Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce

My serious love for pumpkin did not start until I was in college. I still am not really fond of pumpkin pie, but I love pumpkin spice lattes and other pumpkin sweet treats. I was really hesitant to try this pumpkin alfredo sauce, it just seemed weird to use it in a savory way. Do not be hesitant, the cream, cheese, and shallots provide a great savory note and it pairs perfect with pasta.

I served this over whole wheat penne, so I did not feel as guilty about indulging in an alfredo sauce. We loved this twist on traditional alfredo, it is perfect for fall.
Source: Does Not Cook Well with Others, originally Food Network

1 tablespoon of Butter, unsalted
1 Shallot, small and finely minced
1/2 cup of Pumpkin Puree
Pinch of Nutmeg
1 1/4 cups of Heavy Cream
1/4 cup of Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Favorite Pasta, for serving

First, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

Add the shallots and saute, stirring until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin puree & nutmeg and cook for another minute.

Now, stir in the cream and bring to a slow {not rolling} boil. Immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens.

Season with salt and pepper.

Serve over your favorite pasta or with cheese tortellini.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Quick Coq Au Vin

When meal planning for the week, if I am having trouble deciding what to make or lacking inspiration, I start thinking about my favorite restaurants and what I order there. I have recently discovered a great french restaurant and love ordering the coq au vin. I decided to make it at home and then I was looking through recipes and immediately decided, this is not a weeknight meal, until I found this recipe.

This recipe is a quicker version on coq au vin that cuts down on time and not on flavor.  There is some waiting during the preparation, but you can easily set a timer and leave the kitchen {!!!} and continue on with your nightly chores or catch up on your tv shows for that night. This is truely a one-pot meal, which makes clean-up so easy. You can make mashed potatoes or just have a loaf of crusty bread to complete the meal and soak up the amazing juices.
Source: adapted from, The Kitchn

6-8 Chicken Thighs, large with skin-on, about 3 lbs.
Kosher Salt & Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
1/2 cup of Pancetta or Bacon, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 Yellow Onion, large and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 Carrot, medium and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
5 cloves of Garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of Tomato Paste
3 cups of Red Wine, dry & fruity, such as Zinfandel
1 cup of Chicken Stock
2 Bay Leaves
6-8 sprigs of fresh Thyme
3/4 cup of Baby Bella Mushrooms
Fresh Parsley, for garnish

First, sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper, liberally.

Now, in a large 4-6 quart saucepan or dutch oven with a lid {big enough to hold all of the chicken}, brown the pancetta over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Add the onions and cook until they begin to soften. Turn the heat up to medium-high heat and add the chicken, skin-side down and brown for 3-5 minutes on each side.

Next, add the onions, carrots, garlic, tomato paste, wine, chicken stock, bay leaves, and thyme to the pot. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked until the internal temperature of 160 degrees. Remove the chicken to a plate and cover with foil.

Now, add the mushrooms to the pot and bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the liquid by 1/3 or 1/2. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs.

Add the chicken back to the pot and let it warm back up, about 10 minutes.

Serve in a bowl with a chicken thigh and a ladle of gravy over top, garnish with fresh parsley.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Autumn Squash Soup {Panera Copycat}

When it is chilly or cold outside, all I want for lunch is a bowl of soup and half a sandwich or salad. Panera has been on my mind pretty much 24/7 when I am thinking about lunch. I decided to make this soup at home to satisfy my cravings, and it is delicious. It tastes so similar to the soup at Panera and the best part is that it cost a fraction of the price. I also don't have to fight the crowd at Panera!

This soup was a breeze to make and would be absolutely divine with the Frico Grilled Cheese that I posted last week. Go ahead, treat yourself to lunch today. You won't regret it.
Source: Homemade Cravings

1 Butternut Squash, large and cut into pieces or 20 oz. of pre-cut butternut squash
1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 15 oz. can of Pumpkin Puree
1 cup of Vegetable or Chicken Broth
1 cup of Half and Half
1 cup of Apple Cider
1 1/2 tablespoon of Honey
1/4 teaspoon of Curry*
1/2 teaspoon of Cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons of Salt
1/4 teaspoon of Pepper
Optional: roasted pumpkin seeds or pepitas for topping

* If you don't have any curry powder, you can just barely shake/sprinkle some of each, chili powder, cayenne pepper, ground mustard, turmeric, coriander, cardamom, and cumin.

