Category Archives: Casserole / One Pot

Walnut Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta Salad

Walnut Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Walnut Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta
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This spring I built two raised garden beds and tried my hand at a garden of herbs, fruits, and vegetables. It took off like crazy, especially the squash and cucumbers. I continue to learn about the benefits and purposes of pruning. So I have a few basil plants that are massive but I learned they are too leggy and I failed to prune properly. Nothing has flowered, so I caught before it changed flavors. The good news is that I have a boat load of beautiful green basil.

So I am going to make a pesto and incorporate some chicken and pasta for dinner. Jill loves pesto pasta so this should be right down her alley. My grocery stores pine nuts weren’t too attractive so I am going with walnuts instead.


Ingredients:

Basil Pesto
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cloves of garlic
2 cups of fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup walnuts
1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 breasts of free range chicken (seasoned, grilled and diced)
1.5 cups of cooked al dente penne pasta
1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes sliced
Grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbs of Butter
1 tbs of AP Flour
1/4 cup of cream
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Directions:
1. Make your pesto by first toasting your walnuts on the stove for a few minutes. Don’t let them burn. et them cool and then add all the Pesto ingredients and blend until smooth. Use Olive Oil and lemon juice to give it the thickness you like.
2. Season your chicken and grill outside of in a pan with olive oil and cook until 160-165k. Remove and when cooled a bit dice it up.
3. Cook pasta per directions but remove about 1 minute before the pasta is al dente. Grain and set aside.
4. Lastly make a basic roux by adding butter and flour, and stir for 2 minutes on medium-low heat until golden brown.
5. Slowly add the cream until smooth. Now add your chicken, pasta and sliced tomatoes.
Slowly add the pesto while stirring. When you get it flavored to your taste add some more parmesan cheese and serve.

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Walnut Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Walnut Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta

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This spring I built two raised garden beds and tried my hand at a garden of herbs, fruits, and vegetables. It took off like crazy, especially the squash and cucumbers. I continue to learn about the benefits and purposes of pruning. So I have a few basil plants that are massive but I learned they are too leggy and I failed to prune properly. Nothing has flowered, so I caught before it changed flavors. The good news is that I have a boat load of beautiful green basil.

So I am going to make a pesto and incorporate some chicken and pasta for dinner. Jill loves pesto pasta so this should be right down her alley. My grocery stores pine nuts weren’t too attractive so I am going with walnuts instead.


Ingredients:

Basil Pesto
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cloves of garlic
2 cups of fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup walnuts
1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 breasts of free range chicken (seasoned, grilled and diced)
1.5 cups of cooked al dente penne pasta
1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes sliced
Grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbs of Butter
1 tbs of AP Flour
1/4 cup of cream
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Directions:
1. Make your pesto by first toasting your walnuts on the stove for a few minutes. Don’t let them burn. et them cool and then add all the Pesto ingredients and blend until smooth. Use Olive Oil and lemon juice to give it the thickness you like.
2. Season your chicken and grill outside of in a pan with olive oil and cook until 160-165k. Remove and when cooled a bit dice it up.
3. Cook pasta per directions but remove about 1 minute before when the pasta is al dente. Grain and set aside.
4. Lastly, make a basic roux by adding butter and flour and stir for 2 minutes on medium-low heat until golden brown.
5. Slowly add the cream until smooth. Now add your chicken, pasta, and sliced tomatoes.
Slowly add the pesto while stirring. When you get it flavored to your taste add some more parmesan cheese and serve.

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Mediterranean Feta Chicken Pasta

Mediterranean Feta Chicken Pasta

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Mediterranean Feta Chicken Pasta

The other day my wife and I picked up some Zoe’s on the way home from work. Generally, we order the chicken kabobs and maybe some hummus. But the lady taking my order asked if I wanted to try this baked feta app that consists of sliced cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives cover served with fresh basil and olive oil over a slab of Feta cheese. That is baked off until the cheese is slightly melted and served with pita chips. It’s really simple but tasty.

So I was trying to come up with a recipe for dinner and that app popped into my head so I thought I would try to incorporate a little pasta and some grilled chicken and make a meal out of it. Kind of like a Greek version of a chicken divan, chicken spaghetti, or a favorite in Texas the King Ranch Casserole. It’s got to be healthier than the later but maybe not by much.

