Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Mushrooms

If you like trying new vegetable dishes, I’m pretty sure you’re gonna LOVE this simple and delicious side dish recipe for Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Mushrooms, which we enjoyed with our dinner recently!Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Mushrooms / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
I grew up not liking brussel sprouts at all, but as an adult I have really come to love them… pan-seared, roasted, steamed… practically every way they can be prepared. For this particular recipe I decided to try pan-searing brussel sprouts with a small amount of thick-cut bacon, then added sliced mushrooms, shallots, salt, pepper, minced garlic, and finished them with just a touch of butter. The results? DELICIOUS! Here’s how to make them:

Chop up bacon (I use kitchen scissors-easy!) and add it to skillet. Cook on medium heat 2-3 minutes, until it is about 1/2 way done.

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Mushrooms / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Add brussel sprouts that have been cut in half.  Continue to pan-sear the brussel sprouts in bacon drippings for a couple minutes (add a tiny bit of olive oil to skillet if necessary).  Lightly season the veggies with salt and pepper.

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Mushrooms / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Continue cooking until the brussel sprouts begin to soften (3-4 minutes), flipping half way through cooking time.  Add 3 Tablespoons water to pan, and cook until water has cooked away.

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Mushrooms / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Add sliced mushrooms and shallots to skillet. Continue cooking until mushrooms are done and cooked through (approx. 3-4 minutes). Add minced garlic; cook for additional minute. At this point, brussel sprouts and mushrooms should be cooked through. Add a tiny pat of butter, and stir until butter has melted and coated veggies (**Butter is completely optional, but does add a bit more flavor… just sayin’).

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Mushrooms / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Remove pan from heat, season with additional salt and pepper (if necessary – to taste), then serve.

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Mushrooms / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

The bacon will be fully cooked , the brussel sprouts tender, and there will be a whole lot of flavor going on!

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Mushrooms / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

This is a very simple yet tasty side dish to prepare.  I hope you will consider trying these… it’s just another way to get some yummy veggies onto that dinner plate. Plus… everything’s better with bacon, right?  Have a great day!

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Mushrooms / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Mushrooms
 
Prep time
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Pan-seared brussel sprouts are enhanced by adding bacon, mushrooms, shallots, and garlic, making this simple veggie side dish come alive!
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 10 Brussel Sprouts (approx. 5 per person), cut in half (and stem removed)
  • 1-2 slices thick cut bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • Olive oil (only if necessary due to low bacon dripping residue in skillet)
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 4-6 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped shallots
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon butter
Directions
  1. Add chopped bacon to medium skillet. Cook on medium heat until about ½ way done. (do not drain bacon drippings).
  2. Add brussel sprouts that have been cut in half (and de-stemmed). Continue to pan-sear brussel sprouts in bacon drippings for a couple minutes (add a tiny bit of olive oil to skillet only if necessary). Lightly season brussel sprouts with salt and pepper.
  3. Continue cooking until brussel sprouts begin to soften (3-4 minutes), flipping over half way through cooking. Add 3 Tablespoons water to skillet; cook until water has cooked away.
  4. Add sliced mushrooms and shallots to skillet. Continue cooking until mushrooms are done and cooked through (approx. 3-4 minutes). Add minced garlic; cook for additional minute. At this point, brussel sprouts and mushrooms should be cooked through. Add butter, and stir until butter has melted and coated veggies. (Note: Butter is completely optional, but adds good flavor)
  5. Remove pan from heat, season with additional salt and pepper (if needed), then serve.

 

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Beef and Barley Soup

We had snow, freezing rain, and below freezing temperatures in Oregon this weekend. Brrr.  We were stuck inside waiting for the ice and snow to melt, so I made a large pot of delicious Beef and Barley Soup… a big bowl of hot soup sounded perfect for such cold, icy days!Beef and Barley Soup / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
When I was growing up, my Mom occasionally bought cans of a name brand’s Beef and Barley Soup. I always liked it, so it was a natural choice to try making my own. I found the recipe on Pinterest (from blogger and author Gina Homolka at Skinnytaste.com), and loved the SIMPLE ingredients it takes to make it.  The soup cooks on low for a couple hours, which allows the meat to become VERY TENDER. The addition of barley helps make it very filling – the soup tastes delicious… AND only has 336 calories per serving (1½ cups of soup).

Interested?  Well, here’s how you make it:

Heat oil in a large heavy pot on medium heat.  Once oil is hot, add beef, which has been lightly seasoned with salt. Brown the meat on all sides (this will take 3-4 minutes).

Beef and Barley Soup / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Once the meat is browned, drain grease. Add chopped carrots, onion, celery and minced garlic. Stir to combine.

Beef and Barley Soup / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Add water, salt, and a couple of bay leaves to the pot. Stir well. Bring the mixture to a boil. Once it begins to boil, turn the heat down to LOW.  Put a cover on the pot. Let the soup simmer on low heat for 1½ to 2 hours (leaving the lid on the pot the entire time). The long cooking time helps tenderize the beef. While it cooked, I worked on a puzzle, read, played with our dog, did some laundry, and enjoyed it as the amazing smell from the cooking soup began to fill our home.

