Monday, July 14, 2014

Basil Chicken Stir Fry

Once upon a time in a distant past Italian food was my go-to, hands down, no competition, favorite. Over the years Asian food has slid into first place. While I still love me some pizza and chicken francese, I'll take a good stir fry or Asian noodle dish any day of the week. I recently went to Boston alone and for the first time had the opportunity to go to any restaurant of my choice any night. Know what I did? I had Thai food each night! Different restaurants, but all Thai. What can I say...

I really love Thai basil chicken and decided to make my own attempt. I didn't have any Thai basil so I used regular basil. Not the same, but got the point across, and it was delicious! I love the combination of basil and teriyaki sauce.. it's just perfect. Paired with the sweet bell peppers and the red onion... yum. I kind of wish I was making this tonight!

Source: Stephanie Cooks Original

1/2 lb chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1/2 tsp Asian seasoning
1 tbsp oil
1/2 cup basil, torn
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, sliced thin
1/3 cup sliced red onion
1 cup broccoli
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp teriyaki sauce (or soy sauce)

1 tsp sriracha

1- Toss the chicken with the Asian seasonings.
2- Heat the oil, basil, and garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Then add the bell peppers, onion, and broccoli. Cook about 2-3 minutes.
3- Add the chicken and allow to brown, then flip. Allow to cook 5-6 minutes in total.
4- Add the vinegar, teriyaki sauce, and sriracha. Stir well. Allow to come to a low bubble, then serve over rice.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Heyyyyy... remember me? This month has been crazy so far! I traveled to Boston by myself for a conference and had so much fun exploring on my own. I never expected to enjoy the experience but I really did! I also taught a PD class for my district, have been going to the beach/splash grounds/and parks with my son, and just really enjoying summer. With that said, I have thought of you guys here often, but didn't take the time to really come and update. I apologize! I do have so many yummy things to share so I will be here more!

This salad was a list minute idea. We were going to dinner at my sister's house but didn't decide to do this until close to 4, I hadn't bought anything in preparation of making a side dish to share, and decided to just use what I had. It ended up being quite good! It wasn't an original idea, I had seen this somewhere online but couldn't find the recipe so I ended up just winging it. It came out pretty good! A nice easy side dish or meal for the summer!

1 head of romaine lettuce
1 tomato
1 carrot
1 cup chopped grilled or rotisserie chicken
2 cups cooked pasta (any shape)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Caesar dressing, to taste

1- Toss all of the ingredients above together in a large bowl. Add the dressing slowly and toss until lightly coated. Serve immediately.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Chicken Fra Diavolo

When I started blogging I followed two blogs very closely- ...and a Cookie for Dessert and Lauren's Kitchen. They were both local girls who cooked food very similar to what I enjoyed, so I read along and decided, "Hey, I bet I could blog like they do!" Thanks to the two of them I began this little ol' piece of the internet right here. They have both since stopped blogging (grrrr) but somewhere along the line I was fortunate enough to meet them in person and go from just internet stalking them to being their friend in real life. We get together several times a year for dinner and always go to the same place. Last time I was there I got chicken fra diavolo and was obsessed. It was so spicy and creamy, but not heavy. I loved it so much that I felt I needed to make it again- immediately. I ended up making it a week later and I'll tell you... my remake was pretty close! John and I both greatly enjoyed this dinner. I think this is one of those meals I will make again...and again... and again!

Source: Inspired by Brio

1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
Green onion, sliced
1/2 pound campanelle pasta (or any tube pasta)
1/2 pound grilled chicken (mine was marinaded in lemon juice and Italian seasonings), sliced

1- In a large skillet heat the oil. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, cooking until fragrant, 3-4 minutes.
2- Add the tomato sauce and allow to cook over a low heat for about 15 minutes.
3- Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to packaging directions.
4- Stir in the cream and cook an additional 10 minutes over medium/low heat.
5- Toss in the cooked pasta and grilled chicken. Allow to heat altogether for about 5 minutes.
6- Top with sliced green onion. Serve hot.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Chicken Parmesan Pizza

I cannot believe that after five years of blogging I've never blogged a chicken parm pizza! More surprisingly, I'm surprised I've never cooked a chicken parm pizza! You see, when I go to a pizzeria for slices I always quickly peruse the choices and if there's a chicken parm slice I order it 9 out of 10 times. One could say it's a favorite of mine. So, why then, have I never cooked one? Well... I don't know honestly. Partially it's because I really love sauteed or grilled chicken on pizza, and partially it's just a complete mystery! At least I've finally rectified this issue.

