Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Spaghetti with Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes

I know what you should have for dinner's this: Spaghetti with Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes. You really won't regret it. Pioneer Woman says so.

Don't change a thing. Seriously, bite the bullet and use the heavy cream.

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
½ whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
1 can Artichoke Hearts (14.5 Oz. Quartered Or Whole, NOT the marinated kind) Drained
1 can Diced Tomatoes With Juice (14.5 Oz.)
1 cup Heavy Cream
½ cups Chicken Broth (More As Needed)
½ teaspoons Nutmeg
Salt And Pepper (to Taste)
1 pound Thin Spaghetti
1 cup Parmesan Cheese, Freshly Grated
2 Tablespoons Fresh Chives (or Other Herbs) Chopped

1. Cook spaghetti till al dente. Drain and set aside.

2. Melt olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Add artichoke hearts and tomatoes. Stir and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cream and chicken broth. Add salt and pepper to taste (do not undersalt!) Cook over low heat until heated through, then turn off heat.

4. Place drained pasta in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1 cup Parmesan. Pour sauce over the top. Add chives. Toss lightly to combine and coat; add a tiny bit of reserved pasta water if sauce seems too thick.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Homemade Mac and Cheese

This recipe quickly became one of my favorite mac and cheese recipes (and I've found some good ones!). Super easy and completely satisfying on its own or as a great side. Having it as a side makes for more leftovers which is always a plus!

Mac and Cheese
(Source: Southern Living, October 2009)

2 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (10-oz.) block extra sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)
1/2 (16-oz.) package elbow macaroni, cooked

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Microwave milk at HIGH for 1 1/2 minutes. Melt butter in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute.

2. Gradually whisk in warm milk, and cook, whisking constantly, 5 minutes or until thickened.

3. Whisk in salt, black pepper, 1 cup shredded cheese, and, if desired, red pepper until smooth; stir in pasta. Spoon pasta mixture into a lightly greased 2-qt. baking dish; top with remaining cheese. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

I just prepared everything on the stovetop in a cast iron skillet so I could put the whole thing directly in the oven. No need to dirty another baking dish! I also used whole wheat rotini pasta I had in the pantry instead of elbow macaroni.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Maple Walnut Chicken

I tried out a recipe for Maple Walnut Chicken last night after receiving it as part of an email recipe exchange (like a chain letter but you send recipes to the first person on the list...and there are no scary threats if you decide not to participate!). It was a delicious and simple meal that had the whole house smelling like Fall was finally here! And more than likely you have the ingredients on hand which always makes a recipe more appealing in my book!

Maple Walnut Chicken

4 boneless chicken breast
Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Fresh Thyme Leaves
½ Cup Walnuts (I chopped them into smaller pieces)
5 Tbsp cider vinegar
3 Tbsp maple syrup

1. Rub chicken breast with olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme.

2. Toast walnuts over medium in skillet until fragrant and golden brown (about 5 min).Transfer walnuts to dish. Use same skillet to cook chicken (it took about 20 minutes over medium heat).

3. Remove chicken and cover to keep warm.

4. Add vinegar to same skillet and cook about one minute while stirring. Then add maple syrup and ½ cup water – simmer about 7 minutes until it thickens a little. Add walnuts to sauce.

Slicing the chicken before putting the sauce on helped to coat the chicken really well. This chicken went great with steamed broccoli and rice pilaf. I left out the thyme and just seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper and it was great! Can't wait for the leftovers at lunch!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie

I haven't had any crazy cravings since being pregnant. Except for one undeniable one for Sour Patch Kids...they tasted just as good as I remembered they did back in elementary school! This is all much to Jake's disappointment...he's more than willing to run out in the middle of the night for a Wendy's Spicy Chicken or whatever it may be. Maybe he'll get his chance soon enough. Anyway, what I've really been wanting are good old fashioned comfort pot roast, macaroni and cheese and chicken pot pie. Yum!

So I tried my hand at an easy, homemade chicken pot pie and loved the results!

(Source: Cottage Living, January 2005)

1/2 cup butter
2 small leeks or 1 small onion, chopped (I used an onion)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 (14-ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup frozen peas *
2 cups frozen baby corn blend *
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, divided
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1/2 (15-ounce) refrigerated piecrust
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon water

**I just used 2.5 cups of a frozen mixed veggie blend including green beans, carrots, corn and lima beans. I also left out the fresh herbs and just used salt, pepper and some spices I had on hand.

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Melt butter over medium heat. Sauté leeks or onions 7 minutes. Sprinkle flour over leeks or onions. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Whisk in chicken broth and next 3 ingredients; bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Add peas, corn blend, parsley, 2 teaspoons dill, and chicken. Mix well. Pour into a greased 9-inch deep pie dish.

2. Whisk together egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water, and brush underside of crust edge with egg wash. Place crust, brushed side down, over pie; crimp or use back of fork to seal rim of crust around dish. Cut 4 to 5 vents in the pastry. Brush top with egg wash, and sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon dill. Bake at 400° for 30 to 35 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and mixture is bubbling.

This is definitely going in the "recipes to make again" file. It was so easy and would be a great way to put leftover veggies to great use!