Friday, April 4, 2014

Cajun Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo

Creamy pasta dishes are one of my favorite comfort foods.  Something about the slightly spicy Cajun flavor mixed with the cheeses puts this recipe at the top of my list.
Ingredients:
  • 3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (about a pound)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Cajun Seasoning
  • 2 Tablespoons of Butter
  • About a Tablespoon of Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon of Minced Garlic (I used the kind from the jar)
  • 1/2 pint of Grape Tomatoes (quartered)
  • 1/4 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 Cup of Shredded Asiago
  • 1 Cup of Shredded Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Pepper
  • A couple dashes of Nutmeg
  • 16 oz of Fettuccini (cooked)
Serves 5-6

Pound chicken breasts with rolling pin or meat mallet until it is about 1/2 inch thick.  I place the chicken between two pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap to keep the mess to a minimum.  Next generously sprinkle both sides of chicken breasts with Cajun seasoning.  
Preheat oven to 350.
In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter with about a table spoon of olive oil.  When the butter is melted and oil is hot, add the chicken breasts.  Sear the chicken breasts on both sides about 3 minutes on each side.  Remove the chicken from the skillet and place in baking dish.  Next put the chicken in the oven for about 10 minutes to finish cooking it.  When the chicken is cooked throughout, cut it into strips to add to the pasta sauce.
The sauce will be made in the same skillet as the chicken was cooked.  Start by pouring in the white wine to deglaze the pan.  Using a whisk get all of the brown bits to mix in.  Heat for about a minute.  Then add the tomatoes and garlic cook for additional 2 minutes to soften them.  Lower the heat to med-low and stir in heavy cream and additional tablespoon of butter.  Stir constantly as you add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Continue stirring as the sauce begins to thicken. This will take about 5 minutes. At this point the sauce will not be real thick.  It thickens more with the cheese.   Add the grated cheese and stir as it melts.  When sauce is smooth add in pasta  and chicken and toss.  The Cajun seasoning from the chicken will mix in with the sauce to give it a little snap!
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Brownie Batter Dip

A few months ago I was at a party at a friend's house and she served this fabulous chocolate dip that I new I just HAD to make!  It is so much more than just chocolate, when I learned that the recipe name was Brownie Batter Dip I wanted to lick the entire bowl!!!  My friend served it with graham crackers, strawberries, and marshmallows I have also dipped pretzels, pound cake, and nilla wafers in it.  The recipe is from Life in the Lofthouse blog.  I didn't change the ingredients, but I did reduce the amount of each of the ingredients by half to make a smaller batch.  I was making this for a small group so I did not need the large amount that the full recipe makes.

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz of Cream Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 1 1/4 Cups of Powdered Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Milk
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons of Flour
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons of Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon of Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • Mini Chocolate Chips for Garnish (optional)
Cream together butter and cream cheese using an electric mixer.  Add in remaining ingredients (except chocolate chips) and mix.  Place in bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.  


Chocolate Strawberry Drop Cookies

My friend Tina made these cookies for a cookie exchange back in December.  I finally remembered to ask her for the recipe and I was pleased to know that they are SUPER easy to make!  I love to turn cake mixes into cookie dough.  One of my favorite ways is Rolo Cookies.  The combination of chocolate and strawberries is always delicious, so why not turn it into a cookie!
 Ingredients:

  • 1 Box of Duncan Hines Strawberry Cake Mix
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 1/4 Cup Flour
  • 1/2 Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Cup of Chocolate Chips (I used 3/4 Cup mini chocolate chips because that is what I had on hand)
Makes 2 Dozen Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Using a mixer blend cake mix, flour, water, egg, and oil.  When they are well combined hand stir in the chocolate chips.  
 Place drops of cookie dough onto baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.
Let them cool or enjoy them warm!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sesame Noodles with Chicken

Take out food can be expensive and you just never know exactly what is in it.  This dinner can easily be made in about 30 minutes and pleases my whole family.  As much as I try to get my kiddos to eat all the veggies that my husband and I eat they sometimes just refuse.  The vegetables in this are large enough that even the pickiest eater can pick around them and since my kids like all things pasta this is still a winner!