Beef and Barley Soup / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

When the long cook time is done, add dry barley to the soup. Stir well. Taste the broth.  Season with ground black pepper.  Add additional salt, if needed (to taste). Stir well.

Beef and Barley Soup / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Let the soup simmer on LOW (uncovered) for an additional 35-40 minutes, while the barley cooks.  The barley will “plump” a bit as it cooks and will absorb some of the liquid.

Beef and Barley Soup / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

When done cooking, remember to take out the bay leaves (!!!), then ladle some of this delicious soup into individual bowls, garnish with a bit of dried parsley, and serve!

Beef and Barley Soup / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Hope you enjoy this simple, yet hearty and filling soup. My husband and I sure enjoyed it, served with a slice of crusty sourdough bread. I’m looking forward to the leftovers for lunch today!  The beef was incredibly tender, and the taste was wonderful. Best of all, it was a very simple soup to prepare!

Beef and Barley Soup / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Have a great day! The last report I heard on the news yesterday said that 47 of the 48 mainland states have snow in one part of them or another. That’s a whole lot of COLD WEATHER! Stay warm, make a big pot of hot soup… and enjoy your day!

Beef and Barley Soup / The Grateful Girl Cooks!Recipe Source:  http://www.skinnytaste.com/beef-barley-soup/

Beef and Barley Soup
 
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This hearty, delicious and filling soup containing beef, barley, carrots, celery and onions is sure to please on a cold Winter's day!
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 7½ cups
Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1½ pounds beef round stew meat (1-2 inch pieces)
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups water
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt (season to taste)
  • 2 bay leaves (in spice section-added for seasoning)
  • ⅔ cup dry barley
  • Ground black pepper (approx. ½ teaspoon)
  • Additional salt, to taste
  • Dried parsley (for garnish-optional)
Directions
  1. Heat oil in a large heavy pot on medium heat. Once oil is hot, add beef, which has been lightly seasoned with salt. Brown meat on all sides (this will take 3-4 minutes). Drain grease from pan.
  2. Add chopped carrots, onion, celery and minced garlic. Stir to combine.
  3. Add water, salt, and a couple of bay leaves to the pot. Stir well. Bring the mixture to a boil. Once it begins to boil, turn the heat down to Low. Put a cover on the pot. Let the soup simmer on low heat for 1½ to 2 hours. The long cooking time helps to tenderize the beef. Meat should be tender when done.
  4. Add barley. Stir to combine. Season with ground black pepper. Taste the soup. Add additional salt, if needed. Let soup simmer on low (uncovered) an additional 35-40 minutes, while the barley cooks.
  5. When done cooking, remember to take out the bay leaves (!!!), then ladle some of this delicious soup into individual bowls, garnish with a bit of dried parsley, and serve!

 

 

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How To Can Ranch Style Beans

If you enjoy beans as a hearty side dish for chicken, burgers, hot dogs, etc. AND like canning, then you might be interested in learning how to can ranch style beans.How To Can Ranch Style Beans / The Grateful Girl Cooks
I found the recipe on a fantastic website for canning (sbcanning.com), and wanted to try canning some ranch style beans to have in my pantry to use as a side dish for some of our dinners later in the year. I found the recipe to be be easy to prepare, and the beans were quite delicious (recipe as written makes 5 pints, but is easily doubled). The original recipe calls for 4 Tablespoons chili powder, but I used only 3 Tablespoons, to lower the “spicy factor”. That was the only change I made to the original recipe. Here’s how to make them:

Prepare jars, lids, pressure canner, according to manufacturer instructions.  Put the dried pinto beans in a large saucepan (or Dutch oven). Add water to the pan, making sure to cover beans fully by two inches. Bring to a full boil; continue boiling for 2 minutes.  Take pan off the heat, cover pan, and let beans sit (and soak) for 1 hour, then drain the beans. (SEE NOTES SECTION IN PRINTABLE RECIPE FOR ALTERNATE METHOD).

How To Can Ranch Style Beans / The Grateful Girl Cooks

In large skillet, heat oil on medium. When oil is hot, add chopped onions; cook for 9-10 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute (don’t let garlic burn).

How To Can Ranch Style Beans / The Grateful Girl Cooks

Add tomatoes, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, water and various spices (paprika, cumin, chili powder, and oregano). Transfer this mixture to a blender or food processor (may have to do this in batches). Process until mixture is smooth.

How To Can Ranch Style Beans / The Grateful Girl Cooks

How To Can Ranch Style Beans / The Grateful Girl Cooks

Bring 3-4 cups of water (or beef broth) to a boil in separate pan. Once boiling, remove from heat.

Add prepared pinto beans to hot, pureed tomato mixture. Stir to combine. (Make sure mixture is hot before adding to prepared jars.

How To Can Ranch Style Beans / The Grateful Girl Cooks

Fill hot pint jars 3/4 of the way full.  Add salt and pepper to each jar.  Add boiling water (or beef broth) to each jar, being sure to leave 1″ headspace. Make sure to remove the air bubbles, then adjust headspace, if necessary. Wipe the rims clean with a damp paper towel, then put on flat lids and rings.

How To Can Ranch Style Beans / The Grateful Girl Cooks

Process in pressure canner. If using a weighted gauge canner, process pints at 10 pounds pressure for 75 minutes.  If using a dial gauge canner, process at 11 pounds pressure.  Quart sized jars should be processed for 85 minutes.

