Tag Archives: cream cheese

Tangy shrimp-&-scallop pasta

I find it a bit discouraging that as spring is just starting, I get sick.

Deathly sick. 4-days-at-home-in-bed-and-drugged sick. Eat-nothing-but-PB&J-or-macaroni-and-cheese-that-your-husband-made sick.  There was no cooking, no post-writing, no picture-taking. Nothing besides a lot of coughing and a lot of sleeping.

But now, I’m feeling better. I felt good enough last weekend to make a pot of chicken stock, loaf of sourdough, and homemade pasta to go with this creamy seafood sauce.  Really, it sounds more impressive than it is. 90% of sourdough is waiting.  Same with chicken stock.  Making homemade pasta is much easier than it sounds.  Plus, this dish only takes 30 minutes, fridge to table.

But even though this supper is fast enough for a weeknight and not TOO damaging to your diet, it’s worthy of homemade pasta, too.  Maybe it’s just me, but any sort of seafood sauce feels dressy and special and worthy of homemade pasta.  Add a decent bottle of white, some crusty bread, and a salad with olives and onions, and you’ve got instant specialness.

What makes this different than a seafood alfredo or similar heavy-hitting white sauce is making a thinner (read: less fattening) sauce that is tossed directly with hot pasta, allowing the a lot of the sauce and flavor to be soaked right up by the noodles.  Reserve some extra pasta water; you can add more to thin down the sauce and increase the pasta-soakage. Or add white wine– it’ll compliment the lemon and the seafood.  You can also toss your sauce and pasta together in a big skillet with high sides, or in a large pot that you use to boil the pasta water.  (My 10-inch pan with 3-inch sides was just perfect for the full recipe.)

Tangy shrimp & scallop pasta
from this website

Serves 3-4

1/2 pound dry pasta, or homemade pasta with 3 eggs
1/2 pound shrimp, raw or cooked, deveined and de-tailed
1/2 pound bay scallops
2 T. butter or olive oil
1 small onion or scallion
2 garlic cloves
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 to 3/4 c. pasta water
4 oz. cream cheese or low-fat substitute
1/3 c. sour cream
1/2 t. dried red pepper flakes
3 T. freshly chopped parsley or 1 T. dried parsley (optional)
salt and pepper

If using frozen seafood, throw it in a bowl of cold water to start defrosting.  Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for pasta. While waiting for water, melt butter in a large skillet with high sides over medium heat, and dice onion and garlic. Add pasta once water is boiling.

When butter is melted and hot, add onion and saute 3-4 minutes, until onions are soft and nearly translucent; add in garlic and continue to cook for 2 more minutes.  Increase heat to medium-high, and add the lemon juice and pasta water to the onions. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the sour cream, cream cheese, and red pepper, and whisk or stir briskly to make a smooth sauce.  Allow to simmer for another 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add salt and pepper to taste (I used ~1/2 t. salt and freshly ground black pepper).

While all this is happening, keep an eye on your pasta.  Once it’s cooked al dente, drain almost all of the water, put it back into the pot, and set it off the heat with the lid on.  Also drain your seafood if you were defrosting.  With the sauce simmering, add in the seafood (and more pasta water if your sauce is getting thick); continue to stir and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, just enough to cook scallops through and turn shrimp pink (if using raw).  Reduce heat to medium and add the pasta to the sauce pan, tossing carefully to coat pasta with sauce and mix in seafood. Cook for 5-7 minutes, allowing pasta to soak up most of the sauce. Stir in parsley before serving and serve with grated Parmesan, if mixing fish and cheese is your thing (and believe me, it is my thing!).

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Filed under 30 min. or less, Main dishes, Pasta

Garlic Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes

N is so loveable. He’s really getting into the idea of “using everything we get”… which I consider to be called “sustainable living.” For instance, I carved a killer pumpkin on Sunday night, and roasted the pumpkin seeds. We pined for our future garden and compost pile when I threw away the stringy pumpkin insides.

HD carved pumpkin

He’s also getting worked up about Thanksgiving and how we’re going to make the whole meal in our kitchen with just one stove. Wait a minute… haven’t people been doing this for years and it works out?! N is not convinced. He refuses to cook the turkey ahead in any sort of way, and doesn’t think it will properly cook in our stove with the potatoes, vegetable sides, etc. that will be cooking in there as well. He considered making a smoker out of two large terra cotta planters…. I promptly shot that down. Next: turkey on the grill.

“We’re not grilling, we’re technically barbequing,” he insists. Okay, okay. N also insists on practicing to make sure it goes off without a hitch, and so we started with a smaller poultry carcass to test out the abilities of the little grill that could. Additionally, I had picked up some beautiful Yukon Gold and red potatoes, as well as a large head of garlic, at the farmer’s market on Saturday, and decided to add a new twist to N’s favorite side-dish: cream cheese mashed (and baked) potatoes.


These were deliiiiicious! Definitely garlicky, but not overwhelming. Creamy and smooth, but with a crunchy top. N noticed the bits of potato peel right away, but I gently reminded him that it’s the only nutritious part of the potato. Plus, what about using everything we get?! Why buy the whole potato and only use part of it?? This calmed him, and he scarfed them up obligingly. :)


Garlic Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes

1 head roasted garlic (directions in next post)
2.5# of potatoes
4 oz. cream cheese (RF is ok)
1/3 c. heavy cream OR sour cream (1/4 c. of skim milk or plain yogurt *might* work?)

Scrub the potatoes and cut out any bruises/eyes as desired. Put in a pot and cover with water, allowing 1-2 inches excess water covering the tops of potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and bring to a boil; hold at a simmer until potatoes are tender and skins are loosening/breaking apart. Drain well and let cool 5 minutes.

You can use a stand mixer, hand mixer, or manual potato masher to mash. If using a mixer, dump all ingredients together and blend. If mashing by hand, I would mix the cream cheese and sour cream/milk first, and then mash in the potatoes and garlic.  Add salt and pepper as desired. Spray the sides of a shallow casserole dish and spoon in potatoes. Bake at 375-400 for at least 30 minutes, longer if a crispier top is desired. We baked at 400 for 40-45 minutes.

These can also be refrigerated, covered, for up to 24 hours after spooning into the casserole dish. Reheating + baking time will be longer– at least 45 minutes at 375 if potatoes are fully cooled before baking.

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Filed under Fall, Side dishes, Vegetables, Winter