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Summer Zucchini Season is in full swing so Pasta with Zucchini & Ricotta is the answer to that age old question…

“Hey, would you take some zucchini? I have a ton in my garden!”

That answer should always be, YES!

Quickly sautéed zucchini meets creamy ricotta cheese in a dinner that cooks in just about the time it takes you to boil the pasta.

Here’s what you need:

Zucchini, Onion, Garlic, Lemon, Fresh Basil, Pasta (GF or Regular), Ricotta Cheese, Olive Oil, Pecorino Romano Cheese, Red Pepper Flakes, Salt & Pepper.

Click here for a Pasta with Zucchini & Ricotta Shopping List

I really like to load up this pasta with zucchini. I have 4 medium zucchini…a little over 2 pounds for ¾ pound of pasta. If you are using a full pound of pasta, add at least one more zucchini.

If you wind up with one of those giant zucchinis, you could probably use it for this dish, however I would definitely cut it open and scoop out the seeds with a spoon or melon baller. Zucchini seeds, unless they are really small and tender, will separate from the flesh of the zucchini and float around weirdly in your dish.

Click HERE, there’s more!

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TGIF, Friends! I’ve made you a fancy cocktail. A Gin & Ginger Gimlet!

Wow, what a busy summer this has turned out to be. Sorry for the light posting but life has been crazier than expected.

I’ve made my usual summer migration up to Minnesota to play the opera and we’re opening Sweeney Todd tonight! The singers are ridiculously good and this production is perfect for our outdoor space at the antique flour mill ruins. (Pictures to come.)

So maybe we need a cocktail to celebrate. Or maybe we need a cocktail just because it’s Friday. 

Or maybe just because a Gin & Ginger Gimlet is so dang tasty!

I’ve come up with a couple of variations on this drink since originally making it but here are the basics…

Here’s what you need:

Hendrick’s Gin, Ginger Liqueur (Domaine de Canton or other), Club Soda or Tonic Water, Lime, and Cucumber.

Other garnish options which are highly recommended include fresh mint or basil (not pictured).

Click here for a Gin & Ginger Gimlet Shopping List

I had similar drink recently that was made with gin, ginger ale, and basil and that got me thinking that this would be a great use for the ginger liqueur that has been sitting up in our cabinet. We bought it last summer and made some really tasty bourbon & ginger cocktails that both Jim and I have forgotten how to make. Good grief!

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Hawaiian Glazed Chicken is sort of a happy new recipe accident.

My favorite restaurant near my house is actually a food truck called the The South Pacific Grill (greater Tampa/Brandon area) that serves amazing Hawaiian/Asian influenced food. Their Huli Huli Chicken is TO DIE FOR and since I can’t always get out to their truck for a fix, I thought I’d try to recreate it at home.

  

Well, after scouring the google, combining a lot of ideas, and a couple of experiments, I’m still not very close to making proper Huli Huli Chicken but this last attempt was so good, I figured it deserved to be a featured recipe all on its own.

The chicken cooks quickly so it stays super tender and moist and the sauce has quite a nice tang. I made this on the grill but you could also use a grill pan indoors or even a broiler.

For best flavor, this needs to marinate for several hours – at least 2…4 or 6 is even better, so plan ahead!

Here’s what you need:

Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs, Pineapple Juice, Ketchup, Lime, Ginger, Garlic, Brown Sugar, and Soy Sauce or Tamari

Click here for an Hawaiian Glazed Chicken Shopping List

Click HERE there’s more!

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First a disclaimer about Tarragon Fingerling Potatoes…

This is not a real recipe. 

We can call it a method, but I don’t want anyone to think….oh geez, now she’s boiling potatoes and calling it magical, or anything like that.

I happen to have a friend who texts me with great angst whenever a certain someone on the food network is making something like a BLT or a club sandwich and acting like it’s the first, great sandwich idea anyone’s ever had. Don’t want to make that mistake.

I wasn’t even going to post this but since I’ve had 3 different people email or call me this week asking, “What should I do with these weird little potatoes in my CSA box?” I thought I’d put this up.

Also, I feel like fresh tarragon, one of my favorites, is an herb that is often overlooked.

