30 Minute Tortellini & Shrimp

30-Minute Tortellini & Shrimp via Brittany's Pantry…I would like to say welcome back!  To those of you who have been following this, I took a little blog break.  A family vacation (and recovery from said vaca) and a sudden onslaught of apples from a friend have kept me busy, in and out of the kitchen.  I have been thinking alot about the topic of this blog and, I have to say, sometimes I have too many ideas.  I find it increasingly difficult to pick only one thing to chat about.  For example, do I discuss the fact that I had such a craving for smoked oysters today (No.  I am not expecting.) that I have consumed nearly an entire can.  I am justifying this by the fact that even though they are so high in calories and I will be exercising till the cows come home, they are actually crazy high in protein.  Seriously!  5g per oyster.  Or do I confess that I have spent the last two days canning this summers bountiful harvest?  Right now its just applesauce and apple butter, but when I pick up fresh peaches at the farmers market on Thurs, it will be peaches, baking apples, tomatoes and tomato sauce, spicy peach jam, plum preserves and…I think that’s it.  I used to can with my mother when I was a kid and now that she isn’t doing it all that much I have inherited her boiling water canner and equipment.  And a LOT of canning jars.  I love to freeze food and keep a pantry stocked, but there is something supremely satisfying about looking at the rows and rows of brightly colored jars filled with food sealed at the peak of freshness right from my own garden or local farm.  Now, having done this in my family for years, I have some background information and experience about the process that is extremely useful if you plan on canning.  However, there is plenty of information out there and as long as you follow the steps-no deviating, all the steps are very important-the results are worth it when you pop the top on a quart jar of fresh tomatoes in January and the sweet smell of summer makes you close your eyes and sigh.  Not to mention that it just looks cool.  Jars and jars of multi-colored jewels lining the shelves of my laundry room?  Yippee!  Please note that if you are storing any type of food, a warm laundry room is not the place for it.  My cold, dark, basement laundry is an exception.  No danger of heat or brightness.  In regards to the canning, my husband is thrilled, as he frequently reminds me that with the world in the state that it is, a fallout shelter might be a good idea.  And hey!  I could stock that shelter with premium eats!

I would love to include a recipe in this blog entry to highlight the apples I have been using, but so far, I haven’t used a recipe.  When I make applesauce, I just throw the peeled and cored and sliced apples on the stove with a splash of apple cider, some sugar and cinnamon and go from there.  I just keep tasting it, adding cider, and cooking it down till I get the consistency I am looking for.  I do add lemon juice if I am going to can it.  Apple butter I do the same way, except in a crock pot with LOTS more spices and alot more tasting.  My family and I will be eating this homemade applesauce over pan fried pork chops tonight in a fall inspired meal.  Hmmm…steamed broccoli and cauliflower and rosemary roasted potatoes.  Nothing fancy, just a boneless pork loin chop sprinkled with salt and pepper and seared in a hot pan with some olive or canola oil.  Normally I don’t like anything to interfere with the meat, especially fruit.  But in the case of pork, I occasionally make an exception.  Like when I make my killer pork roast with apricot jam-but that’s another day.

While canning will no doubt make a future appearance in the next entry or so, the recipe for today is a super fast meal I threw together last night.  Wait.  Last night we ordered Thai food.  So I guess it was two nights ago.  I needed to get rid of a few things in my fridge and, like many fantastic meals born of necessity, it turned out to be a hit.  I will do my best to give you ingredient measurements, but as anyone who knows me will tell you, unless I am baking, I just don’t pay much attention.  My husband is continually annoyed by this.  I would like to say that the perfectionist in him goes crazy, but in all honesty, I just think he hates it when I make something really great, and then can’t recreate it because I didn’t write anything down.  I tell him notepads would stifle my creative flow, but he is never amused.  I’ll try to do better, honey.  And even though I am holding on to the last days of summer with a ninja death grip, Labor Day weekend and chilly days are right around the corner.  So with the smell of apples and cinnamon in the air and my last swallow of coffee long gone, I am looking forward to my autumn inspired dinner tonight.  Hold the oysters.30-Minute Tortellini & Shrimp via Brittany's Pantry30-Minute Tortellini & Shrimp via Brittany's PantryTortellini with Shrimp, Zucchini & Tomato Cream Sauce
I’ll just write this the way I made it.  Sort of progressive and random.  The sauce turns out wonderfully pink.

1 large pkg refrigerated three-cheese tortellini
Boil pasta according to package directions.  While you wait, saute in a large nonstick skillet:
2 T butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
Cook over med heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Don’t let the garlic burn or it will become bitter.  Add to the skillet 1 small zucchini, cubed and about 20 med sized shrimp, peeled and deviened.  Saute until shrimp just turn pink, 2-3 minutes.  Add 1 large tomato, diced.  Cook for 2 more minutes, or until tomatoes starts to break down and whole mixture is bubbly and hot.  Add a large splash of heavy cream and cook 2 more minutes.  Toss whole mixture with hot pasta and serve immediately.  Serves 4.