Category Archives: New Recipes

Pasta with chicken, artichokes, kalamata olives and tomato sauce

So after my big personal success last week, I was feeling confident about my ability to go with the flow in the kitchen. I was going out of town for the weekend, so before I left, I decided to use some of the ingredients I had sitting around the house. It was a gigantic, enormous success! If I do say so, I am very proud of myself! Not only was this dish amazing, but I made it up! You should definitely try it.

Pasta with lots of nummies

  • 1 box of pasta, around 14 ounces
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes, 14 ounces
  • about 12 ounces of tomato sauce
  • 1 box of frozen artichoke hearts
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • 15-20 kalamata olives, sliced in half
  • 1/2-1 onion, chopped
  • a few cloves of garlic, diced
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1.5-2 chicken breasts
I started by cooking the chopped chicken breast in olive oil until the pieces were browned and cooked through. I then removed the chicken to a plate and heated up the other tablespoon of olive oil in the pan.
I then added the onion and cooked for a minute or two before adding the artichoke hearts. I continued to cook the onion until it was just slightly browned. Oh, and about this time I started cooking the pasta.
I then added the garlic and cooked for about 30 seconds before adding the white wine. I then let the whole mix simmer for a few minutes in the wine.
I then added the tomatoes, sauce, olives, and chicken and let the whole thing simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
I then served the sauce over the pasta and boy was it delicious!!!
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Garbanzos (with sausage and red sauce)

One of my friends is going to be traveling abroad almost all summer (raise your hand if you are jealous…both of mine are up).

As a sweet see-you-later gift, she gave me a little book with her go-to recipes. Seeing as how I am constantly struggling to come up with new recipes, this present could not be more perfect. This recipe immediately jumped out at me as something I had to try for dinner. Not only is it quick and easy, it’s healthy and beyond delicious.

Garbanzos

  • 1/2 of an onion (I used an entire small one because I didn’t want to waste any)
  • 1/2 of a green bell pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • A few shakes of garlic powder (next time I might use garlic salt to add a tiny bit more flavor)
  • sausage, I used 5 small sweet Italian links
  • 2 cans of garbanzo beans
  • 1 can of tomato sauce (depending on how much sausage you use, anywhere from 8-14 ounces)
  • brown rice, or quinoa
Because my sausage wasn’t precooked like a lot of other great options, I started by removing the casings and cooking up the meat. I cook for a few minutes on one side, then flip over and cook for a few minutes on the other side. While the second side is cooking, I use my wooden spoon to start breaking up the sausages into bite size pieces. Then I repeat the whole thing until the meat is cooked through.
Once the sausage was cooked, I added the chopped onion, green pepper, the garlic powder and some olive oil. I then cooked the whole thing over medium heat until the onions were tender and translucent.
Next, I added the garbanzo beans (which I had rinsed in a strainer earlier) and the tomato sauce. I let the whole pan simmer for about 15 minutes.
While the garbanzo mix was simmering, I prepared the quinoa and the brussel sprouts. I used quinoa because I didn’t have rice and frankly it’s a little healthier than rice anyway. To make the sprouts, I boiled them for about 7 minutes, then drained them, sliced them in half or quarters and returned them to the pot. I added about 1 tablespoon of margarine and some minced garlic and cooked for another few minutes.
My final product! It was so delicious and healthy, I will be making it again very soon! Thanks so much to my friend Amanda for the recipe!

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My very own, made up risotto

This dish represents a big moment for me. It is the first dish that I have officially created all by myself. I’ve made lots of changes to many of the recipes I’ve posted, but the initial inspiration has always belonged to someone else. Essentially, bf and I were in the mood for risotto, I had chicken and broccoli and decided to man up (or woman up) and just make something new. The good news: it was good!!!! Not my best risotto, but tasty and a good culinary moment.

First,  started by chopping and steaming the broccoli for about five minutes.

Then, while the broccoli (1 head) was steaming, I chopped the chicken (about 1.5-2 breasts) and cooked it until it was browned and cooked through.

Then, I emptied the chicken onto a plate and added the chopped onion and garlic (about one small onion and a few cloves of garlic) and cooked in a tablespoon or two of olive until the onion is tender and translucent. I decided to cook the chicken in one pan and use the same pan because then when I added the veggies and later the liquid, I was able to keep the intense chicken flavor. Using my wooden spoon, I scraped the bottom, until the brown bits of heavenly deliciousness had come up into the food.

