“The hard thing about business, is minding your own” ~ unknown

Ok, not going to lie – all the negativity being thrown around on social media is just bringing me down. Granted, I have my own opinions on everything but I want none of the drama. So, since it’s been a while since I have posted anything, I figured it was time for a little good – good food, that is!!

We can all agree on that!

This recipe is so full of flavor but very light! 

Simple to make as well. 🙂

Pad Thai Salad

Salad

  • 3 cups cooked, boneless/skinless chicken breasts, shredded (1 -1.25  lbs)
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage (I used the bagged kind for ease)
  • 1.5 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 small green apple, cut into matchsticks or small cubes (do this last so the apple will not brown)
  • ½ cup green onions, chopped
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped peanuts

Dressing

  • 2 cloves minced garlic (jar kind works)
  • ½ teaspoon jalepeno pepper, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon fish sauce
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ cup water

In a large salad bowl, combine chicken, carrots, cabbage, green onions and cilantro. Toss to mix well.

In a medium bowl, mix together garlic, peppers, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, lime juice, oil and fish sauce. Whisk until combined. Add this along with the water and peanut butter to a small food processor. Blend until smooth.

Add apple to salad and pour dressing over salad. Toss until salad is well coated. Serve immediately. Garnish with chopped peanuts.

Salad and dressing can be stored separately in refrigerator until ready to serve.


-abp

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“In Italy, they add on work and life to food and wine.” ~ Robin Leach

There is nothing better for the perfect summer snack than a Caprese salad. Home grown tomatoes with fresh sliced mozzarella and basil topped with a high quality olive oil and a nice balsamic vinegar drizzle. So yummy and refreshing!

I wanted to extend this appetizer into a meal so with the addition of a few basic ingredients – that’s what I did.

Turned out to be a great light summer dinner.

Caprese Chicken Pasta

  • 2 cups frozen (drained) or tightly packed fresh spinach
  • 1/2 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (jar kind is fine)
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans Italian seasoned diced tomatoes (must be the Italian style!)
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon corn starch
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 10 oz short pasta of your choice (penne, bowtie, elbow etc.), cooked to al dente
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small bunch of basil, julienned
  • Mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • Balsamic vinegar, optional

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat, add onion and cook for 5-7 mins or until onions are softened a bit. Add in garlic, cook for about 30 seconds, then stir in spinach and chicken and cook for an additional 5 mins.

In a small bowl, make a slurry (whisking together til smooth) with the heavy cream and cornstarch, add this along with the chicken stock and tomatoes to the pot.

Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and stir in pasta. Salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve in bowls, garnish with chopped tomatoes, basil, cheese and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.


-abp

 

 

 

“Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.” ~ Stephen King

Ah Lawd. I’ve created a monster.

My getting back in the kitchen has made my husband come to expect some new dish nightly.

Well. I hate it for him. Lol.

But it’s not too bad when you can whip up something fairly simple – this recipe included.

BTW – we are going out to eat tonight.

Chicken Parmesan

  • 4 chicken cutlets
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 jar ( oz) marinara sauce
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon water, whisked together
  • 10 oz spaghetti noodles, cooked
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • dried basil for garnish
  • salt/pepper

Preheat oven to 350º.

Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour (both sides), shake off excess. Then dredge in egg mixture (both sides), shake off excess. Finally, dredge in breadcrumbs (both sides) and press into chicken.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Brown chicken on both sides (3-4 minutes a side or until cooked through). Remove to paper towel lined plate to remove excess oil.

Place cooked noodles in a greased 9×13 baking dish. Top with marinara, reserving 1 cup to top chicken. Arrange chicken breasts on top of noodles, followed by remaining sauce across the chicken. Evenly sprinkle cheese on top of chicken.

Baked uncovered for around 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Sprinkle with basil before serving.

 

-abp

 

“Nothing awakens reminiscence like an aroma.” ~ Victor Hugo

There are several reasons I love a crockpot.

First of all, the ease of making dinner and second how it fills your house with a fabulous aroma. Makes me look forward to dinner all day long. Another reason is pretty easy clean up – especially if you use those handy little crockpot liners.

This meal was no exception.

Crockpot Chicken Marsala

  • 1 lb chicken breasts (if they are particularly large, I cut them in half)
  • 1 cup Marsala wine
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 4 teaspoons jarred minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • salt/pepper
  • Prepared Rice (I prefer Jasmine Rice)

Season chicken with salt and pepper then place in crockpot.

Add in mushrooms and garlic. Top with Marsala wine.

