Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stars & Bars

*budweiser's limited-edition 4th of july can!

besides christmas {and my birthday that falls 2 days later}, the 4th of july is one of my favorite holidays!! i love the fact that america comes together to celebrate our motherland with eating, drinking & blowing off a barrage of sparks. it's also commemorates the annual hot dog "bar" at my parents house...and i'm not ashamed to load the chili on my dog...and possibly crack a limited-edition budweiser. happy birthday america, happy birthday!

but there's always one desert that really reminds me of the 4th...the classic flag sheet cake! i don't know that my mother ever even made this growing up but it was always served at whatever gathering we were schlepped to on the 4th. so in thinking about making something this year to take to a party, i thought this would be perfect! there are recipes that range from ina garten's, to simple ones like this kraft recipe pictured below. and in true {shugart & spice} fashion, simple is as simple does!

and in trying to locate a perfect "busy girl" recipe, i stumbled across this beauty below. i can't even begin to imagine how she constructed this cake but i know the founding fathers would've been proud!

*photo {& recipe if you are brave} courtesy of 17 & baking

Monday, June 27, 2011

Chicken Jalapeno-Basil Skewers

a friend of ours came to visit a few weekends ago & brought a bag full of jalapenos!

excited about fresh produce...yes.

scared what the heck to do with them...yes.

much like onions, celery & peppers, i LOVE their flavor but LOATHE the idea of crunching into the crispy fella. and after they sat in my "health hut"...the produce bowl in the corner of my kitchen...i finally figured out what to do with them! kabobs!

the flavors the jalapenos produce are a tad spicy but are taken over by a subtle sweetness. much like myself if i do say so. it's a great busy-girl dish b/c you can marinate all day & cook at night!!

*CAUTION-be stealth with your fingers after cutting...or they shall set fire to anything in their path.

{chicken jalapeno-basil skewers}

ingredients {in order of use}
*serves 2 {2 tenders per person per skewer}
  • 4 chicken tenders
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup italian dressing
  • 2 skewers, {if wood, soak in water for an hour before use so they don't catch aflame!}
  • 4 jalapenos, seeded & de-ribbed {try 2 red, 2 green}
  • 5-10 basil leaves, torn in half

1. in a shallow dish or in a plastic baggie, salt & pepper tenders & let stand for 30 minutes. add italian dressing & marinate for 6-12 hours before you plan to grill.

2. slice chicken tenders into bite-size medallions. add chicken, jalapeno & basil & continue to place on skewer.

3. grill until chicken is cooked through & grill marks are present!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Penne "a-lot" Like Vodka + Shrimp

this recipe is a great example of what i love about cooking...the simplicity of the ingredients come together to create such an incredible flavor with half the calories of what would normally be penne a la vodka. now don't get me wrong...i love creamy sauces but i try to get that taste {& warm, tingle-y feeling} through low-fat milk & substituting less-fat cheeses.

this recipe also reminds me of my so-called "single-lady days" in nyc...i wasn't exactly single b/c i had a fiancé in DC but i was a single cooking lady; party of 1 please! pasta sautéed with farmers market veggies was my staple due to ease of cooking & ease on the wallet. so after making this last night, i settled on the couch with a big bowl, glass of wine & soaked up 2 episodes of the real housewives of nyc...just like my single-lady days!

{penne "a-lot" like vodka + shrimp}

ingredients {in order of use}
*serves 4
  • 12 ounces of penne pasta
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, {divided-2 now, 2 later}
  • 2 tablespoons butter, {divided, 1 now, 1 later}
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 pound peeled, de-veined shrimp
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 {8 ounce} can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup milk {i use 3/4 2% milk & 1/4 half & half-a lot less fat the heavy cream or whole milk}
  • 3 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1. bring a large pot of salted water to a boil & toss in pasta. while pasta is cooking, move to step 2.

2. in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil & 1 tablespoon butter over medium-low heat. add in shrimp, salt, pepper & cook until pink. once cooked, set aside on a plate to cool.

