BF&F – Best Friends and Foodies


French Onion Pasta – Bumpkin

I am not even going to attempt an explanation at where I have been for the last month.  Just know, it is beyond a list of ridiculous proportions so we are putting it behind us and moving on!  I am ready to get back into the groove, so here goes….

I found this recipe on Pinterest (of course).  I modified it only by adding a rotisserie chicken, shredded and swapping out the marsala for sherry because it is what I already had in the house and I didn’t want an additional stop at the liquor store with a 3yr old in tow!  1 of my kids liked it, 1 hated it and 1 ate it because she will eat just about anything you put in front of her!  Hubby and I liked it, I will probably make it again.  As I was eating it however, I kept thinking it would be ever so much better to make as a GREAT way to use up leftover pot roast.  Just a thought!!

French Onion Pasta

adapted from Stephanie Cooks


2 cups of uncooked penne pasta
1 to 1.5 cup of chicken stock
1 packet of Lipton’s Onion Soup mix
1 scallion, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/2 cup of marsala wine
4 tablespoons of light cream
1 tablespoon of flour
1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon of EVOO

I added – 1 rotisserie chicken, or leftover pot roast (yummy!)
Let’s Make It!
1- Cook pasta according to directions, set aside and keep warm.
2- In a saucepan, heat the EVOO. Add the scallions and garlic, stir continually until soft and fragrant.
3- Add the marsala wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any stuck on pieces of onion.
4- Add the stock and soup mix packets, allow to cook on low for about 20 minutes.
5- Stir in flour, whisking continually until well incorporated and thickened.
6- Add the light cream, mix well.
7- Add the meat and pasta to the sauce, stir well.
8- Pour into an oven safe dish. Top with the mozzarella cheese.
9- Set it under the broiler until the cheese gets a little crispy.


Baked pasta with Eggplant and Mozzarella – townie

More eggplants for the csa. I think, I know I’m done with eggplants… This is it :). This was ok. I wasn’t a fan, too bland and mushy. The husband liked it ok. It’s not a keeper for us.


Baked pasta with Eggplant and Mozzarella
adapted from smitten kitchen

1 large or 2 small eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch dice
Salt and black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 celery stalk, in a 1/4-inch dice
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces mini farfalle pasta
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried oregano
zest of a whole lemon
8 ounces mozzarella cut into 1/3-inch dice
1/2 cup parmesan, grated
3 medium tomatoes, diced

Sprinkle your eggplant generously with salt and let it drain in a colander for 30 minutes. I used this time to get the rest of my ingredients ready. After 30 minutes, rinse it well and pat it dry on towels.

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the oil and once the oil is shimmering, add the eggplant. Fry for 8 minutes, stirring pieces occasionally. Using a slotted spoon or spatula, transfer them to paper towels to drain. Add celery and carrots to remaining oil and cook for 3 minutes before adding onion and garlic. Cook together for 5 more minutes on medium heat. Stir in the pasta and tomato paste and cook for two minutes more. Off the heat, add the oregano, mozzarella, parmesan, tomatoes, fried eggplant, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon table salt, many grinds of black pepper and the stock and mix well.

Transfer mixture to an ovenproof baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes, then bake 20 minutes without the foil. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Shrimp and Kale Pasta – Bumpkin

Townie asked me before her vacation if I had shrimp.  I said, “Of course!”.  I get going on this totally delicious looking recipe, everything is cooking, water is boiling for shrimp.  I open freezer to get shrimp to add to this really yummy dish only to discover the pinkish bag in the freezer that I assumed was shrimp was really salmon!  FOUL!  I ended up using a can of chicken in place of the shrimp and it was a really amazingly tasty meal anyway.  I will make it again and probably post my modifications on another day.

But, onto shrimp!  Since Townie posted shrimp before she left, I was on base to post something too.  I bought a bag of shrimp after dropping the kiddos at day camp yesterday.  It was even on sale!  SCORE!  Today was a busy day and I wasnt in the mood for anything inparticular so out came that pinkish bag, of shrimp this time, for an easy dinner.  I made very few modifications to the original recipe I found.  I had a bunch of kale in the fridge about to go so it needed used.

