Tag Archives: railroad wife

Creamy Mushroom Prosciutto Fettuccine

I was craving a hearty, but not heavy meal, which isn’t easy to do with Italian food.  Usually I end up with meatballs, parmigiana, cheesy manicotti…but not this time!  The fettucine is coated in a light, buttery cream sauce that isn’t too rich and the mushrooms really fool you into having a hearty meat-filled meal.   However, since I cannot fix my hubby’s brain into believing mushrooms can substitute as meat, the prosciutto had to happen!  Frankly, I’m ever grateful for it!  The thinly sliced Italian charcuterie and mushrooms make for such Umami flavor!!

*Umami:  delicious, savory taste.  One of my favorites of one’s five basic taste buds.*

**A nice addition in the Springtime is to add blanched sweet peas or even asparagus to this pasta dish!  Great flavor, freshness and vibrant color!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 8 slices thinly cut prosciutto, crisped
  • 1 lb mushrooms (mixed with any variety of mushrooms.  I used baby bella, portabella and rehydrated shitake)
  • 3 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup chicken stock (not broth, but stock)
  • 1 pckg fettuccine noodles
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Kosher salt and pepper

Garnish

  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Fresh thyme

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Begin by heating the 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Place the thinly sliced prosciutto in a single layer into the hot oil and fry up (similar to bacon) until crisp.  I prefer mine super crispy, but cook to your liking!  Once crisped, transfer to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.

In that same pot, heat the now prosciutto flavored oil to high heat and add in the 1lb of assorted mushrooms, cooking for 7-8 minutes.  Turn the heat down to medium-low and add in the shallots, 1 tsp of fresh thyme and season with salt and pepper.  Sauté all together for a couple of minutes, till shallots soften.  Finally, reduce the heat to low and pour in the chicken stock.  Bring to a simmer and allow to cook down for 5-7 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook your pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water.  You want the fettuccine to be quite al dente, so boil about 3-4 minutes less than package directions.

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Transfer the very al dente pasta, using tongs, to the pot of mushroom mixture.  Ladle 1 cup of the pasta cooking water into the mix as well.   Crumble half of prosciutto into pot.

Increase heat to medium, bring to a simmer, and cook, tossing constantly, until pasta is now perfectly al dente and liquid is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add cream, return to a simmer, and cook, tossing, until pasta is coated, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, add the butter, and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt if needed.

Transfer to your serving bowl(s) and top with the remaining prosciutto, parmesan cheese and fresh thyme!  Enjoy!

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Slow Cooker Loaded Potato Cheese Soup

Growing up in my home, my parents and I being from the mid-west, comfort food was key.  Warm soups, braises, steak and potatoes, you get the idea…Yes, even in the hot Arizona desert, I knew I was at the right address when the smell of meatloaf waft towards the drive as the street lights turned on.

Now, when we did have the occasional dinner out, we loved Marie Callendars.  Remember that place?  It has since closed so, so many of its doors that it makes me literally sad.  So many memories growing up eating their comforting dinners after cheer and football practices, dance recitals, a great report card…which was always followed by one of their fantastic slices of homemade pie!  *Sorry Marie, I love you but your frozen meals and pie do not hold a candle to your restaurant staples I enjoyed as a child.

That All being said, I was apparently craving my comfort food!  The warm, always delicious potato cheese soup I would just short of lap up from Marie’s salad bar was on my mind.  Now they didn’t garnish theirs as I do mine (I win here), but the flavor is so close that I no longer have to mourn my childhood chain restaurant…well, that is until I figure out their Frisco Burger and Lemon Cream Cheese Pie.

*I really recommend buying chicken STOCK vs chicken broth.  It’s just a bit more in cost but thousands more in flavor!

The Starting Lineup

  • 5-6 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2″ chunks
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I love Velveeta’s new original shredded)
  • a HEFTY pinch of kosher salt and a pinch of pepper

Garnish

  • Bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • Green onions, sliced
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (I love Velveeta’s new shredded Cheddar)

potatosoup

Spray your slow-cooker with a bit of non-stick spray.  Next place in the peeled chunks of potatoes, diced onions, sliced celery and minced garlic.  Pour the chicken stock directly over top and add in that salt and pepper!  (The stock will not fully cover the potatoes..and that’s perfect!)

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Cover and set to low for 8 hours!  ..here is where you head off to work, tend to the home and loved ones or take yourself a nap and relax!

