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!

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.

Grilled Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna with Orange Ginger Soy Sauce

Grilled Ahi Tuna with Orange soy ginger sauce

 

Ahi tuna is one of my favorite and on the grill with an orange ginger soy sauce … oh yeah .that’s what I’m talking about!  Not only is this tuna delicious, but it’s healthy and quick.  This is a great meal for during the week when time is limited.  ENJOY!

Orange ginger soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 teaspoons white miso
  • 3 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
  1. Combine all of the ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Whisk until the miso dissolves. Serve with seared tuna.

Seared sesame crusted tuna

  • ¾ to 1 lb sushi grade yellowfin tuna
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  1. Cut the tuna into 2-3 rectangular pieces.
  2. Mix the sesame seeds together on a plate.
  3. Press the tuna into the sesame seeds on all sides.
  4. Heat canola oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat.
  5. Sear the tuna for 20 seconds on each side, then transfer to a paper towel to drain. Let rest a couple of minutes.
  6. Slice  into ¼-thick pieces and serve with orange ginger dipping sauce.

Source:  Click Here

Grilled Ahi Tuna with Orange Soy Sauce

Grilled Pork Chops with Pomegranate and Pear in Balsamic Reduction Sauce

Grilled Pork Chops with Pomegranate and Pear in Balsamic Reduction Sauce

I’ve made this before without the pomegranate arils and loved it … this time I added pomegranate arils and I love it even more.  Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 quarts water
  • 5 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 6 pork loin chops, 1/2 inch thick
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 Vidalia onions, each cut into 8 wedges
  • 2 pears, cored and each cut into 8 wedges
  • Pomegranate Arils

 Grilled Pork Chops with Pomegranate and Pear in a Balsamic Reduction Sauce

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the water, kosher salt, and sugar. Add pork chops to this brine, and let them soak for no more than one hour. Drain and discard the brine. Pat pork chops dry with paper towels.
  2. In a shallow dish, stir together the olive oil, garlic, and rosemary. Place pork chops in the dish, and turn to coat. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 or 2 hours.
  3. Pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by 1/2, about 10 minutes. When the vinegar cools, it should be the consistency of syrup.
  4. Melt butter with olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high or high heat. Add the onions and pears, and quickly brown. Continue to cook for about 7 minutes, or until tender.  The pears will cook quicker than the onions – Remove the pears and chop into cubes and continue to caramelize the onions.  Take onion out of pan once caramelized and chop.  Return both the pears and the onions to the pan. Stir in the reduced vinegar and pomegranate arils. The recipe can be prepared up to this point several hours before grilling.
  5. Preheat the grill for medium-high heat.
  6. Warm pears on a cool section of the grill (in the skillet), while placing the pork chops over the hot part. Cook pork for about 3 minutes per side, or to desired doneness. Remove to a serving plate, cover with aluminum foil and let rest for a few minutes. Uncover, top with the pear onion sauce, and serve.

Grilled Pork Chops with Pomegranate and Pear in a Balsamic Reduction Sauce