How To Can Ranch Style Beans / The Grateful Girl Cooks

Once beans are done, and have been removed from canner (following manufacturer instructions!), let the jars cool on a dish towel. Once they have completely cooled, label the jars; store in your pantry (to use at a later date) as a quick “grab and go” side dish!

How To Can Ranch Style Beans / The Grateful Girl Cooks

I love canning during the cold Winter months when I’m inside a lot, due to cold weather, snow or rain. It feels wonderful to have my pantry stocked and ready for the rest of the year. Hope you will consider trying this recipe.

How To Can Ranch Style Beans / The Grateful Girl Cooks

Recipe Source: http://www.sbcanning.com/2013/10/canning-ranch-style-beans.html

How To Can Ranch Style Beans
 
Prep time
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Slightly spicy, yet full of flavor, these canned ranch style beans are a perfect "grab and go" side dish for chicken, hamburger, hot dogs, etc.
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Canning
Serves: 5 pints
Ingredients
  • 1 pound dried pinto beans (16 ounces)
  • 3-4 Tablespoons chili powder (I used 3)
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes (can substitute 2 medium, peeled/diced tomatoes)
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 1 cup water
To Add To Jars:
  • ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3-4 cups boiling water (or beef broth)
Directions
  1. Prepare jars, lids, pressure canner, according to manufacturer instructions. Put dried pinto beans in a large saucepan (or Dutch oven). Add water to pan, making sure to cover beans fully by two inches. Bring to a full boil; continue boiling for 2 minutes. Take pan off heat, cover, and let beans sit (and soak) for 1 hour, then drain beans.
  2. In large skillet, heat oil on medium. When oil is hot, add chopped onions; cook for 9-10 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute (don't let garlic burn).
  3. Add tomatoes, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, water, paprika, cumin, chili powder, and oregano. Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor (may have to do this in batches). Process until mixture is smooth.
  4. Bring 3-4 cups of water (or beef broth) to a boil in separate pan. Once boiling, remove from heat.
  5. Add prepared pinto beans to hot, pureed tomato mixture. Stir to combine. (Make sure mixture is hot before adding to prepared jars.
  6. Fill hot pint jars ¾ of the way full. Add salt and pepper to each jar. Add boiling water (or beef broth) to each jar, being sure to leave 1" headspace. Remove air bubbles, then adjust headspace, if necessary. Wipe jar rims clean, then put on flat lids and rings, tightening to fingertip tight.
  7. Processing: If using weighted gauge canner, process pints at 10# pressure for 75 minutes. If using dial gauge canner, process at 11# pressure. Quart jars must be processed for 85 minutes.
  8. Once beans are done, and jars have been removed from canner (following manufacturer instructions), let jars cool on a dish towel. Once completely cooled, label jars; store in pantry.
Notes
Alternate Method For Beans: Sort and rinse beans. Soak in water overnight. Drain. Place beans in LARGE saucepan. Cover with cold water (water must be two inches above beans). Bring beans to a LOW BOIL and cook, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. Drain. Proceed with remainder of recipe.

 

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Pecan-Crusted Halibut With Lemon Wine Sauce

My husband and I ushered in the New Year with a home cooked dinner, featuring Pecan-Crusted Halibut With Lemon Wine Sauce.  It was just the two of us this year, enjoying a delicious meal, a great movie (“Sully”) and a glass of champagne together.  What a great start to the year!!!Pecan-Crusted Halibut With Lemon Wine Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
We don’t buy halibut too often (it can be a bit pricey), but my husband found a fillet on sale for $14 and we got 3½ servings out of it, so it actually cost less per serving than a fast food meal! I found a recipe that sounded wonderful, so I made it for us, and WE LOVED IT!!!!  The halibut is baked, with an amazing Panko breadcrumb/pecan/seasoning/Parmesan cheese crust on it. Once cooked, a lemon wine sauce is drizzled over the halibut, then served.

If you make the lemon wine sauce while the halibut is baking, this dish can be made in 30 minutes! (*Note: I cut recipe in half so my photos reflect that): Here’s how to make this dish:

First things first… make sure to preheat your oven to 425 degrees. While it is preheating, cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and give it a good coating of non-stick spray.  Pat the pieces of halibut dry with a paper towel, lightly season with salt and pepper, then place halibut pieces onto prepared baking sheet. Keep pieces about 1/2-1 inch apart. Set aside.

Pecan-Crusted Halibut With Lemon Wine Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

In a separate bowl, combine Panko breadcrumbs, chopped pecans, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine. Add melted butter, horseradish, Dijon mustard, chopped parsley, dill, and lemon zest. Mix together with a fork until the mixture is fully combined.  It will be crumbly and look like this…

Pecan-Crusted Halibut With Lemon Wine Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Now use a spoon and/or your clean hands and divide the mixture evenly on top of each piece of halibut. Cover the top completely, lightly pressing the crumbs onto the fish to get them to “stick”. Scoop crumbs up that fall off fish and press them back onto fish. When all halibut pieces are coated, drizzle with olive oil.  Place halibut in oven; bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until cooked through and crust is golden brown (mine took 15).

