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This was a great pasta dish!  Definitely one you could add things to as you see fit.  Maybe asparagus?  The sauce was a bit thin so I think next time we’ll try to thicken it up some more.



Creamy Artichoke Lemon & Chicken Pasta (from Confections of  a Foodie Bride)

Ingredients:
12 oz spaghetti
3 slices bacon
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved and pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Salt
Pepper
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
2 tsp capers, drained
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp butter, chilled
Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, and set aside.

In a large Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat, cook through. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. In a bowl, stir together flour, salt, and pepper. Lightly coat chicken with flour mixture. Without crowding, carefully place chicken in the bacon grease. Fry until cooked through and golden brown on both sides. Remove the chicken to paper towels. Stir the mushrooms, artichokes, and capers into the pan. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the broth and lemon juice, cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in the cream and the butter to the sauce, stirring until completely incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut the chicken breasts into strips, and return them to the pan. Stir the pasta and bacon into the chicken mixture. Serve.

Smoky Potato Pancakes

It seemed like a lot of work went into making these (I didn’t make them, Tyler did!)  They are great though and I think you can definitely tweak them to best suit your preference.  We’d actually never cooked with leeks before!  First time for everything, and I think we’ll be using them more in the future.   Honestly who couldn’t like a dish topped with smoky bacon? ?

Smoky Potato Pancakes (from Cooking Light)

Ingredients

  • 2  center-cut hickory-smoked bacon slices
  • 2  cups  chopped onion
  • 1  cup  thinly sliced leek
  • 3  garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2  pounds  shredded peeled baking potato (about 2 large)
  • 1/3  cup  (1 1/2 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 2  large eggs
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4  cup  reduced-fat sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 425°.

2. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan using a slotted spoon, and crumble. Add onion to drippings in pan, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add leek and garlic; cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Combine onion mixture, grated potato, cheddar cheese, 3/4 teaspoon salt, black pepper, and 2 large eggs in a medium bowl, stirring well.

3. Divide the potato mixture into 8 equal portions, and shape each portion into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Place patties on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Coat patties lightly with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes or until golden and set. Top with crumbled bacon and sour cream.

Tandoori-Spiced Chicken

This was a good dish but certainly not the best chicken dish we’ve had.  I think we’ll keep looking for the right tandoori chicken recipe.  I think I’d prefer it grilled.
Tandoori-Spiced Chicken (from Cooking Light)
  • 1 1/2  cups  plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2  tablespoons  grated onion
  • 1  tablespoon  grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1  tablespoon  canola oil
  • 1  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground red pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground turmeric
  • 3  garlic cloves, minced
  • 4  (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • Cooking spray

1. Combine first 8 ingredients in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator 2 hours, turning occasionally.

2. Place a small roasting pan in oven. Preheat broiler to high. Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Sprinkle both sides of chicken evenly with salt. Place chicken on preheated pan coated with cooking spray. Broil in lower third of oven for 15 minutes or until done, turning after 7 minutes.

 

This is a very simple side salad that would be great paired with a wide variety of meals.  It’s too bad spinach has such a bad rap, it is delish!

Spinach with Garlic Vinaigrette (from Cooking Light)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1  tablespoon  white wine vinegar
  • 1/2  teaspoon  Dijon mustard
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8  teaspoon  salt
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 6  cups  baby spinach leaves (about 6 ounces)
  • 1/4  cup  vertically sliced red onion

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add 6 cups spinach and red onion; toss to coat.

When Tyler told me the name of this dish I was a bit skeptical but figured I’d give it a try.  Typically not a fan of squash but I loved it in this dish.  We served it over couscous with some scallions mixed in.  Great dinner, and great for lunch the next day too!

Beef Tagine with Butternut Squash (from Cooking Light)

Ingredients

  • 2  teaspoons  paprika
  • 1  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 3/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground ginger
  • 1/2  teaspoon  crushed red pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  (1-pound) beef shoulder roast or petite tender roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 4  shallots, quartered
  • 4  garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2  cup  fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1  (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 3  cups  (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 pound)
  • 1/4  cup  chopped fresh cilantro

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add beef; toss well to coat.

2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add beef and shallots; cook 4 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes. Add squash; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until squash is tender. Sprinkle with cilantro.

A Christmas Salad

We hosted Christmas dinner this year and were looking for a fresh and festive salad to serve as our first course.  Inspired by a salad I had at The Mixx last weekend I found this recipe through a quick Google search.  I made a few adjustments based on what I had on hand and it turned out great.  Everyone loved it!  It is especially perfect for the holiday season with the cranberry dressing.

Pear, Pecan, and Blue Cheese Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette  (adapted from Cooking Light)

Vinaigrette:

  • 1/2  cup  canned cranberry sauce (I only had the jellied kind and it worked just fine)
  • 1/4  cup  fresh orange juice (about 1 orange)
  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 2  tablespoons  balsamic vinegar
  • 1  teaspoon  sugar
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt

Salad:

  • 2  cups  sliced peeled pear (about 2 pears)
  • 1  cup  (1/8-inch-thick) slices red onion, separated into rings
  • 1/3  cup  (2 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
  • 2  tablespoons  coarsely chopped pecans, toasted

Preparation:

To prepare the vinaigrette, place the first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl; stir well with a whisk.

To prepare the salad, divide the lettuce leaves evenly among 6 salad plates. Divide pear and onion evenly among leaves. Top each serving with about 1 tablespoon cheese and 1 teaspoon pecans. Drizzle each serving with about 2 1/2 tablespoons vinaigrette.

Not much to say other than yum!  This was a great stir fry, just spicy enough but not overboard.  You can add whatever veggies you like.  I ate every last bite!

Sichuan-Style Stir-Fried Chicken with Peanuts (from Cooking Light)

Ingredients:

Marinade:

  • 2  tablespoons  low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2  tablespoons  rice wine or sake
  • 1  teaspoon  cornstarch
  • 1  teaspoon  dark sesame oil
  • 1 1/2  pounds  skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • Stir-Frying Oil:
  • 2  tablespoons  vegetable oil, divided
  • Sauce:
  • 1/2  cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2  tablespoons  sugar
  • 2 1/2  tablespoons  low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2  tablespoons  rice wine or sake
  • 1  tablespoon  Chinese black vinegar or Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/4  teaspoons  cornstarch
  • 1  teaspoon  dark sesame oil
  • 2  tablespoons  minced green onions
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  minced garlic (about 7 cloves)
  • 1  teaspoon  chile paste with garlic
  • Remaining Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2  cups  drained, sliced water chestnuts
  • 1  cup  (1/2-inch) sliced green onion tops
  • 3/4  cup  unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
  • 6  cups  hot cooked long-grain rice

Directions:

To prepare marinade, combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl; cover and chill 20 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken mixture; stir-fry 4 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove from pan; set aside.

To prepare sauce, combine broth and next 6 ingredients (broth through 1 teaspoon sesame oil); stir well with a whisk. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in pan. Add 2 tablespoons green onions, ginger, garlic, and chile paste, and stir-fry for 15 seconds. Add broth mixture, and cook 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly.

Stir in cooked chicken, water chestnuts, sliced onion tops, and peanuts; cook for 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Serve over rice.

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