Cook on low for 5 hours.

In a bowl, make a slurry with the water and cornstarch by mixing together until dissloved. Remove chicken from crockpot and pour in slurry, stirring to combine. Place chicken back in crockpot and turn up to high and cook for an addition 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

Serve over rice.


-abp

 

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” ~ Annie Dillard

If I have said it once, I have said it a hundred times!

Crockpots are the best invention ever!

In my case, it’s the afternoons that start to get busy so it’s great to be able to get a meal on in the morning, knowing either all or at least the main part of dinner will be ready when you are ready for it.

It allows for me to concentrate on dessert or a yummy side or to just come dashing in and throw it on the table.

This recipe is no exception. It’s a breeze to put together but so delicious and very versatile.

It can be eaten by itself, on a bun or my favorite way – on a baked potato.

Crockpot BBQ Chicken

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless  chicken breasts
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup Zesty Italian dressing
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • salt to taste

Lightly salt chicken and place in slow cooker.

Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over chicken.

Cook on high for 3-4 hours.

Shred chicken and cook for another 15 minutes on low.

Voilá – it’s ready for however you want to use it!

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-abp

“Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired.” ~ Jules Renard

I love Chicken and Dumplings.

I made them homemade from scratch, once.

And that will probably be the only time.

Don’t get me wrong they were fantastic and no, the shortcut versions will never be a good but if I ever want to have them again anytime soon – it will have to be a shortcut version.

Or I can go to Cracker Barrel.

This is very, very good alternative and it’s made in the crockpot to boot!

Lazy Day Chicken n’ Dumplings

(adapted from All Things Delicious)

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2  (10.5 oz.) cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
  • 1/2 onion, diced OR you can use 2 Tbsp. dried, diced onion (I used fresh)
  • 1 Tbsp. dried parsley
  • 4 Grands flaky refrigerator biscuits

Place chicken in crockpot and plop the butter on top of the chicken.  Add cream of chicken soup and chicken broth.  Followed by onion and parsley.  Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8-9 hours.  After the chicken is cooked, shred it and put it back into the soup. Cut each biscuit into 9 pieces.  Gently stir biscuits into soup.  Cook for another 45 minutes on low.

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I definitely recommend this shortcut recipe for those lazy fall days that are perfect for comfort food! Granted, it doesn’t look like traditional Chicken n’ Dumplings but it sure does taste like them!

-abp

 

“I’m a maniacal perfectionist.” ~ Martha Stewart

I am very impressed with people who can put dinner on the table and every single bit be homemade, every single time.

I can do it and have done it but I have found that if you really want to try and cook at home most weeknights, you have to take shortcuts or you will burn out.

I have gotten to the point that if I have cooked the main dish, I don’t feel too bad if I heat up a can of green beans or corn to go with it.

Or both.

Don’t judge. I never claimed to be Martha Stewart. 🙂

Here is one of those “I only have a short amount of time and a short amount of energy” dinners.

A main dish and canned veggies.

Baked Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders

  • 1/4 cup of grainy, coarse mustard
  • 1/4 cup smooth dijion mustard
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 of a small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken tenderloins
  • salt and pepper
  • 4-5 small sprigs of fresh rosemary, divided

In a small bowl, combine the mustards, honey, and 2 teaspoons of the olive oil.

In a sauté pan or cast iron skillet, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil.

Add the onion and the leaves of one rosemary sprig and sauté over medium heat until golden and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional 1 – 2 minutes, until fragrant.

Transfer the onion and garlic to an oven safe dish (or if the saute pan you used is oven safe, you can just use it). Place the chicken on top of onion/garlic mixture. Salt and pepper the tops of the chicken to taste.

Pour the honey mustard mixture on top of the chicken. Arrange the rosemary sprigs around the chicken in the pan.

Bake the chicken covered at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. Then remove the cover, baste the chicken with the sauce, and continue to cook for an additional 20 – 30 minutes uncovered, or until the chicken is browned on top and cooked through.

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This was really so very good!! It was actually much better than I even expected it to be!! The flavors were fabulous and the chicken was incredibly tender. It will most definitely go on the weeknight rotation.

2 side notes:

1. The sauce was so good that I would omit the canned corn and add a bag of “boil in the bag” (keepin’ it simple) rice, then serve the chicken and the sauce on top of it.

2. I LOVE rosemary so I would never leave it out but if you are not a fan or do not have it on hand, this recipe could easily be made without it and it would be your basic Honey Mustard Chicken but still delicious!

