Archive for category Entrees
During the week I love a quick and easy meal. I figure I have a 30-45 minute window to get a meal on the table before my husband and son proclaim they are starving and start snacking. This bruschetta chicken and pasta recipe can be made within that window. There are several moving parts to this meal, but if you can multitask, then you’re in great shape. If not, it will just take you a little longer to wrap it all up.
This recipe was inspired by T.G.I. Friday’s Bruschetta Chicken Pasta. It’s one of my favorites and since it wasn’t likely we were heading across town mid-week for supper, I came come up with my own version. That’s the fun part of being in the kitchen. . .You can be creative and duplicate many restaurant meals without leaving your home. You save money and feel accomplished all in one! T.G.I. Friday’s uses angel hair pasta and a thin marinara sauce, but I opted for linguini with garlic and olive oil. It was very flavorful and good enough that we ate the leftovers the next night.
I’d love to hear your “copycat” recipes. Feel free to leave them in the comments section.
Bruschetta Chicken & Pasta
- 3 chicken breasts
- 4 tablespoons seasoning (see recipe below)
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 6 ounces linguini
- 1-1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 tablespoon basil
There are lots of moving parts to this recipe, but all parts can be done simultaneously.
In a Ziploc bag pound out three chicken breasts until evenly thin. Pour in cup olive oil, seal the bag and coat the chicken. In the meantime, warm the oven to 375 degrees. Now that the chicken is coated, generously pour over seasoning.
- 1 tablespoon garlic salt
- 1 tablespoon basil
- 1 tablespoon red pepper flake
- 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
Lay the seasoned chicken on a cookie sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes until cooked through. You can grill the chicken if weather permits. Once cooked, slice each breast on a diagonal bias. Set aside until ready to assemble.
While the chicken is cooking put on a pot of water to cook the linguini. Once the water is boiling, add salt and linguini. Cook 10 minutes or so until cooked through. On another burner, add 1 cup olive oil and 1 tablespoon chopped garlic to a small skillet over medium-low heat. We want the garlic not to burn, but soften and flavor the oil. Once the linguini is cooked, drain and pour in the olive oil mixture to coat the noodles.
On a third burner, add the cup of balsamic vinegar and sugar to another small skillet. Cook over medium heat, let this reduce until thick. This should take not more than 5-10 minutes. It will be bubbly, so just stir as needed.
Take 1 medium tomato and chopped it into small pieces, leaving the juice. Add one tablespoon basil and stir.
Now, all of the cooking parts are complete. Let’s put it all together. First lay a heap of garlic-flavored linguini on your plate. Top with sliced chicken and drizzle balsamic glaze over top of pasta and noodles. To complete the dish, top with a tablespoon of the tomato mixture. Enjoy with a nice crusty French bread!
I used to think I didn’t like artichokes. That was before I actually tasted them and discovered how good they really are. I enjoy them in spinach-artichoke dip or just marinated, but I really love them in a dish a friend introduced me to–Shrimp Abaco. She found it on the Food Network and served it at a dinner party over the holidays. It was so good that I had a second helping and insisted on the recipe before I left her house, two things I never do.
This week I was craving her dish, but I didn’t have mushrooms or shrimp. So I got creative. I must say, my version is quite tasty and highlights the garlic and artichoke flavors that marry well. I hope you enjoy this and find yourself being creative in your pantry as well.
Artichoke Penne Alfredo
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon garlic, diced
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 4 artichoke hearts, choppped
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 cup parmigiano-regiano cheese, grated
- 3 cups penne, cooked
In a saucepan, heat the butter and olive oil. Once melted and warm, add the onion. Over medium-low, cook until translucent. Add the garlic, then heavy cream. Bring to a simmer, but not to a rolling boil. Add the artichokes, nutmeg, pepper, salt and wine. Cook for 15 minutes and then add the cheese. Stir all ensuring the cheese melts and thickens the sauce. Pour over pasta and garnish with parsley or more shredded cheese. Serve with garlic bread or salad.
Every Sunday I cook up a few dishes for lunch throughout the week. It takes a few hours and a little planning, but saves my sanity and figure by providing nutritious dishes during my busy workday. This week I was inspired by dry beans in my pantry. A quick peek in the vegetable drawer of the fridge and there you go, this dish was born.
Simple, yet delicious.
