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Creamy Chicken Sausage and Spinach Pasta
8

Creamy Chicken Sausage and Spinach Pasta

Isn’t always the way that on the nights where you feel the most frazzled and you literally throw a meal together on a wing and a prayer, you feel the most satisfied?  Full bellies, no take-out, and a slightly more empty pantry and/or fridge is always a great combination, isn’t it?  That’s the kind of night this meal was borne out of.

Creamy Chicken Sausage and Spinach Pasta

And it was so good that I had to remake it within a couple of nights just so I could actually write the recipe down.  The things I do for you!  It’s a super simple combination of some sauteed onions and garlic, a white wine-deglazed pan, diced tomatoes, chicken sausage, and fresh spinach mixed in with some pasta.  What really elevated this dish though, was the addition of mascarpone cheese.  Seriously, why use cream when you can use mascarpone?  It kept the sauce on the thicker side without needing to create a roux at the beginning or reduce the cream at the end.  All in all, a perfect dinner for us with lots of leftovers for weekday lunches!

Creamy Chicken Sausage and Spinach Pasta

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

I used pre-cooked chicken sausage in this recipe so it really only takes a couple minutes of warming in the pan before it's ready to eat. If you use fresh/raw chicken sausage, saute the links until cooked through then slice and add the slices to the pan with the spinach.

Ingredients

  • ½ lb dry pasta shapes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced small
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 12 oz chicken sausage, sliced into rounds
  • 5 oz fresh spinach
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions; reserve ½ cup of the pasta water and then drain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the onions with the salt for 5-7 minutes, until they start to soften. Mix in the oregano and garlic; cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping the bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir the tomatoes, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add the sausage and spinach to the top of the mixture and cover the pan for 2-3 minutes to allow the spinach to start wilting. Start stirring the sausage and spinach into the mixture and recover for another minute. Once all of the spinach has just wilted, stir the mascarpone and Parmesan into the pan until melted and creates a creamy sauce. Stir the pasta into the mixture until well-coated with the sauce. Stir in up to ½ cup of the pasta water if the sauce seems too thick. Serve hot.

Source

Smells Like Home original

http://www.smells-like-home.com/2013/09/creamy-chicken-sausage-and-spinach-pasta/

New England Seafood Chowder
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New England Seafood Chowder

This time in September always throws me for a loop.  Here in Connecticut, we typically get a few really warm days (80s) and lots of mild days (60s and 70s) that start and end on the chilly side (anywhere from the high 30s to mid 50s).  Dressing for this crazy weather is a major PIA and planning a menu is even more difficult.  This New England seafood chowder, however, bridges the gap from summer into fall seamlessly.

New England Seafood Chowder

And you would think it would be really easy to find great chowder everywhere here, especially because it’s a coastal state, but really good made-from-scratch chowder is surprisingly hard to find.  Or maybe I’m just super picky.  (<< more likely)  That’s why I set out to make a killer chowder this past weekend.  My mom and I took an afternoon a few weeks ago to make seafood stock from the leftover lobster, clam, and mussel shells from our summer clambake (she froze everything until we were ready to make the stock) and I haven’t been able to get this soup out of my brain since then.

New England Seafood Chowder

In about an hour, two steaming bowls of this soup were on the table.  Creamy, rich, not overly thick, and jam-packed with hunks of seafood: just the way seafood chowder should be.  To ease the pain of shucking clams and to reduce the cooking time, I quickly steamed a bunch of little neck clams and two lobster tails, removed all of the shells, and tossed the chopped clams and lobster in at the very end of cooking.  Along with the clams and lobster, I also added shrimp, sea scallops, and potatoes.  And since the soup starts off with some bacon and ends with a splash of sherry, can New England seafood chowder get any better??

