Brown Butter Shells w/ Sausage & Pecorino

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The recipe inspiration here was from Blue Apron – but we did switch it up just a tad, but I feel I should give them appropriate credit. It was yum. This is a quick and easy recipe that tastes like it took longer than it did. Its become a staple in our house, even our little one will eat it! ūüôā Hope you enjoy.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Italian sausage – 1/2 lb already ground or approx 3-4 Italian sausage links (removed from their casings)
  • ¬†1.5 cups fresh peas or can use frozen
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino cheese
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1.5 tbsp dried ground/rubbed sage
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh chopped garlic
  • 8 oz orecchiette or shell pasta

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat large pot of water to boiling and cook pasta until al dente
  2. Meanwhile in larger skillet (ensure at least 2. inches deep) heat 4 tbsp of butter (or a bit more if you like) over medium high heat
  3. When butter begins to foam, add in sausage and begin to cook until browned. Breaking up sausage with back of wooden spoon – into little bits.
  4. Add garlic and continue cooking.
  5. When pasta is finished, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water and strain off the rest. Set aside.
  6. When sausage is almost finished cooking (only a few spots of pink left), add in the sage and cook until sausage is completely cooked through.
  7. Add in peas and the cooked pasta.
  8. Stir together.
  9. Reduce heat to medium/low.
  10. Add in 2 tbsp of pasta water, scraping the bottom of the pan to get up any brown bits. The water should help start to make a sauce.
  11. Add in another 2 tbsp of pasta water and stir.
  12. Add in pecorino cheese, a pinch of salt and a couple of pinches of black pepper.
  13. If the sauce is too thick – add in another tbsp of pasta water at a time, stir in between to ensure you don’t add too much water – you want there to be a coating…but not soupy.
  14. Remove from heat and serve!
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boiling pasta

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cooking Italian sausage

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added sage and garlic

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adding peas

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adding pasta

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adding cheese

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mixing and adding salt/pepper

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LOOK at this FACE. Loving his pasta. ūüôā¬†

Sausage Vegetable Bake (EASY!)

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I am not even joking about how easy this recipe is, and how yummy it is…and its good FOR YOU. Well, its not fried, or cooked in oil, or a pan on the stove…its all roasted and 1/2 of the meal is veggies. ūüôā The only hassle at all¬†with this recipe is chopping vegetables, but if you hate that part – buy them pre-chopped at your grocery store and you’ll fly through this. I only took like 3 pictures because this is such a fast/easy recipe. My son even ate it and he never eats veggies OR meat! #WINNING mom move. I hope you like it as much as my family did.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package rope sausage (or you can use a package of links). I used Johnsonville – love that brand. Slice the sausage, about 1/4 inch thick.
  • 1.5 cups small new potatoes or other small potato variety – cut into halves or quarters (want them to be the size of a quarter or smaller)
  • 1.5 cups asparagus chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 cups broccoli chopped small
  • 1 cup canned corn – drain liquid
  • 1 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp sage
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp EVOO
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. In large mixing bowl, add sausage, broccoli, red pepper, asparagus, oregano, thyme, sage, garlic powder 1 tsp pepper, 2 pinches salt and 2 tbsp EVOO. Mix well and place onto foil-lined baking sheet
  3. In same bowl, add 1 tbsp EVOO, potatoes, pinch of salt and pinch of black pepper. Mix well to coat and place on separate foil-lined baking sheet.
  4. Place both baking sheets into the oven. Turn timer on for 10 minutes.
  5. At 10 min flip over the veggie/sausage mix Рturning all vegetables & sausage over
  6. At the same 10 min mark, flip the potatoes as well…and then sprinkle the cup of corn onto the potatoes
  7. Turn on timer for 3 more minutes. Then remove veggies/sausage. (total cooking time about 13 min)
  8. Check potatoes for tenderness, if not easy to pierce with fork – return to oven for 3 more minutes at a time until done.
  9. Mix both trays into large serving bowl – potatoes/corn and sausage/veggie mix
  10. Serve!
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the little potatoes I use

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potatoes tossed in oil, salt, pepper ready for oven

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veggie and sausage mixed with herbs & olive oil – ready for oven

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final product!

Salad w/ Chicken,Asparagus & Potato

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I get tired of the same old salads. We have a great garden full of fresh salad fixins – lettuce, spinach, herbs, tomatoes, etc.¬†(thank you husband), but I don’t just want lettuce/carrots/tomatoes/cucumbers over and over – that shiz gets OLD. I go to restaurants and always see yummy salad combinations, so I tried¬†to think of ways to make a healthy salad with some new ingredients. Pretty easy process here and quite yummy. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • Lettuce mix of your preference
  • 1.5 cup small potatoes – cut into halves. You can use red potatoes and just cut them into quarters
  • One medium sized chicken breast
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1¬†tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Approx 10 stalks of asparagus – ends removed and chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella or parmesan cheese – your choice!
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup Lemon Rosemary Salad Dressing

