Ham and Asparagus Casserole

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If you have leftover ham after Easter you need to make this. It's probably the best ham casserole I have ever had. I may be biased because I love asparagus though. I also like that this is healthy and leftovers reheat well.

Recipe HERE.

When life hands you 152,000 lemons....

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Ok so it wasn't life-it was a coworker with a lemon tree, and it was only about 50 lemons.

I think citrus is the zucchini of the Southwest. Seems there are lots of bags of oranges, grapefruits, lemons and kumquats with "take me!" signs in our breakrooms at work this time of year and I have friends with trees offering up citrus. One day I shall have my own lemon tree.

I love preserved lemons in Moroccan and other Middle Eastern dishes. I usually buy them at Whole Foods but since I have a LOT of lemons I decided to make my own. I used Paula Wolfert's Seven Day Preserved Lemons recipe found HERE. It's as easy as cutting up lemons and mixing them with salt and stuffing them in jars.

And yes I also made lemonade! Lemonade concentrate actually. I do buy Simply Lemonade but having homemade concentrate in the freezer is nice too.

This recipe is courtesy of Anne Hodgeman's Beat This cookbook.

8 large lemons
2 cups sugar
2 cups water

Zest lemons being careful not to get any pith. Juice lemons and set aside juice. Bring water and sugar to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly. Reduce heat, stir in zest, cover pot and simmer for 4 minutes. Strain syrup and discard the zest. Cool completely and add lemon juice.

For lemonade mix one part syrup with 2 parts cold water.

I still have lemons left which will be zested and juiced. I'll freeze the juice in ice cube trays.

Bertolli's Pink Shrimp with Bacon and Onions

Bertolli was kind enough to send me two jars of their newest sauces, Four Cheese Rosa and Arrabiata. The Four Cheese Rosa is an alfredo with tomatoes and the Arrabiata is a spicy tomato sauce.

They came in some mighty fancy packaging with recipes!

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Hmmm what to make first...

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I had all the ingredients for the pink shrimp on hand so that was the logical choice. I confess I'm not a fan of alfredo-type sauces and was underwhelmed with my first taste of the sauce on it's own.

The finished dish on the other hand was great! Leftovers even heated up well and I got a request to make it again. I am going to buy another jar and try the stuffed checken breasts.

The only changes I made was using spaghetti instead of fettuccine and I used more garlic. I also skipped the cheese at the end.

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Pink Shrimp with Bacon and Onions

4 servings

4 slices of bacon, chopped
1 large onion, sliced thin
1 lb raw peeled and deveined shrimp
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 jar Bertolli Four Cheese Rosa Sauce
8 oz cooked and drained fettucine with 1/2 cup of cooking liquid reserved

Cook bacon in 12 inch skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon and cook onion in reserved drippings over medium heat until golden, stirring occasionally about 10 minutes.

Add shrimp and garlic and cook until shrimp is pink. Stir in sauce and pasta sauce and heat through. Toss with hot pasta and garnish with chopped parsley and grated fontina cheese.

I was going to make the pizza recipe on the box with the Arrabiata sauce but decided to make a plain pasta with a green salad instead. I wouldn't call the sauce spicy-more so than the average. I did like it and have enough left over to try that pizza!

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Cashew! God Bless You Chicken with Jasmine Rice

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I found this recipe through a random search. It's courtesy of Rachael Ray, who featured it in her kid friendly recipe book.

This dish is "everyone friendly" because it's really good! And since I'm not feeding kids I increased the garlic and red pepper flakes. I forgot to add the green onions but I didn't miss them. I'll put them on the leftovers.

To quote Rachael, "Yummo!"

Cashew! God Bless You Chicken with Jasmine Rice

1 box Jasmine rice (box? I always have a bag on hand)
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced (I used breast tenders. Thigh meat would work too)
2 Tbs sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced & mashed
2 Tbs rice wine, rice wine vinegar or dry sherry (I used rice wine vinegar)
A couple of shakes crushed red pepper flakes
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 large carrot, peeled and diced into small cubes
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 can (7 oz) sliced water chestnuts, drained and coarsely chopped
3 heaping tablespoons-size scoops hoisin sauce
A couple of handfuls unsalted cashews
3 green onions, thinly sliced on an angle

Following directions on box, start rice.

In a large bowl, combine chicken with 1 tablespoon sesame oil, garlic, rice wine, crushed red pepper and black pepper. Set aside and let it hang out.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil in wok or large nonstick skillet over high heat until it smokes. Add carrot and stir-fry for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the coated chicken and cook another 3 or 4 minutes. Toss in the bell pepper and water chestnuts. Heat through for 1 minute. Add the hoisin and toss to coat evenly. Place chicken on a bed of jasmine rice and top with cashews and green onions.