Ingredients:
  • 2 Boneless Chicken Breasts (cut into small cubes)
  • 1 teaspoon of Sesame Oil
  • 1/4 Cup of Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons of White Sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons of Canola Oil
  • A couple handfuls of Pea Pods
  • About 10 Mushrooms (sliced)
  • A couple handfuls of Beansprouts
  • 1 box of Angel Hair Pasta
  • 1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of Garlic Chili Sauce (depending on how spicy you want it)
This recipe fed 4 adults and 2 kids

In a small bowl, combine sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, canola oil, minced garlic, and garlic chili sauce.  Pour a little bit of the sauce in a large skillet, add chicken, and cook thoroughly.  Remove chicken from skillet and add pea pods.  I add a little bit of water to the skillet to help the veggies steam a bit.  When the pea pods have cooked for a couple of minutes add the bean sprouts, mushrooms, and about a tablespoon of the sauce.  Return the chicken to the skillet, add remainder of sauce, and heat throughout.  Last add in the cooked angel hair pasta and toss to coat with the sauce.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

30 Minute Stuffed Pepper Soup

Tomorrow is the first day of spring, but we still have some patches of snow on the ground.  It is starting to warm up THANK GOODNESS!!!  I am not sure how much more cold weather I can handle-my kiddos REALLY need to start playing outside.  While it is still chilly outside I am going to make a few more soup recipes.  This recipe is quick, easy, hearty, and DELICIOUS!  The adults in my family (in-laws and husband) recently requested Stuffed Peppers.  I had to laugh at them because most of them don't even like pepper, they just love the "goodness" that is inside the stuffed pepper.  This is all of the good stuff in one pot!  They loved it! peppers and all!  Activities are starting to pick up (ok maybe they never calmed down) in our house which means that any meal that can be made in less than 30 minutes is a hit with me!


Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 Large Green Pepper (diced)
  • 1/2 of an Onion (finely chopped)
  • 14-16 oz of Beef Broth
  • 1 14.5 oz Can of Basil, Oregano, and Garlic Diced Tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1 Jar of Chunky Tomato Sauce (I used  a jar of Prego Thick and Chunky Garden Style Pasta Sauce)
  • 1 Box of Long Grain and Wild Rice (cooked according to package)
  • 1/4 pound of Mild or Spicy Italian Sausage
  • 3/4 pound Ground Beef
The rice will take about 25 minutes so start cooking it when you start the sausage.  Cook sausage, onion, and green pepper in skillet until sausage is cooked through.  Dump can of tomatoes, tomato sauce, and beef broth in soup pot.  When sausage and onion are done dump them in too.  Using the same skillet as the sausage, cook and crumble the ground beef.  Drain the ground beef and add to the soup mixture.  When the rice is done stir it into soup.  You will have a thick, slightly spicy, and yummy soup that is perfect for any chilly evening.  

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Weekly Menu #5


Now that we've had a few nice days, I'm really itching to cook on the grill. Just the other night we threw some hot dogs on the grill because it was a last minute decision and we didn't have anything else to grill, and then sat around by a fire once the sun went down and it was awesome! So we'll start incorporating a few more grill ideas as we move forward. Hopefully it will get so nice outside that we can do an entire week full of grilled dinners!

Monday
Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
Flattened Redskin Potatoes

Tuesday
Cha Cha Chicken Tacos with mango Tango Salsa

Wednesday
Spicy Italian Beef Sandwiches
Cucumber Salad

Thursday
Grilled Bourbon Pork Medallions
Grilled Rosemary Chive Potatoes
Waldorf Salad

Friday
Lazy Lasagna
Caesar Salad

Here are some suggested snacks and desserts to go along with your menu this week.










Be sure to check out our other weekly menus for ideas and inspiration for your family's meal planning.

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sharp Cheddar and Gruyere Mac and Cheese

I am notorious for throwing together a homemade mac and cheese with random cheese that I have on hand.  Some are winners and some are just okay.  This one is definitely one I will be making again.  I have used this same milk/butter/egg/flour combo a few times before.  I like it because it creates a great base for the cheese.  You can substitute other cheeses, but I like to make sure that at least one of them is on the stronger side.  I like cheese any cheese...YUM!

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 Cups of Sharp Cheddar
  • 1 1/2 Cups of Guyere
  • 12 oz of Pasta cooked al dente (I used medium shells)
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Mustard
  • 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 1/2 Cups Milk (I used 1%)
  • 1 Egg
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
While the water for the pasta is coming to a boil I shred the cheese and gather and measure my ingredients because this is one of those recipes that the last 5 minutes is when it all comes together and you can't be scrambling for things.  
Once the pasta is cooked and drained, set it aside.  In the pot you boiled the pasta in melt the butter.  Once the butter is melted whisk in the flour.  Whisk continuously over medium-low heat for about 3 minutes, don't let it burn.  Slowly add the milk, heavy cream, and ground mustard to the butter/flour mixture.  Continue whisking until sauce thickens.  This will take about 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to low.  The next step is a little (just a little) tricky.  Remove about 1/4 cup of the sauce mix.  Gradually whisk the sauce mix into the bowl with the beaten egg.  Make sure you do it slowly so that you don't cook the egg.  Pour the egg mixture into the sauce mixture, mix well.  Next, add the shredded cheese, salt, and pepper.  Mix until cheese is melted.  Last add the cooked macaroni and stir.