First, pre-heat your oven to 450.

Now, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and toss the squash with olive oil and salt and pepper. When the oven is pre-heated roast the squash for 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Next, using a potato ricer or blender/food processor if you don't have a ricer, press squash through ricer into your food processor or blender. Blend the squash and pumpkin together, pour in the vegetable broth, half and half, and apple sauce while pureeing.

Transfer to a large saucepan over medium heat and add honey, curry, cinnamon, and salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve with toasted pumpkin seeds or pepitas on top and with a piece of crusty bread.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Monday, October 28, 2013

Roasted Shrimp Enchiladas with Jalapeño-Cream Sauce

I am always on the lookout for new and creative ways to eat shrimp and fish. I always put 2 seafood dishes on our meal plan for the week, which ends up being about 8-10 days, instead of 7. We inevitably   will eat leftovers an extra night, be out watching a game, or I will cave and we will get take-out.

I have never had shrimp enchiladas, until now, I loved them. I think I have been wary of ordering them out, because the shrimp is covered in cheese, hiding the fish, it just seemed dangerous. Now, making them at home is a completely different story. I know my shrimp is fresh as can be and the cheese isn't hiding a thing.

The shrimp roast in the oven to provide a quick preparation and give you some time to prepare the other ingredients for filling. The addition of spinach and carrots give a great crunch to these and the chipotle gives smokiness and of course, a little spice.
Source: Damn Delicious, originally from Gimme Some Oven

1 lb. of Shrimp, medium sized, peeled & deveined
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil, divided
Kosher Salt & Cracked Black Pepper
2 cloves of Garlic, minced
1 small Onion, diced
2 cups of Green Cabbage, shredded
1 Carrot, peeled and grated
3 cups of Baby Spinach
2 tablespoons of Adobo Sauce
1/4 teaspoon of Oregano
1/2 teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
12 Flour Tortillas
2 cups of cheese, Monterrey Jack or Sharp Cheddar
Cilantro, for topping

For the Jalapeño-Cream Sauce:
2 tablespoons of Butter, unsalted
2 tablespoons of Flour Jalapeno
1 1/2 cups of Chicken Stock
3/4 cup of Sour Cream
2 Jalapeños, seeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon of Garlic Powder
Kosher Salt & Cracked Black Pepper
1/4 cup of Cilantro, chopped

First, pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Next, toss the shrimp with one tablespoon of oil and coat with salt and pepper. Spread shrimp in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 6-8 minutes. Remove shrimp and let cool. Reduce oven to 375 degrees. When cool, chop into pieces. Set aside.

Now, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, sauté the onions and garlic, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage, carrot, spinach, adobo sauce, oregano, and cayenne pepper and sauté until the spinach wilts, 1-2 minutes. Toss with shrimp and set aside.

Now make the sauce, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter, whisk for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown. Whisk in the chicken stock, for 1-2 minutes, until well combined. Stir in the sour cream. Add the jalapeños, garlic powder, salt & pepper, and cilantro. Reduce heat to low and stir until the sauce has thickened about 2 minutes. If desired, pulse in a blender/food processor/ or immersion blender.

Spray a 9x13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Next, place 1/3 of the shrimp mixture into a tortilla, sprinkle with cheese, and roll up, place in the pan, seam-side down. Continue until all of the mixture has been filled. Cover the enchiladas with half of the cream sauce.