Pecan-Crusted Halibut With Lemon Wine Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

While halibut is baking, make the lemon wine sauce. Heat olive oil in saucepan on medium heat. When hot, add finely chopped shallots. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes, until shallots are cooked and slightly soft.

Pecan-Crusted Halibut With Lemon Wine Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Turn the heat up to High. Pour in the wine and lemon juice. Bring to a boil; continue to cook for 6-8 minutes (or 5-6 minutes if making a half recipe), until the liquid has reduced slightly.

Pecan-Crusted Halibut With Lemon Wine Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Turn heat down to Low. Add butter. Stir until butter has melted and is incorporated into sauce.

Pecan-Crusted Halibut With Lemon Wine Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Remove pan from heat. Add fresh (or dried) chopped dill. Season with salt/pepper, to taste.

Pecan-Crusted Halibut With Lemon Wine Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

When halibut is done, the crust will be a gorgeous golden brown color, fish should be cooked through, and it will look like this…

Pecan-Crusted Halibut With Lemon Wine Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Use a spatula to place the halibut onto individual serving plates. Drizzle some of that delicious Lemon Wine sauce over each piece, then serve and enjoy!  I served the halibut with some rice, and a fresh vegetable medley. The fish flaked so easily, and the crumb topping with the drizzled lemon wine sauce was out of this world good. REALLY good.

Pecan-Crusted Halibut With Lemon Wine Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

I sure hope you will consider giving this recipe a try. We felt like we had a gourmet meal for a fraction of the cost of ordering halibut at a restaurant… and it was absolutely delicious!

Hope you are looking forward to the New Year ahead with great anticipation for new adventures, making new friends, new (yummy) recipes to fix for the ones you love, serving others, and the peace that comes from knowing how much God loves YOU… just as you are.

Pecan-Crusted Halibut With Lemon Wine Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Source:  http://www.bitememore.com/feedme/125/walnut-crusted-halibut-recipe#

Pecan-Crusted Halibut With Lemon Wine Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 6 (6-8 ounces each) halibut fillets, skin removed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
For The Pecan Crust:
  • 1½ cups Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (can substitute walnuts)
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon creamy horseradish
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (can substitute dried parsley)
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill (can substitute dried dill weed)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
For The Lemon Wine Sauce:
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill (can substitute dried dill weed)
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
Directions
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil; give it a good coating of non-stick spray. Pat the pieces of halibut dry with a paper towel, lightly season with salt and pepper, then place onto prepared baking sheet. Keep the pieces about ½-1 inch apart.
  2. In a separate bowl place Panko breadcrumbs, pecans, and Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine. Add melted butter, horseradish, Dijon mustard, chopped parsley, dill, and lemon zest. Mix together with a fork until mixture is crumbly.
  3. Using a spoon and/or your clean hands, divide crumb mixture evenly on top of each piece. Cover the top completely, pressing crumbs onto fish to get them to "stick". Scoop crumbs up that fall off fish; gently press them back onto fish. When all halibut pieces are coated, drizzle olive oil on top. Bake (uncovered) at 425 F for 12-15 minutes, until cooked through and crust is golden brown.
  4. While halibut bakes, make lemon wine sauce. Heat olive oil in saucepan on medium. When hot, add shallots. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes, until shallots are slightly soft.
  5. Turn heat to High. Pour in wine and lemon juice. Bring to a boil; stir and continue to cook for 6-8 minutes (or 5-6 minutes if making half recipe), until the liquid has reduced slightly.
  6. Turn heat back to Low. Add butter. Stir until butter has melted and is incorporated into sauce.
  7. Remove pan from heat. Stir in fresh (or dried) dill. Taste sauce; season with salt and pepper.
  8. When halibut is done, crust will be a gorgeous golden brown color, fish should be cooked through. Use a spatula to place halibut onto individual serving plates. Drizzle with lemon wine sauce. Enjoy!

 

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Merry Christmas 2016

In the middle of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I’m taking a two week break from blogging to enjoy my family, and celebrate the birth of Jesus.  My life has been forever changed because of God’s mercy, grace and unconditional love. I am so very GRATEFUL.  My hope and prayer is that this Christmas season holds special meaning for you, as well.Merry Christmas 2016 / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Thank you to all who have visited this blog this year. I am very thankful for you, and sincerely wish each of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year from the bottom of my heart!  I look forward to discovering, cooking, then sharing many delicious new recipes with you in the coming year. 

Merry Christmas 2016 / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
From our family and home in Oregon to yours… Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas 2016 / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

 

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Muddy Buddies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Muddy Buddies are a fun little snack during the holidays… or anytime, for that matter. Perfect for snacking OR giving to friends as a food gift… they are sure to make someone smile!Chocolate Peanut Butter Muddy Buddies / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
I love these decadent little snacks… with a crunch and the taste of chocolate and peanut butter, they are perfect for serving at a party, or sitting in front of the TV watching a football game!  Best part… they are so easy to make! Here’s how:

