Tag Archives: Pasta

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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Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta

Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta

I ran across this recipe on another blog and when I was cooking according to her directions, I found myself immediately deviating from her directions. This actually turned out as a great creamy, herby pasta dish that comes together in about 20-30 minutes. So if want a departure from your typical pasta dish but not skimp on flavor this one might be a good fit.

I still have a case of the blog blahs and in perfect form, I thought I took pictures last night but didn’t have my card in my camera…doh. So picture if you will, a creamy pasta dish resembling a looser alfredo sauce but packed with herbs, spinach and grape tomatoes. Additionally, some sliced pieces of bite sized chicken that replaced a meatball.

The recipe that I followed used evaporated milk which I did do but wouldn’t do it again. Instead, I would use whole milk, cream or even a dollop of cream cheese or something. Also, she suggested covering your chicken with pesto prior to cooking. I found that it started to burn the pesto. So much so, that when I removed my chicken I had to deglaze the pan with water and start from scratch missing out of on those lovely chicken bits and juices. I also amped up the parmesan cheese to compensate for the evaporate milk.

Last note, I have been falling in love with my grocery store salad bar. Instead of buying vegetables that I wouldn’t always use, I load up on the vegetables I want to cook that night. I added spinach, grape tomatoes, sliced red onion and a few mushrooms.

My recipe should deliver a super fast but delicious meal.

Ingredients:
Free Range Chicken Breasts
Fresh Basil
Fresh Pesto (store bought)
a handful of fresh spinach
a handful sliced grape tomatoes
small amount of sliced red onion from salad bar.
4 cloves of garlic
Cooked spaghetti (al dente)
1 cup whole milk or cream
1/4 cup chicken stock
3 tbs of grated parmesan cheese (use more or less to your taste)
1 tbs butter
1 tbs flour
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper

Directions:
Needed: Two pots: one for the sauce and chicken and one for boiling the pasta.
1. Start boiling the water for your pasta.
2. Lightly salt and pepper your chicken breasts. I tenderized them with a mallet to flatten them out to an even thickness. I heated a pan with olive oil on medium heat. The idea is to put a little color on them. Cook three to four minutes each side and remove them to rest.
2. Make a roux by adding the butter and flour in the same pot of the removed chicken. When it turns light brown, go ahead and add your minced garlic, red onion, and halved grape tomatoes and stir for one minute.
3. Add the chicken stock and loosen everything up. Turn down the heat to low and then add the pesto, the cream/milk and parm. Stir until the sauce thickens.
4. Cook your pasta according to the package in salted water. While it cooks cut the chicken breast on the bias and then add the sliced chicken back into the sauce and continue to stir.
5. When your pasta is cooked al dente, remove it, drain it and add the pasta into the sauce pot. Now add in your spinach and basil until nicely wilted but not over cooked. Serve and top with some fresh shaved parm and torn basil.

Pesto Tortellini with Chicken Pea Cream Sauce

Pesto Tortellini with Chicken Pea Cream Sauce

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Pesto Tortellini with Chicken Pea Cream Sauce
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I wasn’t sure what to call this dish but when I spotted the Trader Joe’s pesto tortellini I knew Jill would love it A creamy Parmesan sauce was a perfect complement. Adding the chicken made it a more substantial mean but certainly not necessary. Also when I make a creamy sauce for my pasta I love adding peas because they add a pop of sweetness and freshness.

Given I used packaged tortellini this is one of those restaurant quality meals that you can whip up in a flash. I used two chicken breasts but looking back I would just go with one because we couldn’t eat it all. For the sauce, I will try to remember how much I used of each ingredient but the more important thing for you to do is consider your tastes. Do you like a lot or light amounts of sauces? Do you like it thick or more loose. More cheesy or even use another cheese like Gruyere, swiss, maybe even blue cheese. hmmmm?