To me, simplicity is the best part of comfort food. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy to be flavorful. This recipe serves four and can be made for less than $10. If this were mid-summer, it would be much cheaper given that I have raised garden beds in my back yard. Tomatoes, peppers and veggies are plentiful during the summer and always taste better than anything in the grocery store. If you don’t grow a garden, you can always pick up fresh veggies from roadside stands or farmers’ markets. Odds are the produce will have just come from the fields just hours before you paid for it.
In addition to veggies, beans are inexpensive, go a long way and can be added to lots of dishes–soups, quesadillas, salads, etc. With the leftover beans from this Sunday, I added them to a Southwest salad of greens, onions, grilled chicken and corn with crispy tortilla strips. I urge you to try this recipe and be creative with the extra beans in some new dishes of your own! I’d love to hear what you whip up.
Melissa’s Rice and Beans
- 2 cups dry black beans
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 package salt pork (near the pork in the meat aisle)
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 2 cups brown rice
- 5 cups chicken stock
Add the beans, water, salt pork and seasonings to a stock pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour until beans are soft. In the meantime, add the rice and chicken stock to another pot and simmer for 45 minutes or so until all the stock is absorbed. In a serving dish, layer the rice, beans and vegetables.
Earlier this week it hit 70+ degrees here in Missouri, which needless to say was welcome and wonderful. It made me long for summer vegetables and grilled meat. I thought of making burgers for dinner, but decided against them. Ribs? Nah, too much work. Fish? I wasn’t in the mood for it. Another perk of being the cook is if you aren’t in the mood, then you don’t have to make it. So chicken it was. Confetti chicken to be exact.
Confetti chicken is easy to make and not very expensive, a great combination in my house. Two chicken breasts can feed the three of us, add in a few baked potatoes and voila, we have a meal. I find that my son will eat chicken most any way I fix it, so long as it’s not too spicy. This recipe has a nice amount of heat which is tempered by the cheese and veggies on top. I hope you’ll give this one a try, I’ll bet you’ll add it to your rotation as well.
- 2 chicken breasts, boneless skinless
- 1 tablespoon jerk seasoning
- 1/2 cup corn
- 1/2 cup black beans
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced
- 1/4 salsa
- 1 cup colby-jack cheese, shredded
- Tortilla strips
Rinse and pat dry chicken breasts. Add the jerk seasoning on both sides of the breasts. Add them to a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, add the corn, beans, red onion and salsa to a bowl.
Once cooked through, divide the cheese in half and put it over each piece of chicken. Place the chicken back in the oven for 3-5 minutes until it melts. Bring it out of the oven and place each piece on a dinner plate. Divide the corn and bean mixture, adding it to the chicken. Garnish with tortilla strips.
When I think of Southern things, fried food is usually at the top of the list. Fried chicken, fried okra, and my personal favorite fried catfish. It’s been a while since I’ve fried anything, so when I spied some catfish filets at the fish counter of my grocery, I was inspired.
I was excited about cutting them up into “nuggets” when I got home. Oh heck, I was almost giddy. You see I’ve been in workout mode for past few weeks and diet mode for much longer than that. So, anything fried feels like a luxury I’ve not been able to afford. There I am giddy at the fish counter when I decided to add some fried chicken to my menu too. I mean, really, if I’m going for it, why not go big?
At home, ready to whip up dinner, I’m reminded of all the many church potlucks and fish frys of my youth. I’m sure it had something to do with my inspecting my cast iron skillets to decide on just the right one. The women in my family cook with cast iron and if you’re lucky you’ll get a skillet as a wedding gift. It might even be one handed down from someone else in the family. Those are the best because they are already seasoned. I believe cast iron is the only way to go when frying, simply because it sustains high temperatures and cooks evenly.
So if I’m frying catfish and chicken, why not add some green beans cooked in pork fat, freezer corn and mashed potatoes? If I had one last meal, this would have to be it. Simple, yet delicious and soul satisfying.
- 2 filets fresh catfish
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon cayenne
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 cups buttermilk
- Oil to coat about an inch of the pan
Rinse the fish and pat it dry. Cut the castfish into 3-inch pieces. Add them to the buttermilk in a large bowl with lid. Place in refrigerator for at least an hour. In a large bowl, mix the flour, cornmeal, salt, peppers and paprika. Take out the catfish and dredge the pieces in the flour mixture. Pour the oil in a cast iron skillet and bring it up to a medium heat. Once warm, add the fish pieces in and be prepared for the sizzle. When one side is browned, flip the fish over only once. It should be white and flaky inside.
I use buttermilk because it makes the fish moist and gives it a tangy flavor. I fry chicken the same way, with the same seasonings but exclude the cornmeal.