Saucy Shrimp…

Notes: My husband describes this as “life changing”… it was one of the first things I made for him when I met him. He likes me to double the sauce recipe so he can sop it up with the French bread. The quality of your shrimp is everything. Fresh, large, Gulf shrimp are best. They must be in their shells.

Servings: 4-6 | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 4 TBSP butter
  • 5 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Italian vinaigrette salad dressing (store bought is fine)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp hot pepper sauce
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 pounds raw, large shrimp, in shells
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • good quality French bread. 1/2 loaf per person.


  1. In heavy skillet over medium heat, melt butter.
  2. Add olive oil, Italian vinaigrette, garlic, hot sauce, Worcestershire, bay leaves, paprika, oregano, rosemary, thyme, pepper and salt. Cook until sauce begins to boil.
  3. Add shrimp and cook 15 minutes (I have marked this out and written “8 minutes” in my cookbook, fwiw.)
  4. Add wine and cook 10 minutes (I have marked this out and written “5 minutes”)
  5. Serve shrimp with sauce and crusty French bread for dipping.

Recipe Origin: Originally from The Square Table Cookbook with my alterations for time.

Risotto in the Oven!

Notes: So easy! No more slaving over the stove when I want some risotto. The family liked it and I’m looking forward to trying this with lots of different ingredients.

Servings: 4-6 | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 4 ounces flat-leaf spinach (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving


  1. Heat oven to 425° F.
  2. Heat the butter in ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Add the shallot, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring often, until soft, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until almost evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add the broth and rice and bring to a boil.
  5. Cover the pot and transfer to oven. Cook until the rice is tender and creamy, 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. Add the peas, spinach, Parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper to the pot and stir to combine.
  7. If the risotto is too thick, stir in up to ¼ cup hot water.
  8. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan before serving.

Recipe Origin:


Comeback dressing is the stuff of my childhood. A dressing/sauce native to the South, I remember it eaten on crackers, or salads, or turkey sandwiches after Thanksgiving. It is just the best. Of course, everyone says their Comeback recipe is the best. I leave that to your judgement.

Here are 3 of the best. Since the Mayflower and Dennery’s don’t give out their recipes, we are left with the following 3 to try:

Hal & Mal’s: I feel this is real since Malcolm White posted it on his Facebook page.  Click here

The Elite: I’m not sure this is real. Someone posted it on Facebook.  Click here

NYT recipe: This is more complicated than the other two, but even the author admits she is guessing. Click here

Chicken Crock Pot Pie

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 4 1/2 – 8/12 hours | Yield: Serves: 4-6


  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced, or cut up more if you are hiding them from your kids…
  • 4 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I like White Lily)
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme (don’t skip this)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8)
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed first
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen green beans
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream


  1. Thaw your puff pastry sheet before you do anything else.
  2. In a slow cooker, mix together mushrooms, carrots, onion, flour, thyme, bay leaves, and 1/2 cup water.
  3. Place chicken on top. Season with 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
  4. Cover and cook until chicken and vegetables are tender, on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. (*Note: I like it on high for 4.5 hours)
  5. 30 minutes before you serve it, heat oven to 425F. Using a large circle cutter or a glass, cut out 4 circles (or more if you want to use the other pastry puff sheet too). Place on a baking sheet and bake until golden, 8-10 minutes. Don’t let the little leftover bits go to waste. Let your kids cut them into whatever shapes they want and bake those too. The smallest bits puff up the most!
  6. 20 minutes before serving, add the peas, green beans, cream and 1/2 tsp salt to the chicken mixture and stir to combine. Cover and cook on high until heated through, about 15 minutes more. To serve, place chicken mixture in bowls and top with the pastry rounds.

Notes: Family loved this. Leftovers were excellent. I might double this recipe next time in order to have more leftovers!

Recipe Origin:  Real Simple, modified with more spices and changed timing around a little.

