Monday, May 14, 2012

Katie's Pesto Pasta

You know what happens when your unemployment runs out and your husband only gets paid twice a month?

You run out of groceries in the days before your husbands next pay day that's what happens!

Well, you don't run completely out of food, you just become limited on what you can actually make.

There are a few items that you can always count on me being stocked up on. Pasta and chicken just happen to be two of those items. I threw this recipe together after seeing a similar recipe on It was surprisingly good, both Daniel and I had seconds. I've never used pesto before and after a mis-communication between Daniel and I last fall, he brought me home three jars of the stuff. I requested three jars of brushcetta, still not sure why he then brought home pesto but all is good. I contemplated adding some cream cheese to the pesto sauce, but I was afraid it wouldn't turn out so I left it out. If someone is brave enough to add the cream cheese please let me know how it turns out!

Pesto Pasta~
Source: Me

1 lb. rigatoni pasta, cooked and drained
2 md. chicken breast, cubed and cooked
2 tbsp. butter
1 roasted red pepper, finely chopped
1 roma tomato, finely chopped
1- 8.1 oz jar of Classico pesto sauce
Parmesan cheese

1.) In a large pot, fill 3/4 way full of water. Bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente.
2.) In a small skillet, add pesto sauce, roasted red pepper, and roma tomato. Cook on medium heat and allow to simmer. Stirring occasionally.
3.) In a large skillet, add butter and cubed chicken. Sprinkle chicken with a few pinches of salt and a pinch or so of black pepper. Cook on medium-high heat until cooked thoroughly and lightly browned on each side.
4.) Drain pasta and return to stove. Add cooked pesto sauce mixture and cooked chicken. Mix until pasta and chicken is coated with pesto sauce mixture.
5.) Sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!!

Sorry about the quality of my photo. I was a couple of bites into my meal before I realized I needed to take a picture. Instead of getting up, getting my camera, and then stopping long enough to get a good picture...I decided to make things easier on myself and just take the photo with my phone.

Once again this meal surprised me. I didn't know what to expect with the pesto sauce but it was really good. Even Daniel said it was good. I would also like to mention for those that may have missed it. The dijon marsala pork tenderloin that I made a couple of weeks ago that Daniel said was delicious, must have been. He actually brought it up at our lunch yesterday with his mom and brother. Looks like I'll be adding it to my menu for one day in the next two weeks. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Chicken Noodle Soup

I'm trying to come up with dinners that are not only easy to throw together, but are budget friendly for us right now. I have no income coming in and plus having just had surgery, even though I feel amazing for the most part, I'm still trying to take it as easy as possible. I thought homemade chicken noodle soup would be just what the doctor ordered for this recovering Momma and her people. It did not disappoint, even though I just winged all of the ingredients, and both myself and my cousin Heather went back for seconds. She's staying with me this week while Daniel is away on business so she gets to pleasure in all of my home cooked meals.

Katie's Chicken Noodle Soup~

2 lg. chicken breasts, cut in half
1 sm. onion, quartered
2 stalks of celery, cut into large pieces
2 carrots, cut into large pieces
2 whole garlic cloves

Ingredients for the soup:
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 lg. celery stalks, cut in half horizontally and then diced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
shredded chicken breasts
1 49 oz. container chicken broth
1 tbsp. sea salt
1/2 tbsp. black pepper
garlic powder
1 tbsp. parsley flakes

1.) In a large stock pot, fill 3/4 of the way full of water. Add chicken breast, quartered onion, celery pieces, carrot pieces, and whole garlic cloves. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for about two hours.
2.) Remove chicken from stock and allow to cool. Also remove all vegetables and dispose of.
3.) To the pot with your homemade stock, add diced celery, diced carrots, minced garlic clove, and shredded chicken. Add canned chicken broth and bring to a boil.
4.) Add 1 tbsp. sea salt, 1/2 tbsp. black pepper, 1 tbsp. parsley flakes, and a few sprinkles around the pot of garlic powder.
5.) Add one large bag of egg noodles along with about 1/4 a can of water. I use the chicken broth can and stir it around and add to my soup. Cook until noodles are done.

I served ours with homemade mashed potatoes, which score one for Mommy, were pretty darn good. I used 5 medium sized russet potatoes, boiled until soft. I threw them in my kitchen aid mixer, added probably a good cup or so of heavy cream, two tablespoons of butter, and a generous amount of sea salt. They were delicious and for once, the consistency was really good. I was kinda proud of myself since making mashed potatoes has always been a challenge for me. If you are looking for a good comfort food, this is another good one.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Chicken Riggies

Three posts in one week? I must be feeling better!! I love tomato sauces with heavy cream in them. I consider it a lovely comfort food and this one was no exception. I omitted most of the peppers since the girls and I aren't into spicy foods, and I may or may not have added an extra half a cup of cream to the sauce, but overall I was really impressed with the meal.

Chicken Riggies~

1 (16 ounce) package rigatoni pasta
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut in bite-sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cubanelle pepper, seeded and thinly sliced ( I omitted)
3 roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
2 hot cherry peppers, seeded and minced ( I omitted)
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (I added an extra half a cup)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

 1.) Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the rigatoni pasta, and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes; drain and keep warm. 

2.) Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and cook in the hot oil until lightly browned on all sides, and no longer pink in the center, about 7 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan, and keep warm. 

3.) Stir the onion, garlic, and cubanelle peppers. Cook and stir until the onion has softened, about 4 minutes. Add the roasted red peppers, hot cherry peppers, and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, then stir in the heavy cream and cooked chicken. 

4.) Simmer 2 or 3 minutes, then stir in the pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese to serve.

Now doesn't that look downright comforting? I'm making homemade chicken and noodle soup tonight. It's all about comfort food in our house this week.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Asparagus with Parmesan Crust

Daniel loves asparagus. Me...not so much. Typically when I make asparagus I will coat it with extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, and lots of minced garlic and then stick it in the oven to crisp up. The thinner the asparagus the better...they are like crispy french fries.

This go around, since I was trying to make our pork dinner this past Sunday extra special for Daniel, I thought I would try out a new way. I think I prefer my way above, but this way was pretty darn good as well. I figure, if I eat it and thank its decent, then in reality, it must be pretty delicious. I could only find the thicker asparagus this time but for the most part I got the same effect as my way. Daniel loved it and commented during dinner just how much he loves asparagus.

Asparagus with Parmesan Crust~

1 lb. thin asparagus
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 oz. shaved Parmesan cheese (I used probably close to 1/3 cup of the cheese right out of the green container)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar ( I used a balsamic vinaigrette)

1.) Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. (I baked ours at 375 since they were thicker.)
2.) Place asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat. Arrange asparagus spears in a single layer. Spread Parmesan cheese over asparagus, and season with freshly ground black pepper. 
3.) Bake 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until cheese is melted and asparagus is tender but crisp. Serve immediately on warm plates, sprinkling with balsamic vinegar to taste. 

Since we all know I can't help but not follow the directions 100%, I had to do mine a little different. I coated ours with the olive oil, black pepper, a good sprinkle of sea salt, and then I drizzled it with the vinaigrette. I tossed it all around to evenly coat each spear, and then I sprinkled the cheese on top and baked away. I think the dish turned out just lovely! I love how they tend to get brown and crispy.