Creamy Chicken Primavera

 

This is a quick easy dinner that tastes even better the next day. I cut the recipe in half because there was just too much left over but if your feeding more than two people just double the recipe. I also make garlic bread when I make this … it compliments it nicely.

     Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound of rotini,  ziti, bow ties  or any think short pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless chicken cubed ( I buy tenders and chop after I cook them )
  • 1 pound frozen veg mix – (I use broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot mix) you can use fresh too if you steam them slightly before mixing in with the sauce. I also saute grape tomato halves if i have them and add as well. Just use what veggies you like 🙂
  • 4oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup Italian dressing
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Boil pasta according to package.
  2. Heat oil in skillet and cook chicken on med-high until there is no more pink.
  3. Remove chicken from pan and empty juice, on low to med heat melt cream cheese and stir is milk and Italian dressing whisk all lumps until creamy and thickened, ( about 8 minutes) add chicken cubes  and turn heat off or leave on lowest setting stirring occasional.
  4. Steam vegetables until thawed, drain and mix into cream sauce.
  5. Let cool at least three minutes and stir well again, serve and top with fresh Parmesan cheese …. enjoy 🙂
  6. Drain pasta well and mix pasta and cream sauce with chicken and vegetables in a large bowl.

 

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

    

Sounds fancy doesn’t it ? It really isn’t. In Italian it means “Devil Brother”, which just means a spicy brother to spaghetti. I happen to be a shrimpaholic and love to make this from time to time. I don’t like mine too spicy so if you enjoy a fire in your mouth by all means spice it up. I have started the new year off by eating less and eating healthier, in three days I can already see a difference in my energy level and mood. I don’t do diets because they are only a temporary fix. I’m learning that you can eat all the same things just is moderation, and some things are day foods, and some things are night foods. Oh plus I just heard Dr. Oz say we should all drink a glass of red wine every day … good for our digestion, metabolism,  mood, heart, and sanity …I can live with that 🙂

     Ingredients:

  • 1 lb large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined ( I often use frozen and just thaw 5 min in water)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped small
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped, or 1  tablespoon of minced garlic, or 1 teaspoon garlic salt or powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley, or 3 tablespoons fresh
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil, or 3 tablespoons fresh
  • 1 (14.5 ounce  can) diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 cups spaghetti sauce
  • 1 cup white wine
  • Grated Parmesan cheese(optional)
  • 1 lb of fettuccine, linguini, or whatever pasta you desire. ( I am using whole wheat pasta now…. not bad)

Directions:

  1. Pat dry the shrimp.Toss shrimp, salt  and red pepper flakes is a bowl .
  2. In a large skillet heat the oil at medium to high. Once hot add shrimp and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Remove shrimp into a bowl but leave remaining oil and juice in skillet.
  4. Turn heat to medium or lower and add onion, cook about 5 minutes or until transparent.
  5. Now add tomatoes (with juice), wine, garlic, and oregano . Simmer until sauce thickens a little, should take about 10 minutes.
  6. Now is a good time to boil up your pasta.
  7. After the sauce thickens, return shrimp to the mix, and add spaghetti sauce.
  8. Simmer for about 4 minutes stiring and coating shrimp.
  9. Remove from heat and let sit a few minutes …. then spoon on to pasta…. sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese and enjoy 🙂

5 Cheese Manicotti

 

I have Italian at least once a week for dinner… and no that’s not including pizza. I make manicotti about once every two months. I’m a cheese freak and so is my other half. Now I will admit that I used to buy the box and just use the brands recipe, but it was kind of bland. So I decided one day to put a little “oomph” into it for some flavor. It is a real belly filler and tastes even better the second day so save some left overs 🙂

 

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz cottage cheese (curd size is your choice)
  • 15 oz part skim ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup and 1/2 cup for topping later shredded  Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Provolone Cheese ( a mild white cheddar is ok too)
  • 2 large beaten eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil leaves – or 2 teaspoons of dry
  • 2 large chopped garlic cloves – or 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of Olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 3 cups of marinara sauce (I sometimes use more because Im addicted to it)
  • 10-12 medium manicotti shells

 

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to the box – do not overcook the firmer the better – rinse with cold water and carefully lay out on wax paper on the counter.
  2. Preheat oven to 350*f
  3. Except the 1/2 cup of mozzarella you are saving for the topping – mix all the cheeses together in a large bowl
  4. Now mix in the beaten eggs
  5. In a small pan on medium heat add oil and garlic – stir up until garlic is just starting to brown
  6. Add hot garlic to cheese mix
  7. Then add all the spices
  8. Spread 1 or 2 cups of marinara sauce in the bottom of your pan/casserole dish (13in x 9in works the best)
  9. Stuff the pasta tubes with the filling – I use a teaspoon and my fingers – stuff just to the edge and line the manicotti in your pan
  10. Drizzle the remaining marinara sauce over the manicotti (I cover them completely so the pasta doesn’t dry out put yet not so much that they are swimming in sauce)
  11. Bakecovered with foil  for 20 minutes
  12. After 20 minutes remove the foil and sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella cheese on top and a little Parmesan if you like
  13. Put back in the oven for 15 minutes uncovered
  14. When finished let stand at least 5-10 minutes before serving so the cheese doesn’t run all over the place … enjoy !

