Shrimp on Fettuccine topped with Asaparagus Cream Sauce

  • 1 pound asparagus tips
  • 1 pound dry fettuccine
  • Salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons plus some for drizzling
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced  
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (14 ounces) 
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, (eyeball it)
  • Black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • Handful parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 pound shrimp
Serves 4


Bring 1-inch of water to a boil in a large skillet as well as a large pot of water, for pasta. When the water in the skillet comes up to a boil, add salt and asparagus and blanch for 2 minutes, drain and reserve. When the pasta water comes up to a boil, salt it and cook fettuccine to al dente.

While the pasta water comes up to a boil, in the pan which you blanched the asparagus in, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil, over medium heat then add garlic and shallot and saute 4-5 minutes. Deglaze with wine, reduce 30 seconds then add stock, tomatoes and a pinch of saffron or an envelope of saffron powder. Simmer 10 minutes. Stir in cream then season sauce with salt and pepper, to taste.
While sauce cooks, heat a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add butter, melt then add the bread crumbs and toast them. Add salt and pepper, lemon zest and parsley, remove and reserve. Wipe pan clean and return the skillet to medium-high heat and pre-heat until very hot. Drizzle shrimp with olive oil and cook until pink.

Chop asparagus into 1-inch pieces on an angle and add to sauce. Drain pasta and toss with asparagus and sauce. Serve pasta with shrimp and top each plate with the breadcrumbs.
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Menu Plan Monday 4/30

Looks like May is upon us..It is another dreary Iowa day today.  I put a great menu together this week.

Monday: Orange Chicken

Tuesday: Turkey cutlets with peppers and basil

Wednesday: tex Mex crunchy fry; chicken, o-rings, and pepper rings

Thursday: Pork chops with pasta

Friday: Lemon Spaghetti/ fish

Saturday:  Sliced steak and salad with lemony parsley potatoes

As always I am linking with orgjunkie.com  


Chocolate Mint Cookie Truffles

Another great bake sale recipe....This is to die for...I want to thank Six Sisters Stuff for posting this recipe way back in January.  I finally got the nerve to try it and wallah

Not Your Ordinary Recipes

This recipe couldn't be easier

Chocolate Mint Cookie Truffles
1 package grasshopper cookies from Keebler or Girl Scout Thin mint cookies
4 oz. Cream Cheese
Candy Coating in Green (I also added mint candy flavoring to this)

In a food processor, pulse the Thin Mints a few times, and then blend them down until they are crumbs.

Next, mix the cream cheese and cookie crumbs together in a bowl until well-mixed. Roll the mixture into 1 inch size balls, and place them on a wax paper covered baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the fridge for about 30 minutes, so the balls are easier to dip in the chocolate and do not fall apart.
Once the truffles have been in the fridge for a while, melt the green candy coating in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave. Heat the discs for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between each heat burst. Repeat until the discs are all melted.

Roll each ball in the melted coating until it is fully covered. I usually use two forks to push the truffle around until it is all covered. Then, using the two forks, carefully pick up the truffle and allow the excess mint chocolate to run off before placing back on the wax paper. Repeat with all the truffles.

Stick the truffles back in the fridge for a couple of minutes or until the mint chocolate is hardened.

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Best Ever Cocoa Brownies

I found it!!  I have been searching for the best ever brownie recipe.  I have tried many recipes and trust me this is it.  I made a batch of these for a bake sale I am organizing and whoever buys these will be in heaven.

Best Cocoa Brownies
Adapted from Alice Mendrich’s Bittersweet via smitten kitchen
Makes 16 larger or 25 smaller brownies

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks, 5 ounces or 141 grams) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (9 7/8 ounces, 280 grams) sugar

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 7/8 ounces, 82 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)

1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs, cold

1/2 cup (66 grams, 2 3/8 ounces) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and microwave for 1:30 minutes. Remove and stir until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. It looks fairly gritty at this point, but don’t fret — it smoothes out once the eggs and flour are added.

Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.

Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.
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Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

My favorite cookie is snickerdoodles by far!  I love them and make them about once every couple months.  So, when I found this recipe from Martha Stewart, I just had to try them out.  I made these for a bake sale I am holding to raise money for my daughter's dance team.  These cupcakes are wonderfully light and airy.  Perfect for a birthday celebration or special dessert.  I can't wait for you to make these great cupcakes. 

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, plus 1/2 teaspoon for dusting
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for dusting
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • Seven-Minute Frosting


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.
  3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
  4. To finish, combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip (Ateco No. 809 or Wilton No. 1A), pipe frosting on each cupcake: Hold bag over cupcake with tip just above top, and squeeze to create a dome of frosting, then release pressure and pull up to form a peak. Using a small, fine sieve, dust peaks with cinnamon-sugar. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are frosted; keep at room temperature until ready to serve.


