Dinner Menu: Spring Flavors

Apple Salad1

Lots of fresh spring flavors in this dinner menu, which is what I need after a long cold week.

On the board tonight:

  1. Herbed Fettuccini
  2. Apple Salad
  3. Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt

Herbed Fettuccini

  • 9 oz fresh fettuccine
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 5 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz fresh spinach, torn
  • ¼ cup snipped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 oz fresh parmesan, grated or goat cheese (chevre)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 6 oz artichokes hearts (opt)

2 large saucepans, large serving bowl

Cook pasta according to pkg. directions. Next bring broth to boiling in second saucepan. Add green onion and spinach. Reduce heat, cook and stir for 2 to 4 minutes or until spinach is slightly wilted. Add parsley, herbs, salt & pepper; mix well. Remove from heat; cover and set aside. Drain cooked pasta and remove to serving dish, cover and keep warm

In saucepan combine cheese, milk, and butter. Cook and stir until cheese is melted. Add pasta; toss to coat. Remove from heat. Add vegetable mixture, hazelnuts, opt artichokes, half of the tomato to the pasta mixture; toss gently to mix, heat until warm through. Transfer back to a serving bowl, garnish with remaining tomato.

Apple Salad

  • 16 oz spring greens, washed
  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  • 2 Fuji (or other sweet red) apples
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 2 oz toasted  slivered almonds
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 oz feta cheese, crumbled

serving bowl

Layer greens in bowl.  Core and cut apples into large chunks.  Layer over greens, add raisins and nuts.  Mix together vinegar, oil, salt & pepper.  Drizzle over salad, toss, then crumble feta over the top.

Note: If you can’t find toasted almonds, heat a skillet, add almonds and stir constantly until they are lightly toasted.


Copyright What’s 4 Dinner Solutions Cookbook: Spring Edition

Shrimp Mornay with Broccoli and Garlic Butter Fettuccine

20150616_170819 (1600x1060)This is another of our favorites, I know I’ve done this here before but that’s never stopped me.  This one is made with Swiss cheese and Parmesan.  I lightly steamed the broccoli and the shrimp and layered them in a casserole with the cheese sauce poured on and a mixture of Parmesan, olive oil, chopped parsley, and bread crumbs spread on top of it all.  If you combine everything while it’s still hot you can finish it under a broiler but you can make it ahead of time and then reheat in a 375 oven until the bread crumbs are toasted.  Today we went with fettuccine in garlic butter but rice or mashed potatoes would work well.

Shrimp and Crab Mornay with Fettuccine

DSC_6472 [1600x1200]I finally used those shrimps that I’ve been moving back and forth in the freezer while looking for something else.  Mrs J mentioned that it’s been a while since we did the seafood mornay sauce and so here we are.  A mornay sauce is just a basic white sauce with cheese.  I cleaned up some partial bags of cheeses making this one.  There’s mozzarella, provolone, Monterey jack, Parmesan, and a fair amount of pepperjack cheese.  The cheese sauce is covering it so you can’t tell but there is broccoli in there with the shrimp and crab meat..  The sauce baked with a sprinkle of bread crumbs covering it.  The fettuccine is in a garlic butter sauce.  I plated the noodles separate from the Mornay this time and combined them as I ate but you could do the entire meal in a single casserole as you would dish we call a “noodle bake”.  Gives it a hamburger helper vibe, that way.  LOL

Spicy Shrimp Tomato Fettuccine

Mrs J suggested shrimp and pasta for dinner tonight.  Sounded great to me so I Googled shrimp + spicy+ fettuccine.  The spicy because I had some red chili flavored pasta I was itching to use. Quickly turned up this recipe, it looked good and I had everything but the fresh tomatoes.  I did have some diced tomatoes in a can, and some dried tomatoes in olive oil, and some tomato pesto that seemed like a good fit for the recipe.  I gave it a go.

I probably had more than a pound of shrimp, not a problem!  I used 2 cans of the tomato bits, drained.  Came to 2 cups plus.  I doubled the sour cream and the pepper flakes, and the garlic.  Not in the recipe as written, I added a good dollop of the pesto, maybe 4-5 tablespoons, and some of the dried tomatoes that I soaked for a while in warm water and then coarsely chopped.  I’ll guess those at 1/2 cup or so.  As it turned out I could have used more of the dried and less of the canned.  2 cups of the dried and 1/2 cup of the canned would have been killer.  I asked Mrs J during the meal if she could tell that this was a “spicy” recipe and she said well sorta but not very.  I think more red pepper flakes would work fine in this.


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Roast Chicken with Fettuccine

Thawed a whole chicken overnight in the fridge.  I was torn between roasting it in the oven or out on the grill.  My basic laziness won out, I did it in the oven.  Nothing you haven’t seen here before so I won’t go into it.  I will talk about the cheese sauce for the fettuccine.  I had some fresh goat cheese that wasn’t getting any fresher, and a bunch of asparagus that needed dealt with so I plugged those into the Great Gazoogle Recipe Finder.  Plenty of recipes to choose from, I sampled several and went with none of them in particular and several in general.  If that makes any sense.

I ended up roasting the asparagus in a 400 oven for about five minutes after tossing them in olive oil.  For the cheese sauce I made a roux of butter and flour and stirred in some heavy cream and half & half until it thickened and then added about six ounces of the goat cheese and a good dollop of ricotta.  Grated in some lemon zest, and some parmesan.  Dumped the pasta and the sauce into a bowl with the asparagus and tossed it together.  Sliced the chicken into chunks and layered that on for a picture then plated some for Mrs J and myself.  Good stuff.  The sauce got a bit thick, perhaps some of the pasta water stirred into the sauce would have helped that.


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Garden Fresh Pasta Sauce

After a trip to the farmer’s market it’s time to make a nice, fresh pasta sauce for Sunday dinner.  I’m using fresh pasta, plain, not  flavored pasta, since there are so many flavors in the sauce.  I prefer linguine to spaghetti or fettuccine, but whatever works best for you is perfect.

Garden Fresh Pasta Sauce

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons crushed garlic (start with one, add more as desired)
  • 4-6 medium to large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn or chopped – more as desired
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano leaves (I like a cute little leaf called ‘pizza oregano’), torn or chopped – more as desired
  • 1 carrot, finely shredded
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes if you desire some heat

saucepan & pasta serving bowl

Heat oil in saucepan, add onions and garlic; saute on medium heat until onions are transluscent (don’t carmelize onions or scortch garlic).  Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes, starting at medium heat and lowering to simmer when it gently bubbles.  Cook pasta according to package directions, drain.  Add pasta and sauce to pasta bowl and serve with grated parmesan, steamed zucchini and a nice crusty loaf of bread.  I know it’s popular to serve bread with dipping oil, but I still prefer garlic butter.

Serves 4  generously.