This is the first blog post I’ve written in over two months, and I have to say that I can’t believe it’s been this long!!!! I’ve been so busy with school, dance competitions, drill team, babysitting, play performances, and a million other things that I haven’t had time to cook! But, now that summer is finally here, I’ll be cooking and posting a lot more often!!!! And what better dish to start back again with than this yummy summer pasta!?! It’s so light and healthy that you won’t feel guilty about having fourths of it, and it’s just in time to help you get back in shape for bikini season. Made with garden fresh tomatoes, and wholesome spinach, this dish is a winner, winner, chicken pasta dinner!
Chicken Florentine Pasta (The Pioneer Woman)
- 1 pound Penne
- 4 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
- Salt And Pepper, to taste
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
- 3/4 cups Dry White Wine
- 3/4 cups Low-sodium Broth, More If Needed
- 1 bag Baby Spinach
- 2 cups Grape Tomatoes, Halved Lengthwise
- 4 ounces, weight Parmesan Cheese, Shaved With Vegetable Peeler
Cook pasta according to package directions in lightly salted water. Drain and set aside.
Cut chicken breasts into chunks and sprinkle on salt and pepper.
Heat butter and olive oil over high heat in a large skillet. Add chicken chunks in a single layer and do not stir for a minute or two in order to allow the chicken to brown on the first side. Turn the chicken and brown on the other side. Cook until done, then remove chicken from the skillet.
Turn heat to medium. Add garlic and quickly stir to avoid burning. After about 30 seconds, pour in wine and broth, stirring to deglaze the pan. Allow the liquid to bubble up, then continue cooking until it’s reduced by at least half (most of the surface of the liquid should be bubbling at this point.)
Turn off the heat. Add spinach, tomatoes, chicken, and cooked pasta to the skillet. Toss to combine; the spinach will wilt as you toss everything. Add plenty of Parmesan shavings and toss to combine.
Serve with extra Parmesan shavings.
This dinner was inspired by a beautiful dish I had at our local Central Market cafe; it was penne pasta with chicken, zucchini, and yellow squash swimming in a velvety, smooth alfredo sauce. I loved every second of it, and I knew that I just had to recreate the dish at home! Thus, this beautiful pasta was born! And who knew it would taste even better than the one at the cafe?!?! The combination of the rich sauce, smoky vegetables, and succulent chicken makes this to die for. Enjoy this one, guys!
Alfredo Pasta with Chicken and Veggies
- 4 chicken breasts
- 1 zucchini
- 1 yellow squash
- 1 box of button mushrooms
- 8-10 stalks of asparagus
- olive oil
- 1 lb. penne pasta
- 3 c heavy cream
- 1 stick butter
- 1 1/2 c parmesan cheese
- 1/3 c mozzarella cheese
- a handful fresh parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper
Slice all the veggies except the asparagus.
Then, put the zucchini, squash, and asparagus in a bowl with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill them until they’re tender and cooked through. (You could also roast or saute them.) When they’ve cooled down enough, cut them into bite-size pieces.
In the meantime, put the mushrooms on a sheet tray and drizzle them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast them in a 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until they’re golden brown.
Grill the chicken until it is cooked through. Then once it’s cool enough to handle, shred it and put it on standby. Cook the pasta, as well.
For the alfredo sauce, combine the heavy cream and butter in a saute pan and whisk them together until the butter melts. Add the parmesan and mozzarella cheese, salt and pepper, and parsley and whisk it until the cheese melts. Add the veggies, chicken, and pasta into the pan and toss it to coat. Serve alongside crusty ciabatta bread and enjoy!
Tacos are a big crowd pleaser in my family. We whip up a ton and everyone eats about 7. Ok, maybe not 7, but it’s close to that number! After a while, though, everyone gets tired of the same old beef tacos with all the traditional fixin’s. So I decided to jazz things up a bit and try these new Chipotle-Lime Chicken Tacos with Red Cabbage Slaw! They were a HIT!
These tacos really pack a huge flavor punch! The tangy lime, spicy peppers, and sweet corn make them irresistible! I grilled the corn to give it that smoky taste, but you could also just boil it and cut it off the cob. Try these tacos on a busy weeknight, I’m sure it’ll impress even the most prestigious taco eater!
