Strawberry Balsamic Pizza with Chicken & Applewood Bacon


When choosing recipes for my menu, and hopefully for my blog I often spend hours searching through thousands of them.  I don’t really go into a week of planning with specifics in mind, I like to stay pretty open to whatever catches my eye.  Among the many that just don’t make the cut are some that I like to save for a later date for one reason or another… perhaps they are a bit too indulgent for my current eating habits, or would be great for a nice meal, or other times they just look so interesting to me that I can’t help but save them to reconsider later on.

Tonight’s recipe falls under the last category.  While the idea of fruits in savory dishes is most definitely not a “new” thing, it is somewhat foreign to me.  I guess it’s just hardwired into my brain that they are sweet… and thus best suited for desserts.  Of course this is not true, and through my experimentation I have come to realize this, but there are still plenty of fruit and savory combinations I have yet to try…. perhaps someday.  One that had been a long time on my list was strawberries and balsamic vinegar.  When I saw this recipe it just really stood out, and I knew I HAD to try it.  Not only do we love gourmet pizzas, and want to try the flavor combo, but it also has bacon!  Who could ask for more!?

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Let’s just say…. I was NOT disappointed.  In fact I could easily put this up there in my top favorite pizzas.  It has such a freshness to it from the strawberries and cilantro, balanced perfectly with the sweet, tangy and ever so slightly spicy sauce (which according to my husband tastes like BBQ sauce, but perhaps a fruity version) and salty crisp bacon.  Plus, it’s a gorgeous pizza with all the colors, and sure to impress.  I honestly would not change a thing about this recipe or even embellish it.  I plan on making this one over and over again.

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Though I wouldn’t change anything, there are a couple places that leave some room for versatility based on what you use.  For the crust I used a Stone Fire flatbread (multigrain) which I found in my local grocery store.  And for the strawberry jam I went with Santa Cruz Organics Strawberry Spread, which I feel is a little fresher/less sweet than some of the popular brands.  As I mentioned above the sriracha lends just a HINT of heat to this, and it was great as is, but I would also like to try it with a bit more and see what that does in terms of balance as well.  For the cheese I used an Italian Blend, pre-shredded.  Feel free to over-estimate your ingredients like I tend to do and really pile them on there… mine was kind of heaping when I got it all on there because my crust was already perhaps a bit smaller than a typical “ball of dough” would yield and I get a bit heavy handed.  As long as you have a crust that can stand up to it, I say the more the better!

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Strawberry Balsamic Pizza with Chicken & Applewood Bacon

Ingredients :

  • 1/2 cup strawberry jam or preserves
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Sriracha Chili Sauce
  • 1 ball pizza dough
  • 1 cup diced or shredded cooked chicken breast (I used rotisserie)
  • 1/2 cup applewood smoked bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces, cooked
  • 1/2 cup thin sliced sweet onion
  • 12 oz. shredded Italian blend cheese (I used closer to 6-8 oz because my crust was smaller)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh strawberries, diced small

Directions :

  1. Place pizza stone or sheet pan on middle rack of oven.  Preheat to 450 degrees (I was making other things at the same time and with a pre-baked crust I just left mine at 400 which worked great)
  2. Place balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan.  Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer 4-5 minutes or until reduced to half of original volume and mixture is thick and syrupy.  Add strawberry preserves and Sriracha and mix well.  Set aside to cool.
  3. Pat or roll out pizza dough on lightly floured surface to approximately a 14 inch circle.  Place a piece of parchment paper, slightly larger than your dough, on a pizza peel or upside down sheet pan (to help in transfer).  Sprinkle parchment paper lightly with cornmeal.  Fold dough in quarters and place on parchment paper, then unfold.  (Or if you are using ready made crust like me forget all that)
  4. Combine chicken with 2 T. of the balsamic-strawberry mixture and mix to coat all chicken with sauce.  Pour rest of sauce onto pizza dough and spread to cover, leaving 1 inch border on edges.  Scatter chicken evenly over the sauce.
  5. Place about 3/4 of the cheese on top of dough and spread to cover sauce evenly.  Scatter bacon and sweet onion over cheese.  Scatter remaining cheese over this layer.
  6. Slide parchment paper with pizza on top onto stone or cookie sheet.  Bake for approximately 8-10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown.  Watch carefully, at this temperature it is easy to burn the pizza. (I only had to bake mine the same amount of time at 400 with the pre-made crust)
  7. Remove from oven and let cool slightly, 1-2 minutes.  Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and fresh diced strawberries and serve!

Recipe from The Cafe

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Italian Chicken Pasta Salad


Tonight’s dinner is one of those super simple dishes that can be thrown together with little effort and very little actual cooking as well, which makes it the perfect weeknight meal.  It also makes great leftovers for lunch the following days.  This is yet another recipe that takes advantage of the ever-convenient and delicious rotisserie chicken…. one of my favorite cheats!  I suppose you could make your own chicken if you wanted, but last I checked there were no awards being handed out for causing yourself unnecessary hassle and making it from scratch lol.

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The concept of this dish is pretty basic, with many of the usual Italian ingredients… and that’s ok.  Sometimes you just don’t need to mess with a good thing.  I really enjoyed this salad, and would definitely make it as is over and over again with complete satisfaction.  I can also see room for embellishments too if you wanted to mix things up from time to time.  Perhaps some crispy proscuitto, maybe some parsley or lemon… or whatever other Italian ingredients you like.  The only change I made to the original recipe was to use half kalamata olives just because they are my favorite and I happened to have some of both in the fridge I needed to use up.  Another area of versatility is in the dressing.  With so many options out there this could easily take on a lot of different flavors.  I used some Olive Garden Italian dressing I had on hand which I really love because it’s so creamy and cheesy.  You can also use whatever type of pasta you prefer.  I used some orecchiette, which is great for catching the dressing in the little bowl shaped centers.  The only downside is that they tend to stack up in there.

