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Appetizers as Good as the Main Course

Rich food is one of my weaknesses.
Or possibly one of my positive attributes.


Eat good, live good.  Its simple.  Although how one defines good is up to the individual.  I think moderation is key.  I try to make healthy decisions, although that doesn't mean I always eat grilled chicken, brown rice and broccoli.  It means I balance my eating, I try to vary my starchy carbs, but more than often, I give in to them and all their carby goodness.  One thing I can never say no to is cheese! I'll take cheese on top of cheese please!  I'm such a fat kid at heart, I can't deny all that is delicious.

So in honor of the fact that I plan to go a little lighter on the starchy carbs from now on starting this week, with the exception of holidays- of course!  Let's go big or go home! And then brace yourself, healthier meals are coming. I know, shocker for me.

This post is mainly about the Figs, what can I say I like big figs and I can not lie. Although, I will let you know how to make my famous bacon creme sauce.

Y o u   W i l l   N e e d :
Serves 5-6 | read all steps before beginning. 


Appetizer- Stuffed Figs:
  • 1 Small box/carton of figs (About 10 figs)
  • 1 Container of goat cheese (Can be plain or flavored. I'm using Catapano's mango habeñero which is all natural and local) 
  • 1/4 LB Proscuitto di Parma (Cut into strips about an inch thick, about the size of the figs.)
  • Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • Olive Oil
  • Toothpicks



For the Main Course:
  • Fettuccine Pasta (Or whatever you fancy)
  • 15-20 Cleaned & peeled shrimp
  • 4 Pieces of cooked bacon
  • 1/2 Cup of sautéed mushrooms (I prefer baby portobellos)
  • 3/4 Cup of baby sweet peas


Creme Sauce:
  • 1/2 a White Onion Minced
  • 1 tsp of Minced Garlic
  • 1 1/2 Cloves of Sliced Fresh Garlic
  • 1/2 Cup of Chicken Stock
  • 1 1/2 cups of Heavy Creme
  • 1/4 Cup of Milk (Whatever you have in your fridge. 1%, 2%, or Whole.)
  • 3 Tbsn of grated Pecorino Romano Cheese (or simply grated Parmesan)
  • 1 tsp of Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp of Onion Powder
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Dry Rub for the Shrimp:
  • 1 Tbsn Sweet Paprika
  • 1 tsp Onion Power
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of Chili Powder
  • 3/4 tsp of White Pepper
  • 3/4 tsp of Black Pepper
  • 2 1/2 tsp of Salt
  • 1/2 tsp of dried Thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried Oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried Parsley


First |  I would put the shrimp in the rub, coat them evenly and then let them sit aside.  Already have the ingredients chopped, prepped and pre-cooked according to the "you will need" list.   

Second | After you have washed your figs in cool water chop of the top of the fig and cut a "+" in the top.  

Third | Carefully open the fig a little.  If it were a door, it would be ajar. But its a fig, so be gentle. Also try to use the best goat cheese you can find, like shown above!

Forth | Gently spoon in the goat cheese.
 
Fifth |  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wrap with proscuitto and stick in one toothpick to keep it together.  Continue this process and place the figs on an olive oiled pan or casserole dish. Then Bake oven for about ten to at most fifteen minutes. Check on them occasionally you will be able to tell when they are finished.  Top with a little fresh parsley and Bon Apetit!




Oh yes perfection!  You want the proscuitto to turn this nice rich color and to get slightly caramelized on the edges, be careful not to over do it.  There you have it! The most amazing restaurant level appetizer that is so easy to make at home! 




My Heart Stopping: 
Fettuccine ala Bacon Creme with Cajun Shrimp  


First | Choose a large sauté or sauce pan.  Cook all 4 pieces of bacon until nice and crisp.  Even the fatty part of the bacon should be crispy. Take out bacon place on a paper towel and leave on the side to cool. Stir up all the seasonings for the dry rub in a bowl and take the cleaned and slightly damp shrimp and toss them into the bowl.  Make sure they are evenly coated and let them wait on the side next to the bacon.

Second | Now drain all the excess bacon grease into its appropriate jar, but do not rinse the pan. Now use this same pan on a medium heat and toss in the chopped onions and fresh garlic.  After a moment you want to add a drizzle of olive oil or a drop of butter if the pan begins to dry.  Toss around the garlic and onions in pan frequently to ensure an even cook.  Once they begin to brown add the chicken stock.

Third | Boil the water for pasta now, add salt and a drizzle of olive oil to the water. Add the mushrooms into the stock, with the onions and garlic.  Give them a minute to begin cooking.  Now add the creme into the onions, garlic, mushrooms and chicken stock.  Stir in.  The mushrooms will finish cooking with sauce.  Then add the milk and cheese. Then the seasonings. If you have a whisk, I like to gentley use this to help it thicken up.  Either way keep stirring frequently, but not continuously until it begins thickening- when this happens turn it to low.

Fourth |  Now chop up the bacon and wait till the shrimp and pasta are done to add to the sauce. Place the shrimp in a sauté pan and cook until done.  About a minute or two on each side.  When they are done, simply turn the burner off.   Now strain the pasta and toss the chopped bacon into the creme sauce.  Then add the frozen peas right into the sauce as well.

Fifth | Add a touch of olive oil or butter to the pasta, then 1/8 of the sauce.  Mix well and make sure it is all coating.  Serve the pasta with extra sauce poured over top and the shrimp placed on top.







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