Bake for 20 minutes until golden and bubbly. Top with additional cream sauce and garnish with cilantro.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Friday, October 25, 2013

Roasted Apple Sorbet

Honeycrisp apples, is there anything better? Well, I love the pink lady variety of apple, as well, and granny smith. I just love apples and I always have, however, when I spy the first honeycrisp apple of the season, I go a little crazy. I just feel like I NEED them. My mother-in-law was visiting and I wanted to take her to see our fabulous farmer's market. I knew I was going out of town in 2 days, but what did I do? I bought honeycrisp apples and like the irrational person I am, I did not just buy 1 or 2, I bought a huge bag. They were beautiful and I had to have them.

Now, fast forward 2 days, I am about to go out of town and I can not let this apples go to waste. It would be awful. I needed something that wouldn't spoil and go bad for about a week, so I knew it would have to be frozen. Yes, it is fall. Yes, it may be 50 degrees outside at noon, but this sorbet tastes just like fall. Not only does it taste like fall, when you are making it, your whole house smells like fall. Squeal! It is better than any candle I have ever smelled.

This sorbet is the epitome of apple pie for me, it taste like the inside of apple pie all blended up and frozen. Ethan does not share my love for apples, so I rarely make apple pie, which is one of my favorites. This fits the bill right here, whenever I get an urge for apple pie, I can have a spoonful or scoop of this. Pure bliss.
Source: Pink Parsley, originally from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home

1 1/2 cups of Apple Cider
1 1/2 lbs. of Apples, I used 6 medium Honey Crisp Apples
1/2 cup of Sugar
1/4 cup of Brown Sugar
1/2 cup of Water
1/4 cup of Light Corn Syrup
1 teaspoon of Cinnamon
3 teaspoons of Vanilla Extract

First, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Now, put all of the ingredients in a 9x13 inch pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the apples are tender.

Let the mixture cool to room temperature. Blend in a food processor/blend/immersion blender in batches until the mixture is smooth.

Next, strain through a fine mesh sieve.

Cool overnight in the refrigerator.

The next day, churn in your ice cream maker according to the directions. I find the best results if the ice cream bucket has been in the freezer for at least 2 days.

Store in an airtight container in your freezer.

If you want it to taste even more like apple pie, sprinkle a few graham cracker crumbs on top. Yum!


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Frico Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Fall is here and in full-blast and the traditional grilled cheese just needed a bit of a make-over. This grilled cheese isn't any harder to make than your normal grilled cheese, it may even be easier, you just sit and let it cook, no constant flipping. Is anyone else guilty of that? This grilled cheese is perfect for dipping and the perfect sandwich to serve with your favorite soup. If you don't have a favorite soup, here is mine, Tomato Basil Soup.

I don't know why it has taken me so long to realize that a grilled cheese would be so much better with crispy and crunchy cheese on the outside of the sandwich and smooth and creamy cheese on the inside of the sandwich. Genius! Other variations can include a light smear of dijon mustard and a dash of onion powder on the inside of the sandwich, which I have taste tested and think is the best! You can experiment with different cheese, adding a tomato slice or bacon slice on the inside with the cheese, as well.
Source: Smitten Kitchen

2 slices of Bread
1 teaspoons of Butter
1/2 cup of Cheddar Cheese, coarsely grated

First, spread one teaspoon on one side of each slice of bread.

Now, in a skillet over medium-low heat, sprinkle one tablespoon of cheese in the pan and place bread butter side down on top of the cheese. Set aside one tablespoon of cheese. Place remaining cheese on top of bread and top with the other slice, butter side up. Cook undisturbed for 2 minutes. Pick the sandwich up using a spatula and place the reserved cheese on the pan, flip the sandwich onto the skillet on top of the cheese. Cook for another 2 minutes.

Remove, slice in half and enjoy.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Monday, October 21, 2013

No-Bake Carrot Cake Granola Bites

Granola bites are always a win-win situation around our house, they are perfect for on the go and you can make them basically any flavor profile you want. They are a sweet treat without eating straight chocolate or something with tons of sugar, you sweeten them with agave nectar or honey and add some flax seed for extra fiber.

