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.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Skillet Pesto Chicken Sacchetti

Can I tell you how nice it's been to get back in my kitchen? I've missed eating real food. It's so enjoyable to actually have food with flavor again! Soon enough baby girl will be here and I'll be back on a hiatus, I'm sure, but for now... loving it. With that said, I always rave about the Italian market in my town, but it's just so darn good. I took Landon there this week and figured I'd just buy some stuff that looked good and then go from there with dinners for the week. While there in their fresh pasta section I had to grab a package of the sacchetti. It just looked so darn good. I can't resist a good pasta purse.

This was delicious. Easy to make and full of flavor. Next time I'd add some red pepper flakes to the sauce to give it some heat but as-is it was delicious. A must try. If you can't find sacchetti you can use tortellini.

Source: Stephanie Cooks Original

2 thin chicken breasts
1/2 cup pesto sauce
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
2 tbsp pesto
1 package sacchetti (or tortellini)
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

1- Dice the chicken into bite sized pieces. Toss with the pesto in a container or zipper bag and allow to marinade for at least an hour (up to overnight).
2- In an oven safe skillet heat the olive oil and butter. Add the garlic and stir until fragrent.
3- Add the chicken (leaving remaining marinade in the container) and cook until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove chicken and set aside.
4- Add the marinara and pesto to the skillet. Stir well and allow to heat together for 20 minutes.
5- Meanwhile, cook the pasta.
6- Strain the pasta and add to the skillet along with the chicken. Top with mozzarella.
7- Place under the broiler of the oven until cheese melts. Top with parsley. Serve hot.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Crispy Asian Lemon Shrimp

Landon is a huge fan of two things in life: shrimp and Asian flavors. It's funny... the kid will NOT taste mac and cheese, refuses all pasta (except at daycare- apparently they make it better than me...), won't touch a grilled cheese sandwich... but housed a platter of spiced wontons in an Asian glaze, eats a whole pint of chicken and broccoli (hold the broccoli.. too green), etc. When I made this I had him in mind and of course it was a hit. I bought a two pound box of frozen breaded shrimp at Costco and I have enjoyed trying to make different sauces to make the shrimp more exciting. This one was a hit. It was subtle but flavorful. I used frozen green beans because it's all I had, but I highly suggest fresh. I think that would have helped. A meal we all eat= success!

Source: Stephanie Cooks Original

1 pound frozen breaded shrimp, cooked according to package directions
2 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp honey
2 tsp teriyaki sauce
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 cups cooked green beans

1- Cook shrimp according the package and set aside.
2- Meanwhile, in a skillet heat the oil and add the garlic, stirring well.
3- Add the remaining ingredients (except the green beans) to the skillet and heat over medium-high heat until the sauce comes together and comes to a low boil.
4- It will thicken quickly so add the shrimp to the glaze, allow to coat, then flip. Add the green beans and lightly stir the shrimp and green beans in the sauce. It will be very lightly sauced.
5- Top with sesame seeds, if desired.
6- Serve hot.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

So... hi. I disappeared. Again. I'll be honest with you... food blogging has not been my thing this pregnancy. In fact, food hasn't been my thing. I'm not talking food aversions, it's more like... food... disinterest. I don't really have cravings or desires for anything. I just eat because I have to. WHO AM I?! Tomorrow is the last day of school and knowing that I will not be working all day has sparked my interest in the kitchen again. I have some old stuff to share with you, stuff I made a looooong time ago, and I am hoping to get busy in the kitchen in the next few weeks prepping for the impending birth of our daughter.

So this pasta. This isn't my first take on cajun chicken pasta, and it won't be my last. There's so many versions of this meal out there and I personally enjoy trying as many as I can. This one is creamy and delicious. We all enjoyed it (well, all except Landon, since he STILL doesn't eat pasta... weirdo!) and I can't wait to try it again.

Source: So Tasty So Yummy

1 pound penne pasta
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly shredded, plus more for garnish
2 ½ cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning, plus more for garnish
2 Roma tomatoes, diced

1- Prepare the penne pasta per package directions.
2- In a large pan heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once the butter has melted into the oil, add the chicken and shallots; season well with salt & pepper and cook for 5 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan and cover it on a separate dish to keep it warm.
3- Place your remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and your garlic in the pan you removed the chicken from. Let the garlic sauté for about 1 minute, making sure it doesn't brown and burn. Add your heavy cream and when it comes to a light simmer, add your parmesan cheese and mix well. Season with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning.
4- Add the drained pasta and toss it into the pan with the sauce. Stir in the chicken and tomatoes. Serve, topped with additional Parmesan.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Spring Spaghetti

A few weeks ago someone on an online forum I belong to asked what kind of sauce people associate with pasta primavera. To me pasta primavera is simple garlic and olive oil. I was shocked by the responses! It seems like this is something where everyone has a different opinion. One response that kept coming up was cream sauce. I have never had, nor made, pasta primavera with a cream sauce. However after heading it over and over I was really in the mood for a bowl of pasta with veggies and a cream sauce. I ended up making a cross between my usual primavera sauce and a cream sauce. The end result was delicious. It came together quickly and was perfect for my recent "I have no desire to cook" mood that occurs every evening!

Source: Stephanie Cooks Original

1/2 pound spaghetti
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic
1 shallot, sliced
1 tomato, chopped
1 bell pepper, sliced thin
1 small squash, sliced into half moons
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1- In a large pot cook the pasta according to packaging directions.
2- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, add 1 tbsp olive oil, garlic, and shallot. Stir until fragrant.
3- Stir in the tomato, bell pepper, and squash. Allow to head over medium heat until the vegetables start to soften. Season with salt and pepper.
4- Remove the veggies. Add the 3 remaining tbsp of oil and the cream. Heat for 3-4 minutes over medium heat.
5- Add the parmesan cheese and return the veggies and cooked spaghetti to the skillet. Stir together. Serve hot.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brittle

Landon has inherited my love for cooking. Whether it's something simple, like making a sandwich, to something more complex, he is always my right-hand man in the kitchen. He will sit patiently on the counter for over an hour, helping me stir and cook. He's working on being less impulsive, I'm working on not getting overwhelmed by the messes he makes, but overall together we are working on making great meals and treats. Every now and then he will request to bake. On a snow day in February he asked to make cookies but I had something else in mind. We ended up making this cookie bark/brittle and it was perfect. He really enjoyed breaking it up at the end and thought that was amusing last step to the process. Watching him learn to cook and enjoy the kitchen has really refreshed my love for baking and cooking.

Source: Slightly adapted from Lemon Tree Dwelling

1 stick (1/2 c.) butter, melted
½ c. packed brown sugar
¼ c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. flour
½ tsp. baking soda
1 c. M&M's


1- Preheat the oven to 375. Combine butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla and mix until smooth.
2- Add flour and baking soda; mix until thoroughly combined.
3- Stir in M&M's.
4- Cover a large jelly roll pan with aluminum foil. Spray with cooking spray and spread dough as thinly as possible (should cover all or most of a 16x12 inch pan).
5- Bake for 12 min.
6- Cool on pan; break or cut into irregular pieces.