New England Seafood Chowder

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

A classic New England seafood chowder: hearty, creamy, and made completely from scratch.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ dozen little neck or cherrystone clams, shells scrubbed clean
  • 2 lobster tails (about 6 oz total)
  • ½ lb sea scallops, halved or quartered (if they are really big)
  • ¾ lb shrimp, peeled, deveined, and roughly chopped
  • 4 cups seafood stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 7 oz thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced medium
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 6 tbsp flour
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lb Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and ½-inch diced
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream or half-and-half
  • 1 tbsp dry sherry
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Add 1 inch of water to the bottom of a heavy-bottomed stock pot. Add the clams and lobster tails (if the lobster tails are already cooked, skip this step) to the water. Cover the pot and bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Shake the pot a couple times and after 3 or 4 minutes, check to see if the clams have opened. If most of the clams have opened and a few remain closed, cover the pot and let them cook for another minute. If there are still shells that are completely closed, discard them. Drain the water off, remove the clams and lobster tails, rinse out the pot, and return it to the stove.
  2. Remove the clams from their shells by pulling them off the muscle attached to the shell. Remove the outer casings from the clam meat and chop the clams. Remove the lobster meat from the tail shells and roughly chop the meat. Set the clams and lobster aside and discard all of the shells.
  3. In a 3-quart saucepan, gently heat the seafood stock and water over medium-low heat - do not allow it to simmer.
  4. Meanwhile, set the large stock pot back over medium-high heat and add the bacon. Cook until it is almost crispy and then add the onions; cook until the onions have softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add the thyme and cook for 30 seconds. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Whisk in the warmed seafood stock/water mixture, scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the bay leaf and potatoes. Allow the liquid to come to a simmer and thicken, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the scallops and shrimp and simmer the soup until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 5 to 7 more minutes. Stir the chopped clams and lobster into the soup.
  5. Stir in the cream, sherry, and parsley. Allow the cream to warm through in the soup for a couple of minutes but don't let the soup boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste - my soup needed 2 teaspoons of salt but yours may be different. Remove the bay leaf and serve hot. Leftovers can be kept refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for 2 months.

Source

Smells Like Home original

http://www.smells-like-home.com/2013/09/new-england-seafood-chowder/

Apple Pie Waffles with Maple Bourbon Caramel Sauce
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Apple Pie Waffles with Maple Bourbon Caramel Sauce

Kyle’s birthday was this past Monday and because we both had to work that day, I wanted to make him a special birthday breakfast on Sunday instead.  Along came these waffles in my brain; an idea I had been dreaming up since at least early August when I started to get that fall-food-itch.

Apple Pie Waffles with Maple Bourbon Caramel Sauce

These aren’t just ordinary waffles with some apple-spice topping.  I mixed a quick homemade brown butter apple pie filling into my favorite waffle batter so each bite of waffle tasted like pie.  And then the waffle iron went and created little toasty almost caramelized apple bits on the edges of the waffles.  I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday morning.  Yes, pie for breakfast is the way to go.

Apple Pie Waffles with Maple Bourbon Caramel Sauce

Oh wait.  How about drizzling some maple bourbon caramel sauce over the top of these waffles?  Perfection, some might say.  We definitely thought so.  This caramel sauce almost killed me last weekend but after two pre-7am attempts, a smoky kitchen, and a near heart attack-inducing blackened [brand new All-Clad] saucepan, I got it exactly right.  I saved the pan too.  A little pure maple syrup and a wee bit of booze takes caramel sauce to a completely new level.  You know how they say that still waters run deep and dirty?  (One of my favorite euphemisms, btw.)

Apple Pie Waffles with Maple Bourbon Caramel Sauce

This caramel is like that: innocuous at first glance but dark and mysterious at first taste…it’s sososo good.  The bourbon adds just enough of a smooth kick behind the sweet maple caramel to remind you that you’re a grown up eating dessert for breakfast.  The perfect topping, along with a heaping dollop of freshly whipped cream, on a birthday breakfast for my love.  No go make these apple pie waffles for yours.

Apple Pie Waffles with Maple Bourbon Caramel Sauce

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 5-12 waffles, depending on waffle iron size

These apple pie waffles would also make an excellent dessert. Either serve with whipped cream or swap out the whipped cream for a scoop of ice cream. If you're into making your own ice cream, this cinnamon vanilla bean version would be amazing on top of these waffles.

The maple bourbon caramel sauce can be made up to a week or two in advance if you're looking to save some time when you make the waffles. You can also make and refrigerate the apple pie filling the night before and proceed with making the waffles as directed in the morning.

Ingredients

    For the maple bourbon caramel sauce:
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp bourbon
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • For the apple pie filling:
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced small
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Dash of ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp coarse salt
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch + ½ cup water
  • For the waffles:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp cornmeal
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • Whipped cream, for serving

Instructions

  1. To make the caramel sauce: Pour the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a small saucepan and pour the water over the sugar. Heat the pan over medium-low heat. Once the edges of the sugar start to liquify, start stirring the liquid into the sugar until all of the sugar has liquified. When the liquid turns an amber color - this can happen quickly so watch carefully - turn the heat off and slowly pour in the cream, whisking while the mixture bubbles up rapidly. Whisk in the bourbon, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Return the pan to medium-low heat for a couple of minutes, stirring to melt down any clumps that may have formed. Take the pan off the heat and allow the caramel to cool. It will thicken as it cools. Once it cools a little, you can either pour it into a reusable container (like a mason jar) or use it right away.
  2. To make the apple pie filling: Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the butter. Swirl the butter around while it foams and then leave it be while it browns. Once you start to see little brown bits in the bottom of the butter, add the apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, tossing to coat. Allow the apples to cook down for 5-8 minutes, until slightly softened while stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the cornstarch to a small bowl, pour the water over it, and stir to dissolve the cornstarch. Turn the heat of the skillet down to low and mix the cornstarch slurry into the apples. Bring the liquid up to a simmer and cook until the liquid thickens into a thick sauce. Turn off the heat and allow the apple pie filling to cool to room temperature.
  4. To make the waffles: Preheat the oven to 250° F. Heat your waffle iron according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together. In a separate medium bowl, warm the buttermilk in the microwave until it is warm but not hot, about 1 ½ minutes. Whisk in the egg yolks, vanilla, and melted butter.
  6. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer (or by hand with a wire whisk), beat the egg whites to almost stiff peaks – they should be about 2 inches when you pull the beaten whites up with the whisk.
  7. Pour the wet ingredients (not the egg whites) into the dry ingredients in a thin steady stream, mixing in with a rubber spatula until they are just barely incorporated. Mix in the apple pie filling until well-incorporated but try not to overmix the batter. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter until no streaks of the egg whites remain.
  8. Add as much batter to your waffle iron as the manufacturer’s instructions describe and cook for the appropriate amount of time. Keep the waffles warm in the oven directly on the racks - this will help to crisp them up a little while you cook the remaining waffles.

Source

Smells Like Home original | waffle recipe adapted from this recipe

http://www.smells-like-home.com/2013/09/apple-pie-waffles-with-maple-bourbon-caramel-sauce/

Top 35 Game Day (and Night!) Eats
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top 35 game day and night eats

OK, so we’re not football fans around here, but there’s no doubt that we definitely love football food.  Actually, the Top 35 Game Day & Night Eats ideas I’ve listed here – a totally manageable list by the way – translate perfectly to any type of sports fanatic’s gathering and also to family game nights.  Great party food doesn’t discriminate!  You can bet that we’ve made quite a few of these recipes for our own game nights while rooting for (read: shouting at) the Yanks and I’m sure you’ll love every one of these ideas – even the ones on the lighter side!

