Reuse and Use-up Pasta

Did you run out and try those Marinated Drumsticks? Well you should; they're very yummy. If you make too many like we did, "reuse" the leftovers in a pasta dish with other things in your pantry/fridge you need to "use-up." Hence the "Reuse and Use-up" pasta title.

Before I let you know what all got used up, I'd like to first introduce our new kitchen gadget that Santa brought to us. I think it took a little convincing that this would actually be useful before we starting using it and after we did we wondered what took so long! Officially it's an OXO Seal & Store Rotary Grater.

We're able to put some parmesan cheese into the compartment, grate what we need for our recipe, put a little cap on the end, and then pop it back in the fridge!
So as you can see we grated a little parmesan for our pasta but this was for serving. 
We started cooking some whole-wheat spirals and while they boiled we sauteed some onions. I had a box of broccoli in the freezer so we steamed that in the microwave. After the onions had become soft I added the steamed broccoli, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and leftover shredded chicken to the saute pan. 

At this point everything is cooked so we just need to warm it up and season to our liking. When the pasta was al dente, I drained it and returned it to its large pot. Then I added in the chicken mixture from the saute pan and tossed everything with a little evoo. Serve and garnish with some cheese!

This was quick, easy, and free since I was using things I already had!

Marinated Chicken Drumsticks

Chicken dinner time! And for this particular evening it was courtesy of Giada de Laurentiis and her Sweet and Sticky Chicken Drumsticks. This marinade was really easy. The chicken does need to take a little time to marinate so Patrick started the recipe in the afternoon then we baked them when I got home from work. We were expected a few people for supper that weren't able to come last minute so we definitely prepared more chicken than we needed. Stay tuned for the next post to see how we repurposed them into another meal.

Sweet and Sticky Chicken Drumsticks from Giada de
Makes 4 to 6 servings

½ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup honey
½ cup brown sugar, packed
¼ cup soy sauce
5 fresh rosemary sprigs
5 garlic cloves, halved
10 to 12 chicken drumsticks
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Combine the balsamic, honey, brown sugar, soy sauce, rosemary sprigs, and garlic cloves in a large, re-sealable plastic bag. Shake and squeeze the contents of the bag to dissolve the honey and the brown sugar. Add the chicken drumsticks to the bag and seal, squeezing out as much air from the bag as possible. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Remove the chicken drumsticks from the bag, reserving the marinade, and arrange them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the skin is caramelized and very dark in spots, about 30 to 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the marinade in a small saucepan. Bring the marinade to a boil , then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook over low heat until thick, about 15 minutes. Use a pastry brush to brush some of the cooked marinade on the cooked chicken. Place the chicken on a serving platter. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and the chopped parsley. (We opted out of the sesame seeds and chopped parsley.)

Two drumsticks made a good serving; we served with green beans and brown rice.

Veggie sides: Honey carrots and roasted potatoes

With Patrick's new grill pan we've been experimenting with steaks more. Since this is the case I won't continue to bore you with details on steak preparation but rather all the fun sides we're adding to the steak! For this steak we decided to complement it with honey carrots and roasted potatoes.

For the carrots
   I decided to experiment with the intention of making honey glazed carrots. I boiled some baby carrots (enough for two servings) for 12-15 minutes until tender to my liking. I had made this previously before with regular carrots, peeled and diced about 1/4-inch thick. After the carrots have boiled, drain in a strainer then in the same pot melt a tablespoon of butter. Once the butter melts add back in the carrots and a generous dollop of honey. Add in some herbs of your choosing; I used rosemary here. They'll be ready to serve once the honey has been warmed through.

For the potatoes
   Dice two yukon gold potatoes into quarter-size or smaller. As you've probably noticed I dice most everything into bite-sized pieces before cooking and this was no different. Place the potatoes onto an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle with evoo, salt, and pepper and some savory herbs. Roast in a 400F oven for 20-25 minutes or until crisp. Be sure to stir the potatoes half way through so all sides cook evenly. I actually stir about every ten minutes. Then serve!

Mushroom Pizza

This meal came to us from our new Williams-Sonoma cookbook, Weeknight Fresh + Fast and we were both pleasantly surprised... well with the pizza not so much the brie (a note on that at the end). I was just flipping through the cookbook looking for a meal idea and thought this looked fun to try. The pizza dough was the star. I purchased whole wheat dough pre-made in the Harris Teeter bakery/produce section. There is a recipe in the book that we're interested in trying at some point but for now Harris Teeter dough is convenient and cheap (like $3 so probably not worth me trying to make it). Enjoy and share any other pizza toppings you've tried in the comments!

Pizza with Onions, Mushrooms, and Brie from Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Fresh + Fast
3 tbsp olive oil plus more as needed
2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 dry white wine
1/2 lb chanterelle, shiitake, or cremini mushrooms, sliced (we used cremini)
1 large shallot, minced
1 tbsp fresh parsley, minced plus more for garnish
cornmeal for dusting
1 lb pizza dough
1/2 lb brie cheese, rind trimmed and cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 425F. In a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat, warm 1 1/2 tbsp of the oil. Add the onions and rosemary. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and saute until golden, about 20 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until evaporated, about 1 minute. Transfer the onions to a bowl. Wipe out the frying pan, set over medium-high heat, and warm the remaining 1 1/2 tbsp oil. Add the mushrooms and shallot. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until the mushrooms are tender and juices evaporate, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Mix in parsley.

