Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Chicken Pasta Primavera





The other day I was reading an older post by Kristin at Iowa Girl Eats.  I was so amazed that she could run around all day long, pregnant no less, and come home and whip together a wonderful dish such as this Pasta Primavera.  

I said to myself I could do that can't I?  Hmmm, well after running around all day long I just might be a bit tired...and not want to cook this delicious meal.  Wow then it hit me...duh...you are not 20 something anymore!

Feeling better about being tired after running around all day I was still inspired to stop by Sprouts to pick up a few odds and ends to make a rendition of her Pasta Primavera.


 So glad I did!  This dish is a little indulgent, but I think all the veggies cancel that out.  Don't you think?  Well anyway I did lessen the carb count by using my favorite pasta, Dreamfields.  Have you heard of it?  It's a durum wheat semolina pasta that is low in digestible carbs and high in fiber.  You CAN NOT TELL THE DIFFERENCE....swear!  No one can!

The dish is easy to put together and tastes so fresh with all the farm seasonal veggies.  I added some chicken cause I'm a protein junkie and it gave it a wonderful heartiness, yet the dish is still light and tasty.  I used some leftover roasted chicken that I had made the day before.  I just love making extra chicken for dishes such as this.


This was such a wonderful dish.  I hope you try it soon.  If you get a chance go say "Hi!" to Kristen and take a look at all the wonderful food she makes.  

Enjoy!



Chicken Pasta Primavera

adapted from IowaGirlEats.com
 
Serves 4

½  lb rotini (or other short-cut pasta)
1 1/2 c broccoli florets
1 c trimmed and chopped asparagus, about 10 thin spears
2 T olive oil
2 T butter
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
1 yellow summer squash, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c cherry tomatoes, red and yellow
1 1/2 c of cooked chicken, cut into bite size pieces
salt and pepper
1/2 c low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 half & half
1/4 Parmesan cheese


Add pasta to a large pot of salted, boiling water. When pasta has 2 minutes left, add broccoli florets and chopped asparagus. Cook for 2 additional minutes then drain and return to the pot.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat then add onion, season and then saute until translucent, 5 minutes. Add squash, and saute until slightly softened, 4 minutes. Add garlic and tomatoes then saute until tomatoes are warm and slightly bursting, 5 minutes.  Add chicken to heat through, about 3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Add chicken broth to the skillet, let reduce for 1 minute, then add pasta, broccoli, and asparagus to the skillet. Add half & half, and Parmesan cheese stirring to combine. Turn off heat and let sauce thicken for 1 minute.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Easy Blueberry Skillet Cake



My love of breakfast goodies also runs over into brunch items too.

Having brunch with close friends is always fun.  Taking the time to eat outdoors is always a treat during the summer in Los Angeles.  The weather is generally cooler in the morning and it's a great time to sit and relax, laugh with friends and enjoy the day before the heat blasts us back inside for cover and cool air-conditioning.  

I came across a wonderful dish from Paula Deen that is perfect for a summer brunch. It's semi-homemade using canned biscuits as the base for the cake.  Add some fresh berries and some flavor powerhouses like brown sugar and cinnamon, and you have a winning combination!


Not only was this easy to put together, it feeds a crowd, and you serve it in the dish you cook it in!  How easy is that?  I love using my cast iron skillets to bake in and serve with.  Double duty all the way!  So off to the brunch this went and the most important part?  The taste!  I love anything with cinnamon and brown sugar.  So this was an instant winner for me.  However, the addition of the blueberries put this over the top.  

Let's just say there won't be any leftovers!



Easy Blueberry Skillet Cake
Adapted From Paula's Best Dishes Episode: Breakin' For Breakfast
Servings: 4 to 6
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 35 min
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

Streusel Topping:
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Coffee Cake:
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 (12-ounce) tube buttermilk biscuits
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen and thawed

Directions

For the streusel topping: Combine the almonds, sugar, butter, flour, and cinnamon in a food processor and pulse until large crumbs form.

For the coffee cake: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a 9-inch cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet, cook the butter and brown sugar over medium heat until melted. Arrange the biscuits in a single layer in the skillet. Scatter the blueberries over the biscuits, and then distribute the streusel topping over the berries. Bake until the biscuits are golden and a tester inserted in the center of a biscuit comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and serve from the skillet. 


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Worth a Second Look: Taco Salad


Do you have any potlucks or parties that you need a dish for?

About a 1 1/2 years ago I posted my favorite Potluck dish...Taco Salad.  I think that this dish is worth a second look.  Last week my co-workers and I had a big potluck.  The theme was salads.  Each of us was to bring one of our favorite salads.  Hands down, I knew I would make this Taco Salad.