I cut the recipe in half and still had LOTS of food, so take that into consideration.  This would feed a lot of people, but like I said it can also make good leftovers.  I actually made mine earlier in the day and let it hang out in the fridge for a few hours before I served it.  I did sneak a taste right away before putting it in there, and I gotta say I really liked it with slightly warm pasta.  However, it’s still very good totally chilled.  It’s not a bad idea to reserve a bit of dressing to mix in later on just in case it seems a bit dry after sitting so long.

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Italian Chicken Pasta Salad

Ingredients :

  • 1 pkg. (16 oz) pasta
  • 3 cups chopped rotisserie chicken
  • 1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, diced
  • 1 can (6 oz) sliced black olives
  • 1 tub (8 oz) mozzarella pearls
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup torn or julienned basil
  • 1 cup shaved parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 bottle (16 oz) Italian salad dressing, divided

Directions :

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente.  Rinse under cold water and drain well.  Pour pasta into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, reserving about 1/2 cup of the dressing.  Mix to combine.
  3. Serve or refrigerate until ready to use.  (Pasta may dry out upon standing. Add reserved dressing if needed)

Recipe from In Good Flavor

Pasta with Shrimp, Lime & Saffron


Whenever I make a dish with fish or shellfish in it I just feel like I am eating better.  Obviously that is not always the case, but generally I do feel it holds some truth.  Fish and shellfish are both very low calorie and fat, and generally are prepared in ways that keep things light and fresh.  Despite the large amount of olive oil in this dish (but keeping in mind olive oil IS good for you lol) I do feel like this is a pretty light, yet satisfying dish.  The nice fresh, slightly sweet taste of the shrimp pairs perfectly with the bright tangy and spicy sauce.

Let’s talk about saffron for a minute.  It is the most expensive spice on the market and most people have probably never tried it.  It is actually the stigma of a certain type of crocus.  It lends a sort of sweetness to a dish, and a little goes a LONG way.  When you buy it you often get a tiny amount and you really only need a few threads for a dish.  If you just can’t justify spending so much on a spice, I think this dish would still be a winner without it, but if you’re curious definitely give a shot!  It will probably last you a long time because not many dishes call for it.  A tip I found for dispersing the flavor more evenly in your dish is to soak the threads for about 5 minutes in a teaspoon of warm water or white wine to then be used in your dish.

The recipe I followed actually had a slightly different name (Pasta with Scampi, Lime & Saffron), but I don’t think it’s correct.  When I think of scampi I think of shrimp cooked in a garlic butter sauce, and there is no butter in this dish.  There is however a good deal of garlic.  Don’t shy away from it, it’s not nearly as intense as it seems lol.  I used a shallot as my onion for a more mild onion flavor.  The recipe was also originally written for a full lb box of pasta, but I used a bit less (11oz).  I didn’t end up needing any pasta water to thin my sauce out, but don’t forget to hang on to it just in case.  The recipe I followed called for Nolly Pratt, but I have no idea what that is (however they referenced white wine in the article so that’s what I went with), instead I used a chardonnay.  And, as always, if you can get your hands on some nice fresh shrimp that would definitely be best.  However frozen is fine too.  I wanted to leave the tails on for a prettier picture, but the part of me that can’t stand food that is a hassle to eat won in this case.

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Pasta with Shrimp, Lime, & Saffron

Ingredients :

  • 12 oz. linguine
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 18 medium sized shrimp (about a lb)
  • 1 onion finely chopped (or shallot)
  • 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 100 ml white wine
  • few strands of saffron (remember a little goes a long way)
  • zest of 2 limes
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp. chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
  • 1/4 sliced green onions
  • black and white sesame seeds for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions :

  1. Clean, devein, and prepare shrimp how you like them.  Salt and pepper them.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium to medium-high heat with a bit of your oil and cook shrimp on each side for about a minute and set aside.  They should be mostly cooked through because they won’t cook much longer after this, but remember shrimp are easy to over-cook.
  3. Add the rest of your oil to the skillet and saute onions for a few minutes until softened.  Add garlic, chili flakes and saffron (on medium so your garlic doesn’t burn) and cook until fragrant.
  4. Add white wine, and scrape any bits off the bottom of your pan.  Bump it back up to medium-high and let it simmer for a couple minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions and reserve some of the starchy pasta water to thin your sauce as needed.
  6. Add to your pan the chopped parsley, lime zest, lime juice, green onions, and drained pasta.  Add a little of the pasta water at this time (only if necessary) as well.
  7. Add your shrimp, toss to coat, and heat through… make sure your shrimp are now fully cooked through.
  8. Garnish with a sprinkling of black and white sesame seeds and a wedge of lime.

Recipe from My Kitchen Treasures

 

 

Tamale Pie


As it sometimes goes, I ended up with a recipe that while I am not sure it turned out as intended, it did taste really good.  I debated for a long time whether or not I should blog it, but with an enthusiastic 5 star review from my husband I decided in favor of sharing and just explaining my experience.

On the menu tonight was Tamale Pie.  I am also going to admit upfront that I don’t know if I have ever eaten a traditional tamale….. so I honestly can’t say how similar it is to the real thing.  My husband, however, has and he even made a comment that he enjoyed the cornbread over the traditional variation.  My issue tonight was definitely not with flavor, which was great, and very comforting, but rather with the texture of the cornbread.  It was just really soft, and almost mushy.  It could be as simple as just allowing it to cook longer initially (though I did make sure it was set up before pulling it out) or even using less enchilada sauce to keep a more firm texture.  Perhaps I was even wrong in my assumption that it should retain texture, since the idea IS to soak the enchilada sauce into it.  I do think it would be even better though with a more firm cornbread, or at least more presentable.