Measure out the Chex cereal into a LARGE bowl. I used corn and rice for this recipe.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Muddy Buddies / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Melt chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a microwavable bowl on High for 1 minute. Remove and stir until creamy smooth. If necessary, microwave an additional 15 seconds, then stir until smooth. Do NOT overcook or chocolate will burn. Mine was smooth after first minute of cooking and stirring well.  Once totally smooth, add the vanilla extract. Stir.  Pour the chocolate mixture over the cereal. Stir well, to fully coat all the cereal.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Muddy Buddies / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Muddy Buddies / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Muddy Buddies / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Once all cereal has been coated with chocolate, place HALF the mixture into a separate clean LARGE bowl.  Add HALF the powdered sugar, and stir to fully coat.  When done, remove cereal to wax paper. Repeat process with other half of cereal and powdered sugar.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Muddy Buddies / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Spread coated cereal out on wax paper and let cool completely.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Muddy Buddies / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Store Muddy Buddies in an airtight covered container in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.  Try to stay out of them, cause they are ADDICTING!  It’s also fun to divide the mix up into fancy covered containers or jars and give this simple gift to friends over the holidays.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Muddy Buddies / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

If you’re looking for another recipe using Chex cereal I hope you will check out my Chex Mix Munchies!  They are another great snack, made in the microwave!

Have a wonderful day! I sincerely hope you can find time during this busy time of year to quietly reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. You are deeply loved by the One who created you, and sent His only Son to earth that first Christmas to draw us all back to Him.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Muddy Buddies / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Adapted From: The cookbook titled : “Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook”, Page 278, Wiley Publishing, Inc., Copyright 2010, General Mills.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Muddy Buddies
 
Prep time
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You and your family will love these powdered sugar dusted chocolate and peanut butter crispy snacks!
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 9 cups
Ingredients
  • 9 cups Chex cereal (any variety- I used half corn and half rice)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
Directions
  1. Place the cereal into a large bowl. Set the bowl aside.
  2. Place the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter into a microwaveable bowl. Cook this uncovered on the HIGH setting for 1 minute. Remove from microwave, and stir well. It is ready when all ingredients become smooth. If necessary, place back in microwave for15 additional seconds, then stir again until mixture is smooth.
  3. Stir vanilla extract into melted chocolate peanut butter mixture. Pour this mixture over the cereal. Stir well, until all is coated with chocolate. Once coated, pour HALF the cereal into a separate large clean bowl. Add HALF the powdered sugar. Stir well, until completely coated.
  4. Remove powdered sugar coated cereal to wax paper. Repeat process with other half of cereal and powdered sugar. Spread finished cereal on wax paper, until cool. This is the method I used.
  5. (Note: If desired, you can place all the cereal and powdered sugar in a 2 gallon plastic storage bag, and shake until covered).
  6. Store muddy buddies in a sealed, airtight container in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks

 

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Alice Springs Chicken (Outback Steakhouse Copycat)

Do chicken breasts, covered with bacon, mushrooms, Jack and Cheddar cheese in a honey mustard sauce sound good? If so, you will enjoy this Alice Springs Chicken (Outback Steakhouse Copycat) recipe, a popular menu item at this nationally known restaurant.Alice Springs Chicken (Outback Steakhouse Copycat) / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

I found the recipe in a cookbook I have had for years, which features kitchen clones from famous restaurants, and decided to make this one. It really tastes wonderful! The recipe itself is very easy to prepare, and the end result is fantastic! Here’s how to make this dish at home:

Combine Dijon mustard, honey, oil, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Blend well with a fork until combined.  Place chicken breasts in a resealable plastic food storage bag, Pour about 2/3 of the sauce over the chicken. Make sure chicken gets coated with sauce, then place in refrigerator and let marinate for 2 hours.  Cover and refrigerate the remaining 1/3 of the sauce until time to serve the meal.

Alice Springs Chicken (Outback Steakhouse Copycat) / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Alice Springs Chicken (Outback Steakhouse Copycat) / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

In a small skillet, sauté sliced mushrooms in butter until cooked through (approx. 4-5 minutes). Set aside.

Alice Springs Chicken (Outback Steakhouse Copycat) / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Heat oil in a large OVENPROOF skillet (If you don’t have an ovenproof skillet, sear the chicken breasts as directed in regular skillet, then transfer them to a baking dish). When oil is hot, add the chicken breasts. Cook them for 3-4 minutes per side. until golden brown. Once done, move the skillet off the heat, but leave chicken in skillet (unless transferring to baking dish).

***Here’s my TIP... make SURE the chicken breasts are thin. I took 2 really thick chicken breasts and sliced them horizontally when I made this dish. The very first time I made this recipe, I was cooking this for 6 people and used a couple large/thick chicken breasts in the mix. Even with the pan-searing AND the baking time in the recipe, the really thick ones did not fully cook all the way through (about 85 percent), so I had to take their plates back and microwave the chicken for our good friends who were over for dinner. Ugh. That sure was embarrassing.  We laughed about it, but I was mortified!  Have not repeated THAT mistake since, thankfully!

Alice Springs Chicken (Outback Steakhouse Copycat) / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Alice Springs Chicken (Outback Steakhouse Copycat) / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Brush each chicken breast with a bit of the reserved honey mustard sauce. Do NOT use the sauce the chicken was marinated in!). Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper, and paprika. Place two pieces of bacon on top of each chicken breast (can cut to fit). Evenly place cooked mushrooms on top of the bacon, then cover with Jack cheese, followed by cheddar cheese (about 1/4 cup of each type of cheese onto each piece of chicken).