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

-abp

“People find life entirely too time consuming.” ~ Stanislaw J. Lec

Oh! The lazy days of summer.  I love it!

Although, that saying doesn’t ring true much anymore.  Schedules are crazy and there is no structure or there is too much structure. Years ago you didn’t even need structure because life was just simple.

You got up, you went out to play, you came in for lunch and a little down time (mine was watching I Love Lucy and The Andy Griffith Show at 12:00 and 12:30 while I ate my lunch on the floor in front of the TV) and then you went back out until dinner time which was followed by a bath and a little more down time before you got in the bed.

You got up and did it again.

For 3 months. 3 whole months.

Life was perfect. And simple.

I really do feel sorry for today’s children, they will never know that sense of “easy”.

Makes me sad.

On another note something that is easy and makes me happy are simple things like one skillet meals. I have posted several on here and now I have another to add to the category.

These are perfect for those more hectic summer days.

BBQ Chicken Skillet Pasta

(adapted from Damn Delicious)

  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more, to taste
  • 3 cups rotini pasta
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, or more, to taste
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a large skillet or pot, brown bacon until crispy, then remove from pan reserving 1 Tablespoon of fat.

Add chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes or until browned on all sides.

Add garlic and onions and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes or until soft.

Mix in chicken broth, tomatoes, milk, red pepper flakes, pasta, salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce and simmer for around 15 minutes or until pasta is cooked.

Stir in BBQ sauce, bacon and cheese. Mix until heated through.

 

 

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-abp

“You’re in pretty good shape for the shape you are in.” ~ Dr. Seuss

Believe me – I’m not a health nut.

I would love to be but I cannot even pretend to be.

I know lately all I seem to be posting are lighter, healthier meals but let’s be honest, I’m not trying to be health conscious – I still have baby weight to lose!! 🙂

So one of the “healthy” things I now incorporate with my meals is using whole wheat pasta. This is because I need to not because I want to. I still vastly prefer the regular but what can you do?

I will tell you! You make a fabulous sauce that masks any taste you are not particularly found of in the whole wheat pasta.

Here’s an example.

Chicken and Penne Pasta with Lemon-Shallot Vinaigrette

For the Vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 minced shallot
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Stir together lemon juice and minced shallot; let stand 5 minutes. Whisk in olive oil, parsley, honey, and mustard. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 1 week.

For the Pasta:

  • 2 – 3 pan grilled chicken breasts or 2-3 cups rotisserie chicken (can be served whole or chopped, shredded)
  • 1 (16-oz.) package whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 (8-oz.) package thin green beans, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pt. grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1.5 cup Lemon-Shallot Vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • Feta cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions, adding green beans to boiling water during last 6 minutes of cooking time; drain. Rinse pasta mixture under cold running water until cool; drain. Toss together chicken, pasta mixture, tomatoes, and vinaigrette. Just before serving, stir in dill, and add salt/pepper and feta to taste.

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-abp

“Friends and good manners will carry you where money won’t go.” ~ Margaret Walker

The past several weeks, well 6 weeks actually have been crazy busy and the next 3 weeks will be just as bad. Because of this, I can count the number of times I have cooked on 2 hands, possibly even one.

I must admit – I’m tired of take out.

I was so very happy to have a long, low key weekend to spend with my husband and my sweet little nugget that I vowed to cook all 3 nights. A couple of the nights were easy go-to meals, like spaghetti and grilled steaks but I did work in a new recipe my dear friend Adrienne told me about on our recent girls weekend. It sounded wonderful and I could not wait to make it.

Not to mention – very easy!

Foil Packet Chicken Puttanesca

4 8 -ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 15 -ounce can cherry tomatoes
1 large can marinated artichoke hearts
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives
2 tablespoons capers, drained
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 Tablespoons melted butter
1/2 regular baguette, split
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley ( I used dry because that’s what I had)

 

Preheat the oven to 400º.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Lay out four 12-by-18-inch sheets of foil. Drizzle each sheet with olive oil, then top each with a chicken breast.Combine the tomatoes, artichokes, olives, capers, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes in a bowl; divide evenly over the chicken. Fold up the edges of the foil and seal each to form a packet; set on a baking sheet. Bake until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the melted butter, 2 minced garlic cloves and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt in a bowl; spread over the baguette halves and sprinkle with the parmesan and parsley. Bake until the bread is golden around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Cut each piece in half.Open the foil packets and serve with the garlic bread.

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This was super tasty! I would like to try it with fish as well!

-abp