As I said the taste wasn’t compromised at all by the mushy cornbread, it just didn’t look very good on the plate lol.  In fact, I am including a shot of my slice for you, and you’ll see what I mean.  Because it was mushy on day one, I had feared it would be gross for leftovers, but by reheating it in a cake pan in the oven the next day (at 350, covered for first half) I was able to keep it from getting mushier and it tasted pretty much exactly the same on the second day.  I am sure you can use the microwave if you wanted, but I just really loathe what microwaves do to food lol.

Let’s quickly talk toppings… I think you can really go with whatever floats your boat so to speak.  I went with a chunky salsa, cilantro, black olives, sour cream, and green onions.  The recipe also says cheese of choice, but like the original blogger, I went with a sharp white cheddar.

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Tamale Pie

Cornbread Ingredients :

  • 1/2 C. cornmeal
  • 2/3 C. flour
  • 3 T. sugar
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3-4 T. oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1/3 C. milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small can diced green chiles
  • 1 can creamed corn

Meat :

  • 1 lb. ground beeef
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

Tamale Pie :

  • 1 1/4 C. enchilada sauce
  • 2 C. shredded cheese
  • toppings of choice

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add oil until soft crumbles form. Whisk in milk and egg. Gently fold in chiles and corn. Pour into greased baking pan (9×9, 9×13, large cast iron skillet). Bake until set, about 20-25 minutes.
  3. While cornbread is baking, combine beef with spices and sauté in a skillet over medium heat until fully cooked, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  4. Once cornbread is done baking, reduce oven to 350 degree F. Poke holes in cornbread with a fork and pour enchilada sauce over it. Top with ground beef and shredded cheese, and cover with aluminum foil. Bake in oven for 20 minutes. Remove foil and back until cheese begins to brown, about 5-10 minutes.
  5. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving with desired toppings.

Recipe from 2 Teaspoons

Published in: on January 29, 2015 at 7:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Chipotle Lime Chicken Bacon Flatbread Tacos


That name sure is a mouthful, but nothing compared to the actual mouthful you get from these delicious gourmet tacos.  They are definitely a bit on the labor intensive side, but I consider truly good food to be a labor of love.  The great thing is you can easily make this in pieces ahead of time.  Myself, I spaced things out through the course of the day…. marinating my chicken and making the sauce when I got up.  Then midday I made my bacon… in the oven of course which I have talked about more than once on this blog.  When it came time to really get down to cooking I still had a few tasks to get through, but it wasn’t quite as chaotic as it probably would have been.  Let’s just say multitasking in life is a forte of mine I like to think, however multitasking in the kitchen…. not so much!  This is why I like to get everything ready BEFORE I start cooking. I LOVED these tacos…. if you can call them that.  As the blogger from whom I got this recipe mentioned, there is not really a good way to fold over such an overflowing mountain of goodness in a taco shell…. but I guess if you must you can just go lighter on everything to make it fit better.  I piled mine HIGH both for the picture aspect and because I knew I was only going to eat a couple so wanted to get my money’s worth!  I was thinking these would make a great taco bowl though if you want the best of both worlds.  You do want the thicker shell though.  The recipe calls for flatbread, but I was able to find very thick handmade taco shells at my local grocery store that worked perfectly and I imagine folded up a bit easier than flatbread would. There is an overwhelming amount of flavor packed into this taco.  You get the smokey heat of the chipotle, the acidity and brightness of the lime, the creaminess of the avocado and sour cream, the freshness of cilantro (my addition) and other toppings, and then who could forget the bacon….. mmm the bacon!  This is definitely not your average taco, but rather one to impress with….. my husband sure seemed to be! I took the suggestion of melting my cheese directly onto the chicken under the broiler for a minute and that worked perfectly, keeping the cheese from falling out… brilliant!  To keep all my goodies on top I also spread the chipotle sauce onto the tortilla first (which I heated beforehand until started to brown/firm up a bit) and that acted as my glue for the chicken.  The recipe does suggest lettuce as a topping, but I decided to just leave it out.  I honestly don’t think it is necessary at all.  For cheese I chose pepperjack.  The recipe doesn’t really say how much bacon to use… I cooked up about 9 slices and we used that for about 6 tacos, which allowed us a fairly generous amount on each.  It also doesn’t specify type of onion, but I suggest red/purple onion for this, it just goes so well with the flavor profile. _MG_0863-1 copy copy

Chipotle Lime Chicken Bacon Flatbread Tacos

Chicken Marinade:

  • 4 chicken breasts (I used about 1lb total)
  • 3 T. chipotle in adobo, smashed up or pureed
  • juice from 2 limes
  • 1 T. light oil (I used evoo)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Chipotle Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 T. chipotle in adobo, smashed or pureed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 T. lime juice
  • pinch of salt

Guacamole:

  • 2 avocados
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 T. onion, chopped (I used a bit more)
  • 1/4 C. tomatoes, chopped (I used roma, with seeds removed)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt to taste

Other Taco Components:

  • flatbread (note above, I used thick small tortillas, and we made 6 generously filled tacos)
  • cooked bacon
  • cheese
  • optional toppings : additional chopped tomatoes, onion, cilantro, avocado, etc.
  • Lime wedges

Directions :

  1. Combine the lime juice, chipotles, oil, and salt for the chicken and marinade the chicken and then grill it. When it’s done, chop it up small and toss it with more chipotles in adobo sauce if you want it spicy.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the chipotle cream sauce and set aside.
  3. For the guacamole, smash up one avocado and then add the lime, garlic, onion,  tomatoes, and salt and mix well. Chop up the remaining avocado and stir it in, smashing it up slightly.
  4. Assemble tacos for best results… heated flatbread/shell, chipotle sauce, chicken and cheese (melted together), guacamole, other toppings and bacon.  Serve with wedge of lime.