I actually got this recipe from a friend of my, way back when, who brought it to another potluck!  This is the perfect traveling salad.  Let me tell you, we had rice salads, green salads, chicken salads, bean salads, and my taco salad.  I do say that my travelled the best because of the use of cabbage instead of lettuce.  Lettuce tends to wilt and get soggy from the other ingredients and the dressing.  If you use cabbage, as in my salad, (and leave the dressing off) you can keep this salad all put together in the frig for several days without any problems!



This is a salad that you can alter on a whim.  By keeping the basis of the salad the same (cabbage, taco meat, tomatoes) you can vary the rest of the ingredients to suit your taste buds.  It is easy to make this salad for a crowd.  Use a whole head of cabbage and a 1lb of ground beef.  The rest of the ingredient and amounts are up to you!

Not only does this travel well and is the perfect potluck or party dish....but it tastes great too!

Hope you try this...it's worth it!
Enjoy!


With this particular salad I used:
cabbage
taco meat
chopped tomatoes
sliced jicama
cheddar cheese
cucumbers
pinto beans
crushed tortilla chips
Catalina dressing


To check out the recipe and original post click here.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Farmstyle Buttermilk Pancakes






Time for some old fashioned comfort food.  Farmstyle...

When I was a little girl my mom and dad would drive across country from California to a little town in Oklahoma to visit relatives.  My Grandmother lived in a little one main street town with a small population.  I recall that she had chickens and geese that would chase you, and a cellar out back in the ground for tornadoes.  Just like the Wizard of Oz.  Every visit we would go to another town to visit my Mom's Aunt Grace.  They lived on a lot of property.  Sort of a ranch I guess.  They visits would be full of family coming from all over Oklahoma and lots of stories and of course food.  Seems so long ago and a world away from today.

The other day I was going through my mom's recipes and found a recipe written in Aunt Grace's handwriting.  How special these old recipes are.  Family treasures to be sure.  This one was for what she called Farmstyle Buttermilk Pancakes.  I love pancakes.  I think they may be my favorite weekend breakfast food!  


The recipe looked so straight forward that I had to try them to see how they would turn out.  Would they be tall and fluffy?  Tender, and a little tangy?  Oh boy are they!

This is my new go to recipe for pancakes.  So much that we had them twice in one week.  For breakfast on the weekend, and again for dinner during the middle of the week.  They are that good.  Imagine with my aunt's own fresh eggs, and milk.  They would be even more heavenly.



Try them for yourselves and see.
Enjoy!




Farmstyle Buttermilk Pancakes

By Aunt Grace

1 c flour
2 T sugar
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 c buttermilk
2 T vegetable oil
1 egg

In a medium bowl, add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine. Make a well in the middle and add the oil.

In another bowl whisk together buttermilk and egg.

Add to dry ingredients and mix together until just moistened. Batter will be lumpy.

On a pre-heated cast iron skillet, ladle batter onto skillet for each pancake. Cook until golden brown and holes begin to appear on top. Turn on the second side and cook until golden brown
.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cilantro Lime Flank Steak with an Avocado Poblano Salsa


How about a little Latin flair on the grill?

MGG and I decided to make something quick and tasty on the grill to go along with my Southern Slaw.

Slaw goes with everything right?  So why not pair it with some wonderful flank steak and some homemade salsa!

I found this dish browsing on the internet and it sounded so simple, with straightforward flavors that would pack a punch.  So I promptly printed out the recipe and checked my kitchen for the ingredients. With the exception of the poblano pepper I had everything else on hand, including the flank steak in the freezer.


Latin dishes are very prevalent in LA and they became part of our family's routine meals when we ate out.  I love the flavors so much that I often cook dishes with Latin flavor to satisfy my cravings (cravings that are strong and often!).  MGG just said to me "You sure do like Mexican food, don't you."  He didn't grow up here so he doesn't understand the cravings...

However, he loves the flavors.  So much so that he just bragged over this dish.  He was "Mmmnning" through most of the meal.  That always make you feel good don't you think?

The end result of this wonderful dish?  This is a keeper!  Such a great recipe that is easy to put together.  This will be one of your new go to grill recipes.

Enjoy!





Cilantro Lime Flank Steak

serves 4 


1 pound beef flank steak
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup lime juice

6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons snipped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chile powder or chili powder

Score both sides of steak in a diamond pattern by making shallow diagonal cuts at 1-inch intervals. Place steak in a resealable plastic bag

In a small bowl, stir together the water, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, oregano, and chipotle chile powder. Pour marinade over steak in bag. Seal bag; turn to coat steak. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours, turning bag occasionally.