Roast Tomato Frittata

Servings: 8 | Prep Time: 30 minutes


  • 12 plum or Roma tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • Salt
  • 1 medium thin skinned potato
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh Italian (flat) parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 500F.
  2. Core the tomatoes and cut them in half. Scoop out the seeds and pulp.
  3. Spread half the 1/3 cup of olive oil onto a 9×13 Pyrex dish. Do not crowd the tomatoes. Distribute garlic and thyme on top. Drizzle remaining olive oil and some salt.
  4. Roast, turning the pan around in the oven once, for about 30 minutes, or until tomatoes are shriveled and a little blackened. Remove and let cool.
  5. Lower oven temp to 350F.
  6. Wash potato, cut into thin slices. Cut onion into wedges.
  7. Put butter into a 10″ ovenproof nonstick skillet, and turn heat to medium high.
  8. When butter melts, add potatoes and onions and cook until potatoes are browned on both sides.
  9. While you are waiting for potatoes to brown, beat eggs in a bowl; stir in Parmesan and parsley, along with salt and pepper.
  10. When potatoes are brown, turn heat to low and wait a minute, then add eggs. Cook until frittata is set on the edges, then transfer into the oven and bake until the mixture is barely set on top. Serve in wedges, hot or at room temperature.


Recipe Origin: Minimalist Cooks Dinner, by Mark Bittman. This is one of my very favorite cookbooks. Bittman makes cooking easy, and fun. I’ve adapted it just a little to suit our preferences.

Pasta with Cauliflower

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 30 minutes | Yield: Serves 4-6


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1 Cup coarse bread crumbs
  • 1 pound Penne, Ziti or some other kind of cut pasta
  • Ground black pepper


  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  2. Trim the cauliflower and divide into florets.
  3. Salt the water, add the cauliflower and cook until it is tender, but not mushy.
  4. Remove it from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and set it off to the side, and chop cauliflower into smaller pieces.
  5. Cook the pasta in the same water you just cooked the cauliflower in.
  6. While the pasta is cooking, combine oil and garlic in a large deep skillet on medium low heat. Cook, stirring until garlic is golden, about 5 minutes.
  7. When the garlic is golden, add cauliflower and bread crumbs and turn the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally.
  8. When the pasta is just about done – it should be 2 or 3 minutes away from al dente- RESERVE  1 CUP of the cooking water, and drain the rest.
  9. Add the pasta to the skillet with the cauliflower and toss with a large spoon until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with some of the pasta water. When it is hot and the pasta is nicely glazed, serve.


Recipe Origin:  Mark Bittman’s excellent book called The Minimalist Cooks Dinner. I love this book and I highly recommend it.

Roasted Vegetable Pasta

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 15-18 minutes | Total Time: 30 minutes | Yield: Serves: 6


  • 3/4 pound strozapretti pasta (Montebello is great), or spaghetti or linguine
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme or oregano (I like thyme) leaves
  • grated Parmesan, for serving


  1. Heat oven to 450° F.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. DON’T POUR ALL WATER OUT! Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water; drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
  3. Meanwhile, on 2 rimmed baking sheets, toss the eggplant, onion, bell pepper, and garlic with the oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Roast, rotating the sheets halfway through, until the vegetables are golden brown and very tender, 15 to 18 minutes.
  4. Add the vegetables, tomatoes, and reserved cooking water to the pasta and cook over medium heat, tossing, until the liquid coats the pasta, 2 to 4 minutes.
  5. Add the thyme or oregano and toss to combine.
  6. Sprinkle with the Parmesan.

Notes: Add sliced grilled chicken to the top. The first time I made this I forgot to save the pasta water. It was fine. I cooked the tomatoes with the other veggies instead of adding them to the end. It was fine. I forgot to add the oregano and “toss to combine” at the end. I just threw a few oregano leaves on the top. I don’t think it matters, really. It was delicious! Easy, good and enough leftovers for another meal. Original recipe calls for spaghetti, which I don’t like, so I used this excellent strozapretti I found from Whole Foods.

Recipe Origin:  Real Simple.