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.

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.