Brush a large baking sheet with oil and sprinkle with cornmeal. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a round 10-11 inches in diameter. Transfer the crust to the baking sheet. Brush the crust with oil. Spread the onions and then the mushrooms over the crust, leaving a border. Sprinkle with the cheese. Bake until the crust browns and the cheese melts, 12-15 minutes.

Transfer the pizza to a cutting board. Cut into wedges. Sprinkle with parsley and serve right away.

A note on the Brie: This was my first time purchasing Brie and I had no idea what I was doing! I saw this one that was mixed with herbs and I thought that would be a nice addition to the pizza. Well when I got home and opened the package I realized I purchased a "soft cream" brie. We ended up plopping it around the pizza. So if you're trying this recipe don't buy this Brie!

Molasses Cookies

We've certainly enjoyed our fill of homemade molasses cookies this holiday season. Granny graciously sent up a few batches and then Rachel requested the recipe. So Granny and Poppa shared the recipe and a few tips with us. The first major tip is that Brer Rabbit molasses has the best flavor. In fact this recipe was originally taken off the Brer Rabbit molasses bottle. This recipe does produce a rather large batch; next time we will probably halve it. Here is the recipe as Poppa emailed it to us!


3/4 cup melted shortening (Granny uses Crisco - pre-measured in a three cup package at the store)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup Brer Rabbit Molasses
1 egg
Mix egg, molasses, and sugar together

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix all the dry ingredients together

Melt shortening - cool 
Add sugar, molasses, and egg - beat well 
Add dry ingredients - mix well 
Chill at least several hours - Granny often makes at supper and leave overnight.
Form into small balls about teaspoon size 
Roll in sugar and space out on cookie sheet as they will spread - Granny places about 4 on a row
Bake - 375 degrees about 8 minutes (Maybe less)

The mixture before getting chilled.
The official ball roller.
I think Patrick rolled them a bit larger than teaspoon size so we just baked them a little longer.

Molasses Cookies! Thanks Granny and Poppa!

Valentine's 2012

Just wanted to add a quick addendum to the Valentine's post. Patrick and I were discussing our dinners during the evening and thought maybe we hadn't eaten Spinach Manicotti last year. So I did a little research today and realized he was right! Buttt it was still manicotti just not spinach. It was a beef manicotti inspired by Giuliana and Bill Rancic. Next year we'll have to experiment more.

I thought I would share our tablesetting from last night.

We enjoyed a nice candlelit dinner. Patrick takes all the credit for the gorgeous floral centerpiece.
I served our meal on the occupied Japan china set Granny and Poppa gave me last year for Christmas. We had such fun enjoying our coffee with cups and saucers. 
If this is in fact a follow-up Valentine's post then there has to be some love somewhere, right?! So I'll share with you a snapshot Patrick took while we visited home. It's Harri and Pebbles! The love might be a little one-sided though.

Be my Valentine!

Dear Readers, Will you be our Valentine?!

Love, Whitney and Patrick

Excuse our absence from posts the past week. We promise to make it up to you! In the meantime check out what we'll be making tonight. I make myself pretty clear to Patrick when I request a Valentine's dinner that does not require a reservation. We opt for a dinner cooked together and enjoyed in a nice, quite atmosphere. This menu is slowly becoming a Valentine's tradition and I'm not sure why. We had it for our first Valentine's two years ago and last year so I didn't have to think too hard about what to make this year! It's perfect; a little nicer than our average dinner but still fun to make in the kitchen.

Entree: Spinach Manicotti served with a mixed greens salad
Dessert: Angel Food Cake with Patrick's mom glaze

As I just hyperlinked those posts I'm making my list for the grocery store!

Chicken Adobo

Here it is! One of those recipes from my Food Mast Fast series of cookbooks mentioned here. This recipe is from my Slow Cooker themed book and, as the inaugural recipe from the book, I chose it because it had a little Asian flavor, yummy onions, and minimal prep before placing in the slow cooker.

Chicken Adobo from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Slow Cooker book
4 yellow onions, halved and sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
1 tsp peppercorns
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1/2 c rice vinegar
1/2 c soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar

Spread half of the sliced onions in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add 2 of the garlic cloves, the bay leaf, and the peppercorns. (Next time we will crush/grind the peppercorns before placing them in the slow cooker. We didn't like the texture they had in the dish.) Arrange the chicken in a single layer on top of the onions. Top with the remaining onions and garlic. Drizzle the vinegar and soy sauce over the ingredients and sprinkle with the sugar.

Cover and cook on the high-heat setting for 4 hours or the low-heat setting for 8 hours (we did low). Remove and discard the bay leaf (we forgot to do this and I was the lucky recipient of the leaf, no big deal though).

The cookbook suggests serving the chicken and sauce atop steamed rice but we served with couscous and steamed broccoli.