This turned out really tasty. You get the punches of salty tang from the feta and kalamata olives balanced by the sweetness of the fresh tomatoes and red onions atop a hearty chicken pasta dish.

Ingredients:
Penne Pasta
2 chicken breasts (free range, air chilled)
Container of cherry tomatoes
Handful of spinach
Handful of mushrooms
4 tbs of diced red onion
4 cloves of garlic diced
1 tbs of fresh diced basil
Dashes of dried oregano and red pepper flakes
1 tbs of butter
1 tbs of flour
1/4 cup of chicken stock/broth
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1/4 cup of olive oil
Paprika for the chicken
Block of Fresh Feta Cheese
Kosher Salt
Pepper

Directions:
Prep: dice your garlic, red onion, mushrooms. Slice about half of the cherry tomatoes. Assemble three bowls based upon cook times.. 1. Red onion, whole cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms. 2. Garlic and spinach 3. Sliced tomatoes, olives, basil, vinegar, olive oil, red pepper flakes.
1. Preheat oven to broil but use the bottom rack.
2. Get a pot of boiling water going and follow the directions of your favorite pasta. Pull it out right before they say to do so. Set aside a cup of pasta water in case you need to add moisture later on.
3. On to the chicken… Heat up a cast iron skillet with some olive oil in it. I used medium to medium-low heat. I salted, peppered and paprika my chicken breasts and cooked them so that they were done with a nice color.
4. Remove your chicken to rest.
5. In that skillet add butter and your bowl of mushrooms, whole tomatoes, and red onion. Sweat them out.
6. Now add flour to the pot to build a rue that will help us thicken the sauce. When it’s golden brown add your second bowl of garlic and spinach for 30 seconds and then quickly add the chicken stock and stir until thickened. About three minutes.
7. While your mixture thickens cut up your chicken breasts into bite sized pieces.
8. Now add your pasta and chicken to the skillet and turn off the heat. Crumble and stir in half the feta cheese and slowly stir to get everything well coated with melted cheese and sauce. If it looks dry, add some pasta water and stir until it has the consistency of mac n cheese.
9 Pour that mixture into an oven ready dish. Top with the third bowl of halved cherry tomatoes, olives, basil with the vinegar and spices. Lastly, top with the remaining block of Feta and crumble it over the top. Put it into the oven uncovered for about 4 to 5 minutes so that the feta takes on some brown color. It won’t melt like other cheese but it is soft despite looking like it did when it went into the oven.

Serve with pita bread or anything else that you come up with.

Chicken Curry Garden Stew

Chicken Curry Garden Stew

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Chicken Curry Garden Stew
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Indian food flavors are some of the most advanced and interesting in the world. A touch of curry can transform a chicken salad or even a deviled egg. Today is one of those chilly and dank days that is worthy of a hearty stew. Instead of a vegetable rich chicken soup, I am going to add some curry, soy, and coconut milk to make something a little different than the standard chicken stock or tomato based soup.

Ingredients:
Add the veggies and amounts that you have on hand or that you suits your palate
2 air chilled free range chicken breasts
1 onion diced
4 diced celery stocks
4 diced carrots
cherry tomatoes
broccoli
3 cloves of garlic minced
3 tbs of red curry paste
1 tbs of turmeric
1 cup chicken stock
1 can of coconut milk
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 tbs Soy sauce
1 tsp Fish Sauce
Cayenne pepper
Turmeric
Dry Curry
Kosher Salt to taste
olive oil

Directions:
1. In a large pot add your carrots, onion, and celery to some oil and the curry paste and heat to medium to have them sweat for 5-7 minutes.

2. Cube your chicken and add it to the pot to cook through and then add the rest of the vegetables. Stir for about 5 minutes to soften the broccoli up.

3. Pour in the chicken stock and coconut milk and season with the rest of the ingredients. About 5 minutes before serving, tear the basil and add it to the stew. Enjoy.
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Spinach and Mushroom Goat Cheese Quiche

Spinach and Mushroom Goat Cheese Quiche

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Spinach and Mushroom Goat Cheese Quiche
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Tonight I made a quiche that was packed, possibly over packed, with spinach and mushrooms. Since we like goat cheese, I broke up large chunks and scattered them on the crust before pouring the egg mixture in. To get some color on the top I went with Parmesan cheese because I didn’t think it would compete with the goat cheese.