Next, I added the arborio rice (about a cup) and cooked for a minute before adding 1/2 cup of white wine. I also added about a tablespoon of dried thyme (or more). I cooked the rice until the wine was about absorbed. While I was preparing the chicken and the rice, I put 2 cups of chicken broth (because it’s all I had left) and a cup of water in a small pot. I brought the mix to a very gentle simmer. Once the wine was absorbed, I added the broth in 1/2 cup fulls and stirred until it was just about absorbed, then repeated.

When the rice was ready and the broth was all absorbed, I added the broccoli, chicken, and Parmesan cheese.

Finally, I served up two delicious bowls. I was quite pleased with myself for not blowing up the kitchen or destroying my taste buds. Yay!

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Quiche for dinner!

I know Quiche is typically a brunch food, but I see no reason not to occasionally have breakfast for dinner. Or better yet, make Quiche into a great dinner meal. I had this meal with a great family friend, whose Mom was the original owner of this recipe. It is an amazing light meal and goes great with a side salad, veggies, etc. Another major bonus: the recipe is super flexible. I know that’s a strange word to use when describing food, but it’s true. You can add other veggies, in addition to the asparagus. You can also switch up the cheeses used in the Quiche. I personally didn’t have swiss or Gruyère, so I used goat cheese. It was amazing.

Asparagus Quiche

based on a recipe from my family friend Liz

1 9-inch unbaked pie shell OR a Pillsbury™ pre-made rolled pie shell is fine Dijon mustard

8-10 stalks of asparagus

1¼ cup fat-free Half-and-Half (cream will also work)

3 eggs

Salt and pepper (as if you were making 3 scrambled eggs – to your taste)

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

½ cup grated Gruyère cheese (or pre-shredded Swiss in the package) or goat cheese, which is what I used

I started by baking my pie shell. These pie shells are amazing and taste incredible, but they are so damn annoying. They keep collapsing on the sides, as you can see on the left. Luckily it didn’t ruin the dish, it just made it less pretty. Once the shell had baked for about 15 minutes at 425 degrees, I brushed the bottom with Dijon mustard and baked for two more minutes. Then I reduced the heat to 350 degrees.

While the shell was baking, I microwaved the asparagus for a few minutes with a few tablespoons of water to make them soft. Then I sliced them into inch sized pieces. I also whisked together the half-and half, eggs, salt, and pepper.

Next, I laid out the pieces of asparagus on the bottom of the pie shell. Then I poured the egg and cream mix over the asparagus and sprinkled both types of cheese over the top. I had to crumble the goat cheese into large pieces, but it melted nicely into the egg.

I baked the entire thing for about 40 minutes. Next time I would have baked for a few more minutes. To determine if the pie is done, stick a knife into the center and pull out. If the knife comes out cleanly, then the pie is done.

As you can see, we attacked the Quiche with a vengeance. The leftovers were also delicious after about 45 seconds in the microwave.

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Apple Chicken Quesadillas

I find Mexican food to be extremely tricky. With the exception of guacamole, I can never get it right. Somehow it always lacks the flavor and punch of the dishes I order in a restaurant. But with this dinner, I have broken my streak of unbearably average Mexican food! These quesadillas are amazing! Seriously, they couldn’t be easier and both me and bf were shocked by how incredible they were. He even made the leftovers for lunch the next day. That’s right. He turned on the oven and made them. That’s a pretty impressive statement about the quality of these suckers. So everyone, try them and then thank Kristin for writing about them on her blog.

Apple Chicken Quesadillas

Adapted from Delightful Country Cookin’ 

2 medium tart apples, sliced and cut into pieces
1 cup or more diced cooked chicken breast
1 cup fresh or frozen corn, thawed
1 cup shredded cheddar (or more)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
1 fresh tomato, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 t. salt
8 8-inch wheat tortillas

I started by mixing together all of the fruit, veggies and cheese.

Then bf helped by cutting up the chicken and cooking the pieces in a skillet until they are cooked through. I then added the chicken to the big bowl and mixed everything together.

Next, I laid out the tortillas and spooned some of the mix into each tortilla and then sprinkled a little more cheese onto the mix.

Then I folded over the tortilla and secured each one with a toothpick. We made five and baked them for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees, then flipped them over and baked for another 8-10 minutes depending on how crispy you want the tortillas. We saved the rest of the mix in the bowl and bf made them the next day.