Ingredients for 2:
1 Package of Trader Joe’s Pesto Tortellini
1 tbs of flour
1 tbs of butter
1 cup of milk or cream
Parmesan Cheese
Peas
Chicken breast

Directions:
1. Let’s make some chicken. Season both sides with Kosher salt and Pepper. Put a little bit of oil in a medium heated cast iron skillet and cook it until done and make sure you get some nice browning. Remove your chicken and set it aside. IMG_0703

2. Turn the heat down medium low and splash in a little chicken stock or water (pasta water if you decided to cook your tortellini first, to deglaze the pan. Now add your butter and flour to get a rue going. Given the chicken bits are in your rue it will look darker but stir until you get a nice paste. Slowly pour in the milk stirring continuously. I let it thicken up a little bit and then added about a cup of finely grated Parmesan cheese.
Again once you get your rue, you can make more or less sauce by adding only the milk/cream amount you like. If it gets too thick, add some stock, pasta water or even milk. Add your peas and your cut chicken breasts. Stir
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3. Cook your Tortellini until al dente. I chose to pour my sauce mixture over the top versus incorporating them into the sauce with everything else. The reason is that I have had some ravioli or tortellini bust open on me during the stir. I just stirred it while in my bowl.
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Mushroom Ravioli with Gouda Cream Sauce

Mushroom Ravioli with Gouda Cream Sauce and Chicken

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Mushroom Ravioli with Gouda Cream Sauce and Chicken
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Every once in a while you just hit it out of the park. Tonight was one of those nights. We have a Trader Joe’s that opened up near us. In North Texas there are weird grocery rules/laws that some idiot set up to try and keep a monopoly on our grocery stores. There is a beautiful loop hole where “specialty” stores are allowed to exist so we have some great stores like Central Market, Trader Joes, City Market and Whole Foods that allow us access to ingredients and food we can’t find in our typical grocery stores. Still pining for HEB up here.

All that to say, I picked up a few things from “my” Trader Joe’s and one of them was mushroom stuffed ravioli. Jill’s treads are getting pretty slick as she has a lot of stuff going on and working long hours and weekends. Tonight was the big deadline so I thought I would make something a bit decadent. I remember eating a ravioli I liked that had this Gouda cream sauce and thought I would try to make something similar.

This was amazing. I mean really really delicious if you like rich sauces. I added chicken to get some protein in there but it holds up without it too. Toothy al dente pasta stuffed with earthy mushroom filling and then topped with a salty and rich creamy sauce. My one regret was my plating. I should have used my rectangle plates and lightly sauced it and topped it with the Ravioli and then the chicken and mushroom mixture and then topped with the sauce.
The taste wasn’t compromised but it would have looked worthy of how it tasted.

Ingredients:

Trader Joe’s Mushroom Ravioli
Two bunches of green onion (only whites and light green)
Baby Portabella sliced
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 chicken breast cut into pieces
Olive oil
Kosher Salt and Pepper

Sauce
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbs of butter
1 cup of Gouda Cheese
Black Pepper and Kosher Salt
2 tsp of Thyme

Directions:
1. Get your water boiling.

2. In a cast iron skillet on medium heat coated with olive oil. Lightly salt and pepper your cubed chicken and cook it and get some color on it. Remove and set aside.

3. Now take your sliced mushrooms, onions, butter and add them to the pan. As their water is released scrape your pan to dislodge all those tasty chicken bits. When soft add the garlic and turn your heat down to low. Cook for about a minute. Slowly add a cup or so of cold cream that will help lower the temp. Take your Gouda and break it up into small pieces and constantly stir until it is all melted. Add thyme, taste and season accordingly. I added the chicken back to the sauce at this point. IMG_0642

4. As your sauce is just outside of a simmer and is continuing to meld. Cook your Ravioli according to the package. Don’t overcook it. You want it firm and toothy. To plate drizzle some sauce on a plate and then place your ravioli and top with sauce mixture.
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Salmon Pasta Presto

Salmon Pasta Presto

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Salmon Pasta Presto
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Jill had something the other night so I was a latch key husband for a night. When this happens I go grab Thai or Indian or seem to make some sort of salmon since it isn’t her favorite. So I grabbed a nice filet at the grocery and brought it home. There is a pasta dish I make sometimes that has pasta, Parmesan, peas and asparagus. It’s a nice little dish that is balanced between sweet green peas and the savory/pungent asparagus. It’s not too filling but satisfying.

I always keep frozen peas on hand and had some asparagus on deck with a few bags of near empty pasta. It’s not pretty, it’s not elegant nor fancy but this recipe makes a nice lighter dish with some good veggies and let’s salmon shine.

