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May 25, 2022

4/29/2022 1:18:00 PM
Skillets can be your best friend for dinner

I really wanted to be doing some grilling recipes by now. I want to be outside in my shorts standing in front of the grill or smoker and just enjoying the outdoors. Like most of you, I’m beaten down this “spring.” Beaten down by the rain, cold, wind and crappy weather in general.

And I take a look at the two week forecast, since smartphones made us all meteorologists, and it’s still going to be awhile until we get a nice warm up. With that in mind, I figured I’d do a skillet-style recipe column. I looked at last year’s to see what I did and it was a soup-based column because, shocker, it was cold and rainy this time last year too, but we had 70s on the horizon.

But, I just gave you two soups last week for Easter leftovers, so we’ll move on to skillet recipes. I love these because they really minimize the clean up, which is an important aspect for weeknight dinner cooking. When you can do everything in one pan/skillet, clean up is a breeze and they are also versatile. They can go in the oven or stovetop, so it allows for a few methods of cooking.

We’ll start with a shrimp skillet. I don’t feel like I’ve used enough shrimp recipes in this space, and that’s borderline criminal, because shrimp tastes amazing and is one of the easiest seafood products to get your hands on.

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Kosher salt
12 oz. fettucine
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
12-oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained and sliced in 1/2-inch-thick strips
1 tsp. sweet or smoked paprika
2 c. heavy cream
1 lb. medium peeled and deveined shrimp, tails removed
1 1/2 c. grated Parmesan
1 tbsp. fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions for al dente. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, red peppers and paprika and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are heated through and the butter is fragrant and vibrant red, about two minutes. Add the cream and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the shrimp and cook until they are firm and cooked through, about five minutes. Add the cooked pasta, Parmesan and 1 teaspoon salt and toss until well coated. Sprinkle with parsley.

Don’t worry if it seems like there is too much sauce. Once you toss the pasta with it, it will thicken and cling to your pasta and make a delicious combo.

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I’ve written often in this space about how much Hamburger Helper I had growing up and how I avoid it now in my adult years because of  preservatives and additives  in it to keep it all good in the box, for as long as it needs to be.

But, here’s the good thing, making it on your own really isn’t that hard, and it tastes amazing!

1 lb. ground beef
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. paprika
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 c. hot water
1 1/2 cups milk
2 c. dry cavatappi pasta or macaroni noodles
2 c. grated cheddar cheese

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, then add the ground beef and break it up, cooking and stirring until the meat is no longer pink. Drain any remaining fat in the pan.

Sprinkle the cornstarch, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, sugar, and pepper over the browned meat and stir well to evenly distribute the spices. Add the hot water, milk, and pasta, then bring to a boil. Cover with a lid, reduce heat and simmer for 8-11 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente.

Sprinkle the grated cheddar cheese over the cooked pasta and stir until melted into the sauce. Remove from the heat, and let stand for a few minutes until the sauce thickens a bit. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley, if desired, then serve.

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This is one of our go-to’s when we want Mexican-style food. It’s just so simple and again, one pan makes it extremely easy to clean up afterwards. Mexican cooking can typically create a big mess, so it’s perfect for the weeknight when you don’t have a lot of time.

2 c. shredded rotisserie chicken
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 (10 oz) can red enchilada sauce
1/2 c. chunky salsa
1/4 c. water
4 (6-inch) soft tortillas cut into 1-inch strips, (pizza cutter works great for this)
1 c. shredded Mexican blend cheese
1/2 c. sour cream
1/4 c. sliced green onions
Guacamole (optional)

In a large skillet (12-inch), add the rotisserie chicken. Sprinkle with the cumin and oregano. Add the enchilada sauce, salsa, and water. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat for a couple of minutes to let the sauce thicken and the chicken to heat through.

Stir in the tortilla strips and sprinkle with the cheese. Remove from heat and let the cheese melt from the heat.

Top with sour cream (and guacamole if desired) in the center and sprinkle with green onions. Serve immediately.

Important note for the chicken here, I am basing this recipe off of picking one up at the grocery store on the way home. They are easy, prepped, and barely cost more than getting a raw one. Of course, if you’re going to make your own chicken, this recipe will take quite a bit longer!

TFD: It’s easy to defeat someone, but it’s very hard to win someone.

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