Alice Springs Chicken (Outback Steakhouse Copycat) / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Alice Springs Chicken (Outback Steakhouse Copycat) / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Alice Springs Chicken (Outback Steakhouse Copycat) / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Cook the chicken breasts, uncovered,  in a preheated 375 degree oven for 9-10 minutes. When done, the cheese should be fully melted and should have begun to bubble. Remove hot skillet from oven. Top each chicken breast with a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley.

Alice Springs Chicken (Outback Steakhouse Copycat) / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Serve the reserved honey mustard sauce in a bowl on the side, OR place a spoonful onto the dinner plate and place the chicken on top of the sauce (that’s how I serve it!). Serve while hot, and enjoy this delicious restaurant-cloned chicken dish! 

Alice Springs Chicken (Outback Steakhouse Copycat) / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

At times it’s fun and economical to be able to re-create popular restaurant menu items in the comfort of your own kitchen. Sure hope you will consider trying this one… and sincerely hope you and your loved ones enjoy it!  Have a wonderful day.

Alice Springs Chicken (Outback Steakhouse Copycat) / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Source: The book “Top Secret Restaurant Recipes”, by Todd Wilbur. Pages 200-202.  Published by The Penguin Group. Published 1997

Alice Springs Chicken (Outback Steakhouse Copycat)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Chicken breasts, topped with bacon, mushrooms, and melted cheeses, in a honey-mustard sauce... A copycat restaurant recipe that is sure to please!
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
For the Honey Mustard Marinade:
  • ½ cup Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1½ teaspoons vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
For Chicken:
  • 4 thin skinless, boneless chicken breasts (or slice 2 thick breasts in half horizontally lengthwise)
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sliced button mushrooms (approx. 10-12 mushrooms)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • Salt, Pepper, Paprika (to lightly season chicken with)
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked
  • 1 cup grated Jack cheese
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
  • 2 teaspoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
Directions
  1. Combine Dijon mustard, honey, oil, and lemon juice in small bowl. Blend well with fork until combined. Place chicken breasts in a resealable plastic food storage bag, Pour ⅔ of the sauce over chicken. Make sure chicken gets coated with sauce, then place bag in refrigerator; marinate for 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate remaining sauce until later.
  2. In a small skillet, sauté sliced mushrooms in butter until cooked (approx. 4-5 minutes). Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in large OVENPROOF skillet (If you don't have an ovenproof skillet, sear chicken breasts in regular skillet, then transfer to baking dish). When oil is hot, add chicken breasts. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side. until golden brown. Once done, remove skillet off the heat, but leave chicken in skillet (unless transferring to baking dish).
  4. Brush each chicken breast with a bit of reserved honey mustard sauce. Do NOT use the sauce the chicken was marinated in!). Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, and paprika. Place two pieces of bacon on top of each chicken breast. Evenly spoon cooked mushrooms on top of the bacon, then cover with Jack cheese, followed by cheddar cheese (about ¼ cup of each type of cheese onto each piece of chicken).
  5. Cook chicken, uncovered, in a preheated 375 degree oven for 9-10 minutes. When done, cheese should be fully melted and should have begun to bubble. Remove skillet from oven. Top each chicken breast with a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley.
  6. Serve with reserved sauce on the side, or place a spoonful of sauce onto dinner plate, top with chicken. Enjoy!
Notes
PREP TIME reflects 2 hours for marinating chicken breasts.

 

 

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Gingerbread Muffins

Need a little holiday inspiration? How about serving these delicious and festive looking Gingerbread Muffins for breakfast during the holidays? They are quick AND easy to make!Gingerbread Muffins / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
I found the recipe in a cookbook that my friend Debbie gave me several years ago. I was browsing through the cookbook getting recipe ideas, but when I saw how easy these muffins were to make, I ran downstairs and whipped some up for our breakfast!  They tasted fantastic (I think my hubby ate THREE of them- they were that good!

The recipe is absolutely simple to make. If you can stir and pour batter into muffin tins, YOU can make these!!! The muffins have a wonderful gingerbread flavor and have a nice “rise” to them. Here’s how you make them:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and prepare 12 cup standard sized muffin tin by spraying the bottom only, OR by placing paper baking cups into each muffin cup.  Beat together brown sugar, molasses, milk, oil and one egg in a large bowl. You can easily use a spoon for this.

Gingerbread Muffins / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Add remaining ingredients (flour, baking powder, ginger, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and ground allspice to the batter. Stir to mix ingredients only until flour is incorporated and moistened. Do not over stir.

Gingerbread Muffins / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Gingerbread Muffins / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin cups. Each one should only be filled HALF full.

Gingerbread Muffins / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Bake muffins at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Check muffins at 18 minutes. Mine only took 18 minutes, so I was glad I checked them. This is necessary because oven temps. vary quite a bit!  Once done, immediately remove the muffins from the baking pan, and place them on a wire rack to cool.  Once cooled, they are ready to eat… as is, OR you can fancy them up (can’t help myself!).

Gingerbread Muffins / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

If you want to “fancy them up” a bit, while muffins are cooling off stir together a mixture of powdered sugar, vanilla, and water until the icing is thick enough to drizzle over tops of muffins. I had some red sparkly sugar in my pantry, so I also lightly sprinkled the icing with red sugar after drizzling it on. (Multi-colored sprinkles would add a fun touch, too!).

