Bow-Tie Chicken Alfredo

** This is another recipe I love from The Pioneer Woman’s newest cookbook, Dinnertime. I love this cookbook because it is solely dinner recipes. It is quick and easy as well. If  you have this cookbook this recipe can be found under Comfort Food.**

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless

1 TBS Italian seasoning

1 TBS butter

1 TBS olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup chicken broth, divided into 1/2 cups

1/2 cup half and half

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 cup parmesan cheese, grated

12 ounces bow tie pasta, cooked to al dente

2 TBS minced parsley

kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

Slice chicken into strips and season with the Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste.

Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until it is deep golden brown on both sides and done in the middle, 6-7 minutes.

Remove chicken to plate and set aside.

Add the garlic to the pan and quickly stir it around, letting it cook and release it’s flavors for 30 seconds.

Then add the chicken broth, scrape the bottom of the pan, let the liquid bubble up and reduce by half, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the half and half and cream

Let the sauce heat up and thicken for a few minutes.

When the sauce has thickened remove it from the heat. Add the Parmesan cheese to the pan and then the pasta. Then add the chicken.

Toss it around, taste, add more salt and pepper if needed. Top with parsley and more Parmesan cheese.

Cook’s Notes:

I have made this and the recipe is spot on. My only mistake was not letting the chicken  broth reduce enough before adding the cream and half and half. This is a great recipe and quick and easy, perfect for a week night dinner.

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Cajun Chicken Pasta

** I got this recipe here. I have made this once and as always I will put all my changes in the Cook’s Notes at the bottom of this recipe. This is really good and you can add more Cajun seasonings to fit your taste **

Ingredients:

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

16 ounces of bow tie pasta

3 tsp. Cajun seasoning

1/4 cup flour

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 small yellow onion or white, diced

1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped

1 cup whole milk, heavy cream, or half and half

4 TBS butter

3 cloves garlic (optional)

Directions:

Prepare pasta according to directions

Cut uncooked chicken into bite sized pieces. Sprinkle one teaspoon Cajun seasoning over chicken, add salt and pepper.

Spray a large pan or skillet with non stick spray and cook chicken, stirring constantly for 8-10 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

In the same pan, melt butter, add peppers, onions, and garlic to melted butter and cook for two minutes.

Add flour to pan and stir until flour and vegetables clump together

Slowly add milk to pan stirring until sauce until smooth and creamy.

Stir in 2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning until well combined. Mix in pasta and chicken until coated and the chicken is warmed through.

Garnish with scallions and Parmesan cheese if desired

 

Cook’s Notes: First of all I did not use any onion or peppers. I am allergic to onions and do not like the peppers. For the chopped tomatoes I used a can of diced tomatoes to make my life easier. I did have trouble with the proportions for the sauce. I used the same amount of butter and flour but I ended up using 2 cups of heavy cream and at least one cup of whole milk, bringing the total to 3 cups of liquid and not the 1 cup stated in the recipe. I came out good anyway and the sauce was thick. I also misread the recipe on the first read through, I thought it said 3 TABLESPOONS of Cajun seasoning not 3 TEASPOONS. I thought that seemed a bit much and read through it again before adding anything, so be careful when reading recipes and if something seems like too much or too little you might be looking at it wrong or there might be a mistake in the recipe. In the end, I did not add the tomatoes, mainly because the recipe does not state when to add them.. So I left them out. I would assume that you add them with the onions, peppers, and garlic

Pizza Pasta Bake

** I made this Tuesday for the first time. I can not remember where I got this recipe, but it is really good and very kid friendly! You can also customize this as you want or need, this recipe is that versatile! As usual, I will tell you what changes I made in the Cook’s Notes at the bottom of this recipe.**

Ingredients:

12 ounces of uncooked medium pasta ( I used penne)

1 medium onion, diced

1/2 pound of Italian sausage (mild or hot) removed from casings if using links

1/2 pound lean ground beef

3 cloves garlic

1/2 red pepper, diced

1/2 green pepper, diced

1 can ( I used the normal sized, I think it was 10.5 oz) diced tomatoes, drained

2 tsp. oregano

4 cups pasta sauce

3 cups mozzarella cheese

28 slices of pepperoni ( I used Hormel, the already packaged you can find near the pizza sauce usually)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cook pasta according to package directions, making sure it is el dente, rinse under cold water and drain well.

Brown onion, garlic, sausage, and beef in a large pan over medium heat. Drain any fat. Add in red and green peppers cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Add oregano, drained tomatoes, and pasta sauce, stirring together until well mixed.

