Shrimp & Asparagus Pasta in a Lemon Caper Butter Sauce

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Pinch of Everything

I loosely followed three different recipes to make this dish and was very happy with how it turned out.

The first recipe was my inspiration: Shrimp Scampi Pasta with Asparagus (VIDEO Recipe)

Ingredients

½ lb spaghetti
1 lb (or 1 bundle) asparagus, rinsed
3 Tbsp butter, divided
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced (about 1½ Tbsp)
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined (16-20 or 21-25 count)
Sea Salt and Pepper
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large or 2 small lemons)
⅓ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
Grated Parmesan to serve

Instructions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 Tbsp salt and 1 Tbsp olive oil and cook pasta according to package instructions until aldente, or desired doneness (meanwhile, continue with recipe). Drain pasta, return to pot and cover to keep warm.

Trim asparagus to remove…

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Creamy Pesto Pasta Primavera With Shrimp (BLW Contributor)

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On a recent Rachael Ray Show with guest Emeril Lagasse, they made a pasta primavera with saffron cream featuring one of my favorite vegetables, asparagus. Asparagus is in its seasonal prime right now and looking its glorious best; skinny smooth stalks and tight heads with no signs of flowering or wilting. And if the sight of gorgeous asparagus isn’t enough, Rachael gives it even more sex appeal by cutting it on a bias! The audience swoons…

When I attended public school back in the Jurassic Period, we had enough time in the day to take elective classes in art and music. During the ceramics chapter, my art teacher tasked us with making our favorite food out of clay. Amid an abundance of kiln-fired pizza, popcorn, hot dogs, and hamburgers on display at the end of the week was my realistically sculpted, painted green stalk of asparagus. It turns out I…

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Corn, Bacon and Parmesan Pasta Recipe – Oh, my!

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Oh, hi, I am ready for summer now. What did I miss? Because the first half of this summer was so busy — a manuscript due, a redesign set off into the world, a birthday, and a zillion other bits of happy work/life chaos — I’m in this funny position of looking up for the first time mid-July and realizing that no mysterious person has arrived while I was buried in winter recipe testing and font fine-tunings and filled my freezer with popsicles, put a bowl of heirloom tomatoes on the counter, ready for their caprese closeup [realistically, this doesn’t happen even if I had been paying attention, but let me enjoy this rose-colored Pinterest fantasy just the same] and beach? Hadn’t seen it since May. I have about seven weeks left to catch up, except I know at least five of those will be buried under recipe testing and book edits, which basically means it’s now or never to do all the summer things I haven’t yet. Beach? Check. Swimming? Check. Grilling? Check, check, check. Scheduled 7-hour flight with 4 adults and 5 children to a faraway beach town in the name of vacation? I’m scared but: check! Do everything I can with sweet summer corn while it lasts? Let’s get to work!

Check out the whole recipe via corn, bacon and parmesan pasta — smitten kitchen

Bacon, Onion and Rye Breard Stuffing Recipe

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INGREDIENTS

  1. One 9-inch-long loaf seeded rye bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  2. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  3. 1 large sweet onion, such as Vidalia, halved and thinly sliced
  4. 1 celery rib, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  5. 1 teaspoon chopped sage
  6. 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  7. 1/2 pound piece of slab bacon, sliced 1/2 inch thick and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  8. 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  9. 1 egg
  10. 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  11. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toast the rye bread cubes for about 15 minutes, tossing once halfway through, until lightly golden and dry. Transfer the bread to a large bowl.
  • In a skillet, melt the butter. Add the onion and celery; cook over moderate heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the sage and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Scrape into the bowl with the bread.
  • Wipe out the skillet. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat until browned, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to the bowl with the bread. In a medium bowl, whisk the chicken broth with the egg. Pour over the bread mixture and add the kosher salt and pepper. Toss until the bread soaks up the liquid. Scrape into the prepared baking dish and cover with foil. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Bake the stuffing for about 30 minutes, until hot throughout. Remove the foil and bake for about 30 minutes longer, until the top is lightly golden. Serve hot or warm.

Credit: Food & Wine

Bacon-Wrapped Breadsticks Recipe

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Ingredients

  • 24 bacon strips
  • 2 tubes (11 ounces each) refrigerated breadsticks
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

Nutritional Facts

1 breadstick equals 189 calories, 12 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 18 mg cholesterol, 425 mg sodium, 13 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 6 g protein.

Directions

  1. Wrap a bacon strip around each breadstick; place on baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

In a shallow bowl, combine cheese and garlic powder. Roll warm breadsticks in cheese mixture. Yield: 2 dozen.