Gingerbread Muffins / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Gingerbread Muffins / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Let the icing firm up just a bit, then the muffins are ready to eat!  Here’s a peek at the inside of one before it got gobbled up!  My husband enjoyed his warm muffins with a tiny touch of butter, which he said made them perfect!

Gingerbread Muffins / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

It’s such an easy recipe to make… and it was kind of fun to have GINGERBREAD muffins for breakfast, right in the middle of the Christmas holidays!  Hope you enjoy them.  I sincerely hope you are finding JOY in this season. Merry Christmas!

Gingerbread Muffins / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Adapted From:Recipe Adapted From: The cookbook titled : “Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook”, Page 158, Wiley Publishing, Inc., Copyright 2010, General Mills.

Gingerbread Muffins
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Gingerbread Muffins... delicious, EASY, and perfect for the holidays!
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 12
Ingredients
For Muffin Batter:
  • ¼ cup brown sugar (packed)
  • ½ cup molasses
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
For Decorative Icing (to drizzle on finished muffins):
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Few drops of water (a little at a time until desired thickness is reached)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. spray the bottoms (only) of a 12 standard sized muffin cups with non-stick spray OR insert paper muffin baking cups into each cup.
  2. Mix the the brown sugar, molasses, oil, milk, and egg together in a large bowl with a spoon. Mix well.
  3. Stir in the remaining ingredients (flour, baking powder, ginger, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and allspice). Stir only until all ingredients are mixed in together... do not overmix.
  4. Divide and spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin cups (only fill HALFWAY).
  5. Bake muffins at 400 degrees F for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of muffin comes out clean. It's best to check them at the 18 minute mark, as oven temperatures vary.
  6. When done, immediately remove muffins from baking pan to a wire rack to cool. Once they have cooled down they are ready to serve warm (unless you wish to add a decorative drizzle).
  7. If you wish to drizzle icing over the top of finished muffins, place powdered sugar and vanilla in small bowl. Stir in a few drops of water, stirring as you go. Continue adding a drop or two of water and stirring, until icing is thick enough to drizzle on top of muffins. Wait until muffins are completely cool before drizzling icing on top. Lightly dust with colored sugar or sprinkles, if desired. Let icing firm up on muffins, then serve! Enjoy!

 

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Tex-Mex Party Nuts

If you are looking for a delicious appetizer for your next party (or just want a unique snack), you should give these Tex-Mex Party Nuts a try! Slightly sweet, slightly spicy and totally addicting, they will be a big hit… AND they are totally EASY to prepare!Tex-Mex Party Nuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
I found the recipe in a cookbook a friend of mine gave me several years ago for Christmas, and was anxious to try it. I waited until my husband bought an “industrial strength size” jar of mixed nuts at Costco, then smuggled enough out of the jar to make this recipe. Wow… am I glad I did! These roasted mixed nuts are amazing, and the best part is… they are easy to make with a few simple household spices, and only take a few minutes to make! Here’s how:

Measure the mixed nuts into a large bowl. Add melted butter, and stir until the nuts are coated.

Tex-Mex Party Nuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Tex-Mex Party Nuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

In a separate small bowl, mix together the spices EXCEPT for the granulated sugar (save that for later!). Sprinkle the spice mix over the mixed nuts, and stir to fully coat.

Tex-Mex Party Nuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Tex-Mex Party Nuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Spread the spiced nuts onto a 15 x10 x 1 inch baking pan. Spread them out in a single layer. Bake the nuts, uncovered, in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes. When done, immediately pour the hot spiced nuts into a medium bowl.

Tex-Mex Party Nuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Sprinkle the nuts with granulated sugar while they are still HOT from the oven. Stir to fully coat.

Tex-Mex Party Nuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Tex-Mex Party Nuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Let the nuts cool completely, then serve on a pretty plate or in a serving bowl.

Tex-Mex Party Nuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Tex-Mex Party Nuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

The Tex-Mex Party Nuts also make a lovely gift during the holidays. Simply place the nuts into a canning jar, then decorate, and enjoy giving them as a gift to a friend!

Tex-Mex Party Nuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

The first time I made them I was afraid (before trying them) that they might be TOO spicy, but was pleasantly surprised to find out they absolutely were NOT!  Perfect combo of slightly sweet/slightly spicy ingredients! The nuts will keep for up to 3 weeks, if you store them in an airtight covered container at room temperature.  The recipe is EASILY doubled… or tripled.  Sure hope you will give them a try… they are quite tasty!

Tex-Mex Party Nuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Adapted From: The cookbook titled : “Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook”, Page 272, Wiley Publishing, Inc., Copyright 2010, General Mills.