Ingredients:
Fresh Salmon
Frozen Peas
5-6 stalks of Asparagus
Grated Parmesean
Pasta of your choice
Kosher Salt and Pepper (I like a lot )
Milk cream or pasta water to loosen it up

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 and lightly season and oil your salmon and cook it until tender. About 15 minutes.
2. While the salmon is in the oven. Make your pasta and set aside some pasta water. Put the pasta back into the pot and lower the heat to it’s lowest level or turn it off. Stir in your vegetables and Parmesan cheese Taste and season.
3. Spoon the pasta into a bowl and break up the salmon and put it on top. It’s that easy.
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Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
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If you ever scroll through pintrest for recipes and use the word chicken you will likely see some of the canned,”way to professional” posts with cajun pasta dishes. But even if you go to food.com or foodnetwork.com you will see this type of recipe pop up. So I tried it and thought it was pretty good. Wasn’t mind blowing but has a nice balance of savory and creamy parmesean sauce paired with the spice punch of typical cajun food.

When I make these type of pasta dishes I really don’t measure anything but instead rely on taste, color and texture but I will try to remember about how much of each ingredient I used.

Ingredients:
2 Chicken Breasts (boneless/skinless/diced)
2 tsp of Slap Ya Mama Seasoning
1 tsp of chili powder
1 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of Black Pepper
Little pinch of cumin (optional)
Pasta
1 can of rotel (Drained)
1 red onion (diced)
1 red pepper (seeded and diced)
2 tbs of cream cheese
1 tbs of butter
1/4 cup of cream
1/4-1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese

Directions:
1. Dice your chicken into bite sized pieces. Combine your spices and cover the chicken for 30 minutes or so.

2. Cook your pasta (whatever shape you like) per the package but salt the water when it comes to a boil. Reserve a cup of the liquid for your sauce.

3. In a medium-low heated cast iron skillet add a little butter and your seasoned chicken. Cook until done and then remove from your pan and set aside.

4. In the same pan, add your pepper and onion. Cook until you achieve your desired softness. Now stir in your cream and cream cheese and lower the heat. Add your chicken in and then the Parmesan cheese. Put your pasta in and mix well. Turn off the heat and taste it. Add spices and cheese to your taste.
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Turkey Asparagus Basil Pasta Bowl

Turkey Asparagus Basil Pasta Bowl

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Turkey Asparagus Basil Pasta Bowl
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I was trudging towards another healthy dinner and wanted to make my “Might Fit Foods Lemon Turkey Asparagus” copycat. Jill inquired what we were having for dinner and when I told her she politely and unknowingly gave me a vibe that she wasn’t that excited about dinner. It’s the lemon that repels her. So I had to improvise and work in some pasta. The outcome was a almost healthy version of creamy pasta ground turkey and vegetable dish.

This dish does have carrots, onions, garlic, asparagus and basil so there is some healthy aspects. The ground turkey lightens it up also. It’s creamy as you want it to be with cream cheese and Parmesan. I still used the juice of a lemon but it was much more subtle so she didn’t even really notice. No doubt a bit random but it did turn out well.

Ingredients:
1 package of lean ground turkey
1 bunch of asparagus (trimmed and diced)
2 carrots (diced)
1 red onion (diced)
4 cloves of garlic (pressed)
1 lemon (juiced)
handful of fresh basil
3 tbs of cream cheese
3 tbs of Parmesan cheese (finely grated)
Kosher Salt to taste
3 tsp of dried thyme
2 tsp of dried basil
1 tsp of cayenne
Angel Hair Pasta for two

Directions:
1. Cook your pasta per the package in salty water. While it is coming to boil and cooking work on the other part of the dish by first browning your turkey in a medium heated pan with some salt, dried basil, dried thyme. When done remove and set aside.

2. Put your pan back on the heat and soften your onions and carrots until the onions are translucent. It will be 5 minutes or so. Now add the asparagus, lemon juice and garlic. see below
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3. Okay by now your pasta is close to being done. Add your cream cheese and Parmesan cheese and stir well. Taste, salt and season accordingly. Take your pasta directly from the pot and add it to the mixture. You will want some of that pasta water to keep it loose. Turn off the heat and mix well. Top with fresh basil and a little extra Parmesan cheese.
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