You could add a tablespoon or two of chopped up white chocolate chips to give it some extra sweetness, but I think they are perfect on their own. I served them with greek yogurt and it was a perfect breakfast and alternative to these Sticky Buns that were on the table.
Source: Cookin' Canuck

1 1/2 cups of Old Fashioned Oats
1/3 cups of Pecans, chopped
1 tablespoons of Flax Seeds
3/4 cup of Almond Butter
3 tablespoons of Agave Nectar or Honey
1/4 teaspoon of Cinnamon
3/4 cup of Grated Carrot, packed
1/3 cup of Raisins

First, in a large bowl combine the oats, pecans, and flax seeds.

Now, add the almond butter, agave nectar/honey, and cinnamon; stir well.

Lastly, stir in the carrots and raisins.

Using a medium cookie scoop or a tablespoon measurement, roll 2 tablespoons of the mixture in your hand. I found it worked best to spray your hand with cooking spray to prevent sticking and to put the mixture in you hand and squeeze making a fist until it stuck together.

Place granola bites on a sheet pan and refrigerate for one hour.

Keep in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Friday, October 18, 2013

Mini Honey Corn Dog Muffins

These little bites are so perfect. They are perfect for kids, I would imagine, but since I don't have any kids to taste test these on, I have the adult verdict: They are amazing with a cold beer and football on TV. Really, these are easy to make and the perfect food for mindless snacking. On football days, aka, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, my husband loves to have snacks, sometimes more than meals.

One of the best things about this recipe is that you can easily bake them, toss them into a ziplock bag, and put them in the freezer, then just place them into the microwave for 1-2 minutes to warm them up. This recipe made about 50 mini-muffins, so the other half went into the freezer for a really quick game-day snack. I bet these would be a great addition to a kid's lunchbox.

This recipe was part of a recipe swap I participated in, it is hosted by The Taste of Home Cooking, and I got the blog The Jey of Cooking. This was a perfect recipe for me, because I had already been planning on making these. We loved every bite of them! The batter was really flavorful and I loved that these were lightened up by using applesauce and whole wheat flour. It makes snacking on these feel a little less dangerous!
Source: The Jey of Cooking

1/4 cup of Melted Butter
1/4 cup of Applesauce, unsweetened
1/2 cup of Sugar
1 tablespoon of Honey
2 Eggs
1 cup of Buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon of Baking Soda
1 cup of Cornmeal
1/2 cup of All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup of Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 teaspoon of Salt
8 All-Beef Hotdogs, cut into 1 inch pieces

First, pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Spray your mini-muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Now, in a large bowl, whisk the butter, applesauce, sugar, and honey together. Whisk in the eggs until well combined, and then the buttermilk.

Next, in a medium sized bowl, combine the baking soda, cornmeal, both flours, and salt.

Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk until combined, add the other half in and mix well.

Place one tablespoon of the mixture into each mini-muffin tin, place a hot dog in the center.

Bake for 12-14 minutes until the cornbread is done.

Serve with ketchup and mustard.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Honey Walnut Shrimp

I have proclaimed my love for remaking our favorite take out dishes at home before, and this is just another great example. Honey Walnut Shrimp is always the most expensive dish on the menu {or at least a top contender}, I made 4 servings of this dish for a fraction of the price it would be to order 4 servings at a restaurant. I think it is also a pretty dead on representation of the honey walnut shrimp at Panda Express.

This doesn't take long to make and is impressive, filling, and you will not be craving fast food anymore!
Source: Damn Delicious, originally Rasa Malaysia

1/2 cup of Sugar
1/2 cup of Walnut Halves
1 cup of Vegetable Oil
3 tablespoons of Mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons of Honey
1 1/2 teaspoons of Condensed Milk
1 lb. of Shrimp, medium size, peeled & deveined
Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 Large Egg
1/2 cup of Cornstarch
Rice & Green Onions, for serving

First, prepare 4 servings of rice, according to the directions on the package. Set aside.

While your rice is cooking, heat 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Add the sugar and stir constantly until the mixture is golden and thickened. Toss the walnut halves in and coat. Spread on parchment paper to harden.