About 30 minutes before you’re ready to eat you will remove the lid of the now tender potatoes and with a potato masher, mash away!  I like to leave a bit of chunks in mine however for texture.

To this, stir in the heavy cream along with the 2 cups of shredded cheese.  Replace the cover and allow to come back up to heat (20-30 minutes).

While it is heating, if desired, crisp up some bacon and slice the green onions and shred your cheddar (if not pre-shredded).

Ladle into large bowls (trust me…no need to get up for seconds when you have a big bowlful!) and top with your favorite garnishes!  Serve alongside warm crusty bread with softened butter and you will have you and your family quite the comfort meal!

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Sausage Waffle Dippers

Sunday: a day of rest and brunch.  Yep, that pretty much sums up my perfect last day of the week.  *I know, I KNOW…on a calendar it is technically the first day of the new week,  but no one I hang with really believes that.  

My brunch varies, we’re often with a cheesy omelette or quiche or eggs Benedict, but this particular day was for the kids..the kid in all of us!  My lil boys, being lil boys, love pancakes, waffles, sausage, bacon..you get the picture.  Good ol’ American breakfasts.  They also LOVE to dip their food and I just happened to have these handy wooden skewers in the pantry (I have zero idea what I originally bought them for, but they fit the bill here) that needed some use out of them.  Combine a few pantry staple ingredients and you may just be deemed parent of the year!  Well at least for today..at breakfast time..

*I did use pancake/waffle mix..but I must be honest.  Homemade waffle mix would be better..though I doubt your kids will really notice, nor care.

The Starting Lineup

  • Waffle mix (store bought or homemade)
  • Sausage links, cooked
  • Wooden skewers
  • Syrup, to dip

**The vegetable oil was needed for the pancake/waffle mix per instructions.


Spray your waffle iron with non-stick spray if necessary and heat to medium heat.

Prepare your store bought OR homemade waffle batter and cook your sausage links through if they’re not already precooked.  *Mine were precooked, but I recommend still warming up for a minute or two in a pan, microwave or even on the skewer in the waffle iron before you add the batter.  I also made a double batch of waffle batter per my box for this.

Thread the cooked sausage links onto your wooden skewers individually.  Pour 1/2 of the waffle batter onto the bottom grid of your waffle iron and then immediately place the skewered sausage links over the batter, letting the ends of the sticks hang over the waffle iron side.  Pour remaining batter over top the sausage and close lid.  Cook 5 minutes or until your waffle maker deems them golden brown!  

See them sticks hanging out the side??

Carefully remove from the waffle maker (hot!!!) and cut each waffle in half/so that each serving has a skewered sausage.  Serve alongside warm syrup for dipping, enjoy!!

*Any leftover batter I had, I made extra waffles with no sausage..I have to say though, the adults even dug into the dipping variety! 

Mexican Street Corn & Chicken Chowder

It’s one of those weird weather times of year…Is it hot out?  Is it cold??  Will it be both of those in just one single day?  Yep!  Yep!  Yep!

So while in the daytime I am craving my favorite warm, grilled spicy Mexican corn on the cob, I’m not about to go stand out in the cool evening rain to attempt it.  What’s my solution?  This simple recipe of course!

As I stated just above, I’m all about Mexican street corn.  I’ll take it on the cob (elote) or in a cup (esquites) and now I’ll take it out of my slowcooker in chowder form!  The added shredded chicken in my recipe helps to hearty up this meal and the garnishment of queso fresco, lime, cilantro and chili powder make this legit!  You can’t eat just one bowl, promise!!

*Vegetarian?  Simply omit the chicken and prepare as written.

*The sautéing of the onions/garlic and roasting of the corn is optional, as you can add straight to the slowcooker.  However, you’ll REALLY enhance the flavors of the chowder by doing this one extra step.   The 5 minutes it takes is worth it friends!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 lbs chicken breasts or thighs
  • 2 cans sweet cream corn
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen sweet corn
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth (low-sodium)
  • 2 cups half & half (16oz)
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I.e. Mexican, Colby, jack)
  • 1 can green chiles, undrained 
  • 1/2 packet taco seasoning (low-sodium)
  • 1 tbsp evoo

Garnish

  • Crumbled queso fresco
  • Cilantro
  • Chili powder
  • Mexican crema (like a thinned sour cream)
  • Jalapeños 
  • Lime wedges
  • Mexican hot sauce (i.e. Tapatio)


If you read the opening paragraph to this recipe, you would have noticed the key words ‘simple‘ and ‘easy‘.   So follow along closely 😉 ….