Chipotle Lime Chicken Tacos (Claire Robinson)
- 1 whole chicken, rinsed and dried
- 2 limes, juiced and zested
- 1 c crema
- 2 chipotle peppers, diced (or 5 Serrano peppers, diced)
- salt and pepper
- corn tortillas
Red Cabbage Slaw (Claire Robinson)
- 5 corn on the cobs, shucked and grilled
- 1/4 head of red cabbage (if it’s a small head of cabbage, use 1/2 a head)
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/2 c crumbled queso fresco cheese
- handful of cilantro
- salt and pepper
This is my chicken. Her name is Shelly. She’s not an organic chicken, but she is farm-fresh!
If you want to buy an organic Shelly, go right ahead.
This is my lime zest. It doesn’t have a name, but it is about to meet up with Shelly, and they are going to do wonderful flavor things together!
Then, stick the lime zest in the little pocket you just made! Do this on both sides of the breast. See?!?!?!? I told you they were doing wonderful flavor things together!
Sprinkle some lime zest on top of Shelly, too, and squeeze the lime juice as well. Put the lime halves in the cavity of the chicken and sprinkle salt and pepper all over Shelly. Put 1/4 c water in the bottom of the pan (this will help steam Shelly), and tuck her wings under her breast. Then, take some kitchen twine and tie her legs together (this makes sure she cooks more evenly). Then put her in a 400 degree oven and cook her until she reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees. Let her cool completely, then shred her up. Keep her warm in an oven that’s about 170 degrees until you’re ready to make your tacos.
For the red cabbage slaw, just slice the cabbage thinly and squeeze the lime juice over top of it. Let that sit for atleast 20 minutes. The acid in the lime juice starts to break down the cabbage and “cook” it.
Then crumble up some queso fresco cheese. You could use goat cheese or feta instead.
Chop up some cilantro. For all you cilantro haters: You can use parsley.
And cut the corn off the cob. Then dump everything in with the cabbage.
Now for the cream sauce. Crema is basically just Mexican sour cream, except it’s a little bit thinner and saltier. Combine the crema, the peppers, the lime juice, the left over lime zest from Shelly, and salt and pepper in a bowl.
To assemble these tacos, start by heating the corn tortillas in the microwave for about 15 seconds each.
Put some chicken on…
..some crema sauce…
…and some slaw. Wah-la! You’ve got yourself a chipotle lime chicken taco! Enjoy!!
My family LOVES buffalo wings! But who would’ve ever thought that you could have the spiciness of buffalo chicken and the coolness of the ranch dressing all rolled up in one wrap? Morgan, author of the Little House of Veggies, that’s who!
Morgan is a vegan chef, that blogs about healthy, animal-product free dishes. In fact, when I first saw this recipe, there were ingredients such as “Veganaise,” “seitan,” and “Earth Balance Butter” being used. After a doing a little Googling, I found that they were basically just the vegan equivalents of mayo, chicken, and butter. So, I just replaced them with the ingredients that I was familiar with. Morgan has a wonderful blog and I definitely encourage you to check it (and these wraps) out sometime!
Buffalo Chicken Wraps (Little House of Veggies)
- 1 recipe Morgan’s Spicy Buffalo Sauce, recipe follows
- 1 recipe Morgan’s Ranch, recipe follows
- 20-25 chicken tenders (depending on the crowd size)
- whole grain wraps or tortillas
- romaine lettuce
- 2 carrots, grated
- 1/4 c Louisiana hot sauce
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 1 tsp. garlic powder (optional)
- 1/2 c mayo
- 1/4 c milk
- handful fresh parsley
- 1 tsp. dried dill or 3 tsp. fresh dill
- 1 tsp. garlic powder (optional)
- cracked black pepper
Start by combining the mayo, parsley, dill, garlic powder, and pepper in a bowl. Then add about a 1/4 c of milk until it comes to the consistency of Ranch dressing. Reserve.
Don’t be like me; don’t make a mess of your bowl, and don’t take a crummy picture of it when it’s finished.;)
Next, grill the chicken tenders and make the Buffalo sauce by combining the hot sauce, butter, and garlic powder in a saucepan. Let simmer until the chicken is ready.
When the chicken is ready, chop up the lettuce and grate the carrots. Put the chicken in the buffalo sauce, and shake it around until it’s coated. Put it inside the tortilla on a bed of carrots and lettuce, and top with the ranch sauce. YUMMY!