*when pasta is cooked, drain & set aside.

3. using same skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil & 1 tablespoon butter over medium-low heat. add garlic & sauté 3 minutes, or until fragrant & translucent. add wine & stir for 3 minutes. add tomato sauce & whisk in completely. add in milk, continue stirring on medium-high heat for 8 minutes, or until it starts to thicken {note-it will still be fairly runny if you use low fat milk...but this is okay as it will thicken as it sits}.

4. while sauce is simmering, chop shrimp into bite-size pieces. toss into skillet & stir to coat. toss in basil & parsley & reduce to medium-low heat. add pasta, salt, pepper & stir until combined. let sit for a few minutes & sauce will start to thicken. serve in bowls with extra sauce & top with shredded parmesan!

it doesn't get much better then this...well, it does...but it's called vodka sauce & your hips will thank you later for not doing that to them!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pesto Cream Pasta

if there's one thing i love about summer it's fresh basil & tomatoes. like big 'old green basil leaves & blood-red, fat, juicy tomatoes. i could salt, pepper & top a tomato slice with basil & enjoy like pizza. oh & a nice, chilled glass of wine!

and if i only ate that i'd be on the fast track to looking like kate moss...and what fun would that be?!

but it's combining the two things i love with pasta that make for hearty, summer dinners. i made this for my friends tonight who just had a baby boy...and have since heard it was a hit. enjoy!

{pesto cream pasta}

ingredients {in order of use}
*serves 2-4

  • 3/4 cups fresh basil leaves {compacted-the more the merrier}
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 12 ounces of rotini pasta
  • 1 tomato, diced

1. in a food processor {note-most blenders will not puree the nuts & basil} add basil, pine nuts, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, olive oil & blend, adding more olive oil if needed to puree completely. set aside.

2. bring a large pot of salted water to a boil & cook pasta.

3. while pasta is cooking, heat milk & butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. add pesto & whisk thoroughly.

4. add pasta to saucepan with creamy pesto sauce & stir completely. toss in diced tomatoes, stir & serve warm!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Savory Sauteed Mushrooms

happy first day of summer...although, with the weather nearing three digits for about three weeks i'm a bit confused with today being the official kick off?!

any who, i'm whipping up a true, summer side-dish to enjoy with my hubs. if i could decide on which outdoor furniture i want, we'd be dining al fresco but for now, we'll take the dining room table & an indoor spritzer! cheers!

{savory sauteed mushrooms}

ingredients, in order of use
*serves 2
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups whole, white mushrooms
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons dry, white wine

1. wipe your mushrooms with a damp cloth. slice into 1/4 inch slices & set aside.

2. in a medium skillet, add olive oil & bring to medium heat. toss in garlic & sauté for 3 minutes, but careful not to brown. toss in mushrooms, salt, pepper, rosemary & sauté for 5 minutes.

3. since i'm sipping on a crisp, pinot grigio, i'll spare a little for the 'shrooms! toss in white wine & sauté for another 5 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender but not soggy.

4. feel free to leave as is or toss with shredded parmesan! enjoy warm!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dad's Roast

*gran, me, grandmama @ my bridesmaids luncheon!

whew...i've been away for a while & haven't been able to post for some time {some due to vaca, some due to my grandmother's passing}. my grandmother was such a special person in my life & between she & my dad, i'd say they are the two that influence me to cook as much as i do....oh, & my husband's desire to eat dinner every night!

anywho, she's in an awesome place & isn't suffering & will be reading {shugart & spice} from afar & making recommendations from the big table above! one thing my gran was passionate about was feeding the masses; we laughed this week b/c we hosted a lunch for any & everybody who was at the funeral at my parents house...quite the southern tradition! with TONS of leftover food, we donated fried chicken breasts, broccoli salad, pasta salad, potato salad, fruit, pimento cheese sandwiches & desserts to an alcoholic medical center & it felt so RIGHT! not only were the guys who accepted the food so thankful & appreciative, i think it was a sign from gran sending so much catered food to the soiree so it could be donated!