Shrimp and Kale Pasta

adapted from Sarah’s Cucina Bella

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large leek, white parts, chopped
2 t chopped garlic
1 bunch kale, leaves separated and chopped (save stems for stock or discard)
1 lb large raw, deveined shrimp, rinsed
2/3 cup white wine
1 small lemon juiced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp butter
1 cup freshly grated Parmesano Reggiano cheese
1 lb pasta (I used linguine), cooked and 1 ladle water reserved

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and garlic. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened, lightly browning and shrinking in mass.

Add the shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes until just turning pink and opaque. Stir.

Add the kale, wine and lemon juice. Stir well. Salt and pepper to taste. Let cook without disturbing for 5-7 minutes until the kale begins to wilt. Add the butter and one ladle of pasta water. Stir well. Cook until reduced, another 3-5 minutes.

Toss the pasta with the kale and shrimp mixture. Add the Romano and toss again.

I topped mine with crushed red pepper flakes to give it a punch.  ENJOY!

Chicken Picata with Mushrooms and Spinach – Bumpkin

I took out chicken a few days ago with every intention of cooking up a storm.  But, speaking of storms, the weather had another idea.  Winds got up to 70mph here and knocked out our power.  Since we didn’t know how long it would be out we opted to just go into town for dinner.

Fast forward to today.  So, here I am husbandless for the weekend (he is turkey hunting….the result of which will probably a 2-day beard, a bit of sunburn and a headache!) and not REALLY in the mood to cook but I have chicken about to spoil.  I also have meyer lemons, mushrooms and spinach about to spoil.  Sounds like picata time.

I found a quick recipe on  It, naturally, needed modifications because WHAT is picata without capers! The kids were watching Tom and Jerry, I whipped up dinner.  They all sat down and STARED!  I HATE going to any sort of effort just to have kids NOT eat.  Push the spinach aside kids….just eat your damn dinner!

After a few bites, spinach and capers picked out.  Dinner was done.  I think it was perfectly delicious.  Hubby will like it (not as much as his mom’s but…)  I will probably make it again because I typically have all the ingredients at any given time. I served it with spaghetti into which I juiced 1 lemon, added a dash of olive oil and grated some fresh parmesan cheese.


Chicken Picata with Mushrooms and Spinach

adapted from


  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1T chopped garlic
  • 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs – cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • bunch of spinach
  • 2T capers
Let’s make It

  1. In a shallow bowl, mix together flour, paprika, and salt and pepper. Dredge chicken pieces in the seasoned flour.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add garlic and saute chicken until light golden brown (about 45 seconds each side). Remove chicken from skillet, and set aside.
  3. To skillet, add mushrooms, lemon juice, and chicken stock. Simmer until a smooth, light sauce develops. Season with garlic powder. Return chicken to the skillet, and simmer until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. Stir in spinach and capers, and remove from heat.

Grilled Sweet and Tangy Pork Chops – Bumpkin

I took out pork loin chops fairly late in the day.  So, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to make a recipe that required marinating.  I found this recipe, by The Neelys on  I made very few modifications to the original recipe.

It was an all around Food Network night because I made Rachel Ray’s Cheesy Orzo and Giada DeLaurentis’ Spicy Parmesan Green Beans and Kale for side dishes.  Dinner tonight was YUM-O

Grilled Sweet and Tangy Pork Chops

adapted from The Neely’s on Food Network


  • 4 (1 1/2-inch thick)pork loin chops
  • Sweet and Tangy Glaze, recipe follows
  • Seasonings, to taste (I used seasoning salt, pepper, cayenne and granulated onion)

Let’s make it!

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.

Season the pork chops lightly on both sides with the Seasonings. Remember, we aren’t rubbing the chops.

Grill the chops for 5 to 7 minutes per side. Brush them with the Sweet and Tangy Glaze the last 5 minutes of grilling. Internal temperature should register 145 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove the chops from the grill to a serving platter and allow them to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Sweet and Tangy Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup tablespoon real maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 dash Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 dash hot sauce (like Tabasco or I used Cholula with lime)

In a small bowl, mix together the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire, and hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and refrigerate if not using immediately.

