Monday, January 25, 2016

Chicken Fajita Pasta

No lies... I made this so long ago I'm not even sure if it was pre-Emmie or post-Emmie, but it's been a long time. I do remember that whenever I made it I sat there eating it and thinking, "Why don't I cook more often? Gosh, I miss the days when I cooked regularly!" It was just so delicious. John and I both love fajitas and love pasta so I knew it had to be a winner. And, if I'm being honest, anything with campanelle pasta peeks my interest because it's easily my favorite shape. Is that weird? I mean I know it all tastes the same, but some are just more enjoyable than others. But with that said, this is flavorful, slightly creamy, and delicious. Make it soon!

Source: Slightly adapted from Kevin and Amanda


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 envelope (3 tablespoons) taco or fajita seasoning
1 cup diced onion (about 1/2 onion)
2 cups diced bell peppers (2-3 bell peppers)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
½ cup heavy cream
1 (10-oz) can Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles
8 oz (about 3 cups) pasta
½ teaspoon salt

1- Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Season with half of taco seasoning. In a 12-inch skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over high heat. 
2- When the oil is very hot, carefully add the chicken in a single layer and cook without stirring until one side is seared and browned, about 1-2 minutes. Flip the chicken to the other side and cook until browned. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.
3- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet with the heat still on high. When the oil is very hot again, add the onions, bell peppers, and remaining taco seasoning. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are slightly blackened. 
4- Turn heat to low, add minced garlic, and stir until fragrant and well combined, about 30 seconds. Remove the veggies to the plate with the chicken.
5- In the same skillet, add the broth, cream, diced tomatoes, uncooked pasta, and salt. Stir to combine and bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 15 minutes until pasta is tender and liquid is mostly absorbed. 
6-Add the chicken and veggies back into the skillet and stir to combine until heated through, about 2 minutes. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

Hi there! It's been months...literally months...since I've blogged.

In the past few months I've barely cooked "real" meals. I mean, I put food on the table, but nothing worth noting.

Why? Why did I stop cooking? Why did I stop blogging? Why did I "forget" about something that meant so much to me?

Well, the truth is adjusting to two kids has been harder than I expected! My daughter, while beautiful and happy and adorably sweet, is also not the easiest baby and for a long time I was really struggling to keep my head above water.

I thought of this place...this tiny corner of the internet that's mine, and longed for the days when I came here as a place to unwind. I missed having that outlet. But I couldn't get here.

I decided a few weeks ago that now that my daughter is 6 months old it's time to really start making some efforts to get back to doing the things that bring me joy and one of those things is blogging. So, while I'm not going to make any grand promises, I am going to do my darndest to get back in the kitchen and get back here. Because this mama needs to feel like "Stephanie" and not just "mom" at all times.'s to 2016... a few weeks late...and I hope to be back more and more often.


Friday, September 25, 2015

Pesto Chicken Flatbreads

Well, hello out there. Wonder where I've been? Well, I had a beautiful baby girl on July 21 and have taken some time off to just enjoy her, feed her, recoup, and relax. Now that she's 2 months life feels a bit more "normal" and I'm trying to get back in the kitchen and back in the swing of things. I have some recipes that I made months ago and never shared, so I am going to try to get back into blogging. I've missed it!

These flatbreads are pretty much the easiest meal ever, but the end results are delicious. They scream of summer, which is... over... but hey, I had a baby and I'm behind, ok?! Even though summer is technically over there's still plenty of warm days again so I vote you go ahead and try these, ok? I love the balsamic drizzle over the top and thing it just brought all the flavors together while also adding a subtle sweetness. I think some caramelized onions would just send these over the top- next time!

Source: Stephanie Cooks Original

Per each flatbread:
1 piece of Naan bread (or a pita)
1 tbsp pesto
2 tomato slices
Cooked chicken (you can use grilled, rotisserie, etc... whatever you have)
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Balsamic glaze (not vinegar- you want the thickened glaze)

1- Preheat a pizza stone to 450.
2- On the flat bread spread the pesto. Top with the tomatoes and chicken. Sprinkle the cheese over top.
3- Bake 10 minutes or until crust is crisp and cheese is melted.
4- Drizzle with the balsamic glaze.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Crockpot Honey Sriracha Chicken

I love the crockpot for convenience but don't love what it does to chicken. Well, correction, I like bone-in chicken in the crockpot, but I feel like it kills breasts. Since I'm home on maternity leave/summer break I decided to try making it but keeping it to the lower end of the time range. That definitely helped. This chicken was tasty. It was flavorful and spicy, and the sauce that was drizzled over it sealed the deal. The sauce was creamy and cool which was a nice contrast to the heat of the chicken. I loved it over the simple rice... such an easy but tasty dinner!