and since justin & i will only be home for 2 days this week, i brought back some delicious beef tips that a good friend of my parents made. our family received some of the best food from loving friends & family over the past week {another southern tradition i appreciate-homemade food in the midst of heartache}. once i get the recipe, i will definitely post! in the mean time, i'm sending you my dad's recipe for the easiest roast in the world! i LOVE this dish because it reminds me of home & it's super easy. try this with summer veggies tonight!!

{dad's roast}

ingredients {in order of use}
*serves (4-6)
  • sirloin tip roast
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 pack lipton onion soup
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • new potatoes, diced depending on size {as many as you like}
  • baby carrots {as many as you like}
  • onion {optional}
1. preheat oven to 325. coat a pyrex dish & lid with non-stick spray. wash & pat dry meat & place in pyrex dish. liberally sprinkle with salt & pepper & set aside.

2. in a small bowl, add onion soup mix & 1/2 cup hot water & whisk. pour over meat. sprinkle meat with garlic powder, worcestershire, salt & pepper. cover & cook for 3 hours. if needed, add water while cooking to ensure a broth is created!

3. after 3 hours, add in potatoes & carrots & cook for one hour. serve over rice or egg noodles!

*you can also make this in a crock pot-just adjust heat/time accordingly!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Quick White Bean, Asparagus & Mushroom Cassoulet

i never thought i'd say this but I AM DETOXING...from sun, beach, wine, bloody mary's, bud light, chips, dip, seafood, food in general...

after spending 4 weekends at different beaches, i'm perfectly fine that i'll never achieve the jersey shore tan & that i love sunscreen enough to not want to look like Magda from "something about mary".

that said, i'm on a semi-detox-ish diet this week, due in part to the indulgences above. so tonight...i bring you a vegetarian dish that's creamy, crispy & low in calories!

oh & i'll be peddling this puppy to work all of that off...

{quick white bean, asparagus & mushroom cassoulet}
*adapted from cooking light

ingredients {in order of use}
*serves 4
  • 3 cups asparagus {sliced into 2" pieces}, about 1 pound
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 cups sliced chanterelle or oyster mushrooms {about 10 ounces}
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 {15 ounce} cans cannellini beans, rinsed & drained
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 ounces french bread, torn into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
1. in a large, deep {oven-safe!} skillet, bring water to a boil & cook asparagus 3 minutes; drain. immediately rinse asparagus with cold water & set aside.

2. using same skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil & bring to medium-high heat. add mushrooms, shallots & garlic & saute approx. 10 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender. add wine & cook for 3 minutes of until liquid evaporates. add in broth, oregano & beans. bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium & cook for 10-12 minutes, or until thick & beans are tender. season with salt & pepper to taste.

3. preheat boiler. place french bread & butter in a food process or blender & pulse until crumbly. add remaining tablespoon olive oil & cheese & pulse until combined. set aside.

4. stir asparagus into bean mixture. sprinkle breadcrumb mixture evenly over bean mixture & broil 3-5 minutes or until golden brown. enjoy!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Lauren's Beach Salsa

my friend lauren made this jazzed up salsa that was AHmazing last weekend while we were at the beach. i'm headed back to the beach tomorrow with friends so i'm stealing her recipe & toting it along. it's so easy, all out of cans {or jars} & makes for a perfect beach snack. toss it all into a tupperware & serve it chilled or at room'll definitely be in for a crowd-pleaser!

{lauren's beach salsa}
  • 2 jars of salsa {whatever you prefer!}
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can shoepeg corn, drained
  • 1 can chopped jalapenos
  • 1/2 bag finely shredded mexi cheese
  • 1 bag tostitos, for serving

1. mix first 5 ingredients & serve with tostitos!
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