Confetti Chicken Pasta – Bumpkin

I have been slacking on posting.  I was originally going to post a Coconut Chicken recipe I made last week but alas tonight’s dinner was yummier.  I saw this recipe on, you guessed it, Pinterest!  I had everything, or a version of everything, on hand and it looked quick enough to throw together on a weeknight.

The general consensus is that it was yummy.  My oldest went for seconds, which is fairly odd for her when there is any form of meat in a dish.  I added the red pepper flakes to the top of the dish rather than in the sauce so the kids would eat it.  The original called for feta but I was out.  However, she did mention that her mom made it with Parmesan so that is the route I went.  Hubby and I think it would have been SUPER yummy with Gorgonzola or some Pancetta sauteed with the onions.  It definitely needed a salt kick or something. I think this dish could very easily work with shrimp, too.

This dish isn’t much different than some I have just thrown together on my own, in the past.  I do love to throw meat and veggies in a pan and go!

Confetti Chicken Pasta

adapted from The Bake Cakery

Veggies & Pasta

16 oz. of Penne Pasta (always cook al dente in salt water according to pkg directions)
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (original called for breast but I rarely buy breast because I think they cook up tasting and feeling like rubber), cut in 1″ cubes
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1 medium sweet. Onion, diced
2T Garlic, minced
1 Orange Bell Pepper, long thin slices
2c. Broccoli florets
2 vine ripened tomatoes, cubed

Cook your pasta and let it drain.  (tip: Iadded a little butter to cooked noodles so they didn’t stick together). Sprinkle the chicken breast with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook chicken until done and golden on all sides. Remove and let rest in a large bowl.

Add the remaining olive oil and begin sauteing the onions for 2 min. Add in the garlic and bell pepper and saute another 2 mins. Then toss in broccoli, saving the tomatoes until the very end.

When everything is cooked, combine the veggies with the chicken in your big bowl.  Now its time for the sauce!

Spicy Cream Sauce

2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
1 1/2 c. cream
1/4 c. milk
1 c. Parmesan

In the same pan you cooked the chicken and veggies in, melt the butter over medium heat. Toss in the flour and stir, cooking 1-2 minutes, making a roux

Slowly add in the cream and milk while whisking to prevent any clumps from forming.  Allow to simmer until you see boiling action.  Stir periodically.

When your sauce begins to thicken and bubble, turn off the heat and add in your cheese. Stir until completely melted

To assemble just throw it all in a bowl!

Crispy Shrimp Pasta – Bumpkin

Decided on shrimp for dinner.  It’s easy and the kids will eat it.  I found a photo on Pinterest that looked yummy so I clicked through the links until I found the recipe.  I had all the ingredients so, it’s what I made. 

Hubby liked it, the kids ate it because it was put in front of them but they all commented on how spicy it was.  Or, as the 2-year old proclaims “my mouf is who-tin”.  I didn’t use very much spice at all, but I think cayenne has just the right “kick” to turn the kids off.  I think the flavor was good.  I will probably make it again.

The recipe below is with my modifications.  As always, click on the link to see the original.

Crispy Shrimp Pasta

adapted from Kevin & Amanda

1 box of bowtie pasta
1  lb raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup frozen peas
salt & pepper, to taste

Let’s Make it!

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. Sprinkle shrimp with salt, pepper, and toss to combine. Sprinkle 1 tbsp flour over the shrimp, and toss to coat the shrimp. Sprinkle 1 more tbsp flour and toss to evenly coat the shrimp. Melt butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. When hot, add the shrimp in a single layer and cook on each side, flipping once, until golden brown, approximately 2-3 minutes per side. Remove to plate.

3. Pour in the chicken broth. Cook for about 5 minutes, whisking the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Reduce heat to medium and pour in cream, whisking constantly. Cook sauce over medium heat until bubbly and the cream starts to thicken the mixture, about 5 minutes. Taste the sauce and add seasonings as desired (salt, pepper, cayenne, etc.)

4. Add veggies and cook for about 5 minutes, until tender.

5. Add the drained pasta and shrimp to the sauce, and stir to combine.

*If you have trouble getting the sauce to thicken, thoroughly mix 1 tbsp cornstarch with 4 tbsp cold water and add to the sauce. Sauce will thicken immediately.