Tex-Mex Party Nuts
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These Southwest-inspired slightly sweet, slightly spicy mixed nuts will be a big hit at your next party!
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 cups salted mixed nuts
  • 1½ Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground red cayenne pepper
  • --------------------------------------------------------
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar (set aside)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Place mixed nuts in a medium sized bowl. Add melted butter and stir until the nuts are fully coated.
  3. In a small bowl, place all spices EXCEPT for the granulated sugar. Mix together. Sprinkle spice mix over the buttered mixed nuts, and stir until coated.
  4. Place nuts onto a 10 x15 x 1 inch baking pan in a single layer. Bake the nuts uncovered for 10 minutes. The nuts should be fully roasted. Remove nuts from oven and immediately place them into a bowl.
  5. Sprinkle the nuts with the granulated sugar while the nuts are still HOT. Stir to coat.
  6. Let the nuts cool completely, then serve.
  7. If storing, the nuts will keep for about 3 weeks in a covered airtight container at room temperature.

 

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Shrimp And Penne Pasta Alfredo

Lightly seasoned, pan-seared shrimp served on a bed of penne pasta covered in a creamy Alfredo sauce is a delicious meal we really enjoy! Guess what? Shrimp and Penne Pasta Alfredo is not only delicious to eat, it’s EASY to prepare in UNDER 30 minutes!!Shrimp And Penne Pasta Alfredo / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Over 30 years ago a friend told me how to make a quick alfredo sauce; the rest of the recipe is just one of the variations I have made through the years.  The shrimp in this dish, (lightly sprinkled with Cajun spices or seasoning of your choice) AND the sauce takes only minutes to prepare while the pasta is cooking, so the entire dish can be ready to go in under 30 minutes! And trust me… it is EASY to prepare… and quite yummy.

Here’s how simple it is to make:

Bring large pot of water to boil… cook penne pasta according to package directions.

While pasta is cooking, lightly sprinkle Cajun seasoning (or seasoning of your choice: garlic powder, Italian seasoning, etc.) onto peeled, deveined large shrimp (21-25 per pound). In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat.  When oil is hot, add shrimp and cook about 2 minutes per side, until pink and fully cooked. Remove, and keep warm.

Shrimp And Penne Pasta Alfredo / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

To make the Alfredo sauce, melt 1 cube of butter in a large skillet. I make the sauce while the pasta is cooking.

Shrimp And Penne Pasta Alfredo / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Add 1½ cups heavy whipping cream, stir, then grate 1½ cups of fresh Parmesan cheese into sauce (can also add more Parmesan, if desired).  Stir well to combine ingredients and cook on medium-low heat (stirring constantly) until cheese has melted, sauce has thickened, and is hot. Taste test sauce; season with a tiny bit of garlic powder, salt and pepper, if desired. Do not let sauce come to a boil.

Shrimp And Penne Pasta Alfredo / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

When pasta is finished cooking, drain well, then add to skillet with thickened hot Alfredo sauce.

Shrimp And Penne Pasta Alfredo / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Stir to fully mix pasta and sauce. Heat on low until sauce and pasta are hot and fully combined.

Shrimp And Penne Pasta Alfredo / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Place a portion of the hot pasta onto each serving plate. Top each portion with pan-seared shrimp.  Sprinkle with dried parsley and additional grated Parmesan cheese (if desired), and serve hot.

Shrimp And Penne Pasta Alfredo / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

See how easy it is? I’ve been making Alfredo sauce this way for years and years… and it tastes GREAT with shrimp.

Hope you will consider making this great meal for yourself… and those you love!  Blessings~

Shrimp And Penne Pasta Alfredo / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Shrimp And Penne Pasta Alfredo
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Lightly seasoned shrimp on a bed of Penne Pasta in a creamy alfredo sauce. Easy and delicious!
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound shrimp (21-25 count per pound), shelled/deveined
  • Cajun seasoning (or seasoning of your choice: garlic powder, Italian seasoning, etc.)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cube butter
  • 1½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • Approximately 1½ cups grated Parmesan cheese (add more to taste, if desired)
  • Season lightly with garlic powder, salt & black pepper, to taste
  • ¾ pound penne pasta, cooked per package instructions
  • Dried parsley and/or additional grated Parmesan cheese for garnish (if desired)
Directions
  1. Prepare penne pasta according to package instructions. While pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce and the shrimp.
To Make Alfredo Sauce:
  1. Melt butter in medium skillet. Once melted, pour in heavy whipping cream. Stir to combine. Cook on medium-low until heated through (but not boiling). Add grated Parmesan cheese to saucepan. Stir well, to combine. Continue cooking until cheese melts, and mixture thickens (but is NOT boiling). Taste and add additional Parmesan cheese (you can't get too much!) for thicker sauce and additional flavor. Season very lightly with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Keep sauce warm while you prepare the shrimp (or can cook both at the same time if multi-tasking).
To cook shrimp:
  1. Heat olive oil on medium-high heat in large skillet.
  2. Lightly sprinkle shelled/deveined shrimp with Cajun seasoning. Stir to combine. When oil in skillet is hot, add shrimp. Cook shrimp for about 2 minutes per side, until pink and cooked through. Set aside and keep warm.
To Serve:
  1. When pasta is done, drain. Add drained penne to skillet with hot Alfredo sauce , and mix well to fully coat pasta with sauce. Place a serving of hot pasta on individual plates. Top with 4-5 cooked shrimp.
  2. Garnish with dried parsley and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve and enjoy!
Notes
Fresh grated Parmesan is the best choice, but if all you have available is the "Green Container" shaker can of Parmesan cheese, by all means use it!

 

 

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