When the tortillas were all crunch and the cheese was nice and melty, we scarfed these puppies down. A word of warning: these quesadillas don’t really lend themselves to eating with your hands. I definitely needed a fork and knife, but other than that, they were perfect!

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Chai Cream Pie….and future developments

I love my blog. I love cooking and writing about it and it gives me so much enjoyment to share my finds with other people. But my troubles with the formatting and everything are making me avoid my blog. As a perfectionist, it pains my heart to write a post knowing that it won’t look right. How do I get past that? It’s so frustrating.

No matter what we do (and when I say we, it means that both me and my tech savvy bf have spent hours working on it), it’s not getting better. I refuse to continue writing like this indefinitely and I don’t want to stop blogging. So this process has gotten me thinking about where to go from here. I have decided that I am probably going to move to a different blog host.

In addition, as I contemplate my new life with school, in a new location, and without living with my boyfriend, I know that a different blog host will be one in a long line of life changes. As such, I think that my focus of the blog will have to shift a little. Cooking will still be a huge component. But, I think if I only had one interest I would be a very boring person. After all, I will have a new apartment to decorate and will be reading pretty much constantly.

These changes won’t come for a while because when I finally make the switch, I want it to be done right. I want to find a host that won’t screw up with my writing and I want to develop a background and theme that I really love and won’t feel the need to change constantly. So anyway, just wanted to give you guys an update and let you know I hadn’t given up on my awesome readers, so please don’t give up on me!

Chai Cream Pie

from Cooking Light 

  • 1/2 (14.1-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 8 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick, broken
  • 1 (1/2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, crushed
  • 1 black tea bag
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed or make it fresh!
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
I started by fitting the pie shell to the dish. I then pricked the bottom with a fork, but since it was the first time I’ve done this in a while, I didn’t prick hard enough, so when I baked it according to the instructions on the package, it bubbled up in the center.
While the pie shell was baking, I put the milk, ground cinnamon (because I didn’t have any sticks), the cloves, cardamom pods and ginger in a pot. I then gently added heat until bubbles began to form around the outside. A note about cardamom  pods: I found that the back of the a wooden spoon works the best for cracking the pods. I gave the spoon a bit of a smack and the pods crack nicely.
Once the bubbles formed, I took the pot off the heat, added the tea bag and covered the pot for 15 minutes.
About this time, the pie crust was done. It tasted amazing, both with the pie and the quiche that I made a few days later, but both times the sides of the crust collapsed into the pie dish. It worked out ok, but it certainly didn’t look pretty, as you can see.
While the liquid was seeping, I whisked together the eggs, cornstarch, salt and sugar.
Once the tea was done seeping, I strained the liquid through a strainer and a cheese cloth. The instructions said strain it through a sieve, but I didn’t have one, so I sort of made my own. Then I re-heated the milk mixture until it was forming bubbles again.
Next, I slowly added the milk mixture to the egg and sugar mix and whisked it together.
Once the milk and egg mixes are whisked together, I put the mix back into the pan and heat up again while whisking. The filling rapidly quickened. Once it was all thick and smooth, I removed the pot and stirred in the butter. Then I put the pot in a bowl of ice water and let it cool completely.
Once the filling is cool, I poured it into the crust and covered the entire pan. I then cooled the pie for 3 hours.
When the pie was properly chilled, I whipped some cream until it was thick and then added some sugar, salt and cinnamon and mixed again.
Finally, I served a slice of pie with the cream and it was amazing. This pie is awesome and definitely one I will make again. It would be perfect for the holidays or even just a special event!


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Pigs in a blanket and brussel sprouts

There are days when we all just need a fun kid’s meal. Nothing fancy, just plain fun. Pigs in a blanket were perfect.

I cut turkey dogs in half and then wrapped them in one croissant piece. I then baked them for about 11 minutes at 375 degrees.

This is what the little puppies look like when they are all done.

While the little piggies were cooking, I cut out the centers of the brussel sprouts and then sliced them up like you would cabbage for slaw.

I then heat up a little olive oil, butter and lemon juice. When the liquid was hot, I added the sprouts. I cooked them for about 90 seconds.

I thought the sprouts were delicious, but I love all thinks lemon. BF apparently doesn’t. I thought he didn’t like it on some things, but the dislike extends to all things lemon, except my lemonade cake. So next time, I’ll have to try them a different way.

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