortellini with pesto, mushroom, onion, fontina bruschetta, spectacular bruschetta, and bacon wrapped pretzels.

We made 3 types of pasta but found it was too hard to eat spaghetti on your lap so almost all of that was leftover.  The farfalle and penne were gone.  We made sauce with meatballs and plain sauce and alfredo sauce.  Mr. Meat Eater grilled up chicken and sausage which we sliced so each could be added to the plain sauce or the alfredo.  I also sauteed up a big pan of mushrooms.

We had Greek salad and Caesar salad and Tuscan asparagus on the side.  I can’t forget the garlic bread either!

Pasta Bar 1

The starter bar ~ (left to right) tortellini with pesto, mushroom, onion, fontina bruschetta,  spectacular bruschetta, bacon wrapped pretzels.

Party 1

The Alfredo sauce is in the crockpot.  I’m not sure what the glass baking dish has in it ~ one of my daughter’s friends brought it ~ but it was delicious!

Pasta Bar 3

Chicken, sausage (hot and mild), and sauteed mushrooms.

Pasta Bar 4

Greek salad (left), my Mom’s meatballs with sauce (crockpot), Caesar salad.  The asparagus is behind the Greek salad.

Happy Birthday!

This was a fun party to do and I would do it again.  Recipes will be coming this week!

Happy Cooking!

My signature

Spicy Shrimp Pasta

2 Comments

Mr. Meat Eater and I love shrimp so I’m always on the lookout for new recipes.  I found this one on Budget Bytes ~ which is an awesome site and you should visit!  There are loads of great recipes.

I did change this recipe up a little bit.  I used 1 1/2 lbs shrimp since they were on the smallish side and we like lots of shrimp in our dishes.  I used 6 cloves of minced garlic so the dish would be nice and garlicky.   I also used several shakes of red pepper flakes and I really couldn’t taste it too much so if you like food spicy, use more. I think the next time I make this, will get diced tomatoes with garlic or some other kind of spice.

Spicy Shrimp Pasta

Spicy Shrimp Pasta

8 oz fettuccine
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
4 cloves garlic, minced ~ I used 6 cloves, minced
1/2 lb peeled and deveined shrimp ~ I used 1 1/2 lbs
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp salt
Fresh black pepper
Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

Add the pasta to large pot of boiling water and cook according to package directions. Drain.

While the pasta is cooking, put the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat.

Rinse the shrimp, drain, and add to the melted butter/olive oil in the skillet along with the minced garlic. Saute just until shrimp turns pink. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the tomatoes and their juice to the skillet with the red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir and let simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Add the cooked fettuccine to the sauce in the skillet and toss to coat with the sauce. Add back the cooked shrimp and toss to mix again. Adjust salt if needed.

Before serving, sprinkle chopped parsley over the top.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Budget Bytes

Happy Cooking!

My signature

Drunken Noodles

Leave a comment

I had never heard of drunken noodles but I found the recipe on Pinterest and it looked interesting and something that Mr. Meat Eater would really like.

I’m really not a fan of Italian sausage so I left it in bigger chunks so I could pick it out.  I DO love the flavor that it gives to this dish.  It wouldn’t be the same if I left it out.  My store did not have the papperdelle noodles (of course) so I used wide egg noodles.

Drunken Noodles

Drunken Noodles

Olive oil
4 spicy Italian sausage links, casings removed
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsps salt
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes with juice
2 tbsps Italian parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, julienned, divided
8 ounces Pappardelle noodles, uncooked ~ i used wide egg noodles

Place a large skillet or pan over medium-high heat and add about 2 tbsps of olive oil. When oil is hot, break up the sausage into the pan in chunks and let it brown in the oil on each side.

When the sausage is browned, remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon and put in a small bowl and set aside. Add the sliced onion into the pan with the sausage drippings, and allow it to caramelize for about 5 minutes, stirring to keep it from burning (a bit more olive oil can be added to the pan, if needed). When the onion starts to caramelize, add the salt, Italian seasoning and black pepper, and stir to combine, then add in the sliced bell peppers, and allow those to saute with the onion for about 2 minutes or until tender.

Add the minced garlic, then add in the white wine and allow it to reduce for a minute or two or until almost completely reduced. Then add in the diced tomatoes with their juice, and add the browned sausage back into the pan, and carefully stir to combine.

Let simmer for about 3-4 minutes to blend the flavors, then turn the heat to low. Drizzle in about 2-3 tbsps of olive oil and add in the chopped parsley and about half of the julienned basil. Keep pan on low heat to keep warm while you prepare the noodles.

Cook the noodles according to pkg instructions. Drain the noodles well and add to the sauce, and gently mix to combine.

Garnish with the rest of the basil.

Source: The Cozy Apron

Happy Cooking!

My signature

Chicken and Farfalle Alfredo

Leave a comment

I’ve been spending lots of time on Tasty Kitchen and found this delicious and easy recipe.  Tasty Kitchen is affiliated with the Pioneer Woman and has tons of wonderful, user-submitted recipes so if you have some time, have a look!

This recipe is super easy and can be probably made up and on the table in 30 minutes.

