Dave and I were able to enjoy a Date Night at home again! I've been itching to try a new recipe or two, and it's fun to cook new things for just the two of us. (The little girls don't always appreciate dishes out of the norm. Silly girls. lol ) Last month Mom took me to Johnny Carino's for my birthday. We had their Bowtie Festival, which was chicken, bacon, tomatoes and onion in Alfredo sauce, tossed with bowtie pasta. Divine! I had shrimp I wanted to use, and figured I could make up the rest. It did come out similar. My sauce was thicker, and I think I would have LOVED freshly grated Parmesan cheese, but I just had a jar of pregrated in the fridge. Often, we end up with regular tossed green salad with ranch dressing, but last night we tried Mandarin Almond Salad and it was a wonderful change! We'll have both dishes again! If I hadn't been trying to watch our portions, I would also have served a small loaf of crusty French or Italian bread with this... and possibly flavored oil to dip with.
We went for a light dessert since we're both trying to eat healthier (and the alfredo was NOT calorie free lol - though we did use multi-grain pasta) so we ended up with a fruit platter with Vanilla Yogurt Dip. Mmmmm!!! Nice finish! We watched a movie in between dinner and dessert. (and referreed a few arguments, gave directions on how to make popcorn on the stove, and put the baby to bed between as well - next time we'll start later & have more quiet lol)
Bacon Shrimp Alfredo with Bowtie Pasta for Two
7-8 oz bowtie pasta, cooked and drained
12-14 large shrimp, precooked, with tail removed (I just bought a bag of 30 or so per pound frozen)
1 roma tomato, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 slices bacon, fried and broken into pieces
4 green onions, sliced
2 T. butter
1/4 C. whole milk or half & half
2 T. parmesan cheese
Salt to taste
1 batch of Alfredo Sauce, shown below
1 C. heavy cream
1/3 C. parmesan cheese
1/4 C. milk
1 T. cornstarch (optional - depending on how thick you like your sauce)
1/2 tsp. salt
few shakes of pepper
Heat cream and cheese over medium heat until cheese is softened, stirring constantly. (or heat it on medium low for a longer time - then you don't have to stir so much) Mix milk and cornstarch. Pour into heated cream & cheese, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens a bit. Add salt and pepper. Let cool a little while you prepare the vegetables and shrimp.
Reserve a few tomatoes and onions to use for garnish. In a large skillet, melt butter and add garlic, onion, tomato, bacon, and sautee a few minutes until onion starts to go translucent. Add milk and parmesan cheese and simmer until milk reduces by about half. Add shrimp and cook long enough to heat through. Careful not to over cook your shrimp! Pour prepared Alfredo Sauce over all and stir until all is blended. Either toss together with the pasta now, OR divide pasta between 2 plates, and then pour the shrimp and alfredo sauce over top. Add tomato and onion reserved for garnish. Serve hot.
Joy's Notes: I think chicken would work really well in place of the shrimp. I know my children would love it that way. You could just use your favorite bottled Alfredo Sauce if you'd rather. But the home made version really is quick and easy.
The Mandarin Almond Salad recipe, I found HERE. I mixed the dressing up as directed but then just made enough of the greens, almonds and onion for 2. I used about 3 C. greens (we had a nice blend of red and green leaves), 1/4 C. almonds, 2 green onions, 1/2 8 oz. can of mandarin oranges... and then just poured about 1/3 of the dressing over and tossed. I think feta or other sharp flavored cheese would be really good with this, as would cranraisins. MMMmmmm!!! I'm pretty sure this is one of the salads I'll make for Thanksgiving dinner this year. Definitely a make again recipe.
1 6 oz. carton lowfat vanilla yogurt
2 T. brown sugar
1/4 C. sour cream
Mix until brown sugar dissoves. Serve with pieces of bite sized fruit. We used kiwi, banana, grapes, and apple slices. Strawberries or other fresh berries would be wonderful too. We preferred the kiwi and banana last night. Oh My! Yum!