Directions

  1. Place chicken in tupperware container, lid off.
  2. Sprinkle chicken breast w/ salt and pepper. Add in 1 tbsp EVOO and rosemary, sage and garlic powder. Put lid on and shake well to coat chicken. Let marinate at least 1 hour.
  3. Before beginning rest of process, remove chicken from fridge and let warm up a bit, will cook faster if not ice cold from fridge
  4. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  5. Turn on grill (for chicken)
  6. In  bowl mix 1 tbsp EVOO and chopped asparagus, Add a small pinch of salt and pepper. Lay onto foil lined baking sheet.
  7. Repeat step 3, but this time do this with the potatoes and put on separate foil lined baking sheet.
  8. Put asparagus and potato trays into oven for 10 minutes.
  9. Cook your chicken on the grill. You can cook in a pan on stove top, but I prefer the grill. Usually takes about 10 min (5 min each side) on a hot grill.
  10. When oven timer goes off, test asparagus with fork. Should be easy to pierce with fork but not mushy at all. Usually asparagus are good at 10 minutes but continue to cook to your liking. I usually test one out to see how I like the texture. Snack! If asparagus done – pull from oven. Set aside.
  11. Turn potatoes and place back in oven for 5 more minutes. At end of 5 min test potatoes, should be soft, if not put in for 3 more minutes at a time to ensure you don’t over cook them. When potatoes are done, pull from oven. Set aside.
  12. To assemble salad, use large mixing bowl (can use same one used to toss veggies in olive oil).
  13. Place lettuce mix in bowl, add asparagus, add potatoes. Add 1/4 cup dressing and toss to coat. Add more dressing as you wish.
  14. Place salad mix into bowls for serving
  15. Slice chicken and place chicken on top of lettuce.
  16. Sprinkle with cheese.
  17. Serve!
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Lettuce and herbs from my garden

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chicken marinating

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asparagus and potatoes roasting in oven

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mixing all salad ingredients (step 13)

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salads topped with chicken and cheese!

 

Southwest Pizza

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Sometimes I want pizza, but I want to also cook and not feel as¬†bad for ordering¬†delivery. I used to work at a pizza restaurant in high school, so making my own pizza not only brings back memories, but its fun and cheaper! Now, I aint gonna lie – this¬†is definitely more work than hitting up papajohns.com, but it tastes¬†SO. MUCH.BETTER. Don’t fret,¬†I didn’t make¬†it all from scratch – there are some ‘pre-made’ items in the ingredients list that help¬†shorten the process. My kiddo is too little to help right now, but I think making pizza at home will be/would be a fun activity as well. So here we go…

Ingredients:

  • Boboli pizza crust – original
  • Jar of pizza sauce – whatever you prefer, I went w/ a local brand
  • 1 medium chicken breast
  • 4 – 5 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1 cup canned corn
  • 2 cups shredded mozz cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Cook bacon in oven to desired temperature/crispiness. I usually place on a foil-lined pan and turn it about every 3-4 minutes to ensure it doesn’t burn too much on one side. Usually takes 10 min or so for 4 slices at 450 degrees. Take out of oven and place on plate lined /w paper towels.
  3. Pat chicken breast dry and sprinkle lightly w/ salt and pepper
  4. Heat EVOO and balsamic over medium heat – add chicken breast to pan. Cover.
  5. Flip chicken at about 4 minutes. The vinegar will want to burn off and stick to the pan, add in water about 2 tbsp at a time to ensure there is always liquid in the bottom of the pan. Cover again.
  6. Let chicken cook another 4-5 minutes, adding water to ensure the vinegar doesn’t burn or stick. Cover again.
  7. Once chicken is cooked through, pull from pan onto cutting board and let rest for 5 min.
  8. Slice chicken thinly.
  9. Chop bacon into small pieces
  10. To assemble pizza, start with the crust on a pizza pan
  11. Spread pizza sauce to within 3/4 inch of the edge
  12. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  13. Layer chicken onto the mozzarella cheese
  14. Sprinkle red peppers over the pizza next
  15. Next layer on corn, and bacon
  16. Lastly cover with remaining cup mozzarella cheese and cheddar cheese (can use less as you finalize the pizza)
  17. Put into oven and back for approx 12-14 minutes. Checking to ensure crust is a golden brown.
  18. Pull from oven and sprinkle with chopped basil
  19. Serve!

 

Ridiculously Easy “Cheater” Lasagna

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For¬†anyone who doesn’t yet know…I am pregnant again. #2 – baby girl – comin’ in hot!! So take advantage of my recipes posted¬†between now and then because I’m headed to another dark hole of ‘taking care of a tiny human’ time suck…and may never cook again. When I come out the other side it’ll be a huge accomplishment to boil water. No, for real – ¬†moms amirite?