*Remember you can do multiple steps earlier in the day when you start your marinade cutting back on the workload later.  You do want to make the guacamole just before assembling however, because it will start to brown (though with that amount of lime juice not quite as quickly as without). Recipe from Yammie’s Noshery

Skinny Capellini Carbonara


In my last post I covered that all too familiar scenario where you plan out your meals and realize when you’re at the store that you can’t get certain ingredients.  Similar to that, I often find that I can’t find a specific version of something.  This can become a major issue for a less experienced cook because if you do have to substitute you may find that you need to tweak the directions in order to get a good result.  In this case, it was proscuitto.  Although you can get thinly sliced proscuitto at nearly every store around me, I have yet to see it in a form that would allow me to dice it up.  I have a feeling you need a specialty store, or butcher for that sort of thing.

Anyway, with really no other options, I decided to just go with the thinly sliced stuff, which thankfully I am familiar with.  If you put a thin slice in a hot skillet it will sort of wrinkle and curl up and though it will cook, it won’t be very even.  I decided instead to pile it up and just roughly cut it up, allowing it to stick together and form bits.  I also don’t think you get the amount of fat in the skillet that you would if you were using a thicker cut, so I added just a bit of olive oil to my skillet to get it going.  As it cooked, I stirred it around pretty constantly as I didn’t want areas to overcook, which can happen quickly.  I cooked it over medium or even a little lower for about 5 minutes until it started to crisp up and all the fat pieces loss that chewyness I don’t enjoy.

The packages at my store came as 3oz, which I think is pretty standard, so I grabbed 2… and because I had nothing in mind for the leftovers I used it all.  I figured my husband especially would appreciate the extra in a pretty simple dish.  It was good that way, but the proscuitto does add a good deal of saltiness to the dish, so if you aren’t big on salty foods I would stick to 4oz as I am sure it would have been plenty.  The other substitute I made, if you can even really call it that, was to use shredded Parmesan instead of grated because I already had that and shaved and didn’t want to purchase a third variety.  I just ran my knife through it a bit until it was closer to grated texture and that worked out just fine.  The recipe states that you could need additional pasta water to thin your sauce, but I definitely didn’t find that to be the case, it was nice and thin with just the 1/2 cup.  For the capellini, I used thin spaghetti, and mine was actually a vegetable variety which I hadn’t tried before.  I have never seen capellini in my stores, but I am pretty sure there really isn’t much if any difference between the two, or you could even use angel hair pasta.

Now for the review…. I have to say I didn’t expect to like this as much as I did!  I had hoped I would of course, but I guess having the word skinny in the title just makes you assume it’s going to be bland at best.  The proscuitto adds so much flavor to this dish, and especially if you use 1 1/2 the amount like I did lol.  The peas give that nice counter balance of freshness to the decadent and velvety smooth sauce.  All in all, a fantastic pasta dish!  This is also a very quick dish to prepare which is perfect for most people on a busy weeknight.

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Skinny Capellini Carbonara

Ingredients :

  • 1/2 lb capellini pasta (sub thin spaghetti or angel hair)
  • 4 oz. proscuitto, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (I doubled that)
  • 4 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, at room temp
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pasta water
  • 1/2 cup cooked peas
  • additional Parmesan for top

Directions :

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the proscuitto until golden, approximately 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Turn off the heat. (See notes above if you had to use thinly sliced proscuitto)
  2. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Approximately 2-3 minutes (or according to package directions if you substituted another pasta)
  3. While the pasta cooks, whisk the eggs with the cheese, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of pasta water to the eggs to temper them. (So they don’t scramble when mixed into the pasta.)
  4. Remove the pasta with a slotted spoon and transfer to the skillet with the proscuitto. Mix the pasta with the fat and proscuitto and then slowly add the eggs to the pasta while stirring constantly. If the pasta still seems dry add another 1/4 cup of the pasta water and stir until cream. Fold in the peas and serve immediately.

Recipe from The Suburban Soapbox

Published in: on January 13, 2015 at 7:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Tex-Mex Taco Pasta


If you’re like most people you probably find a recipe you like and then make it over and over until you eventually know it like the back of your hand.  There’s nothing wrong with that!  As some would say, why fix it if it’s not broken?!  I, however, look at things a little differently and rarely do I make the same recipe twice unless it was just so amazing that there is no question in my mind of whether a different version could ever top it… and even then I still might try.  Because of this, I have found that though a recipe can essentially have the same ingredients and even be prepared similarly, it only takes a small change to sometimes make a more substantial difference in flavor.  This allows me to not only find “better” (or sometimes worse) versions of a dish, but I guess i get to enjoy many good versions of a good dish without it ever seeming too familiar or boring.

This dish is one of those dishes.  I have made plenty of taco inspired pastas or casseroles, and they use basically the same things, but each is a little different from the other.  Some are more punchy or spicy in flavor, some more cheesy and indulgent, textures vary, etc.  I would consider this version a family friendly version which we really enjoyed, with all the great flavors you would expect but somehow in a mild form if that makes sense.  This one is also quite simple to prepare, which I guess most are, but this one especially so, making it a perfect weeknight meal.  There was enough for us to have this two nights which is always a bonus during a busy week!  Even my picky child…. ok BEYOND picky…  said he didn’t totally hate this.  Which actually means he kind of liked it and just won’t admit it and eat new foods.

My only issues with the recipe were minor things.  The first being the rotel tomatoes… it called for 15 oz, and I could only find 10 oz cans.  No biggie, I just went with 2 and I think that worked out perfectly.  The second issue was during the step where it says to season the browned meat with the taco seasoning.  I have seen recipes that go both ways, and this one did NOT state whether I should use the water as directed on the packet.  However, it did say to simmer, which I imagine couldn’t happen very well without the water so I decided to go with it and I am glad I did.  Whether or not it was intended it worked out great that way and I would suggest for sure using it as directed on the packet.  The last small thing was that the recipe said to add the beans, corn, and rotel at the end of simmering the meat and turn off heat.  I wanted to be sure everything was heated through so I just left the burner on medium-low and kept it stirred until my pasta was done.