Heat a the extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add in the onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes, till slightly soft and translucent.  Add in garlic and cook for 30-60 sceconds.  Pour the onion/garlic mix into your slow cooker sprayed with a bit of non-stick spray.

In that same pan, crank up the heat a bit and pour in the cup of frozen corn.  Toss and allow to blacken just slightly and then also add to the slow cooker.

Next, add all the remaining ingredients (except the garnishes) to the slow-cooker and stir to just combine.  Cover and set on low for 6-7 hours.  When finished cooking, remove the lid and shred the chicken with two forks.


Ladle into bowls and top with the crumbled cheese, cilantro, chili powder and a squeeze of lime.  Enjoy!!

Taco Tarts

To be honest with everyone, my family are just a bunch of addicts…and our addiction of choice…tacos.

We seriously eat this most amazing dish at least 2-3 times a week, breakfast tacos anyone??   Also, like most of the country, we love our “Taco Tuesday” and have the full on taco bar and cervezas on ice.  However, this past Tuesday I wanted to change things up just for the heck of it.  I was also thinking of what may be easier to eat for my 3 and 5 year old boys.  

Given I had a couple boxes of pre-made pie dough on hand and my 3-year-old was begging for pop tarts, a genius foodie light bulb hit me!  Combine the pop tart idea with the taco ingredients and you have yourself a Taco Tart!!  Besides the oh so cute name, it can be eaten hand-held, so the lil’s are no longer picking up broken shells and ground beef crumbs!  Easy after dinner cleanup for momma!

*Makes 12

*Feel free to tweak the ingredients to your liking, i.e. ground turkey, corn, braised beef or pork, enchilada sauce (yes please!), jack cheese, etc. etc.

*You can absolutely individually wrap these and freeze them for a quick fix and lunch later on!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 boxes pie dough (i.e. Pillsbury, 4 sheets)
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 can beans, drained (pinto or black beans)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Jalapeños, sliced (optional)
  • 1 egg + 1 Tbsp water
  • Olive oil 

Garnish

  • Salsa (roja and/or verde)
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Pico de gallo


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line to baking sheets with foil or parchment paper.

In a large skillet heat 2 tbsps of olive oil over medium heat.  Add in the onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes, till just translucent.

Next, add the ground beef to the onions and cook through.  Drain the grease from the beef and add in the beans of choice, taco seasoning (plus 1 cup of water according to seasoning directions), tomato, cilantro and the optional jalapeños.  Stir together, bring to a boil and then cover and simmer until combined, about 12 minutes.  Once done, remove from heat and allow to slightly cool.

Meanwhile unroll the pie dough (I lightly flour the surface and thin out just a bit with my rolling pin, but that is optional), and using a pizza cutter, cut into 6 pieces.

Spoon the cooled meat mixture into the middle of each pastry square and add a good helping of shredded cheddar cheese.  Top with another pastry square and crimp the edges with a fork, also pierce the top to allow steam to escape.  Finally, brush the egg wash all over the top and place in the oven to bake till golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.

Once golden brown, remove from the oven and serve immediately alongside a couple of delicious salsas, guac, sour cream and fresh pico de gallo…say hello to the new “Taco Tart Tuesday” ;))  Ole! 


Smokey Gnocchi Toscana 

Who doesn’t love Olive Garden’s famous “Zuppa Toscana”?  It’s a delicious blend of sausage, kale and potatoes in a creamy broth…my only small problem with the soup (more so my family’s problem) is it will not fill my hearty boys and husband’s appetite up!  Nope, soup in general just won’t cut it!

Now since I was craving a big bowl of Toscana comfort, I had to figure out a way to change it into something a bit more substantial if it were to be mine.  I have to say, it came pretty easy to me..thank goodness.  How about we make the broth into a rich, more flavor packed cheese sauce and amp up the potato texture by using those fluffy pillows from heaven, otherwise known as gnocchi.  Hey, gnocchi’s are in fact made from potato flour..I do have a little bit of genius left in me.  My boys tend to suck it out of me at times.  I also made sure it was chocked full of (not too) spicy sausage and healthy kale.  Yep, with all those Italian flavors going on, even my boys will slurp up the greens!