Photo Credit: Bread, Booze & Bacon

Happy Pasta Day!!! – Loaded Chicken Carbonara

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LOADED CHICKEN CARBONARA

Ingredients

6 slices bacon, chopped

1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

  • 
salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 
3 cloves garlic
  • 
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 
1/2 cup white wine
  • 
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 
3 large eggs
  • 
1 gallon water
  • 
1 pound spaghetti
  • 
2 cups frozen peas

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  • PREP
   20 mins
  • COOK
   45 mins
  • READY IN  
1 hr 10 mins

Directions

  • Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove bacon from skillet with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Drain fat from skillet, reserving 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings.
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon bacon drippings in the skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken breast halves in the bacon drippings until no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, about 5 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). Transfer to cutting board and tent with foil. Rest chicken for 5 minutes before slicing; set aside.
  • Heat remaining tablespoon bacon drippings in skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Cook and stir garlic and ground black pepper in skillet until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour wine into skillet; cook at a simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Whisk Parmesan cheese and eggs together in a bowl. Slowly stream wine mixture into the Parmesan mixture while whisking continually.
  • Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through but firm to the bite, about 12 minutes. Remove 1/2 cup of the water from the pot for later use.

Put the peas in a large colander. Drain the pasta in the colander with the peas. Return drained pasta and peas to the pot. Stir bacon, chicken, and wine mixture into the spaghetti. Thin sauce with reserved pasta water as desired.

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Happy Linguine Day!!! – Linguine with Shrimp Scampi

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Ingredients

Vegetable oil

1 tablespoon kosher salt plus 1 1/2 teaspoons

3/4 pound linguine

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)

1 pound large shrimp (about 16 shrimp), peeled and deveined

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

1/2 lemon, zest grated

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)

1/4 lemon, thinly sliced in half-rounds

1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

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Directions

Drizzle some oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the linguine, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or according to the directions on the package.

Meanwhile, in another large (12-inch), heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic. Saute for 1 minute. Be careful, the garlic burns easily! Add the shrimp, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and the pepper and saute until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat, add the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.

When the pasta is done, drain the cooked linguine and then put it back in the pot. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well, and serve.

Credit: Food Network

Happy Grilled Cheese Day!!! – How to make The Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich

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A grilled cheese is a grilled cheese, right? I mean, it’s the first meal that most of us learn how to cook at home by ourselves. It’s the perfect midnight snack or soup-dipper. It’s great for kids but is never turned down by an adult. It’s salty, gooey, crisp, buttery, and comforting in all the right ways.

But there’s grilled cheese, then there’s GRILLED CHEESE. When you’re faced with a perfect grilled cheese, globules of cheese slowly oozing out of the edges, a pure, even golden-brown face suffused deeply with butter, you know even before you bite into it if the experience is going to be transcendental. It’s the way you can feel the butter in the bread, but it doesn’t leave your fingers greasy (at least not too greasy). The way the crust is crisp but flexes ever-so-slightly so that you know there is a layer of tender crumb waiting underneath before you hit the molten core. The way the aroma—that buttery, brown aroma—curls up into your nose just before you take the first bite.

And that’s all before you even get that glorious cocktail of textures and fat into your mouth.

So how do you get there? What are the secrets to the best grilled cheese?

We’ve learned a thing or two about it over the years. Here are our best tips and our favorite recipe.

THE CHEESE

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A grilled cheese doesn’t work with just any old cheese. You’ve got to have a cheese with just the right melting characteristics. Dry, crumbly, fresh cheeses like goat cheese won’t melt properly. Ditto for overly aged cheeses like a parmesan or hard Pecorino. For the true classic flavor, nothing is better than ultra-gooey, not-too-sharp American cheese. As we found in our American Cheese taste test, so long as you aren’t going for vegan cheese slices, any old American cheese will do. I personally use Kraft Deli Deluxe Singles.

If you want to get fancy, a young cheddar, Swiss-style cheeses like Gruyère (or its French cousin Comté), or young Italian and French cheeses like young Fontina, Tallegio, or Brie go well, too. As long as it melts, it’s got a place in our sandwiches.

If you do like the flavor of a non-melter, it’s acceptable to treat it like another topping—that is, pair it with a cheese that does melt. A mozzarella and feta combo makes a fine sandwich, as does a Fontina and Parmigiano, for instance.

When at all possible, it’s best to go with sliced cheese as opposed to grated. It is easier to distribute evenly, is less prone to making odd holes in the interior of your sandwich, and melts better (many of the best melting cheeses are too soft to grate effectively).