I used an organic 85/15 beef, and a taco blend of Mexican cheeses.  I also opted for the original rotel tomatoes, which I am sure has a lot to do with my mild flavors, but if your family is all ok with some heat feel free to use a spicier version. Of course I could add various things to this to make it better, or different at least to better suite our tastes…. but that would be a new recipe… and perhaps one I will come across later on!

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Tex-Mex Taco Pasta

Ingredients :

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 packet low sodium taco seasoning (plus water suggested on packet)
  • 12 oz. farfalle (bow tie) pasta
  • 15 oz rotel tomatoes (or 20 oz in my case), drained of excess liquid
  • 15 oz can sweet corn, drained
  • 15 oz. can black beans (low sodium), rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups Mexican blend cheese
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • cilantro

Directions :

  1. Cook farfalle according to package directions in salted water.
  2. Meanwhile brown your beef in a high-rimmed skillet over medium-high heat.  Drain the excess grease off.  Add taco seasoning (and water) and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add rotel tomatoes, corn, and black beans.  Reduce heat to a medium-low or low and stir occasionally to keep things heated through until the pasta is done.
  4. Drain pasta, and put back into pot.  Add the meat mixture, cheese, and heavy cream.  Stir until cheese has melted in. 
  5. Serve with chopped cilantro to garnish.

Recipe from catz in the kitchen

Published in: on January 9, 2015 at 8:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Porcini Fettucine Alfredo


As I mentioned in my last post, there were a couple recipes I tried this week that had a snag or two.  This was another one, though not to worry, it’s easily fixed.

As in the last dish, the sauce was just too thick.  The picture on the blog I got this from showed a much thinner sauce, but mine was thick from the moment I added the cream cheese, and never needed time to thicken up as the recipe suggested.  Had I realized this would be an issue I would have been less heavy handed, so part of it was my fault, but I didn’t use much more than it called for, so be prepared.  I was able to thin it out enough by just adding a bit more of the mushroom soaking liquid (save it all just in case) which just amplified the mushroom flavor that much more.  In my book that is a good thing!  I SHOULD have saved a bit of the pasta water, to further thin it out since I prefer my alfredo somewhat on the liquidy side, but I almost always forget to save any (generally a good idea for many dishes to have some just in case because the starchy salted pasta water will thin sauces without watering them down).

The good news is that even with a thick sauce this is a very good dish!  It has a nice earthy flavor which I just love!  I know there are lots of people that don’t like mushrooms but I just can’t get enough of them personally.  For me they are perfectly acceptable as a meat substitute… however, if you have a picky husband like I do you could definitely get away with adding some chicken or something to this dish as well.  The dish was listed as a lighter version, but I was unable to find light whipped cream cheese, so I guess mine wasn’t quite as light in the end.  Still… it’s probably at least slightly healthier than a more traditional alfreo with LOTS of butter and cream lol.  Speaking of butter, I did add a pad to my mushrooms and shallots while sauteing just to keep them moving around in the pan a bit better and for flavor of course.  The recipe didn’t list how much oil to use, but I used about a tablespoon, maybe less.  I prefer a mix of oil and butter when sauteing mushrooms personally.

Although I did enjoy the dish as written, I had a hunch that I could make it even better with a little marsala wine added in…. SO RIGHT!  I didn’t use very much, and unfortunately didn’t think to add it until after I had combined everything (I imagine it would work best added in while cooking), but it just gave it that little something that kicks it up to the next level, at least for me.  If you are comfortable tweaking recipes to your taste without specified measurements this is a MUST addition.  I won’t give a suggested amount though since I didn’t measure what I used and that was for only a portion of the recipe to begin with.

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Porcini Fettucine Alfredo

Ingredients :

  • 3/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 12 oz. whole wheat fettucine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 8 oz. light whipped cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest (optional)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

Directions :

  1. Combine boiling water with mushrooms in a small bowl, cover and let stand 30 minutes or until soft.  Drain through a sieve over a bowl, and reserve liquid (see notes above, I suggest to save it all, but recipe calls for 1/4 cup).  Chop mushrooms if not already desired size.
  2. Cook pasta al dente according to package directions in generously salted water. (save some pasta water just in case!)
  3. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and saute 30 seconds until fragrant.
  4. Add shallots and mushrooms, saute 5 more minutes (see note above regarding oil and butter), stirring frequently.
  5. Add cream cheese and heavy cream, bring to a boil.
  6. Stir in salt, pepper, lemon zest, parmesan and 1/4 cup soaking liquid (or more as needed if your sauce is thick like mine ended up being, this would also be a good time to add the marsala wine if you wanted as mentioned above).  Simmer 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  7. Add pasta, toss well to coat.  Serve with parsley on top.

Recipe from Divine Cuisine

Healthy One Pot Chili Mac


Look at me, two days in a row cooking… lol.

Anyway, if you can’t tell, I am ready for cooler weather and the kind of foods that warm your belly.  What originally drew me in to this recipe was the “one pot” promise.  Even though in our house the dishes fall mainly on my husband as a sort of way to show his appreciation for all the wonderful meals I make, it’s always nice to have LESS dishes, and especially on a weeknight.  This particular dish also comes together easily and quickly making it perfect for a busy work day.

You could definitely use beef in this recipe, the turkey just goes along with the “healthy” claim.  I didn’t plug the numbers or anything, but I imagine it’s not too bad, though I definitely added more cheese than it called for so that made it slightly less healthy.  Another change I had to make was to use a Serrano pepper because believe it or not my grocery store was completely out of jalapenos the other day.  I am not sure it really makes much difference though.