Last, but not least, I topped it all off with some crispy, crumbled bacon for another layer of smokey flavor…drooling…

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb Hot Italian Sausage, removed from casing
  • 1 package Gnocchi 
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4+ cups Kale (a Kale/Spinach blend would work too)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 heaping Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk, plus more to thin cheese sauce if needed
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided 1:1
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, divided 1:1
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • A pinch each of salt and pepper
  • 6 strips bacon, cooked and chopped for garnish


First and ALWAYS foremost is prepping your ingredients to have at the ready!!  Chop and mince the garlic and shred the cheese if it hasn’t already been done for you.  I’ll be taking sous chef applications soon 😉

Now onto the cooking part my multi-tasking friends!  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and on a foil lined baking sheet, lay out the bacon and cook till slightly crisp (about 15 minutes, rotating once in the oven).  Remove to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.

Keep the oven on, but drop the temperature to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, bring a large stockpot of salted water up to a boil (for the Gnocchi) and in a separate large pan, heat up the olive oil to medium heat and begin browning the sausage, chopping up with a spoon as you go.

Water boiling: add in Gnocchi and cook for about 2-3 minutes, until they float to the top.  Drain and set aside.

Sausage: once cooked through and slightly crumbled, remove from pan and drain the grease slightly.  *leave about a tablespoon of grease please.

In the same pan that the sausage cooked in add in the onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes.  Add in the kale and garlic and allow to wilt down.  Once quickly wilted, add the sausage back in along with the Gnocchi.  Remove from heat.

Pesto cheese sauce: in a medium sauce pan melt the butter and then whisk in the flour till it makes a rue (paste).  Now you will whisk in the milk for about 3 minutes till starts to thicken.  Add in the pesto, 1/2 of each the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and a pinch of salt and pepper.  *It may get a little thick here, so just thin by whisking another couple tablespoons of milk in at a time until you reach your desired consistency.



You’re at the finish line now!  In a 9×13 baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray, spoon in the Gnocchi, sausage and kale mix.  Pour that super cheesy pesto sauce ALL over and top with the remaining cheeses.  Cover with foil and place in the 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.  

Bump up the oven to 425 degrees and pull the foil off, allowing to bake for another 5-10 minutes, until the cheesy top gets nice and brown.  Remove from oven and relish in the “it smells soooooo good in here” praises!  Make sure to top it all off with the crumbled bacon..NEVER forget the bacon!  *Let rest for 5 minutes before serving..remember it’s going to be hot!  

Serve with a simple salad, warm bread sticks and you have yourself a hit!  

Southern Comeback Sauce

I’ve had a little break from here as of late and it’s not because I was tiring of it.  It was due to my husband and I purchasing our first home (yay!!) and packing and Christmas and New Years and moving and unpacking and two very young kids and life and….oh man am I beat!!  However, my (much much larger) kitchen is at least unpacked and ready to be lovingly used!  Ecstatic doesn’t even describe it!

So I figured it only fitting that for my food blogging comeback, I make a delicious southern favorite, Comeback Sauce!!  More commonly known on the west coast as the simply put fry sauce.

Now the ingredients can vary a bit in this recipe, but one thing remains true of this Mississippi classic..it must contain chili sauce!  It really does take it up a few notches in flavor as opposed to the west-coast strictly Mayo/ketchup blend.  I promise!

One last great thing about the ever famous Southern Comeback Sauce is that it is darn good on everything.  Like everything.  French fries, onion rings, a burger or BLT spread, veggies, fried chicken strips, shrimp or oysters..I could go on and on, but…I’m hungry!  Enjoy!!

*and hey, if you’re not so inclined on making your own, you can buy bottles of this stuff from many southern retailers online! 😉

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 1/4 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1/4 cup chili sauce (2+ Tbsp more if desired)
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1+ tsp Cajun seasoning
  • A couple dashes of Tabasco sauce
  • A pinch of salt and black pepper
  • Small drizzle of olive oil 

This tasty, glorified “fry sauce” could not be easier to prepare!  I absolutely let my little ones in on helping me here since it’s nearly impossible to mess it up.  

In a medium size bowl while using a whisk, simply combine ALL of the above ingredients together.  Make sure to taste and add a bit more Tabasco for heat, maybe more salt or Cajun seasoning or even more mayo if that’s how you like it!  It’s all up to you my friend.

Once just combined, cover with plastic wrap or transfer to a lidded mason jar and refridgerate to allow those flavors to meld.  When ready and if you’re feeling real fun that day…pour into those little paper or plastic fast-food ketchup cups and serve with a big platter of fries, burgers, onion rings, hush puppies…whatever!  It’s good on all!!

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