Taglierini Alla Chitarra-Easy Weeknight Dinner

Taglierini Alla Chitarra
Simple spaghetti tends to be a go-to, weeknight dinner for most families, and if you are like me, spaghetti in the regular meal rotation starts to get intolerable boring. Spaghetti remains on our rotation because my all people will actually eat it, and any mother knows that is a feat in itself. Years ago, an Arkansas neighbor shared Taglierini Alla Chitarra with us, and this heavenly version of spaghetti has remained a weeknight and a “good-enough-for-company” favorite.

The star of Taglierini Alla Chitarra is thinly sliced pancetta, aka Italian bacon. Pancetta is paper-thin meat in the deli section of your grocery store, sold prepackaged (vacuum-packed) or sliced fresh at the counter. If purchasing at the counter, ask the attendant to slice it as thinly as possible. Prosciutto can be substituted if Pancetta is not available. I do not recommend the prepackaged cubed version of either meat, as the taste/consistency is lacking.

Another note: Pecorino Romano from the deli may only come in portions larger than 3 oz, but you’re actually buying enough for a few meals if you freeze the unused cheese for later.

Taglierini Alla Chitarra

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
7 oz Pancetta, cut into julienne strips (can substitute Prosciutto)
28 oz. can peeled, crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped (can substitute 1/8 cup dried)
Ground black pepper
3 oz. Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated (can substitute regular Romano)
Fresh Parmesan cheese wedge (topping)
Pasta-Barilla Spaghetti alla Chitarra or Angel Hair
Large saucepan with top

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and Pancetta and brown for 10 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, basil, pepper and Pecorino. Simmer, covered, over very low heat for one hour.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Serve red sauce mixture over cooked pasta and sprinkle with *grated Parmesan cheese. Garnish with fresh basil, if desired.

Freeze any leftovers you do not use.

*The Microplane Zester is the perfect kitchen tool for finely grated hard cheeses. Place on table for individual use.
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Printable Recipe
Taglierini Alla Chitarra
Linking to: Weekend Bloggy Reading

Christmas Recipe Ideas!

Merry Christmas week!  If you are like me, you may feel like Christmas snuck up on you this year and blink! Exams are done, kids are home, and Santa Claus is loading his sleigh!

After a Thanksgiving table blowout, mom and I vowed that our Christmas lunch should be simple…at least simple-er.  If you are putting your final grocery list together and are still wondering “what to fix” or “what to take,” browse through this list of tried-and-true favorites and add the ingredients to your list!  There are just a few listed here, but be sure to browse the pull-down categories on my homepage for even more great recipes!

Here are a few of our Appetizer favorites…

Hot Bacon and Swiss Dip
Hot Bacon Swiss Dip

Marinated Cheese
Marinated Cheese

Seasoned Oyster Crackers (These also make wonderful happies for neighbors, and they are quick and easy to make!)
SeasonedOysterCrackersMain

Cream Cheese Sausage Balls
CreamCheeseSausageBallsMain

If you are looking for a new side dish or two, I promise these will be a favorite at your table!

Green Bean Bundles
Bacon-Wrapped Green Beans

Shoepeg Corn Casserole
ShoepegCornCass

Or perhaps you want a little something different for Christmas Eve Dinner!  These three ideas are always a hit!

Shrimp and Grits Casserole
Shrimp and Grits

Cheese Soup
Cheese Soup

White Bean Chicken Chili
white bean chicken chili
And last but not least…Dessert.  Most of us have traditional pies that have been at our table for years, but maybe you want to throw a little something different in the mix! Here are some ideas:

Chocolate Chip Pie
Chocolate Chip Pie

Double Chocolate Mocha Trifle
DoubleChocolateMochaTrifle

Almond Torte
almond torte

Minnie’s Chocolate Pie (from the movie “The Help”)
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Be sure to let me know if you give any of these recipes a try!  Merry Christmas to you and yours as we celebrate God’s gift of Jesus to the world.

Love,
Amanda

Simple Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce

SimpleSalmonCreamyDillSauce
If you are a salmon-lover like me, you will love this simple version topped with a delicious, creamy dill sauce! My husband is allergic to fish (not shellfish, thankfully!), so for most of our marriage, I’ve given up preparing fish at home. We were craving shrimp recently and stopped by a local seafood market, Indianola Fresh Market.  If you live in Oxford, it’s well-worth a visit! The salmon was so beautiful, we couldn’t pass it up!  I was a little pushed for cooking time that night, and stumbled upon post after post of Pioneer Woman’s instructions for perfect, embarrassingly-easy salmon.  Whip up a quick batch of dill sauce, and you have most of your dinner prepared!

