Cooking with Katie


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Easy Dinners category.

Chicken Cannelloni with Panzanella Salad

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This is one of my new favorite dinners, it’s so easy, and it is absolutely delicious! It’s also really fun to make…you get to use your hands, which always makes me feel like I’m a little kid playing with my food. Plus, there are so many bright, robust flavors in this show-stopper stuffed pasta, and the cool salad on the side is a nice change-up to the traditional garden salad. I promise that you’ll love it!

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We received this cookbook from some friends of my dad’s as a thank you present, and I have to say that I absolutely love it! It’s Bonnie Aeschliman’s Cooking with Bonnie: Farm to France, and it is full of fresh, healthy, incredible food. This recipe is actually from this book as well as the salad.

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This salad is SO SO good!

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And doesn’t this look heavenly!? Ahh, I cannot not wait to try out every recipe in this book! I definitely recommend it to everybody, but let’s get back to the main dish now!

Chicken Cannelloni with Panzenella Salad (Farm to France)

Chicken Cannelloni:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 1 red  bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 15 oz. carton of ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 8 oz. shredded Mont. Jack cheese
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 c parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp. dried basil or 3 tbsp. fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano or 2 tsp. fresh oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound cooked chicken breast
  • 12 to 16 manicotti shells, cooked and drained
  • 6 tbsp. butter
  • 6 tbsp. flour
  • 2 1/4 c milk
  • 1 1/2 c chicken broth
  • salt and red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 c parmesan cheese
  • 3 c mozzarella cheese

Panzanella Salad

  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic (optional)
  • 6 cups of crusty bread cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
  • 6 tbsp. parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
  • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper
  • 2 c chopped romaine lettuce
  • sliced onion (optional)
  • 2 tbsp. chopped basil
  • 2 tbsp. chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar

For the cannelloni: Saute the garlic, onion, red pepper, celery, and green onions in the olive oil until tender. Combine it with the ricotta, egg, Monterey jack cheese, parmesan cheese, basil, oregano, salt and pepper, and chicken in a large mixing bowl. Then melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook until bubbly. Add milk, chicken broth, salt, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce boils and is thickened. Stir in the remaining parmesan cheese off the heat. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and spread a thin layer of parmesan sauce over the bottom of 2 13×9 pans. Split each cooked pasta tube in half and place about a 1/3 c of filling along the pasta. Roll it up to enclose and place seam-side down in the pans. Pour the remaining parmesan sauce over the cannelloni and cover with mozzarella cheese. BAke for 30 minutes, or until bubbly and golden. Serve with marinara sauce. Makes 16 servings.

For the salad: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and combine the olive oil with the garlic. Heat it for 15 seconds in a microwave safe glass just to infuse the olive oil. Pour this over the bread cubes, along with the salt and pepper, and cheese. Bake them on a baking sheet, stirring once or twice, for 8-9 minutes. Let cool and store in an airtight container. Combine tomatoes, cucumbers, pepper, romaine, onion, basil, and parsley. Add the croutons and toss well. Combine the garlic, olive oil, and vinegar and drizzle over the salad. Toss to coat.

Be sure to follow me on instagram-cookingwithkatie and Pinterest-cookwithkatie

BTW, this is not a paid advertisement. This is just a great cook book that I thought you all would enjoy!

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Steak with Mushroom Gorgonzola Sauce

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I can’t believe the holidays are already over, they flew by! I really enjoyed spending time with my family and eating lots of good food, and I hope that you all enjoyed the holiday season as well. If you’re like me, though, and you’re a little disappointed that it’s all over, then this is the perfect dish to make! Steak always keeps me in a festive mood, and when it’s smothered in a luxurious, sinfully-delicious mushroom gorgonzola sauce, it’s just like Christmas dinner. Make it tonight, so that you don’t have to choke down more left over ham and turkey. I promise, you won’t be able to resist this tangy, creamy dinner!