Chilis vary so greatly from person to person, and what is good to some may not be to others.  So with this in mind I will say I really liked this chili.  For me it had the right amount of chili powder and spices.  I also felt the additions were well balanced in this.  I did use 1.25 lbs of turkey, only because that’s what the package came as and I didn’t want to put .25 lbs back in the freezer.  I realize that the addition of macaroni to chili is probably a strange concept to some, but I grew up with my mom making something quite similar actually (though it was more of a soup) so it wasn’t new to me at all.

One note I would make…. the recipe says to use a large pot, and it shows them using a large saute pan…. I imagine things would be hard to fit in there without making a mess.  I used my dutch oven and it worked perfectly for this.

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Healthy One Pot Chili Mac

Ingredients :

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (I used a Serrano)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 2 T. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 1/2 Cups water
  • 1 1/2 Cups macaroni noodles
  • 1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions :

  1. In a large pot (or dutch oven) over medium heat, add oil and saute the onion, garlic, green pepper, and jalapeno until slightly softened, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add turkey to the pot and break up, cooking until browned.
  3. Add the seasonings, tomatoes, beans, water and macaroni, stir to combine and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and allow to simmer until macaroni is soft, about 12 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and add the shredded cheese.
  5. Serve with additional cheese on top if desired.

Recipe from Oh, Sweet Basil

Quinoa and Turkey Stuffed Peppers


Going to try to keep this simple because I have a million and one things to do… but as I mentioned on my facebook page, I have been trying to find some healthier recipes to get me back on track after the holidays.  You know how it goes… beginning of the year, time to diet and make all sorts of promises to eat healthier and yadda, yadda, yadda…  Well, for now I really am trying to eat better and we’re counting calories so that means a lot of my usual recipes just don’t make the cut… boo!  So you may find that it takes me longer to get up new recipes as I wade through the world of “healthy recipes”, because after trying many of them I just don’t feel they are blog worthy, or even worth finishing my plate at times.  Anyway, that’s where I am at and why it’s taking me so dang long!

I have made stuffed bell peppers in the past, usually with some sort of rice, and beef.  Jeff claims to have hated them, so I don’t make them often, though I always enjoyed them.  I figured it was time to try again however, and have been wanting to try them with quinoa for quite some time.  So glad we did!  They are definitely filling/satisfying with the quinoa, and the flavors were great.  The recipe I was following didn’t call for any meat… afterall quinoa has a good deal of protein itself, but Jeff is usually more willing to try things if it has some meat in it lol.  I think the addition of the ground turkey I used, seasoned with a bit of chili powder and smoked paprika worked really well in this.  Jeff even gave them rave reviews and said I could make them often… quite the turn around I’d say. 

My only issue with stuffed peppers is that I can never get them tender enough… at least not following the cooking instructions.  I feel like they maybe need a headstart in the oven before stuffing them to really soften them up.  Of course this just depends on your preference for texture.  I don’t mind them firmer, but I think I would like them even more if they were soft.  So my plan next time is to try cooking them a bit first and then finishing with the filling.  As it stood, with these, I ended up cooking them probably closer to 40 minutes and there was still a good deal of crunch to the peppers, but we really didn’t want to wait any longer as it was getting late.

Quinoa & Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Makes : 6 peppers

Ingredients :

  • 6 bell peppers of your choice (make sure to pick well rounded ones that can stand up)
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 lb ground turkey (cooked and seasoned to taste)
  • 1 roma tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup corn kernels (I used frozen and thawed them in a bit of water)
  • 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small can green chiles
  • 3 T. chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder (or more to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl combine your stuffing ingredients. 
  3. Cut tops off peppers, and remove seeds.  Spoon stuffing in peppers.
  4. Bake until peppers are tender and filling is heated through, about 25-30 minutes (see note above).

Recipe adapted from Damn Delicious

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Skillet Baked Ziti with Sausage


Let me start off by saying that though this is REALLY good, I mean seriously so, a friend that has made real baked ziti many times (something I can’t say that I have ever tried) says this does not resemble it very closely.  She did agree that it was fantastic however.  So whether you want to call it baked ziti or not, you should try this for sure!

The sauce is amazing, and everything together screams comfort food.  I did make a few changes/substitutions in my version as did the friend I mentioned.  So I am going to list the recipe out with those ingredients.  One big change I made was to use fresh roma tomatoes rather than canned peeled tomatoes because I am trying to avoid canned foods as much as possible.  This is a personal choice, but I have been hearing so much about BPA in the lining and I am just really trying to make better food choices for my family where and when I can.  Having never substituted fresh tomatoes for canned in something like this I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect.  I read about how to blanch and peel tomatoes but I didn’t want to go through the hassle.  I knew that might mean I would have pieces of the skin left in my dish but honestly I didn’t notice it if there were.  They blended up nicely in the processor.  The other notable change I made was to use chicken sausages (the kind that are more like hotdogs).  I don’t love sausage, so again this is preference.  I didn’t have any casings to remove, and I ended up chopping it into bite sized pieces.  Since it comes fully cooked I just had to heat it up really and let it get some browning before moving on with the next step.  Of courses I added more cheese… but I will list that as it stated and let you be the judge there.

I made mine in my cast iron skillet, just make sure you are using an oven proof one.  I love dishes like this where you make everything in one skillet.  Saves on dishes… even though admittedly that’s my husband’s job… and it’s just easier.  I really love the rustic look of serving a full dish in a cast iron skillet too.

 

Skillet Baked Ziti with Sausage

Ingredients :

  • 28oz fresh roma tomatoes (about 5-6)
  • 1 4-pk Italian Chicken Sausages, cut into bite size pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups water
  • 12 oz. ziti (I used penne)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 oz. parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded (or more!)