In the interest of being transparent, I am 500% obsessed with Coleman Natural breaded chicken tenders. I buy them from Costco and keep them in the house at all times. Whenever I have no interest in cooking dinner I know I have those to fall back on, allowing me to create something that all three of us will enjoy. I used those (and a Boboli crust- it's barely a home cooked meal haha!) but you could use any breaded chicken you have.

1 pizza crust
Pizza sauce
4 ounces of cooked breaded chicken, diced
1/2-3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 cup basil, torn, and divided
Garlic powder

1- Preheat the oven to 450.
2- Top the pizza crust with sauce to taste. Add the chicken and top with mozzarella cheese.
3- Add half the torn basil and sprinkle with garlic powder.
4- Bake for 12 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted. Top with remaining basil.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Caprese Macaroni and Cheese

You guysssss.... I am in love with this pasta. I mean, yes, I've had cheesy pasta before, and I've had tomatoes and basil, so this shouldn't be so revolutionary but it is. It really, really, really is. Maybe it's because I went into it with low expectations, unsure of how mozzarella cheese would fair in mac and cheese, but low and behold it rocked. I made this to go with grilled chicken and it just stole the show. Sometimes when I make something I love I sit there praising myself and begin to feel I should work on being a bit more humble, but sometimes I think my praise is totally warranted and I should keep on keepin' on.

It's only mid-June so summer is just arriving and I am insisting that you make this at some point this summer. You'll thank me for it! Plus, it gives you an excuse to eat a heavy pasta dish mid-summer. I mean, what more do you need in life?

Source: Stephanie Cooks Original

1/2 pound elbows
2 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp flour
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp garlic salt
Black pepper
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup torn basil

1- Cook elbows according to package directions.
2- In a large sauce pot melt the butter and garlic, stirring well. Add the flour, mixing, until a paste forms.
3- Slowly pour in the milk, cream, broth, garlic salt, and black pepper. Bring to a low, slow, boil.
4- Stir in mozzarella cheese and stir until melted.
5- Add the cooked elbows, stirring, until covered in cheese sauce.
6- Top pasta with diced tomatoes and basil.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Banana Fudge Brownies

Weekly (and I mean weekly) I find myself with 1-2 overly ripe bananas. If you're thinking, "Well, Stephanie... buy less bananas..." I will inform you that it doesn't matter if I buy 4 or 10... I still have 1-2 left. Who knows. So anyway, the bananas. Well done. Ripe. Almost rotten. Sometimes they get thrown out, sometimes they get frozen, sometimes they get baked! Into brownies.

I wasn't sure if I'd love these because I tend to be a total purist with my brownies but these were amazingly delicious. I actually brought them to school and fed them to my students as a special treat for them after they finished the NJ-ASK and they were all happy to enjoy this semi-healthy but totally delicious treat. I somewhat regretted sharing them with them.. because, you know... less for me ::wink wink::

Source:  Alida's Kitchen

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups packed brown sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup mashed overripe bananas (2-3, depending on size)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Cooking spray

1- Preheat oven to 350*F. Spray a 13x9-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2-In a large bowl, whisk flour, brown sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
3-In a medium bowl, stir bananas, milk, oil, and vanilla until well-blended.
4-Add banana mixture to flour mixture, gently stirring until just combined. Add chocolate chips, folding gently.
5-Pour batter into prepared baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (Be careful not to over bake, otherwise the brownie may not be as fudgy). 
6-Move pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into squares to serve.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Summer Vegetable Ravioli

A couple weeks ago we took Landon to Sesame Place and came back exhausted. I mean... really, really, really, exhausted. I considered ordering in but it had been a weekend full of eating out and I was really craving a home cooked meal. As I posted in my last post with the summer veggie enchiladas, I always have zucchini and tomatoes lying around once May hits. From May-August, you can pretty much always find these two items in my house! I whipped up this dish and was so pleased with the end results. Landon (as expected) refused to try it since it contained everything he loathes in this world (pasta and vegetables) but that's ok... it left more for John and I! This was very lightly sauced, which is what I wanted. If you want a saucier dish I'd double the chicken broth and tomato sauce.

Source: Stephanie Cooks Original

1 pound spinach and cheese ravioli
1 small zucchini, sliced into half moons
1 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp Italian seasonings
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1- Cook the ravioli according to packaging directions.
2- Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat the butter and garlic. Add the zucchini and cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the Italian seasonings, tomatoes, broth, and tomato sauce. Cook 10 minutes over very low heat.
3- Stir in the cooked ravioli and top with the parmesan cheese and basil, to taste.