Remove steak from the marinade. Place steak on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium heat. Grill for 17 to 21 minutes or until medium doneness (160 degrees F).

Thinly slice beef across the grain. Top with Avocado Poblano Salsa. 




Avocado Poblano Salsa


1 poblano pepper
1 yellow, red, or green sweet pepper
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/3 c finely chopped red onion
2 T cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 t lime zest
1 T lime juice
salt & pepper to taste
1 small avocado, halved, seeded, peeled, and chopped

In a medium bowl, combine peppers, tomato, red onion, cilantro, lime peel, lime juice, salt and pepper; gently toss to combine. Stir in the avocado.Serve over grilled steak.



recipes adapted from Better Homes and Garden

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Southern Slaw



Hi there!  It's been a few days...
Super busy, and it's been keeping me from cooking...and posting fabulous recipes!

We did have some time to sneak in a nice grilled dinner the other day though.  Love the summer time grills, don't you?  Nothing better than sitting outside with family and friends and eating great food.

One thing I've noticed this year is that I've been making a lot of simple side dishes.  Light ones too!  Due to the heat and the humidity (Where are we?  Hawaii?)  around LA this year (which is totally unusual) I find that making a variety of quick and light side dishes goes perfect with our summer meals.  We don't want heavy food when you are drowning in sticky weather.



So digging through all my mom's recipes again and came across this excellent dish simply called Southern Slaw.  Nothing else...I don't even know where she got it from.  Must be a family secret or something!  I remember mom making cole slaw often when I was little.  She loved cole slaw.  So looking at the ingredients this looked pretty straight forward and I knew I had to make it to go with our Tex-Mex flavored dinner we were having.

It was easy to put together, and you make your own dressing.  I like that best because you can control the sugar and salt.  I think that the shredded veggies are easily adaptable as well.  You could even use a bag of broccoli slaw and still come out perfect.  I do say this is an excellent slaw!  Slightly sweet and crunchy.  Just perfect as a side dish.

 
Yeah! to Southern Slaw....it doesn't disappoint.  

Hope you enjoy it!

Southern Slaw

serves: 12
 
Dressing:
1/4 c sugar
1 c lite mayonnaise
2 T Dijon mustard
4 T apple cider vinegar
3 T lemon juice
salt & pepper, to taste

Slaw:
2 medium yellow bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 medium red bell peppers, thinly sliced
4 c shredded cabbage
2 c shredded carrots
5 radishes, thinly sliced
1 c diced red onion


In a medium bowl whisk together all the dressing ingredients until well mixed.  Set aside.

In a large bowl add all slaw ingredients tossing to combine.  Add dressing over the slaw and toss to contribute dressing evenly.  Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour to combine flavors.  Serve.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pomegranate Grilled Turkey Tenderloin Salad



We're loving the sunshine!

Too hot to cook inside, and a nice light meal is in order.

Let's fire up the grill and throw on something you don't typically see...turkey tenderloins!  That's right, turkey, it's not just for Thanksgiving!  Last summer I made a wonder Thanksgiving-esque dish.  The Grilled Turkey with Balsamic BBQ sauce and Tomato Dressing was just fabulous, you should absolutely try making this dish.  Look how pretty this one is...




So I thought that I'd bring back turkey again this summer, grilled and the topper to a great farmer's market salad!  This turkey is special.  It's marinaded in a wonderful pomegranate sauce.  The flavors are a little tart but also have depth from the soy and ginger.  The perfect combination to flavor up this turkey.  



To keep this meal light we made a fresh salad using farmer's market ingredients and topped it with the grilled turkey for a nice entree.  Add a little bread and some iced tea and you are set!  Summer sunshine for dinner! 



So, fire up your grill and get yourself some turkey for a change.  It's oh soooo good!

Enjoy!



Pomegranate Grilled Turkey Tenderloin Salad


serves 4

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup pomegranate juice
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce 

1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 turkey tenderloins
1 head Green leaf lettuce
½ c shredded carrots
1 cucumber peeled and sliced
2 tomatoes seeded and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper seeded and chopped
1/3 mild feta cheese crumbled
Oil and Vinegar vinaigrette

Combine first 8 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add turkey and seal and marinate in refrigerator 2 hours, turning bag occasionally.

Heat grill to medium high heat. Remove turkey from the marinade and place on the grill. Discard remaining marinade. Cook 6-7 minutes per side or until meat has reached 160 degrees.

Meanwhile tear lettuce and place on a platter. Add carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, and bell pepper to the platter. Sprinkle with feta cheese. Drizzle with vinaigrette to taste.
 

Remove meat from grill to a cutting board and allow to rest 5 minutes. Slice meat into long strips at an angle. Place slice on top of the salad and serve.

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