Friday, October 21, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce

I've been noticing the recent craze of using roasted red peppers on sandwiches, in pastas, on salads, etc. and wondered why I had never seen them or heard of them before. I wasn't exactly sure what they were or where to find them and I had absolutely no idea what they would taste like. I was shopping at Ross (best store ever!) a few weeks ago when I came across a jar of roasted red and yellow peppers in their kitchen department. I couldn't turn it down.. Quick shout-out to Ross and T.J. Maxx for coming into existence!! Anyway, buying that jar was not a disappointment. The peppers marinate in a lightly sweet vinegary liquid and have a great flavor and a beautiful deep red color. The sauce was very easy to make and made my kitchen smell divine as it was thickening! I served the sauce over some diced chicken and bow-tie pasta noodles with some freshly squeezed lemon juice on top. Although skeptical at first, Neal and I both went back for seconds and scraped the pot clean. If you ever run across some roasted red peppers, buy a bottle and try them! You won't be disappointed. (Recipe and picture adapted from Mindika Moments)


  • 2 large roasted red peppers, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1/2 cup diced onion

  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, or 1 Tbsp. dried basil

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil

  • 2 Tbsp. butter

  • zest of 1 lemon

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • 4 T. flour

  • 1 cup chicken broth

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

In a large sauce pan or skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onions and garlic for a couple minutes until fragrant. Add the roasted peppers, basil and lemon zest. Then add the flour and stir until it is absorbed into the mix. Slowly add the lemon juice and chicken broth and stir until the mixture begins to thicken slightly. Then mix in the heavy cream and parmesan cheese and stir until well incorporated. Let it simmer, stirring frequently, until it turns into your desired thickness. Remove from heat and puree the mixture with an immersion blender, or transfer the mixture into a blender to puree. Serve warm over pasta. You can also add in chicken and vegetables if preferred.

Note: When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

Portabella Mushroom Fajitas

I have to admit I was a little skeptical making these fajitas since my husband is such a meat-lover. I was also worried that they wouldn't be substantial enough to fill us up for dinner, but, luckily, I was wrong. Marinated portabella mushrooms replace the meat in this recipe and are sauteed along with your classic bell peppers and onions. The marinade for the mushrooms smelled divine and it tasted even better. After the mushrooms finished marinating, these fajitas literally came together in 15 minutes. I cannot stress the importance of good toppings on these babies!! We ate ours topped with homemade guacamole, salsa, cheese, sour cream, and cilantro -the perfect Mexican combination. Top it all off with a side of black beans or rice and you've got yourself a quick and delicious meal! (Recipe and picture courtesy of Good Life Eats.)


For the Fajita filling:

  • 8 oz. small portabella mushrooms

  • 1 green bell pepper

  • 1 red bell pepper

  • 1 large yellow onion

  • 4-6 flour tortillas, warmed

For the Portabella Marinade:

  • 1 Tbsp. water

  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

  • 1 lime, juiced

  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 tsp. cumin

  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder

  • 1/4 tsp. salt

  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

  • 1/4 tsp. paprika

Slice the mushrooms in 1/3 to 1/4 inch thick slices. Combine the ingredients for the marinade and whisk until well combined. Add the mushroom slices, tossing to coat, and let marinade for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the peppers and onions into strips, discarding the seeds, stem, and ribbing from the peppers and skins from the onion. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil to the pan. Add the onions and peppers, cooking until the onions are slightly translucent (about 5 minutes). Stir frequently. Add the mushrooms and the marinade. Cook until the marinade is absorbed and the mushrooms are tender, about 3-5 minutes. Fill warmed tortillas with the vegetable mixture and top with cheese, sour cream, cilantro, salsa and guacamole.