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Chicken Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pasta vegetarian

Sweet Baby Peas and Mushroom Pappardelle tossed in Sherry Cream

Sweet baby peas and mushrooms over pappardelle

Assorted lush shades of green encompass the landscape this time of year.  Spring, a time of revival, renewal and start over’s.  Yes, start over’s.  As in something keeps eating the spring greens in my garden, so now I have to start over.

At least the chicken gals are the beneficiaries of the demolished plants.  They’re loving the lush stems of what was to be a delicious leaf that would grace my pasta or salad recipes.

sweet baby peas and mushrooms in a sherry cream sauce over pappardelle

So it was timely that Ranger Craig and I decided to head over to Eastsound Farmer’s Market on Orcas Island a few weeks ago.  I found a bounty of spring produce that made me almost giddy.  Spring onions, asparagus, leafy greens and some small sweet baby peas.  Not to mention slurping fresh shucked oysters and dining on freshly cooked Carni Asada with homemade corn tortillas.

If that wasn’t spectacular enough, I ran into two good friends and fellow food and farm bloggers, Janelle of Talk of Tomatoes, and her newest baby,; and Wendy of Chez Chloe and her newest adventure, a gourmet food store called “Chez Chloe”.  A must visit when staying on Orcas Island.  Wendy stocks an impressive selection of salts and oils and books and chocolates… the deliciousness goes on and on.

orcas island washington

Wendy of Chez Chloe on Orcas Island

What a brilliant day.  Sunshine, warm breezes off the bay, food that caused a most soul filled joy and two friends to make the day even brighter.

Sweet Baby Peas and Mushroom Pappardelle tossed in Sherry Cream

Serves 2-3 (recipe can be doubled)


8-10 ounces Pappardelle or any wide hearty pasta, cooked homemade or according to package instructions

2 tablespoons butter (plus extra if needed)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 shallot, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups thin sliced cremini or assorted local mushrooms

3 sprigs fresh thyme

½ cup dry sherry

1 pint heavy cream

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup cooked fresh spring peas or thawed organic sweet peas (look for a brand that is locally grown)

¼ -1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

Options: Grilled/Roasted Chicken or Grilled Shrimp (sometimes I like to toss in some cubed cooked chicken or place a grilled chicken breast cutlet on top of the pasta before serving)


In a medium sauce pan heat the butter and olive oil over medium to medium high heat.  Once the butter has melted and is frothy add the shallots and thyme.  Sauté for just a minute or two and then add the mushrooms.  Continue to sauté the mushrooms, adding an additional tablespoon of butter or oil if needed to help soften the mushrooms.

Once the mushrooms are cooked the way you like them, add the garlic (I like my mushrooms slightly golden). Continue to cook for another minute and then whisk in the sherry.  Let the sherry simmer until slightly reduced and then whisk in the heavy cream.

Let the heavy cream come to a lively simmer and then season with salt and pepper to taste.  For a little heat, add in a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Let the sauce simmer for a few minutes.  Add the peas to the sauce and then pour the sauce over the pasta.  Remove any remaining thyme sprigs.

Toss the pasta with the sauce and add the parmesan cheese. Let the pasta cool so the sauce can thicken slightly and then plate the pasta and garnish with chopped Italian parsley.

Serve immediately or serve warm.  This is even delicious straight out of the frig  🙂

Kid Friendly Pork Sauces, Salsas and More

Pork Chops with a Spiced Dried Plum Sauce

Pork Loin Chops with Spiced Dried Plum Sauce

Ranger Craig loves a good pork chop.  I on the other hand prefer a pork tenderloin or decadent roast pork shoulder.  However, I need to keep my expert recipe taste tester happy, so once in a while I pull out the chops and start frying.

I think pork chops are best when lightly dusted with flour, salt and pepper and pan-fried.  When all that frying is done, a thick and rich pan gravy can be prepared and then drizzled over the tasty chops.

This yummy little recipe is a nice alternative to the traditional pan seared or grilled chop.  Although this recipe requires some pan searing, the pork chops can be browned and then placed in the oven to finish cooking.  Gotta love that!  Prepare a quick spiced sauce of dried plums, cloves and cream and you’ve got a delightfully flavored sauce to drizzle over juicy pork chops.

It’s a happy day when I see smiles at the dinner table.  Life is good when pork chops are on the menu!

Pork Chops with Spiced Dried Plum Sauce

Serves 4-6


6 pork chops, about ¾ inch thick and trimmed of excess fat

½ cup all-purpose flour

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

High heat oil, such as a sunflower or safflower

10 oz package dried plums

1 ½ cups white wine (you can substitute with apple juice plus one tablespoon apple cider vinegar)

½ pint heavy cream

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

1 tablespoon red currant jelly (this is a lovely condiment to have on hand for grilled meats and poultry, and it’s also yummy on ham and turkey sandwiches)

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Chopped fresh Italian parsley for garnish


Heat the oven to 350F.  In a large skillet or frying pan heat the oil on medium high.

Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper on both sides and then lightly dust with flour.  When the oil is hot and smoking, sear both sides of the chops until golden brown and then transfer to a baking dish.

Place the chops in the oven for about 8-10 minutes or until the chops are done.  Be careful not to overcook as the pork can dry out quickly.  While the pork is cooking prepare the sauce.

In a sauce pan heat the wine on medium heat and add the dried plums.  Let the wine and plums simmer until the wine has reduced by half, about 8-10 minutes.  Gently fold in the cream, cloves, cinnamon, and red currant jelly.  Bring the heat back to a boil and then reduce to a lively simmer until the sauce begins to thicken.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the pork chops on a platter or individual plates.  Ladle the sauce over the pork chops and garnish with Italian parsley.  Serve immediately.