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 475 F.
  2. Add the tomatoes to the bowl of your food processor and pulse until there aren’t any large pieces left, about 12 pulses.
  3. Set a 12-inch skillet over medium heat and add the sausage. Cook until the sausage is slightly browned.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook just until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and the salt (if you’re not using a nonstick pan, now is a good time to scrape the bottom of the pan to release the browned bits). Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the mixture to simmer gently for about 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes don’t taste raw anymore.
  4. Add the water and pasta to the pan (the pan will probably be quite full, just stir gently to prevent overflow). Cover the pan and turn the heat up to medium to medium-high (adjust as necessary to maintain a vigorous simmer). Cook, stirring frequently to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan, for about 15 minutes, or until the pasta is tender. The pasta will not have absorbed all the liquid in the pan.
  5. Add the heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and parsley to the pan. Stir to incorporate, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Top the pasta with the mozzarella cheese then transfer the pan to the oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and browned.

Recipe from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

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Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas


These quesadillas are perfect for a busy weeknight meal, or perhaps a weekend lunch.  They really come together very quickly, and are both flavorful and satisfying.  They are also a great option for a vegetarian dish.  Even my husband didn’t complain of the lack of meat in these.  As an added bonus these are also a very budget friendly meal!

I used whole grain tortillas for these and cheddar cheese, because that’s what I had on hand.  I think a Mexican blend or maybe some pepper jack would be good also.  Everything else I made as listed.  I did top mine with some sour cream though, which is of course optional.  You could also top them with some salsa.

When I said these would be great for a busy weeknight meal I wasn’t kidding.  What’s easier than opening a can of beans (unless you use dried beans that is lol), mixing it with some frozen corn, onions, a few spices, and some cheese and cilantro, then filling the tortillas and giving them a quick turn in the skillet?!  I think someone told me that you can even freeze the extra quesadillas, but I won’t stake my life on that…. I don’t do a lot of freezing of meals so I don’t really know much about what works and what doesn’t.

They may be a tad spicy for kids, but you could cut back on some of the spices if you prefer.

Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas

Ingredients :

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 1 T. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 10 taco-sized tortillas (I think I got closer to 8 from mine but I was generous with the filling)

Directions :

  1. Drain & rinse beans, and combine in a bowl with the corn.
  2. Rinse cilantro, and give it a rough chop.  Dice onion, and mince garlic.  Combine with the bean and corn mixture. 
  3. Add seasoning and stir well to combine everything.
  4. Spoon 1/2 cup of filling onto one side of your tortilla and fold over.  Cook until brown and cheese has melted, flipping when needed.

*Tip* : To keep them warm while you make the rest place on a glass dish in the oven set to warm or about 200F. 

Recipe from Budget Bytes

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Published in: on December 3, 2013 at 9:56 am  Comments (2)  

Paprika Chicken Stroganoff


This dish has almost all the elements that to me make a perfect meal…. pasta, mushrooms, garlic, meat, bold flavor, creamy sauce, and some fresh parsley!  The only thing it IS missing to be a perfect combo of my favorite things is some cheese, but this isn’t really a recipe that needs it, so I guess I will give it a pass on that lol.  This is not only a tasty dish, but is also very visually appealing.  The red/orange color of the sauce, the white of the pasta, and the bright green of the parsley make it look like a piece of art!

As if those elements alone weren’t enough to make me or anyone else want to try this, I was also intrigued by the use of Greek yogurt in the dish.  When I think of stroganoff I think of cream of mushroom soup, or some other variety.  If the recipe is more health conscious or just more involved it at least calls for cream or butter or something to make it so good and creamy, but not quite so healthy.  With this dish there really was no need.  The sauce was thick and creamy from the yogurt and the flour alone.  This for me at least cuts back on the guilt of either using cream and butter or “cream of soup” (which I am trying to phase out in our house).

I didn’t make any changes to the recipe, which for me is rare lol.  So with that, I will just get on with it and share the recipe.

Paprika Chicken Stroganoff

Ingredients :

  • 1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 T. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 T. all-purpose flour
  • 1 T. olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium  yellow onion, diced
  • 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 T. tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 T. all-purpose flour whisked with 1 T. water
  • 1o oz. dry egg noodles
  • fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

Directions :

  1. In a medium bowl, toss the cubed chicken with the paprika, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the flour on top of the chicken and toss to coat.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until rippling and hot. Add the chicken and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink (no need to cook through); remove the chicken onto a plate and set aside.
  3. Add the last teaspoon of oil to the pan and allow to get hot, about 1 minute; stir in the onions and mushrooms. Saute the mixture, stirring occasionally and scraping up the browned bits from the chicken, until the onion is translucent and the onions and mushrooms are browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, saute 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  4. Meanwhile, heat 2 quarts of water in a large pot. Bring water to a boil and add noodles. Cook 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and set aside.
  5. Pour in about 1/4 cup of the chicken broth and deglaze the pan by scraping up any bits from the bottom. Stir in the tomato paste, whisking to combine. Add the rest of the chicken broth and the bay leaf, whisking well. Add the chicken back into the skillet and simmer the mixture over medium-low to medium heat, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce thickens slightly, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in the yogurt and cook for about 2-3 minutes longer.
  6. Add the flour and water slurry to the simmering mixture in the skillet, whisking quickly to combine. Let the mixture simmer for 2-3 minutes until thickened. Serve over hot noodles and garnish with fresh parsley.

Recipe from Prevention RD

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Pumpkin Thai Chicken Pizza


Sounds odd right?  Well I thought so at least, but I am only just starting to come around to using pumpkin in anything other than dessert.  Still, I was intrigued, and put it on my menu as soon as I saw it.  I love Thai pizzas, so I figured why not?  If it turned out I would have an interesting post for my blog, and if not, at least it would be simple to make and I won’t have wasted too much of my time.

Turns out it not only doesn’t taste like pumpkin… something I was rather concerned about given the amount of pumpkin vs the amount of other ingredients… but it tastes great too!  My husband said that he felt it wasn’t too different from a more traditional peanut sauce which is a good thing because that’s definitely his favorite part of Thai pizza, but also the highest portion of fat/calories!  My only critic on this would be that I felt it had room for more flavor.  Perhaps some red peppers!