Wow now Im hungry for Italian …. 🙂

 

Chicken & Gorgonzola Pasta …. aka “Sanuk Pasta”

     

This is one of our favorite things to eat.  It’s quick, it’s not expensive, and it’s delicious. While we were on the boat this winter I made this dish a lot. As a matter of fact just about everytime we were invited to a pot luck dinner it’s what I brought. Another boat that traveled with us began calling it Sanuk pasta (our boat’s name is Sanuk) because they loved it and always new what Sanuk was bringing. It became our trademark dish…lol.  Try it sometime …. you wont be disappointed.

   Ingredients:

  • 4 1/2 cups of corkscrew pasta (I have used bowties also when I couldnt find corkscrew)
  • 5-6  tablespoons Kerry Gold Garlic Herb Butter or Land O Lakes garlic Butter – (if you cant find them then use 5-6 tbsp of unsalted butter, 2 tbsp of chopped garlic, a little bitty pinch of sugar, and throw in some parsley, and chopped chives)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes-chopped in halves
  • 1 (10 oz. package) grilled chickenbreast strips – you can find them near the lunchmeats or in the frozen section at the store. ( or I use 2 cups of rotisserie chicken fresh chopped up )
  • 4 or 6 oz oz container of Gorgonzola cheese

Directions:

  1. Prepare the pasta following the package instructions and drain
  2. In a skillet on medium heat place butter , chicken, and tomatoes. Cook for about 3 minutes until chicken is hot and tomatoes are softening up.
  3. Place well drained hot pasta in a large bowl, sprinkle Gorgonzola cheese  on top of the pasta, then add the contents of the skillet on top of the pasta as well.
  4. Stir up all the ingredients well and serve immediately.

Enjoy !!!!!

Homemade Macaroni Salad

Cook out season has just begun. Not that you cant eat Macaroni Salad all year long, but it just goes great with grilled foods. It’s easy to make and it stays good in the fridge for quite a long time. I usually make a lot so that I have a cold spare side dish hanging out with the intention of being  lazy later on in the week. My suggestion would be to either make this the night before, or at least a few hours before your going to serve it.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups uncooked elbow macaroni – or corkscrew macaroni
  • 1 cup of mayo or Miracle Whip –  ( I use both together, it tastes better that way to me )
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2- 1/2 tablespoons of yellow mustard
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 4 eggs (optional)
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika (optional)

Directions:

  1. Boil the macaroni in a large pot with a dash of salt. Cook until its becoming tender, about 7-8 minutes. You don’t want to overcook macaroni when using it for salads. Hard-boil the eggs – (if using ) at the same time as the macaroni. Drain both and rinse well with cold water until cooled.
  2. While pasta is cooling in a large bowl mix together the mayo, vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt and pepper – mix well.  Then stir in the onion, celery, carrots, and peppers. ( If using the eggs chop 2 up and add them to the mixture now)  Last step, slowly stir in the cooled off macaroni. Stir well.
  3. If using eggs, take the last 2 eggs and slice them and place slices on top of the macaroni. Sprinkle with paprika if you have some, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving ….. Enjoy !!!!!

Meatballs in May

May Meatballs

I don’t know about anywhere else on this planet  but I know that  here in the Mid-Atlantic in May the heat is starting to go up, and just getting started. So this is the last month for hot comfort food.  So it’s time to squeeze in a few favorites before we start melting. As far as Ive seen everyone likes meatballs ( I know I certainly do ! ) …. and here is my favorite way to make them. The best way is in a crock pot. In a slow cooker everything tastes better. Maybe because it slowly   cooks flavor into the meat, or maybe it’s because at the end of the day it feels like someone else cooked it. Either way it’s a the best way to make meatballs by far.

I want everyone to always remember to add more of things you like, and less of things you don’t like, ( or don’t have ) recipes are never set in stone…. have  just fun with it and enjoy.

You will need:

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef (it doesn’t have to be exact)
  • 1 1/4 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs (or cube up some bread and add some Italian seasoning)
  •  1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley- or 2 tablespoons dry
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced- or 1tsp garlic powder
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 (28 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 (16 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14.25 ounce) can tomato puree
  1. In a bowl, mix the ground beef, bread crumbs, parsley, garlic, onion, and egg.  (it always mixes better with fingers)  Shape the mixture into 16 meatballs.
  2. In a slow cooker, mix the spaghetti sauce, crushed tomatoes, and tomato puree. Place the meatballs into the sauce mixture. Cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours.
  3.  and presto … dinner will be waiting for you later without the mess !!!!!!!!