Meat:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
  • 1 beef tenderloin, or any other steaks you like
  • salt and pepper
  • thyme
  • basil
  • rosemary
  • 1 c red wine

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine oil with garlic. Rub the surface of the beef with this mixture and then season with salt and pepper. Chop up the herbs, using different amounts depending on your taste, and sprinkle them on the meat. Place in a roasting pan and pour in half of the wine. Roast for 40-60 minutes, pouring the remaining wine over the meat halfway through the cooking process.

Mushroom Gorgonzola Sauce:

  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 3-4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 ounces gorgonzola cheese
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce

In a medium skillet, melt the butter and then add the mushrooms and green onions. Cook until the mushrooms are soft, and then add the gorgonzola cheese and Worcestershire sauce. Serve over the beef. Enjoy!

Sauce serves 8-10 portions


Everything but the Kitchen Sink Quiche

This quiche is one of the most flavorful, ecclectic dishes I’ve ever made and it is SO great to make when you’re cleaning out your pantry/fridge! I call it “Everything but the Kitchen Sink” Quiche because it really does have everything but the kitchen sink in it. All the ingredients work so well together, though, and there’s so many that everyone is bound to find something that they like. But for all you picky palates, you can change up the ingredients however you want! You can use different cheeses, veggies, whatever’s about to go bad in your fridge…you get the idea!

  • 4-5 slices of bacon, cut into little pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1-2 c mushrooms
  • 1/4 c diced sundried tomatoes
  • 1 little can of diced green chilies
  • 3-4 handfuls of fresh spinach, stems removed
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 c half-n-half
  • 1/2 c grated swiss cheese
  • 1/2 c grated gouda cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 deep dish pie crusts

Cook the bacon in a skillet until it’s crispy, then set aside. Add the onions and cook until soft.

Chop up the sundried tomatoes…

The green chilies…

And the spinach.

Then throw it all in the saucepan along with the mushrooms and some salt and pepper. Let everything cook and then add the bacon back in.

Mix together the eggs, half-n-half, and cheeses and then add the vegetables.

Pour it all in your prepared pie crusts and bake it 375 degrees for about 30 minutes or until it doesn’t jiggle anymore. Enjoy!

Makes 2 quiches.


A Fish Tail

My family and I just got back from our family vacation in Georgia and it was so much fun!!! We stayed in a beautiful cabin in the Smoky Mountains and spent most of our time outside. My siblings and I are a couple of wimpy city kids, though, and this was our first time getting to experience the outdoors in this way. We had a beautiful stream in our backyard and lots of trees and greenery everywhere, and we really enjoyed going hiking and rafting and fishing.

Although my brothers were really gung-ho for all the outdoorsy stuff, my sister and I were still pretty unsure about the whole thing, but fishing was one activity that we both really enjoyed. We’re used to fishing in a lake for little feeder fish like sunnys or croakers, but fishing in an actual river for trout was so different and so much more exciting! It was so fun that my brothers and I decided to go out one evening and catch trout for dinner. It was such a great experience, and now, I’m going to share what I learned with you guys!

These are my brothers, Asher and Adin. I think they’re baiting their hooks in this picture…and making plans to try to push each other in the water. You know, guy stuff.

We used a couple different kinds of bait. We started off with salmon eggs, but they were too easy for the fish to just nip off the hooks. So then we tried live crickets but, once again, they were too easy for the fish to just bite off. We ended up just using good ol’ worms, and they worked the best.

Asher was the first one to catch a trout and he actually went on to catch 2 more, too. He was so happy to catch his first trout and we were all really proud of him.

A quick note about my dad: He wasn’t really posing for the camera in any of the pictures so…just know that. 😉

Yay!!! I finally caught one!!! It was such a great feeling to tame a wild fish!…well, maybe I didn’t really tame it, and…I guess it wasn’t really a “wild” fish. But you get the idea.

I think my dad’s saying, “Geez girl, don’t whack me with the pole!”

Isn’t great how daughters can know exactly what their fathers are thinking just by looking at their faces!?

I would now like to point out that I did catch the biggest fish of the trip. It was 12 inches long! 🙂

Now that the hard part was done, it was time for the gross part. Cleaning and gutting the fish. I’ll save you the horror and not post any detailed pictures.

You’re welcome.