Now, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.

While the oil is heating, in a large bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, honey, and condensed milk together. Set aside.

Season the shrimp liberally with lots of salt and pepper. Working one at a time, dip the shrimp into the egg and then the cornstarch, pressing down to adhere onto the shrimp. Add shrimp to the hot oil in batches of 8-10 shrimp, cooking for 1-2 minutes per side. Place on paper-towel lined plates until all the shrimp is cooked. Toss the shrimp in the bowl with the sauce.

Serve immediately over rice and topped with walnuts and chopped green onions.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Monday, October 14, 2013

Browned Butter Alfredo Pasta

Fall has arrived here in North Carolina and with temperatures dropping, I am starting to crank up my crock-pot again and serving warm foods. This is one of the easiest meals to prepare and it has great flavors, you can really taste all of the rich components. They combine together to make a decadent meal that you will make over and over. The sauce is made in the time it takes to boil the pasta, so it is seriously quick. I served this over whole wheat pasta and loved every bite! This dish only has 6 ingredients, including the pasta & salt and pepper. It makes for an easy grocery list!

You could easily serve a protein of your choice on top, but pasta is so filling, I didn't feel we needed it. My husband has deemed this alfredo sauce his new favorite and I see why, I think browned butter makes everything better. Remember these cookies?  I will have to agree with him, this pasta was pretty delicious.
Source: Lauren's Latest

1 lb. of Pasta
1/2 cup of Salted Butter
1 cup of Heavy Cream
1 1/2 cups of Parmesan Cheese, grated
Salt & Black Pepper, to taste


First, prepare your pasta according to package directions.

While your pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large saucepan or deep skillet over medium heat. Swirl the pan occasionally, when the butter starts to turn to a medium-brown color, immediately reduce heat to low and stir in the cream.

Now, stir in the cheese and make sure it has melted completely. Taste and add in lots of salt and pepper.

Toss the drained warm pasta with the sauce.

Serve immediately.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pan-Seared Pork Tenderloin with Whole Grain Mustard Pan Sauce

AKA the best meal in the world. I don't come on here and boast that everything I make is the best, because there are so many yummy meals out there, but this sauce is extraordinary. Something else that makes it pretty dang close to perfect, it is so easy to make.

My husband gave this rave reviews, he wants to put it on a restaurant menu, then followed by a really sad face realizing he would not be having it for a long time, the downside to being married to a food blogger.

This sauce would be perfect over any meat that you would like to serve it with turkey or chicken, but we really loved it over the pork. I also popped some halved baby red potatoes in the oven, on a pan wrapped in aluminum, drizzled with salt, pepper, and olive oil and let them bake while the pork roasted and while I made the sauce. I whipped together a spinach salad and I had a complete meal with almost zero effort.
Source: Serious Eats

1 lb. Pork Tenderloin
1/4 teaspoon of Salt
1/4 teaspoon of Black Pepper
1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
2 tablespoons of Butter
2 tablespoons of Flour
1/2 cup of Dry White Wine
1 cup of Chicken Stock
2 tablespoons of Whole Grain Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup of Heavy Cream
1 tablespoon of Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed
Chives, for garnish, if desired

First, pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.

Now, heat the olive oil in an iron skillet or oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the pork tenderloin with the salt and pepper, use more if needed to liberally coat the tenderloin all over. Sear the pork for a few minutes on each side, until it is golden brown all over.

Bake in the oven in the same pan you used to sear the pork for 30 minutes, or until the pork reaches 145 degrees internally. Remove pork from the oven and place on a plate, cover with aluminum foil to rest until the sauce is finished.

Now, place the pan over medium heat and add the butter. When the butter has melted, sprinkle in the flour, cook for about 1 minute, until golden brown. Pour in the wine and whisk constantly until the mixture has thickened, another minute. Add the chicken stock and mustard, stir until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 2-4 minutes. Stir in the cream and lemon juice and heat until warmed through.

Slice the pork into 1/2 inch pieces and serve with the whole grain mustard pan sauce.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife