About Pasta Princess

I live in Northeast Ohio but In my “perfect world” I would be living on the beach in a warm, sunny climate spending my days walking the beach with my dogs, looking for seashells, soaking up the sun getting a great tan, traveling the world, hiking with my camera, and of course, creating new and colorful pasta creations! One of my passions is nature photography. Looking through the lens of the camera, I am totally in the moment; time stands still. I enjoy and appreciate all beauty - music, the arts, nature ... flowers blooming in my flower beds, the dew glistening on leaves in the early morning, the smell of fresh falling rain, the sun as it sets over the ocean and creates a canvas of beautiful colors across the sky. I have learned so much through the years about life, passions and dreams . . . and I’m still learning every day. I love using my creative talents and I find food blogging to be a creative outlet to connect with others and share what I have learned, and to share my passion for creating delicious meals. Enjoy life, enjoy the journey, one moment at a time!

Shrimp Stir Fry with Snow Peas in Coconut Curry Sauce

Shrimp Stir Fry in Coconut Sauce

I just planted snow peas in my garden last weekend.  When they are up and ready to be picked they will be perfect for this easy, delicious recipe.  Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

Shrimp Stir Fry:
    • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used frozen and thawed them beforehand)
    • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
    • 1 can Water Chestnuts
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 bell pepper, cored, seeded, and sliced (any type will do)
    • 8 ounces snow peas, strings removed
    • 1 cup bean sprouts
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (scared of fresh ginger? don’t be…it can be peeled and frozen easily to be used at anytime)
Coconut-Curry Sauce:
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1-2 teaspoons red curry paste (I used 2 teaspoons for a doubled recipe – this paste can be found in most grocery stores in the Asian foods aisle near the Thai ingredients)
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

DIRECTIONS

  1. For the sauce, combine the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl (I doubled the sauce because we love extra sauce in our family). Set aside. Toss the shrimp with soy sauce. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up any clumps, until curled and lightly browned, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a clean bowl.
  2. Add 1 more tablespoon of oil to the pan and return to medium heat until shimmering. Add bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in snow peas and bean sprouts and cook for one more minute.
  3. Clear the center of the pan and add remaining 1 teaspoon oil, garlic and ginger. Cook, mashing garlic mixture into the pan with the back of a spatula, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in cooked shrimp. Whisk sauce to recombine and add to pan, bringing to a simmer. Cook until the sauce thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

Source:  Mel’skitchencafe.com

Easter Cookie Basket

Easter Cookie Basket

Happy Easter!  This was an Easter Cookie basket I completed for a client.  I love the way this turned out.  The 3-D eggs were fun to design and decorate.  When I first started decorating cookies a couple of years I really loved doing it and then it turned into “I don’t think I like doing cookies” and for whatever reason, this Christmas it turned back to “I love decorating cookies” and now this year I’ve started a home business selling my creations!  LOL  Who says women can’t change their minds.  It has been fun also to observe my progress and improvements in technique in cookie decorating.  I look back at some of my first cookies I decorated and almost cringe seeing them being “Pinned” on Pinterest and I almost want to delete that post!  I’ll leave it, it’s good to see progress and improvement.

I’m happy to see Spring finally arriving … green grass, daffodils, trees budding and blooming … it is so uplifting.  Enjoy your Spring and your Easter!

3-D Easter Egg Sugar Cookie

Easter Sugar Cookies

 

Decorated Easter Cookies

Easter Cookie Basket

Cinnamon Lovers . . . Fall in Love with Cinnamon Bundt Coffee Cake

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Is it as good as it looks?  Yes, it sure is!  This is yet another recipe that you can use Vietnamese Cinnamon in.  When I purchased my Vietnamese Cinnamon at Amazon and it came in a 1 lb bag I thought I’ll never use up all this cinnamon.  Amazingly enough I am using it up and it is so, so good.  This cake is fantastic in the morning with a cup of freshly brewed coffee, or for that matter, any time of the day.  Bake and ENJOY!

INGREDIENTS:
Coffee Cake:
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup white sugar
DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Grease a 10-inch bundt pan.
2. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The mixture should be noticeably lighter in color. Add eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Mix in vanilla.
3. Combine flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Pour flour mixture into batter alternately with the sour cream, mixing until just incorporated. Fold in walnuts, mixing just enough to evenly combine. Pour half the batter into the prepared pan.
4. Mix the remaining 1/4 cup of white sugar with the cinnamon.
5. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the batter in the pan. Drop remaining cake batter in heaping spoonfuls over filling, covering it as best you can.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes. Lower heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake for an additional 40 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.Source: Allrecipes.com

 

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

 

 

Chicken a la Boscaiola

Chicken and bacon in a cream sauce with penne pasta

 

The recipe called for fettuccine, but I think penne pasta works nicely, catching the sauce in the middle.  This is right up there with my favorite pasta recipes.  ENJOY!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ pound bacon chopped (about 8 slices)
  • 1 ½ cups sliced mushrooms (Baby Bella)
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 4 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1/8 cup sherry
  • 1 ¼ cups half and half
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound penne pasta

Chicken and bacon in a cream sauce with penne pasta

 

Instructions

  1. In a large sauté pan over medium high heat, combine 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and butter until melted and frothy.
  2. Working in two batches, add in chicken and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch. Do not over cook. Remove chicken to a flat plate to cool and stop the cooking process.
  3. Place the bacon in the same pan and cook until it is crispy. Remove bacon to paper towels, chop and reserve.
  4. Drain off all bacon fat but reserve two tablespoons,half of which gets used in next step.
  5. Put one tablespoon of bacon fat in the same pan and sauté mushrooms for 2-3 minutes or until they just start to give up their liquid. Remove from pan and set aside along with all of the pan drippings.
  6. Add the second tablespoon of bacon fat back into the pan and sauté onions and garlic until the onions are translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
  7. Add mushrooms and their liquid back into the pan with the onions, add the sherry and cook for one minute scraping any bits from the bottom.
  8. Add in half and half, sour cream, salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and parmesan cheese. As mixture starts to bubble, reduce heat to medium and simmer 2 more minutes. The mixture will begin to thicken.
  9. Cook penne pasta according to package directions. When draining reserve one cup of pasta water.
  10. Add cooked chicken and bacon back to sauce and stir.
  11. Add cooked penne and cook over low to medium heat for 1-2 minutes to blend flavors. If the dish is too thick, add a little pasta water until desired consistency is achieved.

Slightly adapted from:  http://www.afamilyfeast.com

Asian Pulled Pork and Asian Slaw

Asian Pulled Pork

The evening I made this I didn’t get to eat until after 11:00 p.m.!  Have you ever had any kitchen accidents that sent you the emergency room?  I never had any kitchen accidents prior to this.  It was a fluke accident … I was reaching up for a glass bowl, it slipped out my hands and landed on the granite and my reaction was to reach for it and it all happened so quickly before I knew it I had sliced the side of my hand open.  4 stitches and 3 hours later I was finally home and hungry!!

This was really good and a nice change from my usual pulled pork recipe, but I would only make 1/2 of the sauce next time; it makes way too much sauce.  Be safe in the kitchen and ENJOY!

Pulled Pork:

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds pork shoulder/butt, bone in
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Dash of cayenne
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar 
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • Asian BBQ Sauce:
  • 1 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • splash of sesame oil

Pork Directions:

Mix all dry rub ingredients together.  Pat dry the pork.  Sprinkle the rub mixture over the entire pork shoulder, rub into the meat.  Sprinkle with soy sauce and also rub it in.   Refrigerate overnight.

Remove pork from fridge 15 minutes prior to cooking.  Cook pork shoulder st 275 degrees covered in oven until internal temperature is 180 degrees, about 5 hours.

Remove from oven and let sit covered for 15 minutes and then shred with two forks.  Serve on buns with sauce and coleslaw on top.

Asia BBQ Sauce – Directions

Combine all ingredients in a pan and bring to a slow boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 1/2 hour or until thickened.

Asian Cole Slaw

  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • ½ jalapeno (seeds removed) diced
  • 1 small cabbage, halved, cored and sliced
  • 1½ cups grated carrots
  • 6 scallions, chopped
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  1. Combine rice vinegar, sugar, ginger, sesame oil, vegetable oil, lime zest, lime juice, soy sauce and jalapeno. Mix well.
  2. In a large bowl toss together cabbage, carrots, scallions, and cilantro. Pour dressing onto mix and stir to combine. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes to allow flavors to blend together.

Asian Coleslaw Source:  avocadopesto.com

 

Asian Pulled Pork - H

Dreaming of Spring Flowers and Butterflies – Sugar Cookies

Butterfly and flower decorated sugar cookies

I’ve been a busy baker!  It seems I have gone from the Pasta Princess to the Cookie Queen!  I started a business from my home “Sugar Cher’s Cookies” and have been selling my cookies and have had quite a few orders these past couple of months, leaving me with not much time for anything else.  I will be slowing down as the weather turns nicer as I will need to devote time to my garden and enjoying the outdoors.  I had fun creating these flower and butterfly cookies.  ENJOY!

Flower and Butterfly decorated sugar cookies

Decorated Flower Sugar Cookies

Decorated flower and butterfly sugar cookies

Decorated flower sugar cookies

When Life Gives You Lemons Make Pasta – Lemon Chicken Piccata Pasta

Lemon Chicken Piccata Pasta

I found some beautiful lemons and with ingredients I had on hand I was able to make this awesome Lemon Chicken Piccata Pasta.  If you like Chicken Piccata, I’m almost positive you’ll love this!  I made very few adjustments to the original recipe.  ENJOY!

Lemon Chicken Piccata Pasta

Chicken
Juice of 1 lemon (3Tbsp)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp basil or oregano
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Pasta
2 cups dried penne pasta
2 Tbsp butter
Juice of 2 lemons (6 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup half and half (or heavy cream)
1 small bunch fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbps capers
1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Lemon Chicken Piccata Pasta

Chicken
Combine first 6 ingredients and mix well.  Place chicken in a ziplock bag and pour marinade over chicken.  Marinate overnight in the refrigerator.  When ready, grill until done.  Allow chicken to rest for a few minutes and then slice into strips to serve over pasta.

Pasta
While chicken is grilling.  Cook pasta according to directions (10-12 minutes).  Reserve 1 cup of pasta water and drain.  In same sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat.  Whisk in garlic and lemon juice.  Pour in half and half and whisk until hot.  Add some salt and pepper to taste.  Add the parmesan cheese, and capers, and heat until cheese is melted.  Check the consistency of the sauce and add some of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce if necessary.  Toss in pasta and fresh basil.

Serve in pasta bowls with grilled chicken on top.  Sprinkle with more parmesan if desired.

Recipe Source: plainchicken.com

Lemon Chicken Piccata Pasta

Reuben and Fries . . . Who is Reuben?

Reuben sandwich and fries

Ha ha … who is Reuben?  Reuben is a wonderfully delicious sandwich!  Do you love Reuben sandwiches?  I do! I even hesitated posting this because it’s so easy to make.  And these home-made fries baked in the oven are the bomb!

For the Reuben I mix mayonnaise with ketchup and a little relish until the color looks like Russian Dressing.  I put that on both sides of the rye bread, add sauerkraut (drained), corned beef and swiss cheese.  Butter the outside of both slices of bread and cook until nicely browned and the cheese is melted.  A cast iron skillet works great for these kind of sandwiches.

Reuben sandwich and fries

Oven Baked Fries

  • 4 Large Baking Potatoes, washed and skin on
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Paprika

Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.  Slice potatoes, using a mandolin for french fry cut,.  Put sliced potatoes in ice water and let sit.

Wisk together olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika.  Drain potatoes and pat dry.  Mix the olive oil mixture with the potatoes.  Place on a single layer on a baking tray and bake for 45 minutes until crispy.