Balsamic Scallops & Gnocchi

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I absolutely love gnocchi, and was so excited to find some frozen gnocchi recently that are both egg-free and gluten-free. I decided to do something a little different with the gnocchi than what I usually do and paired them with scallops. If you have never had gnocchi before, they are delicious little Italian potato dumplings, and a great substitute for pasta. They are very filling so you don’t need as much as you would with pasta.

Ingredients:

frozen scallops (I used 6 scallops per person)
frozen gnocchi
cherry tomatoes
fresh basil
balsamic vinegar
lemon
3 cloves of garlic
olive oil
salt & pepper

I started by lightly browning the garlic in a few tablespoons of olive oil. While that heated up, I started boiling the water for the gnocchi. Once the garlic is lightly golden, I crushed the garlic and reduced the heat to low. Then I added about 5 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, the juice from one lemon, salt & pepper. I put in the scallops, and covered while they cooked. Once the scallops were about halfway cooked, I turned them over in the pan. When the scallops were closed to being finished cooking, I added in a bunch of cherry tomatoes with the scallops to lightly cook. I also added the gnocchi into the boiling water.

Gnocchi cooks very quickly, so once they were all floating at the top, I strained out the water and rinsed the gnocchi. I combined the gnocchi, scallops and tomatoes and topped with the balsamic mixture left in the pan. To finish the dish, I topped it with a few leaves of julienned fresh basil. So easy and so delicious!

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Turkey Spaghetti Marinara

Super easy and “lazy” dinner tonight. 🙂  Just a little spaghetti, some ground turkey, my homemade marinara sauce (from one of my last few jars from last year), and a little shredded Parmesan cheese.  I need to make some more sauce soon since we are starting to run low!

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Pesto Sausage Spaghetti Recipe

Another way I love to use pesto (recipe here) is with some spaghetti and sausage!

I start with about a 1/4 cup of pesto, and add about 1 1/2 cups of pasta water in a large saute pan.  Mix the pesto and the water together well, and cook the sliced sausage in the watered down pesto mixture.  Pesto on its own is a little too strong to use as a pasta sauce, but when I combine it with a little pasta water, it makes a great sauce!  Serve over spaghetti and top with a little additional grated Parmesan cheese. 🙂

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My Pesto Recipe

I have tons of basil growing, but no tomatoes ripe yet…which means tons of pesto for sandwiches!

Here is my recipe!
Approximately 2 cups of fresh basil leaves
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves
4 tablespoons pine nuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
dash of salt
dash of pepper

I just throw it all into my small food processor and pulse until well blended…super easy!

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Panna Cotta Strawberry Tartlets

One of my favorite easy desserts to make is panna cotta.  My grandmother taught me how to make it, and it is the easiest dessert ever.  I had a bunch of fresh strawberries from my garden, and wanted to make an extra special dessert with them.

When some people cook or bake, they like the regime of following a recipe or baking from a mix.  To me, that just is not any fun.  Part of the fun of cooking and baking for me is experimenting with my own recipes and seeing how my experiments come out.  I wanted to make a unique little strawberry pie, but not in the traditional sense.  I searched through recipes, and did not find anything that stood out to me.  I decided to try making a combination of a mini pie and panna cotta.  It is definitely our new favorite dessert!

For the pie crust, I started by referencing Martha Stewart’s recipe here.  This was my first pie crust I’ve ever made, so I figured I should get an idea of where to start.  I had a few ideas for modifications though that I added myself, and the result will now be my secret pie crust recipe. 🙂

I stumbled upon this video showing how to make fresh homemade butter.  I know fresh butter isn’t necessary for baking, but I am convinced that it made the extra bit of difference to make this crust extra amazing.  I was so excited with the results that I just had to order her book, and absolutely love it.

For the panna cotta, I had to find a recipe online since my cookbooks are not unpacked yet (with my grandmother’s recipe in them).  Panna cotta is so simple though, pretty much any recipe you use will taste amazing.  The secret is using the best quality vanilla extract you can find.

I finished it all off with freshly sliced strawberries from our garden!

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Shrimp & Red Pepper Pasta

Super easy and tasty dinner tonight. 🙂  I sauteed some baby shrimp, olive oil, chopped garlic, shallots from our garden, juice of one large lime, salt, pepper, and some crushed red pepper flakes.  Spooned the mixture over some spaghetti, and it makes an amazingly simple dinner!

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