Monday, April 26, 2010

~Basketball Tournament and Cooking with Friends~

We spent the weekend in Marion because Sean and the boys played in a basketball tournament at the Boys Club in West Memphis. Friday night, after their the game, Ashley and Nina asked if I would cook for everyone instead of going out to eat...and share a little bit of my "Betty Crocker"-esque methods along the way.

With my family, cooking is never a solo chore so I was happy to have some company in the kitchen. Since the boys had a long day of ball ahead of them on Saturday, we decided on a "carbo-loaded" meal of pasta, salad, and rolls.

Since the decision was last minute, I sat in the walmart parking lot with the girls and I racked my brain for something I could whip up without access to a recipe. I posted Sean's favorite meal from The Pasta House here in Conway that I now make at home: Crawfish Fettucine. I decided to make MY favorite meal from The Pasta House: Shrimp Fettucine with mushrooms and bacon. It was a big hit so I hope you'll give it a try!
The girls got to work and the boys relaxed.

If you read my blog, you know I'm not a recipe follower and CERTAINLY not a 'measurer'. After several questions from Nina and Ashley to the tune of "Am I chopping these mushrooms right?" and "How big or small do you want the tomatoes to be?" I proclaimed, "Baking is the science. Cooking is an art." I don't care how you chop or if there is one handful of parsley or two. I had only one rule for them in the kitchen: Don't be scared!

I was cooking for 9 people so I'll try my best to estimate the amounts for a typical 4 person meal.


  • 1 (16 ounce) package fettuccini or linguine noodles
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 1 pound baby portobello, or cremini, mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 pounds precooked shrimp, tails off, thawed
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped or torn
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 slices of bacon
Prep all ingredients. This is always the most time consuming when cooking for a big group so I recruited some help.

Ashley doing her job.

Me doing my job.

Nina drinking on the job...

In large pot, boil water with 2 tbs salt. Add pasta and a splash of olive oil and cook according to package directions. In large skillet, saute onions and mushrooms with olive oil until soft. Season with salt and pepper. In a separate skillet, begin making sauce with a roux of butter, garlic, and flour over Medium heat.

When butter and flour are incorporated, add whipping cream and whisk until lumps are gone. Add parmesan cheese and lower heat to Medium Low. Add fresh parsley to sauce.

Add shrimp and sauteed onions and mushrooms. Give sauce a taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Add drained pasta to sauce and toss.
In emptied saute skillet, cook bacon until crisp.

Toss bacon into pasta.

Garnish with parsley and it's ready to eat! We served it with my favorite super simple Creamy Italian Salad. It's just lettuce, cucumber, tomato, Creamy Italian dressing, ALOT of grated parmesan cheese from the can for flavor and to thicken the dressing, and generous amount of salt and pepper.

Never seen someone so happy to peel a cucumber!
Nina went all "Betty Crocker"-esque on me and got fancy with the cucumbers. I was quick to admit I had never done what she did...dragged a fork along the peeled cucumber so that when she sliced them they were all purty and scalloped-edged. I'm always learning!

Ashley mixed up the yummy salad.

Even Tiger Bear loved it. :)

Boo Boo's my best bud.

The girls got the big table. Beautiful. And SO delicious.

...And the boys sat at the kids table. They dug in. And went back for seconds.

Saturday they played long and hard, but lost by 1 point in the last second with a bit of a controversial call, and placed second. We had a good sized home-town crowd and when I wasn't making a run for bananas, gatorade, and ice, I enjoyed visiting all day.

Sean and his dad.

Devin just before he SLAM-DUNKED! Just kiddin.

Sean and his mom. Mrs. Pam is always a trooper running that clock all day!

They all played great! Good job boys, you make us proud. My butt hurt just watching you.

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