Place the cooked pasta into a 9×13 pan. Pour the meat mixture over pasta and top with cheese and pepperoni slices.

Bake 35-40 minutes uncovered or until the cheese is melted and the pasta is heated through.

 

Cook’s Notes: I did not use the onion or peppers, mainly because I am allergic to the onion and do not like the peppers. I did not have any sausage on hand, so I used a full pound of ground beef. It was so good! My 2 year old loved it! He had 2 servings of it. I loved it because it was quick and easy. Perfect for a week night dinner. You could add any kind of pizza ingredient you like such as mushrooms as well, it is easily customizable.

Quick Shells and Cheese

** I got this recipe from Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, off of Food Network. Last night was the first time I have ever made it, it has changed the way I eat mac and cheese now. It is so simple and quick, that you will not want to buy another box of mac and cheese again!**

Ingredients:

1 pound of mini shells pasta

2 cups whole milk

1 TBS butter

2 cups grated cheddar Jack

8 ounces processed cheese such as Velveeta, diced

1 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. seasoned salt

 

Directions:

Cook pasta according to the package directions

Heat the milk and butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat.

Add the cheeses and stir until melted.

Stir in the pepper, salt and seasoned salt

Drain the pasta, and stir it into the cheese sauce

Serve immediately

 

**I absolutely adore this recipe! The longest step was cooking the pasta! It came out so well that honestly I will not be making the boxed stuff anymore. I did not use the mini shells, because I had the regular ones on hand and it was still perfect!**

Baked Ziti

**I made this last night and honestly think this is the best baked ziti recipe I have ever had! It is amazing and moist! My only thing is that you need to pay attention to the amount of pasta you make, the recipe calls for a whole pound and that is what you need to actually make. I did not pay attention and made less because the box I made was not a full pound.**

Ingredients:

1 pound of ground beef

2 cans or jars (26 ounces) of your favorite spaghetti sauce

1 jar (16 ounces) garlic alfredo sauce

1 box (1 pound) of penne pasta

1/2 yellow onion diced (optional)

1 bag (2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9×13 baking dish with non stick spray.

Prepare pasta according to package directions

In a medium sauce pan, brown ground beef with onion (if using). After beef is brown and crumbled, drain excess grease. Put back in pot and pour in one (1) jar of spaghetti sauce. Keep mixture on low until the pasta is done.

When the pasta is done, drain excess water from pasta. You want the pasta as dry as possible. Put pasta back in large pot (with heat off) and pour jar of Alfredo sauce. Combine until pasta is coated thoroughly. 

Pour past mixture into bottom of 9×13 dish. Cover pasta with spaghetti sauce mixture.

** Don’t put that pot you used for the spaghetti sauce mixture in with the dirty dishes just yet. Keep that pot out and start heating up the second jar of sauce on low heat. Put a cover on it to keep warm until ziti is finished baking.

Sprinkle top with mozzarella cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Let rest for about 5 minutes after taking out of oven. Serve portions onto plates and pour some of the heated spaghetti sauce on top.

** At first, I did not think I would need the second jar of sauce, but you really do! The pasta soaks all the sauce up and you need to add more. I did not use the onions because I am allergic. This came out really good.**

Easy Lasagna

** I am making this for dinner tonight, so if I remember I might have a photo of it. I got this from my Just a Pinch website. I will pair this with a quickie homemade garlic bread and salad.**

Ingredients:

2 1/2 pounds of ground beef

1 egg

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1 large container cottage cheese

1 TBS. parsley flakes

2 packages of Mozzarella cheese

1 package lasagna noodles

3 cans of Hunts 4 cheese pasta sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Boil noodles until just under done as they will continue to cook in the oven.

Brown the ground beef. In a bowl combine cottage cheese, parmesan, egg, and parsley flakes and set aside.

When the meat is cooked through, add one can at a time to decide how saucy you want your sauce.

in your 9×13 pan, spread a spoonful of the sauce on the bottom of pan. Start your layers of noodles, layer of cheese spread, mozzarella, meat sauce. Continue layers until you have built your lasagna.

Bake until heated through, about 1 hour depending on how your oven works. Add some more shredded cheese on top and bake 5-10 minutes more until cheese is melted and bubbly.

COOKS NOTES: I personally will not use the cottage cheese. Also, I do not like the canned sauce, it has that ‘flavor’ so I use jarred. I think this recipe only needs maybe 1 to 1 1/2 jars, but that is up to you. You can also use ricotta cheese, I do not like it much because of the grainy texture.