Here’s what you need:

Fingerling Potatoes (or other small potatoes), Butter, and Fresh Tarragon. Salt & Pepper not pictured.

Fingerlings are just what they sound like…small fresh potatoes that are the shape and size of a thumb or finger.

They’re an early summer favorite at farmer’s markets and as I mentioned have started appearing in farm subscription boxes or CSAs.

If you don’t have a market handy, sometimes my grocery store has them or I buy them at Trader Joe’s. They almost always have them in some form or color.

Click HERE, there’s more!

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Lemon Butter Shrimp Pasta!

This is the latest recipe in our new section of Weeknight Wonders and is a dish I would happily (and easily) make for guests.

Who doesn’t love a recipe with only a few ingredients that cooks in the time it takes to boil water and cook pasta?

I know I do. And yes, the title pretty much says it all….BUTTER! Lemon & Garlic Butter!

Here’s what you need:

Shrimp, Pasta (I have GF), Butter, Lemons, Garlic, Olive Oil (optional), Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, Salt & Pepper.

Also chives or parsley for garnish and goat cheese crumbles for decadence. (not pictured but highly recommended.)

Click here for a Lemon Butter Shrimp Pasta Shopping List

 

This is a recipe I stole from my lovely sister. She took a Williams Sonoma recipe for grilled shrimp, tweaked it, and turned it into a glorious pasta dish.

I tweaked it a little more with the addition of goat cheese and also by cooking the shrimp and sauce together in one pot. Having fewer pots and pans to wash is always fine with me. (You only need the olive oil if you decide to cook the shrimp separately from the butter sauce.)

Click HERE, there’s more!

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Cheesy Chipotle Mashed Potatoes is the companion recipe to yesterday’s Crockpot Shredded Chicken with Chipotles.

But let me assure you that you might soon be making these potatoes to go with EVERYTHING!

These potatoes are sooooo good. Nice big chunks of potatoes with just a smoky hint of chipotle for a little zip.

If you didn’t advertise the chipotles, I’m betting that people would wonder what that wonderful, warm flavor was.

Here’s what you need:

Red Potatoes, Butter, Green Onions, Chipotles in Adobo, Milk, Cheddar Cheese, Salt & Pepper

Click here for a Cheesy Chipotle Mashed Potatoes Shopping List

I have 3 pounds of small, red potatoes that I’ve rinsed and cut in quarters.

Place them in a large pot and fill with water to cover the potatoes by an inch.

Bring the pot to a boil over high heat and cook until the potatoes are fork tender and soft, about 12-15 minutes.

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Crockpot Shredded Chicken with Chipotles.

Oooh…this is a good one!

Super easy because the crockpot or slow cooker does all the work for you. Super simple because it has just a few ingredients that are readily available at any grocery store or that you probably already have at home. SUPER tasty because chipotles, chicken, and slow cooking are a match made in taste heaven.

Even though the cooking time is long, since the crockpot does all the work, I think this definitely qualifies as a Weeknight Wonder! 

Make this as spicy or as mild as you’d like. Stuff it in burritos, tacos, on a salad, or put it on a plate with the worlds most amazing Smoky Chipotle Mashed Potatoes (recipe coming tomorrow.)

Here’s what you need:

Chicken, Onion, Garlic, Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, Brown Sugar, Ketchup, Red Wine Vinegar, Paprika, Smoked Paprika, Chili Powder (not pictured), Cinnamon, Cumin, Salt & Pepper

Click here for a Crockpot Shredded Chicken with Chipotles Shopping List

I got this fantastic recipe from my friend Larry in Minneapolis. I stay at his house when I’m playing in the orchestra up north. On my first day there he brought me into the kitchen, opened a bunch of containers from the fridge, and had an impromptu tasting of spicy, smoky, shredded chicken and REALLY good mashed potatoes.

I immediately pumped him for information and the recipes and made both when I got back home.

The only thing I did differently than Larry was to change the quantities just a bit. Any time I’m doing something in the slow cooker/crockpot, I want to fill it up so we will have leftovers. So this recipe is sort of a double batch of chicken…at least 6 servings.

