July 16, 2009

Pasta with Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

I whipped up this easy and tasty dish tonight. My friend Steph came over to join us for dinner, drinks and adult conversation. I haven't cooked much in the past week as I've been lazy. So this recipe is dedicated to Steph for giving me a reason to cook something. It actually turned out to be really good so I'm proud of myself for making it up as I go and with things I already had on hand.

The most time-consuming thing was the roasted chicken but I roasted it the night before when I got home from work. But if you don't have the time to do it yourself you can always pick one up at the store that is already done. And when you've picked the carcass clean of most of the meat, don't forget to save it and make something delicious like chicken noodle soup or dumplings within the next day or so.

2-3 lb roasted chicken
1 lb pasta of your choice (I used Campanelle)
1/2 c vodka
1 1/2 c heaving whipping cream
4 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 c chicken broth
2 roasted red bell peppers
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried parsley
cornstarch, optional (to thicken sauce as needed)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat skillet to medium-high with 1 tbsp olive oil and 4 tbsp butter. Dice onion and add to skillet. Saute until transluscent. About 5-6 minutes. In food processor, puree red peppers and garlic. Add to skillet with onion. Bring to a boil. Add chicken broth and vodka and bring to a boil again.

In a large pot, cook pasta as directed on package.

Add basil, parsley, salt and pepper to taste to skillet. Turn heat down to medium-low. Then add heavy cream and let simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring ocassionally. Taste again and add more salt pepper as needed. If you need to thicken sauce, whick in 1 tbsp of cornstarch to the sauce. Simmer for about 2-3 more minutes. Then add cooked chicken and pasta and heat through. (about 5 more minutes) Serve and enjoy!!

July 13, 2009

Summer Squash Soup

We wanted to make a meal using a few fresh vegetables. I found a delicious summer squash soup that turned out to be quite refreshing and tasty. It's very simple and actually a Cooking Light recipe so it's even healthy.

6 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

3 cups water
2 1/4 cups uncooked farfalle (about 6 ounces bow tie pasta)
2 cups finely chopped yellow squash
2 cups finely chopped zucchini
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

Bring broth and water to a boil in a Dutch oven. Add pasta, and cook 8 minutes or until almost tender. Add squash and the next 7 ingredients (through pepper). Reduce heat, and simmer 4 minutes or until pasta is done and squash is tender. Sprinkle with cheese and basil.

July 8, 2009

Penne with Braised Short Ribs

My husband is a freaking genius when it comes to picking recipes that hit the spot. I came home from work and he had this wonderful meal waiting on me. The smell hit me when I walked through the door and hunger immediately kicked in. It was an interesting combo. His favorite chef is Giada De Laurentiis. So he cooks a lot of her recipes. This is the Penne with Short Ribs on the food network site.

4 pounds beef short ribs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
5 Roma tomatoes, cut into eighths
1 cup red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 c low-sodium beef broth
1 pound penne pasta
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Place an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Season the ribs with salt and pepper. In a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or ovenproof stock pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. In batches, add the ribs and brown on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the ribs and set aside. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, wine and mustard. Bring the mixture to a boil and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Return the ribs to the pan. Add the beef broth, cover the pan and place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours until the meat is fork-tender and falls easily from the bone.

Remove the ribs from the cooking liquid. Using a large spoon, remove any excess fat from the surface of the cooking liquid. Using a ladle, transfer the cooking liquid in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the mixture is smooth. Pour the sauce into a saucepan and keep warm over low heat. Remove the meat from the bones. Discard the bones. Using 2 forks, shred the meat into small pieces. Stir the shredded meat into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and place in a large serving bowl. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the sauce and add to the pasta. Pour 1 cup of the sauce over the pasta. Toss well and thin out the pasta with more sauce, if needed. Sprinkle the pasta with Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley before serving.

July 6, 2009

Peanut Butter Pie

My sweet husband put in a special request for his birthday. He chooses pie over cake any day. He loves peanut butter so this recipe was perfect for him. Thanks to Pioneer Woman for this delicious and simple recipe! I added a little extra peanut butter to make sure it hit the spot. She used 1 cup and I added an extra 1/2 cup for an extra boost of peanut butter. I hope you had a great birthday handsome hubby!


25 Oreos
4 tbsp butter, melted

In a food processor or the old fashioned way of just beating the cookies to crumbs, crush into fine crumbs. Pour melted butter over the top and stir with a fork to combine. Press into pie pan and bake at 350 degrees for 5 to 7 minutes, or until set.

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.


1 1/2 c creamy peanut butter
1 8-oz pkg cream cheese, softened (room temperature)
1 1/4 c powdered sugar
1 tub Cool Whip, thawed

Beat the peanut butter with the cream cheese until smooth. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add in the thawed Cool Whip and beat mixture until smooth, scraping the sides as needed. Pour filling into crust, evening out the top with a knife or spatula. Chill for at least an hour before serving.

July 5, 2009

Creamy Mushrooms and Snap Peas over Chicken

I found an easy and semi-healthy meal in the Food Network Magazine from June/July. The end result was delicious. The snap peas really add a lot to this dish. I must tell you that if you love cooking or just looking at pictures of food this magazine is amazing. You should definitely subscribe or pick it up next time you go to the store. There are so many recipes and pictures! I just got my August/September edition on Friday and have even more recipes to that I plan to try soon. The foil packet grilling ideas are next on my list for sure.

4 chicken breasts
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter
8 oz mushrooms (any variety will work, I used baby bella)
1 1/4 c low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 c heavy cream
2 c sugar snap peas, stemmed and halved lenghwise
kosher salt
ground pepper
all-purpose flour, for dredging

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add 1 tbsp of oil to the skillet. Dredge 2 chicken breasts in flour and shake off any excess and place in the skillet. Cook until golden about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to plate and cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining 1 tbsp of oil and remaining 2 chicken breasts. Cover and keep warm with other cooked chicken while you cook the vegetables.

Add the butter to the hot skillet, then add the mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms brown; about 4 minutes. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the cream and boil until the sauce thickens slightly; about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the snap peas and heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken breasts over the top and simmer for about 4 more minutes. Enjoy!