We enjoyed it for dinner but certainly great for breakfast or brunch. Also holds up well throughout the week. This savory quiche is packed with veggies all suspended in an omelet like egg pie with bursts of tangy goat cheese countered by the slightly sweet crust.

Ingredients:
Pie crust
Two handfuls of spinach
1/2 cup of chopped mushrooms
4 eggs
1 cup of milk
1/4 cup of Goat cheese
Parmesan Cheese to top

Directions:
1. Take your pie crust and use a fork to poke the crust so it won’t rise in the oven. You can also put beans or a pan on top of it to accomplish the same thing. Cook it according to the directions on the pie crust. Set aside and let it cool.

2. While the pie crust is baking, Take a saute pan and cook your spinach and mushrooms until they are tender. try to remove as must moisture as possible by squeezing it in a paper towel. Set this aside.

3. In a separate dish crack your eggs and milk and whisk it completely. To assemble your quiche break up the goat cheese and scatter it on the bottom. Next mix your spinach/mushrooms with the egg mixture and pour into the pie sheel. Mine was pretty packed. You may have extra. IMG_0903IMG_0904IMG_0901

4. Now protect your crust by wrapping foil around it so that it doesn’t over cook in the oven. Remember the pie crust is already cooked so you want to protect it. Top with Parmesan cheese to cover. Put in a 350 degree oven and cook for about 30-45 minutes. Just check it at the 30 minute mark and watch it until the eggs are solid and not giggly.
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Goat Cheese Turkey Baked Ziti

Goat Cheese Turkey Baked Ziti

  • Servings: 4-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Goat Cheese Turkey Baked Ziti
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The request for a pasta dish came in from my better half. Somewhere along the way we started adding a little goat cheese to our spaghetti sauce to give it a little tang. We have a friend that describes the taste of goat cheese as “wet fur”. If you share a disdain for goat cheese you can omit it. I guess we like the taste of wet fur… who knew?

So instead of spaghetti I settled on a baked ziti. What’s cool is I found this penne pasta that was gluten free. It held together nicely and frankly I couldn’t tell the difference. In fact, Jill claimed that it was the best baked ziti dishes that she has ever eaten and when I told her it was GF she was shocked. I think what really made this dish shine was the combination of the goat cheese in the sauce and then the blistered smoked mozzarella (Trader Joes) on the top.

The ground turkey really crumbles well so it blends into the sauce perfectly. One cheat I often do when in a rush is to use jarred sauce and then add to it. I used Rao’s for this one and added some garlic slices, parm, goat cheese, tomato paste, red wine and some basil.

Ingredients:
1 package of ground turkey (you could sub beef, pork, chicken, sausage)
1 package of Penne pasta (I used gluten free)
1 jar of Rao’s Marinara Sauce
4 cloves of sliced garlic
1 shallot diced
2-3 tbs of tomato paste
1/4 cup of goat cheese
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan
Fresh smoked mozzarella (sliced or pinched on top)
1/2 cup of red wine
Basil (fresh or dried) (optional)

Directions:
Prep: Get a boiling pot of water for your pasta, dice your garlic and shallot and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
1. While you wait on your water to boil take a large pot and add your ground turkey. Oil if you need it. I always use medium heat. Once your meat is browned I added the shallot and sweated it out for 3-4 minutes. I then added the garlic slices (you can mince if you prefer) and let them soften for about 1 minute.

2. Now add wine, sauce, basil and tomato paste and bring it to a simmer. Depending upon your pasta and boiling water you can let this simmer until the pasta is done. Drain and strain and set aside. IMG_0873

3. Turn the heat off and add the goat cheese and Parmesan cheese and stir until well combined. If it’s too thick you can add a little water (pasta water if you saved any). Now add the cooked pasta and stir well until everything is well coated.

