Bacon Garlic Shrimp with Pasta and Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Spicy Cream Sauce

“Life is too short, lick the bowl.”

This recipe was inspired by a very similar one I found on Julia’s Album which I encourage you to visit. I’ve been told that only professional chefs can claim to have a ‘signature dish’ so I won’t declare this one as being mine … but I will say that it is probably the best Italian dish that I’ve ever cooked!

Servings: Four

The creamy mixture before adding/mixing the pasta

The creamy mixture before adding/mixing the pasta


Ingredients:
• 6 oz shrimp (70-90 count of small shrimp in 1 pound) , raw, shelled
• 4 oz sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
• salt
• 3/8 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 ¼ cups half and half
• 1 1/8 teaspoon dried basil
• ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
• 1 ¼ cups Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
• 6 oz spinach fettuccine or penne or your favorite pasta
• 2 oz (real) bacon pieces/bits (DO NOT use the artificial kind)

The creamy mixture after adding/mixing the pasta

The creamy mixture after adding/mixing the pasta

Instructions:
1. Note: if using sun-dried tomatoes in oil (in a jar), make sure to drain sun-dried tomatoes from oil, before using them. Reserve 2 tablespoons of this drained oil for sautéing as described below:
2. In a large skillet, sauté minced garlic and sun-dried tomatoes (drained from oil) in 2 tablespoons of oil (reserved from the sun-dried tomatoes jar – see note above) for 2 minutes until garlic is fragrant.
3. Add shrimp, sprinkle with a small amount of salt, paprika, and cook on medium heat for about 2 more minutes.
4. Add half and half, basil, and crushed red pepper to the skillet with shrimp, bring to boil then reduce to a simmer. Whisk the Parmesan cheese into the hot cream and stir to melt cheese, on lowest heat setting, until cheese is melted. Remove the sauce from heat. Add bacon pieces. Add more salt, basil and more crushed red pepper if desired, to taste.
5. In the meantime, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain. Add cooked pasta to the creamy mixture, add more salt, basil and more crushed red pepper if desired, to taste.
Plated and ready to enjoy!

Plated and ready to enjoy!

Buttery Baked Chicken

“I am not a glutton. I am an explorer of food.” Erma Bombeck

I’ve been making this dish for awhile and it just keeps getting better.

About to prepare one breast and three thighs.

About to prepare one breast and three thighs.

The original recipe I pulled off the Internet called for all boneless breasts and very little seasoning and, as a result, it was a little bland I thought. I added a little more butter, some Cajun seasoning, some Adobo seasoning and mixed up the chicken parts because I’ve always found dark meat (i.e. thighs) to be more flavorful and more moist … for the white meat I sometimes use a couple of boneless breasts or I substitute four or five breast tenderloins.

Servings: 4

Ingredients:
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 1 cup crushed buttery round cracker crumbs (I use Ritz)
• 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
• ground black pepper to taste

Ready to go into the oven

Ready to go into the oven


• 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (or equivalent chicken parts, I typically use two breasts & four boneless thighs)
• ½ stick butter, cut into pieces
• ¼ teaspoon Cajun seasoning (I use Tony Chachere’s), this is optional
• ¼ teaspoon Adobo seasoning, this is optional

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
2. Place eggs and cracker crumbs in two separate shallow bowls or pans. Mix cracker crumbs with garlic salt, Cajun seasoning and pepper. Dip chicken in the eggs, then dredge in the crumb mixture to coat.

Just out of the oven. Golden brown and smelling great!

Just out of the oven. Golden brown and smelling great!


3. Arrange coated chicken in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Place pieces of butter on top of and around the chicken.
4. Bake for 40 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.
It's time to enjoy!

It’s time to enjoy!

A brief Postscript … This recipe is fast becoming my “go to” recipe …. it is easy & simple and quick to prepare …. most of all, it literally melts in your mouth … it is sooo delicious!!