My dad grew up in Colorado and served in the army. This was where his Rocky Mountain and military experience really came in handy. Trout don’t have scales, so all we had to do was cut them open and take out the nasty stuff. My brother decided he wanted a front row seat to learn how it was done, but I decided to just sit back and watch. In this picture, I was thinking, “Oh..my..what is that!?”

Oh gosh, now it’s my turn!

Please excuse Adin, I don’t know where his shirt went. It was probably stolen by a bear.

Hey look, I’m doing it!!!

Hey look, a belly button!!!

Now that the fish were clean, it was time to cook them! We dusted them with flour, paprika, salt, and pepper and threw them in a screaming hot pan. The skin got super crispy and the meat just fell away from the bones, it was delicious!

We also put a couple on a piece of oiled aluminum foil on the grill.

As you can see, the skin didn’t get quite as crispy, but the grill did give them a really great smoky flavor.

So now it’s your turn! Go out, try something new, and tell me about your adventures! I’d love to hear!


Florentine Chicken Pasta

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.


Greek Salad

Whenever someone says “salad”, I always imagine people are thinking, “Oh great, what kind of boring salad am I going to be eating this time?” But salads don’t have to be boring, especially if they’re full of different textures and flavors. They also don’t have to be complicated, and are a great way to use up your leftovers. That’s how I came up with this salad, I used some left over ingredients from a salad we had had a few days ago, and I used a couple of ingredients that I always have on hand. It was a huge hit and so easy to throw together and I’m sure you’re family will love it, too!

Greek Salad
-Mixed Greens
-Sun dried Tomatoes, chopped
-Calamata Olives, halved
-Feta Cheese
-Cucumber, sliced
-Roasted Red Peppers, sliced
-Lemon juice (1 lemon)
-Shallot, diced
-Olive oil (2-3 tbsp.)
-Salt and pepper
-Sugar (1-2 tsp.)

Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, shallot, and sugar to make the dressing. Just keep tasting it to adjust it to your likings. Then combine all the other ingredients in a big bowl and toss with the dressing. Enjoy!


Macaroni and Cheese

Mac ‘n’ Cheese is every kid’s favorite dinner, but it can become every adult’s favorite, too, when you make it the “gourmet” way. This is not some macaroni and cheese out of a box; this is a rich, bubbly, cheesy-beyond-belief macaroni and cheese that is sure to satisfy the simplest and most sophisticated palettes!

 Try it with fish and broccoli (as I did), chicken, steak, pork chops, or just a salad and you’ve got a great, easy dinner! You could also add different ingredients into the macaroni such as bacon, tuna fish, peas, or even mushrooms. You could also try experimenting with different cheeses. I like the classic cheddar, but this macaroni and cheese could be whatever you want it to be!

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1-1/2 c milk
  • 2 c sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 lb. penne pasta
  • salt and pepper

Start by melting the butter in a large saucepan.

Add the flour and whisk it up until it looks like…

..this! This is called a “roux.”

Then, pour in the milk. I actually just eyeball this step and estimate the right sauce-to-pasta ratio. Start whisking the mixture immediately and don’t stop until it’s thick and coats the back of a spoon. This mixture is called a “bechamel sauce,” and is used in alot of French and Italian cooking.

After the bechamel sauce comes together, add in the cheese to make it a “mornay sauce.” Don’t you feel so fancy using all these technical terms? Once the cheese is melted, add in the cooked pasta and toss it to coat. If you feel like you have too much sauce or pasta, then just remove a little bit before you combine them. You can always add stuff, but you can’t take it away!

Pour it in a greased baking dish and bake it at 350 degrees until it’s brown and bubbly! Enjoy!


Roasted Tomato and Asparagus Risotto

I first had risotto at a fancy, gourmet restaurant on a “dinner date” with my dad in downtown Fort Worth a few years ago. (I know, a 12-year-old chooses a fancy, risotto-serving place for her date….she’s got good taste! 🙂 ) Anyway, I ordered the asparagus and prosciutto risotto and immediately fell in love with it! It was so creamy and dreamy and flavorful! I’ve always been too intimidated to actually make it myself, though. But as it turns out, as long as you allow yourself plenty of time, it’s super easy!