THE BREAD

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Aside from necessarily being sliced, the only other rule here is that it can’t be too hole-y (or your cheese will drip out), and it can’t be sliced too thick (lest your cheese won’t melt). White bread and American is what many of us grew up on, but if you want to go fancier, feel free to use a nice hand-sliced Italian ciabatta, a good sourdough, or a French boule. Grilled cheese is a great way to use up day-old bread, as the grilling process will resuscitate it a bit.

I use either Pepperidge Farm or Arnold white sliced sandwich bread for my grilled cheese. It’s got a bit more substance than Wonderbread and its ilk, but not so much that it becomes tough. If you can get your hands on it, Japanese-style shokupan will make the finest grilled cheese you’ve ever had.

THE METHOD

Low and slow is the way to go with grilled cheese. Not so slow that the bread dehydrates, but slow enough that you can achieve a thick, even, golden brown crust on each side before the sandwich starts to burn. This means using a heavy pan. The easiest is to use a non-stick pan with an an aluminum core, which will distribute heat evenly and allows you to swirl your sandwich around, achieving more even cooking. A cast iron skillet that’s been preheated for about 10 minutes over low/medium-low heat will work as well.

Make sure to use enough butter so that it really forms a good layer of contact with the bread. Butter does more than add fat and flavor—it provides a medium through which heat is distributed. If you don’t use enough butter, you’ll get spotty browning. Also, do not allow your butter to burn or brown. The browning should be slow browning of the proteins and sugars in the bread, not the milk solids in the butter.

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Grill the bread on both sides.

The best method I’ve ever seen for making a perfect grilled cheese comes from Adam Kuban. His secret? Grill the bread on both sides. That’s right. Grill two slices of bread in butter, flip’em over so that the browned sides are facing up, add your cheese, and close your sandwich so that the cheese is sandwiched between the browned surfaces. Not only will this get you better tasting bread infused with more butter, but it’ll also give your cheese a head start on getting extra-melty.

I only ever use unsalted butter at home (it’s more versatile), but I always felt there was something missing from my grilled cheese sandwiches until I realized that without the salt added from salted butter, that childhood flavor just wasn’t there. Seasoning the cooked sandwich with a pinch of kosher salt solves that problem nicely.

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National Empanada Day!!! – Paula Deen’s Chicken Empanadas Recipe

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Ingredients

3 cups chopped, cooked chicken

1 (8-ounce) package shredded Colby and Monterey Jack cheese blend

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts

Water

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Lightly grease a baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine the chicken and next 7 ingredients. Unroll 1 piecrust onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 15-inch circle. Cut out rounds, using a 3-inch cookie cutter. Re-roll dough as needed. Repeat procedure with remaining piecrusts, making 12 to 15 circles total. Arrange 1 round on a clean, flat surface. Lightly brush the edges of crust with water. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of chicken mixture in the center of the round. Fold the dough over the filling, pressing the edges with a fork to seal. Repeat with the remaining rounds and chicken mixture. (Up to this point, the recipe can be made ahead and frozen for up to 1 month). Arrange empanadas on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.

Credit: Food Network

You’re Welcome – KFC Double Down Dog Recipe

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KFC gave its Double Down Dog to the world (well, the Philippines). That’s a hot dog snuggled into a bun made of fried chicken and then drizzled in cheese sauce.

Obviously, the world lost its collective mind.

And then tried to copy it at home.

Now, US food blogger and self-confessed food junkie JP Lambiase of HellthyJunkFood has shared his recipe on YouTube so you can try it for yourself.

First, a disclaimer: the start of the video is a little confused. JP seems to think the Double Down Dog was only available in South Korea (it was the Philippines – the Zinger Double Down King was released in South Korea).

Also, JP uses some ingredients only available in the US, but they’re pretty easy to substitute.

First, he creates the cheese sauce by mixing 1 part Taco Bell Salsa Queso (substitute Doritos Nacho Cheese dip in the UK), 1/2 part relish and 1/2 part mustard. He then heats in the microwave to serve. 

Then, it’s all about the bun. He takes a chicken breast and cuts it in half, but not all the way, so it opens up flat. He trims off the excess to create a perfect bun shape. 

He then dips in flour (seasoned with salt and pepper), before dipping twice in egg wash for a double coat. The bun is then fried for six minutes at 365°F. 

After that, grill a hot dog, pop it in your fried chicken bun and slather it in in cheesy mustard relish.

JP then made sweet, sweet love to it. But, we’ll leave that entirely up to you. 

The *good* news? The homemade version comes in at 550 calories vs. the KFC dawg, which weighs in at 950 calories. Enjoy.

Credit: Metro