Source: Slightly adapted from Crockpot Gourmet

1 to 1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
¼ cup Sriracha sauce
¼ cup honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce

For the drizzle:
¼ cup mayo
¼ cup greek yogurt
¼ cup sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons honey

Fresh chopped cilantro (optional)

1- Cut chicken into large bite sized chunks.
2- Place in the crockpot. In a bowl mix together Sriracha, ¼ cup honey, and soy sauce.
3- Pour over chicken, cover and cook on high for 2-4 hours or low for 5-7 until chicken is cooked through.
4- Whisk together drizzle ingredients.
5- Serve chicken with rice or noodles as desired with a generous drizzle of the sauce. Top with cilantro, if desired.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Easy Penne Alla Vodka

Hi there. Still pregnant. Still hot. Still uncomfortable... still trying to cook meals. A whole lot of "still" going on around here. I'm not really in the mood to think of anything creative so I've been sticking to foods I know we love.

With that said, this pasta was one of the best things I've made in a long time. We are all fans of vodka sauce so I figured I'd try this and this is now my go-to sauce. We loved it. Typically when I make a sauce I try to cut back on the cream and the cheese to make it lighter, but this time I just threw caution to the wind and I think that's what made this so darn good. Cheese. And cream. Yum!

Source: Slightly adapted from So Tasty So Yummy

1 pound penne pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup vodka
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (14.5 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

1- Prepare the pasta per package instructions, drain and set aside, reserving the pasta water. 
2- In a large skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic, saute for 2 to 3 minutes, until the onion is soft. 
3- Add the vodka to the pan, bring to a simmer for 2 minutes more. Stir in the red pepper and tomatoes, bring to a simmer. 
4- Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cream and salt, once the mixture begins to bubble, stir in the Parmesan. 
5- Add the pasta and ½ cup of the reserved pasta water if the sauce needs thinning (mine didn't need thinning). Serve topped with additional Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Baked Foil Wrapped Chicken Cheesesteaks

We recently got back from a beach vacation and since our return I've been dreaming of chicken cheesesteaks. When we were at the beach there was a little luncheonette connected to our hotel so John would pick us up sandwiches daily while Landon napped and I think I ate a cheesesteak... daily. What can I see.. a pregnant woman knows what they want. I decided I wanted to make my own when we got home so I threw it together, wrapped it in foil, and baked it. I've learned that I really like baking my sandwiches once they are done if they are meant to be served hot and melty with cheese because it helps melt the cheese, toast the bread, etc. John and I both loved these! A real "must make" again.

Source: Stephanie Cooks Original

1 tsp olive oil
1 bell pepper, sliced thin (I used half a red and half a green)
4 thin chicken breasts
Garlic powder and pepper
Lawry's  seasoning salt
2 sub rolls
6 slices white american cheese
Tin foil

1- Heat oven to 400. Heat a non-stick pan with the oil. Add the bell peppers and allow to heat.
2- Meanwhile, slice the chicken into thin pieces. Add the garlic powder, black pepper, and Lawry's seasoning salt. Coat the chicken well, stirring to evenly coat.
3- Turn up the heat in the pan. Add the chicken. Allow to slightly brown, then stir.
4- Cook until chicken is cooked through. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside.
5- Slice your sub rolls. Place two slices on the bottom of each sub. Top evenly with the chicken and pepper mixture.  Take the two remaining cheese slices, breaking each in half, and lightly top the chicken mixture with cheese. Cover with the top sub roll.
6- Place each sub in the middle of a square of foil. Fold tightly. Bake 10 minutes, until the cheese is melty and the roll is warm. Serve hot.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Italian Herb Chicken

Every so often I make something that evolves as I am midway through the cooking process. For example, with this meal, I planned to just have an easy meal of baked chicken with seasonings, but then I wanted cheese...and a crunch to the top... and before you know it, I'm in the kitchen adding on as the meal cooks. Inspiration strikes when it strikes... what can I say?

This meal came out absolutely delicious. It was easy to make but so flavorful. I wouldn't suggest doing this with very thin chicken, I think you need chicken that's at least 1/4" thick so it doesn't dry out. John and I both loved this... in fact, I think I'll be making it again this week!

Source: Stephanie Cooks Original

2 chicken breasts (at least 1/4" thick- not super thin breasts)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup panko
1 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried parsley

1- Combine the chicken, lemon juice, oil, minced garlic, and Italian seasonings in a zipper bag. Shake well. Allow to marinade for at least 1 hour.
2- Preheat the oven to 375.
3- Pour the chicken and marinade into an oven safe dish. Bake for 20 minutes (or until chicken is about halfway cooked, depending on the thickness of your breasts).
4- Remove from the oven. Top with the cheese (1/3 cup per breast) and place back in the oven.
5- In a small bowl combine the panko, butter, garlic powder, and parsley. Use your fingers to mush the butter into the panko, making a thick crumb.
6- Remove the chicken again and top with the panko mix.
7- Bake until chicken is cooked through and the topping is golden.