Simple Quintessential Cuisine

Creamy Orzo with Smoky Bacon and Vegetables

The Easter weekend is fast approaching, and this year we will be away visiting my sister and her family instead of hosting them, as has been our tradition in recent years.  Whenever we go away for any length of time I scour the fridge to see what I might possibly be able to use as I hate the idea of food wasting away in the fridge with no one to eat it. I found a yellow pepper, bacon, and some scallions that looked as if they’d seen better days, so I decided to pull a casserole together. I always say it’s amazing what delectable creations you can concoct with a quick inventory of your fridge, pantry or freezer.  Admittedly there are many instances when it doesn’t work out as I’d hoped, but happily today wasn’t one of them! What really makes this dish is the smoky bacon paired up with the cheese as both give exceptional flavor to the pasta.  This is certainly suitable as a main dish, but it would also be great paired alongside a favorite pork or chicken dish.

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Rustic Pear and Blackberry Pastry

The past few weeks I’ve been seeing a lot of baked goods recipes posted out there from my fellow food bloggers.  I came across so many wonderful recipes for rolls and pies that I became inspired to bake something of my own.  I landed on what I refer to as my “Rustic Pear and Blackberry Pastry”.   As is typically the case I was looking to prepare something a little different, and with this rustic creation, a dessert that didn’t have to have the appearance of a masterpiece – just taste like one! 
I suppose one could call this a pie but to me it’s more of an over-sized fruit pastry.  The pears and blackberries create a striking contrast in the dish and frankly taste wonderful together.  So if you’re seeking a recipe that’s a little different, is delicious, and incredibly simple to prepare, give this one a try.

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Easy Barbecued Chicken

In anticipation of the summer that’s soon to be upon us I prepared my “Easy Barbecued Chicken” yesterday. As usual it did not disappoint! In fact as we were eating Craig asked why I don’t make this more often.  I had no answer really other than to say that I get bored easily with the same meals over and over again. There’s also this silly part of me that believes certain foods are meant to be prepared only during certain times of the year.  My husband hates that by the way, but we all have our little quirks don’t we? 
Anyway the great thing about this chicken beyond its “finger-licking good” taste is just how simple it is to prepare. You will note in looking at the ingredients that I use a couple different brands of prepared barbeque sauce. I’m not sure why, but they work very well together.  I’m thinking it’s because they each add a slightly different taste which adds to the complexity of flavor. Whatever the reason, it really works and I guarantee you’ll be making this for your barbeque meals often.

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Crispy Shrimp with Lemon Garlic Aioli

A few weeks ago I was at the fish market and saw these great shrimp that I just could not resist. They looked positively amazing and I thought – I can make something delicious with those.  Not sure exactly what that will be right now, but I know it will come to me.  So when I was thinking about what to prepare for dinner before work this morning, I came across the shrimp. I thought wouldn’t it be great to pair them with the lemons I have that I know are near their point of expiration.  Then it came to me – I would fry the shrimp and make a lemon garlic aioli sauce to dip them in.  I was more than pleased with results. I put the shrimp and aioli over some fresh arugula and it was an absolute delight!  Do give this one a try; it is definitely worth the 30 minutes it takes to prepare.

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Creamy Mashed Potatoes with Fresh Parsley and Garlic

When I was a kid I recall many instances of my mother standing at the counter whizzing away at a big bowl of potatoes with her hand mixer.   Her goal-to have lump free mashed potatoes.   As a child I could’ve cared less how many lumps they had; they were always delicious after all!  But now I understand the need to serve that creamy goodness void of lumps, as texture truly does have an important impact on the experience of most meals.  Unlike my mom I’ve never been patient enough to stand and beat away until the lumps are gone and I’ve also found that beating too much air in results in sort of a gluey mess.  So I always opt for the potato ricer.  It works wonders and my potatoes come out lump free every time.  Beyond this simple yet significant attribute, this recipe really is flavorful; and above all it really is simple to prepare.  Try it, you’ll be glad you did! 

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