In regards to the ingredients… I had way more sauce than I needed for one pizza.  I could have probably gotten two out of the amount I had.  The only problem was I didn’t have enough chicken for two pizzas.  I also don’t feel like the amount of cheese listed is enough for a pizza…. I probably used 3 times that to be honest, and I encourage you to use however much you like.  With such a simple pizza I like there to be a nice layer of cheese.  I used a store-bought crust, it was a large square one, that bakes in 8 minutes according to the package, so I ended up basing my time off that, and then at the end I broiled it for just a minute to get some color on the top too.  My last change was to use chicken breast I seasoned with some salt and pepper and cooked in a skillet.

I would definitely make this again, and perhaps try it with the addition of the peppers I mentioned.  It came together easily, and was a nice change from the more traditional pizzas.

 

Pumpkin Thai Chicken Pizza

Ingredients :

  • pizza dough, prepared (I used a prepared crust)
  • 1 (15oz) can pure pumpkin
  • 1 T. chili garlic sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Thai red curry paste
  • 1 chicken breast from a rotisserie chicken, shredded (see note above)
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (see note above, I used a lot more)
  • 2 thin slices of onion, chopped
  • handful fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions :

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  In a large bowl mix together the pumpkin, chili garlic sauce, salt and pepper.
  2. In another smaller bowl mix together the cut chicken, curry paste and lime juice.  Mix together until the chicken is evenly coated with the red curry paste.
  3. Flour your surface and roll out the prepared pizza dough.  Sprinkle the pizza stone or cookie sheet with corn meal and place the dough on the sheet/stone.  Evenly spread the pumpkin mixture on the dough leaving about an inch bare for the crust.  Sprinkle the chicken on top of the pumpkin mixture and evenly place the onion slices on the chicken.
  4.  Finally sprinkle with cheese and bake for 16-18 minutes until cheese has melted and crust is a light golden brown.
  5. While it’s baking chop or tear the cilantro.  After you take the pizza out and it’s cooled sprinkle the cilantro over it and serve.  Enjoy!

Recipe from Seaweed & Sassafras

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Chicken Pot Pie Penne


Chicken Pot Pie…. one of those dishes I have been wanting to make, but unable to convince my husband about.  For years now he’s been telling me he hates it, and so I have held off.  You may notice my husband claims to hate a lot of things… it has taken me years to get him to where he is now in regards to eating/trying new foods.  Perhaps this is the answer to the mystery of why my kids are SO picky about food!  When I met him he was a definite meat and potatoes kind of guy… and dreaded boxed meals.  I assume his hate for chicken pot pie likely came from the fact that he had only had frozen versions before.  I don’t think I have EVER had it, but it looks good to me so I have always been curious.

Well I figured I would meet him halfway this time and make this pasta I came across… after all he loves pasta, and I figured it would be less runny which I assumed to be one of the reasons he wasn’t a fan.  I made the recipe as stated, except I used only 8 oz of mushrooms because I didn’t want to buy two containers or weigh my own because I was in a hurry.  I ended up using 8oz of penne as well because I happened to have half a box left over from a previous recipe.  To cut back on the calories and fat I did go with half and half, but I ended up adding a splash of cream at the end because it just didn’t seem thick enough.  I feel like the amount of flour isn’t enough to thicken so much liquid, or perhaps I needed more time to simmer it (though I did for about 8-10 minutes).  Anyway, it wasn’t as thick as I had hoped, but I didn’t mind serving this in a bowl to contain the extra liquid and towards the bottom of the skillet it got thicker because I had already spooned out so much of it in our bowls.

I felt this had a nice hearty and earthy flavor and it definitely satisfied that comfort food craving I have been had lately.  I could have perhaps used a bit more salt and pepper but I was trying to not go overboard since I know my tastes differ from Jeff’s in that department.  I think what I was really wanting though was a nice buttery salty flaky biscuit to go with it…. Now I really want to try a more traditional Chicken Pot Pie!  It was still a great meal though IMO.  When I asked my husband what he thought he tried to stick to his guns and say he didn’t care for it.  But I think the 2 1/2 heaping bowls he consumed, and then licked clean would argue otherwise.  The most I could get out of him was that it wasn’t as bad as he thought it would be from what he remembered.  Whatever, I will let him keep denying it, but I WILL be making the real thing sooner than later!

On a little side note… does anyone else hate cutting onions as much as I do?!?!  I have tried so many tricks I have read about and I just can’t keep from crying.  And I am not talking about a bit of eye watering, but full on painful burning eyes with so many tears I can’t see to cut them.  I need to start cutting onions before I put my make-up on for the day lol.

Chicken Pot Pie Penne

Ingredients :

  • 2 T. unsalted butter or olive oil (I used 1 and 1)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 oz. white or cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (I used 8 oz.)
  • 1 T. all purpose flour
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup half and half or heavy cream
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots mix
  • 1 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
  • 1-2 cups whole wheat dry penne pasta (I used 8 oz.)

Directions :

  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. When done, place hot penne pasta in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Melt the better (or oil if using) in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook onion, garlic and mushrooms in the skillet until golden brown.
  3. Sprinkle in the flour over the mushroom mixture in the skillet and stir. Cook for a few seconds to rid the floury smell then add the broth, half & half (or heavy cream) to the skillet. Deglaze the skillet, scraping up any bits of fond at the bottom of the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered until the liquid is slightly thickened.
  4. Add the chicken, frozen peas and carrots mix, lemon juice, and thyme to the skillet. Cook until heated through and season with salt & pepper to taste. Place the hot penne pasta into the skillet and toss to combine.  Add the cooked penne pasta and toss to coat pasta.

Recipe from What’s Cookin’ Chicago

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Published in: on November 13, 2013 at 8:02 pm  Comments (4)