Farfalle with Turkey Sausage, Peas & Mushrooms (Everyday Italian)

This is a yummy, sauceless pasta. If it starts smoking up, don't worry. It's still going to be just fine!

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound Italian-style turkey sausages, casings removed (note: we used chicken sausage & it was yummy!)
10 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 (10 oz) package frozen peas, defrosted slightly
1 lb dried farfalle pasta (bow-ties)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over a high flame. Add the sausage and saute until golden brown, breaking up any large clumps (about 5 minutes). Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a plate and set aside. Heat 2 more tablespoons of oil in the same pan. Add the mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Saute until all the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Add the peas and saute for 2 minutes. Return the sausage to the pan and cook until the sausage is heated through and the flavors have blended, about 3 minutes.

Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the farfalle and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot and add the meat mixture. Toss over medium heat to combine and heat through, adding enough of the reserved cooking water to moisten, about 5 minutes. Drizzle in the remaining oil. Season the pasta with more salt and pepper to taste. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the Parmesan cheese and toss to combine. Transfer the pasta mixture to a large bowl and serve.


Chef Jack's Corn Chowder (Paula Deen)

This is one of my favorite summer dishes and it's never too early to start thinking about summer! I love to make this when I have fresh corn. The recipe calls for 2 sticks of butter but I found that is too rich for us combined with the half & half.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 small onion, diced
1 small carrot, finely diced
1 small celery stalk, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups white corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups half & half
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Salt & pepper

Melt 1 stick of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion , carrot, celery, and garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add the flour and stir to make a roux. Cook until the roux is lightly browned; set aside to cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, combine the corn and chicken stock in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Pour the boiling stock with the corn (a little at a time) into the skillet with the roux, whisking briskly so it doesn't lump. Return the skillet to the heat and bring to a boil. The mixture should become very thick. In a small saucepan, gently heat the half & half; stir it into the thick corn mixture. Add the nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving, cut the remaining stick of butter into large chunks. Add it to enrich the soup, stirring until the butter melts.


Super Nachos (Rachel Ray)

I made this for the Super Bowl and it was my first Rachel Ray dish. It was unbelievable! I can't wait to have another reason to make this!

2 bags corn tortilla chips (different colors, different flavors, all the same- your pick). Arrange a mixture of the corn chips on a very large platter or use your broiler pan as a platter (I got a disposable roasting pan).

Pico de Gallo Salsa:
4 vine ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped, for medium to hot heat level
1 small white onion, chopped
1/4 cup, 2 handfulls, cilantro leaves, finely chopped

Combine salsa ingredients in a bowl and set aside for the flavors to marry.

Beef and Beans Topping:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1lb ground sirloin
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dark chili powder
1 1/2 ground cumin, half a palmful
1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper sauce, giving you medium to hot heat level
1 can black beans (15 oz) drained

Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add oil, garlic, onion and peppers to the pan and saute 2 minutes, then add meat and crumble with wooden spoon. Season meat with salt, chili powder, cumin and cayenne pepper sauce. Cook meat 5 minutes, then stir in beans and reduce heat to low.

Cheese Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
3/4lb pepper jack cheese, shredded (about 2 1/2 cups)

In a medium sauce pot, melt butter and add flour to it. Cook flour and butter 1 to 2 minutes over moderate heat, then whisk in milk. When milk comes to a bubble, stir in cheese with a wooden spoon. Remove cheese sauce from the heat. Pour the cheese sauce evenly over the chips and top evenly with beef and beans and the salsa. Serve immediately or garnish with additional toppings (sour cream, avocado, etc).

Palomino's Rice with Beans (Arroz Moro)- from Viva la Vida

Yum, yum, yum!!!
We usually eat this as a side dish when we are having Taco night or quesadillas. It is awesome for left overs!

2 1/4 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1 cup long-grain rice, rinsed
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1 green onion, including light green parts, thinly sliced
1 plum tomato, diced
1 tablespoon fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
1 clove roasted garlic
1 cup cooked black beans
1 pinch sazon spice blend or ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of stock or broth to a boil. Add the rice, stir, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the rice is al dente.

In a large saute pan or skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and saute the green onion, tomato, and corn for 5 minutes, or until the corn is tender. Add the garlic and stir to blend. Add the cooked rice and its liquid, the black beans, and the remaining stock or broth. Add the sazon or cumin, salt and pepper. Cook until heated through, stirring gently. Remove from heat and pour onto a platter. Serve immediately.