Baked Fontina

Dips

Baked fontina (garlic cheese dip)
Cheesy chorizo and caramelized onion dip
Restaurant-style spinach artichoke dip
Bacon and scallion caramelized onion dip
Dill pickle dip
Salsa verde

Pizza Bites

Snacks

Pizza bites
Layered buffalo chicken nachos with creamy gorgonzola sauce
Fried pimento mac and cheese bites
Creamy chicken taquitos
Soft pretzels with roasted jalapeno cheese dip
Baked ham and cheese sliders
Soft pretzel bites with cheese sauce

Black Bean and Beef Chili

On the heavier side

Black bean and beef chili
Bacon and fontina mac and cheese
3 cheese rosemary and pepperoni pizza
Bacon burgers with bacon onion balsamic jam
Creamy baked four-cheese pasta
Chicken enchiladas
Baked ziti
Pulled pork sandwiches
Perfect mac and cheese
BBQ chicken burgers

crispy baked zucchini fries

On the lighter side

Crispy baked zucchini fries
Healthy turkey tacos
Buffalo chicken egg rolls
Roasted veggie pizzas
Spicy black bean burritos
Baked eggplant parmesan

Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars

Sweets

Chocolate chip toffee bars
No-bake s’mores bars
Funfetti sugar cookie bars (with frosting dyed to your team’s color!)
Salted caramel brownies
Cookie dough whoopie pies
Peanut butter oatmeal sandwich cookies
Chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes

Baked Ham and Cheese Sliders
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Baked Ham and Cheese Sliders

This shouldn’t be a surprise to you, but as a kid, I wouldn’t touch a ham and cheese sandwich with a ten foot pole.  Nope, no way.  Not ever.  And I really can’t pinpoint the moment when I changed my mind, though it was well before I made these baked ham and cheese sliders for the first time last winter.  It may have happened with these croque monsieur sandwiches – not a bad way to change your mind about something, right?  But it was because ham and cheese has become one of my favorite sandwich choices as an adult that I was dying to make these sliders for so long.

Baked Ham and Cheese Sliders

And man.  Man oh man.  These sliders are definite rivals to those French numbers.  They are no harder to make than a regular ham and cheese except that you’ll mix up a quick butter-mustard-Worcestershire sauce – sounds weird, I know, but stick with me – pour it over the prepared sliders, sprinkle on a few poppy seeds, and bake ‘em up.

The sliders come out of the oven in the form of a toasty ramped up version of the old standby after the melted butter sinks into the bread and makes magic happen.  When I served them for the first time at our housewarming party last December, I could barely get them out of the oven before people were grabbing them right off the baking sheet.  The only thing I could suggest about these sliders is to make more than you think you’ll need for your next party – you won’t need to worry about leftovers!

Baked Ham and Cheese Sliders

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 24 sliders

Try to find small Hawaiian rolls for these sliders. I've used Martin's potato rolls (dinner roll size) the handful of times I have made them and they are always great. Alternatively, regular dinner rolls or slider buns will work perfectly.

Ingredients

  • 24 slider or dinner rolls - see note
  • 24 slices deli-sliced honey or Virginia ham
  • 24 small slices (about ½ lb) Swiss cheese
  • Mayonnaise
  • ½ cup (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 ½ tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp finely minced onion (or 2 tsp dried minced onion)
  • ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Poppy seeds for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. On two large baking sheets, split the buns in half horizontally. Spread a little mayonnaise on the tops and bottoms of all of the buns. Top each bottom half of the buns with a folded up piece of ham and piece of Swiss. Close up all of the sliders with the top halves.
  2. Whisk the melted butter, mustard, onion, and Worcestershire sauce together. Pour the butter mixture over the sliders. Sprinkle the tops of the buns with some poppy seeds. Cover the baking sheets with aluminum foil and bake for 10 minutes; remove the foil and bake for another 2-3 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the tops are golden brown. Serve hot.

Source

http://www.smells-like-home.com/2013/09/baked-ham-and-cheese-sliders/

New Site Feature: ZipList Recipe Box
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Over the past couple of months since the newest version of Smells Like Home went live, you may have noticed a link called “Save Recipe” at the top of each recipe here.  Well, I have started using ZipList and you guys now have the ability to do a few fun and handy things within the site that are designed to help make your lives a little more organized.  Here are the highlights of what my new ZipList feature can do for you:

Save Recipe

ziplist how to

By clicking on the Save Recipe link at the top of each recipe, you will be able to save many of the recipes on Smells Like Home to your ZipList Recipe Box.  I have reformatted nearly 200 recipes into a new recipe format that allows for the Save Recipe feature.  Over time, I’ll be working to integrate this format into many of the other recipes in the Archives.

