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

Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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

Ingredients:
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


Directions:

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.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Grilled Chicken Spiedies Sandwich


Freshman year of college I had a roommate from upstate NY- particularly the Binghamton area. I went home with her a few times over the year and quickly learned about chicken spiedies. If you're not from NY (like me) and have never heard of it, it's awesome. In her town they had it everywhere- on pizza, sandwiches, platters, pre-made at the grocery store, at restaurants, etc. I think I ate it in every form I could find!

Since I live a solid 4ish+ hours from there, going for a ride for some chicken is out of the question. I did some searching and came upon this recipe. It needs 24 hours-4 days to marinade (I did 2 days) so you do have to plan ahead. The end results? Delicious. I made half the recipe but next time I'd make the whole thing and use it all week in various dishes. A true throwback to freshman year!

(True confession: I made this last fall and saved it to share this spring! I didn't want to share it in the winter... and since NJ seems to be going on an endless winter, better now that never!)

Source: Grocery Budget 101

Ingredients:

Chicken spiedies:
2-1/2 pounds chicken, cubed
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
2-1/2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1-1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 tablespoon and 1-1/2 teaspoons crushed dried mint
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

Directions:
1- In a medium bowl combine the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, garlic, garlic salt, oregano, garlic salt, mint, basil, and black pepper, whisking together. Place the chicken in a gallon size zip-seal bag. Pour sauce over top.

2- Seal the container and shake until combined. Refrigerate for at least 24 Full hours- up to 4 days, shaking the container to turn the meat every 8 hours or so.

3- Skewer the meat with the soaked skewers and place on grill to cook, turning every three minutes until cooked through and the internal temperature of the meat reaches 170 degrees F.

4- Place chicken on sandwich rolls. Top with cheese, lettuce, and any desired toppings.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Chicken Milanese with a Lemon Butter Sauce


Every now and then I stumble across a recipe that needs to be made immediately. I don't wait a week, a month, and sometimes not even a day. This recipe was an example of one of the times when I saw a recipe and made it within 48 hours. My sister was over for dinner that night and all of us loved it. I was a huge fan of the sauce and was sopping it up with my potatoes and green beans. This dinner was so easy to make but the flavor was perfection!

Source: Slightly adapted from So Tasty, So Yummy

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1 shallot, minced
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup sherry wine
½ cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
¼ cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1 pound chicken breasts
Vegetable oil, for frying

Directions:
1- In a small sauce pan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the shallot and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. 
2- Add the cream, wine and broth; bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes, remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. 
3- Stir in the lemon juice; salt and pepper to taste.
4- In a shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs, panko, Parmesan and thyme. In another shallow bowl, whisk the egg and water. 
5- Dredge each chicken piece in the egg, then bread crumb mixture. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Heat ¼" oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. 
6- Fry the chicken breasts cooked through, about 3 minutes a side. Serve topped with the lemon butter sauce.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Baked Fettucini Alfredo


I don't know if it's pregnancy brain, mommy brain, tired teacher brain, or a combo of the three, but I thought I shared this recipe with you already. I was going through my archives looking for it and didn't see it and almost fell off my chair. Because this, this recipe right here, is heavenly. Just look at that picture- the creamy sauce clinging to the delicately thick pasta. Ummmm... heaven. I don't know how I forgot it but here goes. I love that this cooks in the oven so I don't need to boil pasta in one pot, make sauce in another, etc. The lazy side of me was excited, as was the foodie side that enjoys a delicious home cooked meal. The process is easy but not quick- you are up and down stirring, but the oven does the work.  John and I loved it, Landon wouldn't try it (which is his usual response to pasta), and I call it a success.

Source: Slightly adapted from The Way to His Heart

Ingredients:

1 lb dry fettuccine, snapped in half
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
1 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
Zest from 1 lemon
Juice from 1 lemon
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cups half and half
2 cups grated pecorino romano, plus an additional 1/3 cup, seperated
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tbsp dried parsley

Directions:
1- Pre-heat oven to 400 F.
2- Combine the pasta and then next 6 ingredients up to salt in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Cover with tin foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover dish and stir the pasta with a fork, cover and bake for another 20 minutes.
3- While the pasta is cooking, in a small bowl stir together the 1/3 cup cheese, bread crumbs, and parsley. Set aside.
4- Stir in the half and half, 2 cups cheese, and pepper. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
5- Remove the foil, stir the casserole and sprinkle the cheese mixture you made for the topping over the top of the casserole. Bake, uncovered for 10 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Vanilla Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies


I make no secret about the fact that nothing, and I repeat, nothing, compares to my love for my cake batter cookies. Since discovering them 3+ years ago they are pretty much the only cookies I make. However a few weeks ago, mid-snow storm, a craving for cookies hit and I just needed them. I remembered this recipe from Cassie's blog and decided to try them.

Well, delicious. Of course. As everything from Cassie's blog goes, I loved them. Will they replace my cake batter ones? No, but they are a good alternative. They are so soft and vanilla-y. Yum! I was out of chips (eeeek!) so I chopped up some chocolate to make the mix needed for these and the bigger chunks were kind of nice in here. I'd definitely make these again!

Source: Cassie Craves

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3.4 oz. package vanilla instant pudding mix
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat and set aside.

2. Using a mixer, beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Add in pudding mix, eggs, and vanilla extract. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

3. Drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until slight golden and set. Remove cookies from oven and let cool on baking sheet for two minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Chicken Alfredo French Bread Pizzas


Growing up we had two kitchens in my house- one upstairs and one downstairs. From a very early age I took eating very seriously and had certain foods I just did not want to share. When one of those came into the house I would hide it in the downstairs freezer with hopes that nobody would notice. Stouffer's used to make these 4 cheese white french bread pizzas that I LOVED (and religiously hid downstairs). I tried looking for them recently and couldn't find them anywhere. I decided to make my own and, well, like anything, homemade trumps. These pizzas were totally delicious. John and I were huge fans. The creamy sauce went so well with the tomato and basil. The crisp bread was perfect. I love pizza in all forms but french bread will always be tops for me!

Source: Stephanie Cooks Original

Ingredients:
1 loaf of french bread, cut in half lengthwise
Alfredo sauce (homemade or jarred)
1 cooked chicken breast, diced
1 large tomato, chopped
1 cup mozzarella cheese
5 basil leaves, torn or roughly chopped

Directions:
1- Preheat the oven, preferably with a pizza stone, to 425.
2- Cover the bread with a layer of alfredo sauce. Top with diced tomatoes and chicken.
3- Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over top.
4- Bake on the pizza stone until the cheese is melted, about 10-12 minutes.
5- Remove and top with basil. Using a sharp knife cut the pizza into individual servings and serve hot.