Simple Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce

Salmon Filets
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Lemon wedges for table

Dill Sauce:

1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1 T. chopped fresh dill
1-2 t. prepared horseradish (I omitted)
1 t. fresh lemon juice
1/4 t. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Drizzle each salmon filet with olive oil, coating entire filet.  Sprinkle both sides of filets with salt and pepper.  Arrange filets on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Place baking sheet in a COLD oven, then turn oven on to 400°.  Bake for exactly 25 minutes.  Remove perfect salmon from your oven!

To make dill sauce, mix all ingredients well and refrigerate before serving.

Serve each filet with dill sauce and a lemon wedge.  Garnish with fresh dill sprig, if desired.  Enjoy!

Printable Recipe
SimpleSalmonCreamyDillSauce

Seasoned Chicken Wraps

SeasonedChickenWraps
Many years ago when I was a newlywed learning to cook, and Pampered Chef parties were all the rage, a friend shared these Seasoned Chicken Wraps with me, and we’ve been eating them ever since!  It was so long ago, I cannot remember who gave this to me, but I believe the original recipe was from Pampered Chef.  The following version is a bit different from the original, so you feel free to tweak the seasonings to your family’s taste as well!

Seasoned Chicken Wraps

Preheat oven to 375°.

1 pkg Crescent rolls (8 count)
2-3 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
8 oz block cream cheese, softened
1 box chicken-flavored Stove Top stuffing mix
3 T. melted butter, divided
Salt/Pepper to taste

First, boil the chicken breasts.  For quick meal prep, cook these ahead of time. To get tender, flavorful boiled chicken, bring a large pot of water with a stalk of celery and 1/2 an onion to a rolling boil.  Add chicken breasts and boil uncovered 12 minutes.  Turn heat off, cover, and allow to sit for one hour.  Or boil it plain using same instructions, just without celery and onion.

Shred cooked chicken.  In a mixer, combine chicken, softened cream cheese, 6-8 T. or more (fine crumbs) of Stove Top stuffing mix, 1 T. melted butter, and salt and pepper to taste.  If you feel it needs more flavor for your taste, add desired seasonings now.

Roll crescent dough out and separate into the 8 perforated triangles.  Spoon about 1/2 cup of chicken mixture onto each triangle.
SeasonedChickenWraps2
Roll each triangle starting from the long end.  Brush each wrap with remaining melted butter.  Then, sprinkle each wrap with more Stove Top mix, fine crumbs and some bigger, crunchy pieces.  Transfer wraps to a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until crescent rolls are lightly browned.

Serve immediately and enjoy!
SeasonedChickenWraps
Printable Recipe

Linking to:  Weekend Bloggy Reading

Sweet and Spicy Pork Tenderloin

A few weeks ago, I joined my mom, aunt, and sister in Memphis for a girls’ weekend.  We try to get together about once a year without kids to shop, eat, and play.

GirlsWkndDec2012

 We typically dine in one night, and dine out the other.  This last visit, my aunt served a delicious pork tenderloin one night that I’ve been dying to eat again.  With just three ingredients and tons of flavor, this easy pork tenderloin marinade is perfect for a busy weeknight and tasty enough for company.

SwtSpicyPorkMain

Sweet and Spicy Pork Tenderloin

2 pork tenderloins (they come 2 to a package)

1/4 cup soy sauce (can use reduced sodium)

1/4 cup roasted garlic-flavored rice vinegar

2 T. honey

Combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, and honey in a large ziploc bag.  Add tenderloins and marinate in the refrigerator for several hours or, if time permits, overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a baking dish with foil to create a well for baking meat and marinade.   Transfer meat and marinade into foil-lined dish and bake uncovered for about 50 minutes.

Slice meat and serve.

SwtSpcyPork 1

Printable Recipe

To complete the meal, serve with Bob Evans prepared mashed potatoes (delish!), a green salad, and prepared rolls.

*Recipe halves easily.

Recipe adapted from Holly Clegg cookbook.

Other pork tenderloin recipes that we use often…Pork Tenderloin with Cavendar’s Seasoning, Pork Tenderloin with Hoisin Sauceand Pork Tenderloin with Mustard Sauce.