What's for Dinner Week of April 23

Menu planning is a necessity for me.  I absolutely love trying to find my menu for the week.  Some weeks can be harder than others, but here is the plan for this week

Monday Garlic Lime Chicken

Tuesday Hamburgers and salad

Wednesday Pork Chops

Thursday  Tacos

Friday Pizza

Saturday Dinner out with Friends

Sunday Roast Chicken

As always I am linking up with Org Junkie
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Garlic lime Chicken

It must be all about limes week.  I am making garlic lime chicken and it smells wonderful.  This recipe was inspired by Leanne Ely from the Flylady network.  I absolutely love her way of thinking. 

 1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 garlic clove, minced
 6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
4 tablespoons lime juice

On a dinner plate, mix together first 8 ingredients. Sprinkle mixture on both sides of chicken breasts (or double the spice mixture if you like it a little spicier).

In a skillet heat butter and olive oil together over medium high heat. Saute chicken until golden brown on each side, about 5 minutes on either side. Remove chicken and add lime juice and chicken broth to the pan, whisking up the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Keep cooking until sauce has reduced slightly. Add chicken back to the pan to thoroughly coat and serve.

I am serving this with baked garlic asparagus and also a salad.  I can't wait to eat tonight.  What is your go to meal during the week?

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Lime in the Coconut Sugar Cookies

This week i found inspiration from Pinterest.  I love to bake and happen to have been organizing a fun bake sale that will be held next Saturday April 28th at Encore Dance Academy in Ankeny IA. 

If any of my local readers want to taste some of my delicious recipes, please come by and see me.  I will be there from around 7:30am until 2:00 pm.  We are holding the bake sale to raise money to help our children to be able to attend our national dance competition in Chicago Il.  This is the first of many recipes this week that will be featured.

Lime in the Coconut Sugar Cookies
(Inspired from My Baking Addiction)

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of one large lime, finely minced
Juice from 1 lime
½ cup sweetened toasted coconut
1/2 cup sugar for rolling cookies (I used lime green sugar for fun)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. Using a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and very fluffy.
4. Beat in egg, vanilla extract, lime juice and lime zest.
5. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients and toasted coconut.
6. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and roll in sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart.
7. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly browned.
8. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

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Join me Friday to make a pillowcase for kids with cancer

This Friday is another Friday Night Sew In.  Ususally this is a way to work on projects you have and want to complete it.  This week they are patnering with CONKERR cancer to make many pillowcases for cancer.  I can't wait to help out with this great cause.

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Handmade by Heidi


Chicken with Artichokes and Peppers

This is dinner tonight.  I made this a few weeks ago and both my children and husband loved it, so I am making it again.  I hope you love it also.  I add some parmesan cheese on top of this and also add a big salad to round out the meal.

Chicken Pasta with Artichokes

Chicken Pasta with Artichokes
From Saving Dinner by Leanne Ely
3 C uncooked fusilli pasta (or other medium-sized pasta)-I used bow tie pasta
1 6 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, undrained
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 C sliced mushrooms
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 7 ounce jar roasted red peppers, sliced
3/4 C chicken broth
1/2 C dry white wine, optional (substitute apple juice if not using wine)
1 T cornstarch
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook and drain pasta as directed on package. Drain liquid from artichokes into 10″ skillet; heat over medium-high heat. Cook chicken in liquid for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in mushrooms and garlic. Cook about 4 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until chicken is light brown and no longer pink. Stir in artichokes and peppers.
In a medium bowl, mix broth, wine, and cornstarch together till well blended. Gradually stir the broth mixture into the chicken mixture. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute, till thickened. Toss with pasta, salt and pepper to taste, and serve
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Homemade Onion Soup Mix

In my quest for ultimate frugality and to do away with packaged mixes, I found this wonderful recipe for homemade onion soup mix.  I happen to love onion dip for chips made with lipton soup mixes.  This soup mix recipe rivals that of Lipton's and is easy to make and I always seem to have the ingredients on hand.  This is even better. 

Homemade Onion Soup Mix

3/4 cup of instant minced onions
1/3 cup of beef bouillon powder of your choice
4 tsp of onion powder
1/4 tsp of crushed celery seeds
1/4 tsp of sugar

In a bowl, combine all ingredients and store in an a container (airtight)

This makes about 5 tbsp of mix (equal to one package = 1 1/4 oz.)

P.S. To make onion dip: Mix 5 tbsp with one pint of sour cream.
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Last night I made up 2 pounds hamburger meat.  We had nachos with some of the meat last evening and wanting to use up the rest of the meat this evening, I have decided to make htis wonderful taco salad.  This is a go to meal in the summer months or when I don't want to have to cook anything.  It is a way to use up the leftovers from a taco night.  This is the recipe I use, but I substituted my leftover cheese and olives from a previous nights dinner. 


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 medium head of lettuce (I use leafy greens)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1 package (10-1/2 ounces) corn chips


  • In a large saucepan, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the ketchup, oregano, chili powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, olives and beef mixture. Combine mayonnaise and salsa; pour over salad and toss to coat. Sprinkle with corn chips. Serve immediately.
I am linking with around my family table


Samoa Pie

Easter has been a great success this year.  I have much to be thankful for.  I was searching for pie recipes and found this one : Samoa Pie

I adapted it as follows and created the most wonderful creation ever imagined.  I have to say I did use my coconut custard filling that has won a blue ribbon at the iowa state fair and this pie may also have a blue ribbon attached to it after this year's fair.  It is THAT good!