Bowtie Pasta and Chicken

Chicken and Farfalle Alfredo

12 ounces farfalle pasta (Bowties)
4 tbsps butter
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup half and half
3 tbsps heavy cream
chicken broth ~ may need of sauce becomes too thick
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsps fresh parsley, minced

Cook pasta according to pkg directions. Drain and set aside.

Salt and pepper chicken breasts on both sides. In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsps butter. Add the chicken breasts and cook until golden on both sides and cooked through so that no pink remains. Remove from the skillet and slice into thin strips. Set aside.

Add additional 2 tbsps butter to skillet and then add the minced garlic. Stir the garlic to avoid burning. If it burns, start over. Pour in the wine and let it bubble and reduce for 2 minutes. Add the half and half, cream, and extra salt and pepper, if desired. Whisk until all combined. Allow to heat up and thicken for a few minutes. If it gets too thick, use some chicken broth to thin.

When the sauce looks good, remove from the heat and add the Parmesan to the sauce then put the farfalle i right on top of it. Toss to combine. Add the chicken and continue tossing until it is all combined. If it’s too thick for oyur taste, add a bit of chicken broth to thin.

Adjust seasonings if needed. Top with the minced parsley and serve while hot.

I had some leftover and Mr. Meat Eater heated it up the next day and said it tasted just as good.

Makes 4 servings.

Happy Cooking!

My signature

Pasta Pesto and Cherry Tomatoes

2 Comments

I am cooking out of Rush-Hour Recipes this week and this is one of the recipes I chose.  I LOVE it!!  I am a real fan of pesto to begin with and this recipe is so easy and delicious I could have eaten the whole bowl myself.   I ate it for dinner last night hot and for lunch today cold.  I had to add some pesto today just to loosen it up a bit but I loved it both ways and I know I’ll be using this recipe over and over.

The recipe was submitted by Barbara Bargdill of Gooseberry Patch.

Don’t forget to sign up for a chance to win this cookbook.  Go to this post to reply for a chance to win! 

Pasta Pesto & Cherry Tomatoes

12 oz box of rotini or fusilli pasta, uncooked
3 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered ~ I used grape tomatoes, halved
salt to taste
1/4 cup basil pesto ~ I used slightly more
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Garnish with grated Romano cheese if desired

Cook pasta according to the package until tender and drain, reserving one cup of the cooking liquid in case it’s needed to moisten the pasta. Return pasta to the cooking pot.

In a bowl, toss the quartered tomatoes with the salt and then the pesto.

Add tomato mixture to the pasta and add some of the cooking liquid at this point if it’s needed. I did need a little but probably less than 1/4 cup.

Add the mozzarella cheese and toss.  After plating, add the Romano to the top of the pasta on each plate.

Makes 4 servings as a main dish; 6-8 as a side dish.

VIEW PRINTABLE RECIPE HERE!

Happy Cooking!

Three Tomato Pasta

2 Comments

What an excellent pasta recipe!  The original recipe calls for goat cheese ~ I’m still not that thrilled with goat cheese so I subbed in mozzarella but if you love goat cheese, by all means use it.  The only thing I didn’t have on hand for this recipe was the sun-dried tomatoes so this is almost a pantry recipe.  I also didn’t use the fresh parsley because I didn’t have any so I use a few shakes of dried parsley.

The recipe came from a cookbook that I bought for my DD for Christmas but I didn’t remember buying it for her last Christmas, too.  So it became MY cookbook ~ The Essential Dinner Tonight Cookbook from Cooking Light .

Three Tomato Pasta

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped and drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
12 ounces penne, cooked
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella or 1/2 cup goat cheese
chopped fresh parsley, if desired
chopped fresh basil, if desired

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, saute for a minute or two being careful not to let the garlic burn (if it does, throw it out and start over). Add sun-dried tomatoes and next 5 ingredients. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Mixture will reduce.

Prepare penne while the sauce cooks. Drain, place pasta in same pot that you cooked it in and add the sauce, cheese, parsley and basil, if using. Mix lightly and serve.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Tortellini with Pesto Dip

Leave a comment

This is a super easy easy appetizer and the dip is spot on with the tortellini.  I am addicted to this stuff!  It’s perfect for a party or even as a side dish on your table.  I found the recipe in a Taste of Home cookbook submitted by Cheryl Lame.

I cut regular wooden skewers in half instead of buying some just for this and it worked out well.

Tortellini with Pesto Dip

4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tbsps olive oil, divided
1 pkg (10 ozs) refrigerated spinach tortellini
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup prepared pesto
1/8 tsp pepper
1 pint grape tomatoes

On a double thickness of aluminum foil, place the garlic cloves and drizzle with 1 tbsps olive oil. Wrap the foil around and roast in the oven at 425º for 20-25 minutes or until tender. Cool for 15 minutes.

While garlic is cooking, cook tortellini according to the package, drain, rise in cold water. Toss with remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the mayo, Parmesan, milk, pesto and pepper. Squeeze the garlic into this mixture and stir until combined.

Thread tortellini and tomatoes onto skewers and serve with pesto dip.

I made all of this ahead and stored in the refrigerator.

Makes about 2 dozen skewers and 1 1/2 cups dip.

Happy Cooking!