“Risotto” is actually just a method for cooking rice. The type of rice we use is very starchy, and as the rice releases its starch, it creates this beautiful, creamy sauce. Once you learn the method, you can make whatever kind of risotto you want! Mushrooms, squash, broccoli, carrots, meats, and other sturdy vegetables would all be wonderful choices!

Roasted Tomato and Asparagus Risotto

  • olive oil
  • asparagus
  • grape or cherry tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 5-6 c chicken stock
  • 1 -1 1/2 c arborio rice
  • 1/3-1/2 c white wine
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2-2/3 c parmesan cheese

Start with the asparagus. Lay it on a sheet tray, drizzle it with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roll it around to coat. Roast it in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes. You just want it to be soft and caramelized. Do the same with the tomatoes.

Set the vegetables on a plate and keep them on standby. (BTW, this is a great way to use up those tomatoes that aren’t looking so good anymore!) Pour your chicken stock in a pan and bring it to a simmer. It’s VERY important that you have hot chicken stock!

This is arborio rice. It’s very starchy and is one of the only rices that works for risotto. If you can’t find arborio, then you can use vialone nano, carnaroli, or originario rice.

Finely mince the onion and saute it in some olive oil with salt and pepper just until it’s softened.

Then, add the rice and let it toast for a few minutes.

Then grab some white wine. Pinot Grigio is said to be the best cooking wine, so that’s what I always use.

Just pour it in the pan until the rice is almost covered with wine. I just eyeball it.

Don’t hover over your risotto and constantly stir it, just stir every 5-8 minutes. Once all the liquid is absorbed, start adding chicken stock by the ladelful until the rice is almost covered. Stir it every so often and let the rice cook and release its starches. When all the liquid is absorbed, add more chicken stock by the ladelful until the rice is fully cooked. (You’ll need to taste it every so often.) I used about 5 cups of chicken stock in the end, but it really just depends on how much rice you use.

Once the rice is creamy and fully cooked, add the vegetables back in just to heat them through.

Now this is the secret to really good risotto: Add a few tablespoons of butter and a ton of parmesan cheese and stir them into the risotto. What you end up with is the smoothest, creamiest risotto that you and your family will love! Bon Appetit!


Alfredo Pasta with Chicken and Veggies

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!


Gulf Shrimp Jambalaya

I’ve always wanted to try making true Cajun food, and what better place to start than a big ol’ bowl of jambalaya!?!? I have to admit, I was a little skeptical at first, but I was amazed at how much flavor was packed into just one dish!

The type of sausage that is typically used for jambalaya is called andouille (an-do-ie) sausage. It’s got a kick to it, but also has a great smoky flavor as well. If you can’t andouille sausage, then hot Italian sausage works great, too. But the andouille goes really well with the succulent shrimp, smooth rice, and tangy tomatoes.

Gulf Shrimp Jambalaya (Anne Burrell)

  • 2 pounds medium gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells reserved
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, cut into rounds
  • 2 green peppers, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 ribs celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 4-5 scallions, diced
  • 1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • Kosher salt
  • Pinch crushed red pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 bundle fresh thyme

For the shrimp stock (I’ll do a whole post on this later!): toss the shrimp shells in a large pot and fill with water. Add whatever “trash” you have: scallion tops, celery leaves, onion peel and root, pepper stems, whole peppercorns, salt, and some bay leaves. Bring the water to a boil, turn off the heat and let sit for at least 15 to 20 minutes, although longer is fine. Strain out the shells and everything. Make as much as possible to freeze!

Coat a large, wide pot with olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. Add the andouille and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the sausage starts to brown. Add the peppers, celery, and onion, and scallions to the pan, season with salt and a pinch crushed red pepper. Cook 7 to 8 minutes or until the mixture has softened and is very aromatic. Toss in the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes. Add the tomatoes and cayenne. Stir in the rice. Add 4 cups shrimp stock, bay leaves, and thyme bundle. Season with salt and taste it to make sure you are on the way to something delicious. Cover and cook over medium heat for 25 minutes. Stir in the shrimp and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes or until the shrimp turn pink.