Juicy chicken, sweet onions, rich tomato broth, succulent mushrooms and peppers…are you hungry yet? Chicken cacciatore (pronounced catch-i-tory) is my family’s new favorite dinner, and for good reasons, too! You braise the beautifully seared chicken thighs and serve them swimming in a lovely tomato-vegetable sauce. Since we’ve been getting so much snow and ice in northern Texas, it was nice to have a hearty, well-balanced meal to cheer us up!
I know that this dish may sound kind of difficult, but it turned out to be so much easier than I thought! It’s a great dish to serve to company because they’ll think you spent a long time working on it, but really you spent about 45 minutes on the whole meal! You’re sure to get two thumbs-up with this crowd pleaser!
Chicken Cacciatore (Anne Burrell)
- olive oil (as needed)
- 8-10 chicken thighs (I used boneless, skinless; you could use bone-in, skin-on if you’d like)
- 2 large onions
- pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 2 c dry white wine
- 1 28 oz can plum tomatoes
- 1 bundle thyme
- 3 dried bay leaves
Coat a large pan with olive oil and sear chicken.
Your goal is not to cook the chicken all the way through, just to brown the outside!
Slice your onion (I only used 1, and I didn’t use the garlic), mince your garlic, dice your peppers, slice your mushrooms (I bought pre-sliced), and bundle your thyme. Saute the onions in olive oil with the red pepper flakes until they are brown and caramelized, 8-10 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the peppers, next, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Throw in the mushrooms and saute until soft. De-glaze the pan by adding the white wine.
Now for the tomatoes, you could run them through a food mill if you have one, or you could do what I did and puree them in a blender, then run them through a fine-mesh strainer to get out the seeds and pulp. Add them to the pot with the thyme, bay leaves, and chicken. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and partially cover for 20-30 minutes.
Once it’s done simmering, remove the chicken and taste the sauce for seasoning. Remove the thyme and bay leaves and serve the sauce over the chicken.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve alongside egg noodles or rice and a green vegetable.
Now, with four kids and a father with a bottomless stomach, it was pretty hard coming up with hearty, fulfilling dinners. But then, I met this soup…this wonderful, absolutely incredible soup! This chicken soup is full of corn, tomatoes, and chicken, and it couldn’t be simpler! Literally, all you have to do is chop some vegetables and throw everything in a big pot! The best part about it is that it tastes so complex, but only uses a few complex ingredients. It’s a great dish to serve to company or just to have a simple, family dinner. A great way to make this a vegetarian soup would be to replace the chicken with black beans. That way you get all the protein you need, without having to eat the chicken!
Now there is one thing you need to know…you’re probably only going to find dried ancho chilies, (if you find them at all), which is totally fine, in fact, I recommend them! But, if you can’t find ancho chilies, pablano peppers work great, too, which will be easier to find than anchos. Anchos aren’t very spicy, so if you find yourself wanting more heat, just put a few of the seeds in the chicken stock with them. But other than that, you’re all set to go! (We were so excited to eat the soup that I forgot to take a picture of it with all the garnishes. I apologize, but just try to imagine it with all the toppings!)
Ancho Chicken Tortilla Soup (Rachel Ray)
- 6 flour tortillas
- cooking spray
- two large ancho chilies
- 3 c chicken stock
- vegetable oil
- 1 c frozen corn
- 1 lg red onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
- 1 red chili pepper, seeded and minced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp. smoked sweet paprika
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 28 oz. can of fire-roasted crushed or diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1 rotisserie chicken
- salt and pepper
- 1-2 c water
- 2 limes
- 2 ripe hass avocados
- sour cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the tortillas in half, then slice into strips and put on a cookie tray. Spray them with the cooking spray and bake until golden and crisp, about 20 minutes. Remove and reserve for later. They should look like this:
Put the anchos in a saucepan with the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil and saute the corn until slightly charred. Add the onion, jalapeno, red chili, and garlic. Season with cumin, paprika, and cinnamon. Saute for five minutes and then add the tomatoes. Puree the anchos in a food processor with a little bit of the chicken stock. Pour the rest of the stock into the pot and add the pureed anchos. Stir in the honey and shredded chicken and season with salt and pepper to taste. Thin the soup with the water and let simmer for five minutes. Zest and juice 1 lime and add to the soup.
Put the soup in a bowl and add the avocados, sour cream, tortilla chips, cheddar cheese, and garnish with the cilantro. You could also add another squeeze of lime if you like.