Samoa Pie
1 shortbread pie crust (I cheated and used Keebler)

1/4 cup chocolate chips melted

Place the melted chocolate chips in the pie crust and spread evenly.

2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1  cup caramel sauce (I used my homemade caramel sauce recipe)
1/4 cup chocolate chips (garnish)

Toast the coconut for 10 minutes in a 325 degree oven. Stir often. When it is golden brown it is done.

Mix toasted coconut and caramel together to form the topping and set aside.

2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup cream of coconut
2 cups skim milk
4 yolks, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Mix together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan. Beat the coconut milk and milk into the yolks. Stir slowly into the sugar mixture. Heat mixture over medium, stirring constantly, until it boils. Continue cooking for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and coconut. Pour directly into crust.  Chill pie.

Remove plastic wrap. Crumble coconut and caramel mixture across the top of the pie. Melt the chocolate chips. Spoon melted chocolate into a plastic bag with the tip cut off and drizzle over the top of the pie for garnish. Chill until ready to serve
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Sugar Snap Peas Side Dish

I love sugar snap peas and this great side dish graced my table over the past week.  I absolutely loved it and so did my non-pea loving family.  I can't wait to get some peas out of my garden so I can make this again.

Sugar Snap Peas Side Dish

  • 1-pound sugar snap peas
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • splash of cooking white wine
  • 4 fresh green onions, chopped with tops
  • 1/2-pound sliced fresh white mushrooms
  • Kosher Sea-Salt and Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

  • In a medium-size saucepan over medium heat, drizzle a little olive oil. When hot, add minced garlic and sesame seeds, toss to coat and sauté until lightly browned. Remove from pan and onto paper towel to drain. Set aside.
    Clean pan with paper towel and drizzle just enough olive oil to toss and coat chopped green onions, adding in the sugar snap peas, sauté until sugar snaps are bright green, then add a splash of white cooking wine, along with sliced mushrooms. Add minced garlic and seasame seed mixture, toss and coat well. Sauté until "crisp tender", about 3-4 minutes and all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from pan and place into a glass bowl. You can top with raw sesame seeds if you like, and then salt and pepper to taste. Toss and serve! Enjoy!Pin It

    Easter Bread

    This sweet iced bread features almonds, candied fruit, and a beautiful presentation with dyed eggs. I use mine when I make it as the centerpiece on my Easter table. 


      1/4 C. Sugar
      1 tsp. Salt
     1 pkg. Dry yeast
     2 1/2 To 3-1/2 C. unbleached -flour
     2/3 C. Milk
     2 Tbs. Butter
     2 Eggs, at room temperature
     1/2 C. raisins
    1/3 C  Chopped nuts (I used pecans)
    1/2 tsp. Anise seed
     2 Tbs. Melted butter
     5 Uncooked eggs colored with -Easter Egg Dye
      1 C. Confectioner's sugar
      1 Tbs. Milk
      1/8 tsp. Vanilla
      colored sprinkles
    In a large mixing bowl, blend the sugar, salt, and yeast well with 1 C. of the flour. In a saucepan, combine milk and butter, heating slowly until liquid is warm and butter is melted. Pour the milk into the dry ingredients and beat 125 strokes with a wooden spoon. Add eggs and 1/2 C. flour or enough to make a thick batter. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes. Then stir in enough flour to make a ball of dough that draws away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a floured board and knead for about 10 minutes, working in additional flour to overcome stickiness. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and put in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk about 1 hour.
    Meanwhile, combine the fruit, nuts, and anise seed. Punch down the dough and return it to a lightly floured board. Knead in the fruit mixture, keeping the syrupy pieces dusted with flour until they are worked into the dough. Divide the dough in half. Carefully roll each piece into a 24 inch rope - the fruit and nuts will make this slightly difficult. Loosely twist the two ropes together and form a ring on a greased baking sheet. Pinch the ends together well. Brush the dough with melted shortening.
    Push aside the twist to make a place for each egg. Push eggs down carefully as far as possible. Cover the bread with wax paper and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until double in bulk, about 1 hour.  Bake bread in a preheated 350 F oven for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in a twist comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool. Once the bread is cool, drizzle the icing on top between the eggs, and decorate with colored sprinkles.
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    I spent my Sunday in the Amana Colonies and found some Easter eggs. I had both my children with me and we happened upon egg dyeing.  For those who don't know, the Amana Colonies are a German heritage colony that is all about communal living.  Each and every person is expected to do a job to better the community.  There is something peaceful for me about this type of community.  I was in need to escape all the rigors of my life and breathe a bit.  I had to travel to Davenport and on the way back home to Des Moines, I made a detour and it was the best thing I have done.  This will definitely be somewhere to come at Easter.

    The eggs are colored using a glue/dye mixture.  The glue is the same glue that is used in the furniture making and the dye used to be from the woolen mill, but I believe now the dye is made from food paste coloring.  Very beautiful and a great addition to my easter decorating.

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