4. Pour this into a baking dish and top with the smoked mozzarella. On your lowest oven rack or at least in the middle put your dish into the oven but crank it on broil. When cheese is blistered remove and serve.
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Smoked Sausage and Black-Eyed Peas

Smoked Sausage and Black-Eyed Peas

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Smoked Sausage and Black-Eyed Peas
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We made these on New Years Day and they were amazing. Truth in advertising, I bought my black-eye peas from Central Market in these clear containers that were either partially cooked or just soaked. They weren’t dry nor were they canned. So if you go to your market and can’t find the right ones you can go the dried route and soak overnight and cook per the instructions on the package or if you are in a hurry you could buy frozen or cans.

My second cheat here was that I bought a new Fagor slowcooker/steamer/pressure cooker for Christmas. That thing is awesome. I pressure cooked for 8 minutes and everything was done as if it cooked for 3 hours. I picked it up on sale for about 100 dollars and it is really going to be worth it for soups, veggies, rice, risotto, meats etc.. Here is a link to the one I bought if you are interested.
http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-2195139/Fagor+Lux+Multicooker

What I love about these recipe is that the smoked sausage gives it such a salty smokey flavor and the corn bread counters that with a kiss of sweetness. Of course we like spicy so added jalapenos to the black-eyed peas and the cornbread. I read that this recipe was adapted from Emeril. I actually ate this for four straight days I loved it so much but I am a bean and greens nut.

Ingredients:
12 – 16 ounces smoked sausage
1 cup chopped yellow onion
Green onions to garnish
4 whole cloves garlic
1/4 cup – 1/2 cup of Pickled Jalapenos
2 lbs black eyed peas (not canned, not dried but from Central Market pre-soaked)
1 tbs salt
1 tbs of Black Pepper
4 splashes of Tabasco1
1 teaspoon cayenne
5 sprigs of fresh thyme
4 bay leaves
chicken stock to cover

1. Directions are pretty easy if you buy the black-eyed peas the way I did. As mentioned above if you cook from dried beans it will require you to soak overnight and cook for much longer to get the tenderness you want in your peas. Dice your onions, jalapenos and sausage. I cut my sausage links in half and then rotated 180 degrees and cut that link in have and then diced. So basically if you cut a the link into a disk and then cut into four equal pieces.

2. I added the sausage and browned it over medium heat. I then added the onions and sweated them out until translucent. I smashed the garlic cloves and added them and let them cook for a minute. I added the rest of the ingredients and pressure cooked them for 8 minutes and kept them on simmer while I cooked my cornbread for about 30 minutes.

Serve with jalapeno cheddar cornbread, green onions, jalapenos and/or cheddar cheese.

White Bean Chicken Chili with Polenta Croutons

White Bean Chicken Chili with Polenta Croutons

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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White Bean Chicken Chili with Polenta Croutons
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Tonight I made a white bean chicken chili and it was glorious. Salty with some mild heat from the green chilies and freshness from the cilantro. I was going to do a mexican lasagna but last minute decided to forgo the cheese and noodles for a soup and I am glad I did.

With my soups I like a cracker, piece of bread or crouton. I thought polenta would add a touch of sweetness to it. I bought one of those store bought logs instead of making it fresh and that was a visual mistake. I wanted to add some cheddar to it so tried to food process it and I couldn’t get them to bind so I added some sour cream. I formed them and put them on high heat and they turned to goo. So I ended up just making one big blob and put a crust on both sides. So while ugly the polenta was a perfect complement to this soup. Next time I will make it fresh and bake it off in the oven.

Ingredients:
2 rotisserie chicken breast diced
1 onion diced
2 cloves of garlic diced
2 cans of rinsed White Beans
2 4oz cans of diced green chilies
1 head of cilantro
2 cartons of Chicken Broth
1 tbs of cumin
1 tbs of chili powder
3 tsp of oregano

Store bought Polenta combined with cheddar and sour cream and fried as delicious but hideous blob.


Instructions:

1. Prep Dice your onion, cut your chicken, open your cans of beans and green chilies, dice your cilantro.

2. In a large pot on medium heat add some olive oil and drop in your diced onions and cook them until they are soft and translucent. Next add your chilies and minced garlic. Now add your spices and let them bloom for one minute.

3. Next add your chicken stock, chicken and beans. Simmer for 30 minutes and then add your chopped cilantro.
Serve in a bowl and top with your fried polenta croutons.

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