Recipe Box Link

ziplist how to

There is now a link in the sidebar under the Popular Posts which will allow you to quickly access your ZipList Recipe Box.  Many sites have this feature included at the top of their site but this didn’t fit well with my site design…and I really like how the link looks with the rest of my site.

ziplist how to

From here, you can access all of your saved recipes (not just ones saved from Smells Like Home), Grocery Deals for your local grocery stores, and any Shopping Lists that you may have created.  Here, you can filter your saved recipes by blog or source and search by keyword.  This is also the place to access your Meal Planner feature.

ziplist how to

By hovering over any of your saved recipes, you can quickly add them to your Meal Planner or let ZipList pull the ingredients from the recipe directly into an interactive Shopping List.

Go Mobile!

ziplist how to

Quite possibly the most innovative thing about ZipList is that they now offer an app for your Apple or Android-based phones.  So, all of your saved recipes and shopping lists will update to your mobile app and make life a ton easier in the grocery store.  You can even check off ingredients from your list as you toss them in the cart!

I know many of you guys are already using ZipList on some of your favorite sites and you can now use all of the ZipList functions here as well!  If you’ve been hesitant about signing up to use ZipList, I encourage you to give it a shot, especially if you’re looking for ways to help better organize your family and household now that the new school year has started.  If you have any questions at all, feel free to leave a comment here or shoot me an email.

Homemade Garlic Dill Pickles
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Homemade Garlic Dill Pickles

Up until around this time last year, you wouldn’t have ever seen me eating pickles.  Not ever.  I picked around them my entire life.  I sat in awe watching my college roommate eating them directly from the jar.  Actually, shaking my head in bewilderment better describes it.

And then, as if a switch flipped, I fell head over heels for them.  I guess it started with the homemade refrigerator pickles I made last summer.  I made them for Kyle, tried one here and there (how could I not try what I grew and made with my own hands??) and soon found myself adding them to sandwiches and burgers, and munching on them…from the jar!  There was also this pickle dip earlier this summer which sort of sealed the deal towards my pickle love.

Homemade Garlic Dill Pickles

I kind of threw my pickle recipe together from a few different recipes last summer so I couldn’t recreate it if I tried but these garlic dill pickles are just as stellar.  Crisp and fresh cucumbers are key to great pickles so make sure you use them as soon as you bring them home from the store or farmers market, or within a day or two of a CSA delivery or picking them from your garden.  You can eat these pickles within a few days of making them but they’ll be better the longer they sit in their briny juice.  And since I’ve got a few more cucumbers happening in my garden (like 20?), I’d say there are more of these pickles in our future.

Homemade Garlic Dill Pickles

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: about 5 16-oz jars

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch fresh dill
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3-4 medium-large cucumbers, cut into spears, chips, or long slices
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ cup distilled white vinegar
  • 3 tbsp kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp whole mustard seed (optional)
  • 2 tsp whole black peppercorns (optional)

Instructions

  1. Add a couple sprigs of dill and a finely minced or pressed clove of garlic to the bottom of each of the jars. Pack each jar full of cucumbers - make sure the cucumbers don't crest the top ½-inch of the jar as you'll want to make sure all of the cucumbers are covered with liquid.
  2. In a 4-cup liquid measuring cup or a pitcher, mix the water and vinegar together. Stir in the salt until it is dissolved and then the mustard seed and peppercorns. Pour the liquid (including the mustard seed and peppercorns) into each jar, taking care that the liquid seeps in between all of the cucumbers spears/chips/slices and covers all of the cucumbers. If you need more liquid, make a little more and finish up the jars. If you wish, add a few more sprigs of dill to the top of the jars. Seal up the jars and refrigerate for at least 2 days before eating.

Source

adapted from Annie's Eats

http://www.smells-like-home.com/2013/09/homemade-garlic-dill-pickles/