Click HERE, there’s more!

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Thai Beef Rice Bowls!

Rice, savory beef, tons of veggies, and fresh green herbs are having a bowl party and you’re invited.

We had these last night and then I ate the leftovers as a salad for lunch today so I think a big thumbs up is appropriate.

These are easy to make and extremely versatile. Leave out something if you have a picky eater (or forget to buy an ingredient like green onions) and feel free to add other veggies like peppers (my addition), edamame, or sprouts.

Here’s what you need:

Ground Beef, Rice, Garlic, Jalapeño Pepper, Bell Pepper, Carrots, Chicken Broth, Tamari/Soy Sauce, Asian Fish Sauce, Olive Oil, Limes, Fresh Basil, Fresh Cilantro, Fresh Mint, Sugar, Sriracha Sauce (optional), Salt & Pepper

Click here for a Thai Beef Rice Bowls Shopping List

This recipe comes from a couple of places and I made my own additions/substitutions so I’m not really sure who should get the credit. I first saw it in Bon Appétit  and then saw a version on Shutterbean and then again at my local Publix. As I mentioned, I added more veggies and more herbs so at least I can take credit for the greenery.

Click HERE, there’s more!

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Remember my addiction to funky salads?

Well, sign me up for a BIG BOWL of Charred Cauliflower Salad!

We’ve learned that roasting vegetables does weird and wonderful, flavorful things. Well so does charring in a pan.

This salad, like several recipes featured here at Idiot’s Kitchen, was first made for me by my friend Jen in Minneapolis. She took a recipe for roasted cauliflower and figured out the pan charring method. Then she made a big bowl and brought it to the symphony carpool!

It is SO good! You definitely need to try this one.

Here’s what you need:

Cauliflower, Bell Pepper (big or little – any color), Garlic, Lemon, Olive Oil, Cilantro (or parsley), Feta Cheese, Pine Nuts, Cumin, Thyme, Oregano, Cayenne, Smoked Paprika (not pictured), Sesame Seeds, Salt & Pepper.

Click here for a Charred Cauliflower Salad Shopping List

A note about the spices – the original recipe called for Zataar, a middle eastern spice blend. I didn’t have any and neither did my store – although I later found it at Penzeys (spelled Zatar) and at Spice & Tea Exchange (spelled Zahtar).

So in absence of the real thing, I used the google and put together my own blend:

In a small bowl, combine 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, and a dash of cayenne pepper. I also later added 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika which really made a big flavor boost. Combine all the spices and set aside.

You can really put whatever spice blend you’d like or have on hand in this salad. It’s very adaptable. Next time I might try a more Italian seasoning and add some fresh basil and maybe a chopped tomato. Lots of options.

Click HERE, there’s more!

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Hi Friends! Long time, no see!

Also long time, no cooking around here. The symphony season (and thus the driving season) has finally hit a short pause. I had every intention of posting recipes from the road these past two weeks but life got a little too crazy.

I flew from Tampa to Kansas City then drove to Wichita, back to Kansas City, to Minneapolis, up to Duluth (and back & forth Duluth to Mpls 4 more times) back to Kansas City and finally flew back to Tampa all in the last two weeks. It was glorious and fun but exhausting too.

Not much time for cooking in that schedule. I did make a some tried and true Idiot’s Kitchen favorites (Sweet Chili Glazed Salmon, Maple Braised Pork Chops, Chicken Marsala, and Quick Shrimp & Grits) for my parents while I was at home but didn’t have a chance to explore any new recipes.

One Pan Baked Smoked Sausage is a recipe that my sister suggested for our new category of Weeknight Wonders! These are super easy recipes with a few simple ingredients that you can get on the table fast. I could definitely have used this last week.

Here’s what you need:

Smoked Sausage (I used 2 packages), Small Red Potatoes, Bell Pepper (only one), Onion, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper

Click here for a One Pan Baked Smoked Sausage Shopping List

This recipe is a bit of a riff on our every popular Baked Italian Sausage with Peppers & Onions. I was planning to roast some potatoes but then got the idea to put the potatoes in the pan for a one pot meal.

Click HERE, there’s more!

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