BUT, this baby has me craving absolutely nothing¬†healthy so of course I indulge her highness¬†as much as I can without massive amounts of guilt. She wants Mexican or Italian – these are my craving genres for baby round 2. So,¬†the other day for NO reason whatsoever, lasagna popped into my head and sounded UH-MAZ-ING. But doing a real deal lasagna¬†can take¬†forever (boiling noodles and making home-made sauce), so I did ‘cheater lasagna’ and…holy lord¬†it was so good. Sometimes when you¬†take a cooking¬†short-cut¬†it will taste¬†bland or just ‘eh’,¬†but this was really surprisingly delish!¬†Um…why would I do the 4 hour bolognese sauce and boil noodles ever again? This was LEGIT.

This makes 1 large casserole pan full of lasagna – so 2 meals for a family of 4 probably – with maybe leftovers. My pan is a bit larger than 9×13 and its pretty deep – make sure its at least 3 inches deep if not more. Leaves¬†room for the lasagna to expand.

Time Р1 hour 5 minutes including cooling time (25 min prep, 25 minutes cooking, 15 min rest, but I usually let rest at least 20 min)

Calories – 4 Billion, but this honey badger don’t give a F*CK. This was SO worth it. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package oven-ready lasagna – I use Barilla oven-ready noodles
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small white onion
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 2 – 24oz jars tomato sauce –¬†I bought marinara, Paul Newman brand
  • 2 tsp garlic ¬†– I use pre-minced, less work and time
  • 2 – 24oz containers light cottage cheese
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese – or you can buy an Italian mix if you prefer
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup freshly chopped parsley (can use dried if¬†that’s easier)
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped basil (can use dried if that’s easier)
  • Salt
  • Ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Heat EVOO in deep skillet/sauté pan over medium high heat
  3. Add onions and ground beef Рcook, stirring and breaking up big beef chunks, until beef is cooked about half way (half the beef should still be red/pink)
  4. Add garlic and pinch of S&P, and continue cooking beef until all browned and broken down into small bits
  5. Pour off grease from pan – return to stove
  6. Add in both jars of marinara sauce Рcover and simmer on low until step 8
  7. In mixing bowl dump both cottage cheese containers, 2 pinches of salt, 2 pinches of pepper, parsley, eggs and 2 cups of shredded cheese. Mix well.
  8. In large casserole pan, spoon about 3 big serving spoon fulls of marinara sauce, enough to lightly cover the bottom of the pan
  9. Next – layer on 5 sheets of the oven ready lasagna. I put 4 sheets closely ovelapping each other on the left side of the pan (images help here), and then for the open spaces on the right (where I could still see sauce), I split the pasta sheet in half lengthwise to cover up the rest of the red sauce. This does¬†NOT have to be perfect. If you break the sheet¬†into 4 pieces on accident, just use the pasta sheet bits to cover up the sauce best you can. It’ll all work out. Promise
  10. Next add another 3 or so spoon fulls of marinara sauce to cover the noodles
  11. Next add half of the cheese mixture to cover the sauce
  12. Repeat step 9 Рadding pasta sheets to the pan. But this time Р move the cleaner layered noodles to the other side of the pan (for me this is the right side of the pan now), so the remaining areas where you can see red sauce (on the left side of the pan now) are opposite from where they were on layer 1. This just helps it hold together better.
  13. Add 3 more spoon fulls of sauce – or enough to cover the noodles
  14. Add the remaining cheese mixture to cover up the marinara sauce
  15. Add the remaining  red sauce to cover the cheese mix
  16. Top with the remaining 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  17. Place in oven for 25 minutes (I recommend placing on a sheet pan/cookie sheet in case it boils over). Do not cover.
  18. Pull from oven(make sure corners are bubbling). Turn oven off and top lasagna with chopped basil
    • Let the lasagna cool for¬†at least¬†15 minutes minimum. Lasagna will¬†be SUPER messy if its still hot, and it holds heat for a long time. Its easier to serve if its cooler. I regularly¬†wait 20 minutes¬†if not longer.

*You can make a day ahead (like on a weekend) and just cut out pieces at dinner time to microwave to save time on weeknights.  *You can do all the prep and not bake until the day of eating. Just make sure you cook it about 45 minutes or bubbly because it will have been fully cooled in the fridge. *You can also make ahead (bake or no bake) and freeze.

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Oven ready noodles I prefer

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step 3 – cooking beef, onions, garlic, S&P

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step 6 – adding in marinara sauce to beef

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step 7 – making cheese mixture

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step 8 – marinara sauce in bottom of pan

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step 9 – adding noodles on top of bottom sauce layer

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step 10 – covering pasta layer #1 with sauce

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step 11 – covering sauce w/ cheese mixture

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step 15 – adding remaining sauce to final sauce layer

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step 16 – topping w/ 2 cups shredded mozz cheese

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step 18 – cooling lasagna!

Made-to-order Chicken Pot Pie

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I love chicken pot pie. LOVE. This dish is¬†so comforting. Creamy herbaceous gravy¬†with chicken, peas, carrots, celery, onion…and BISCUITS. I approach chicken pot pie a bit differently – thanks to inspiration from my mother-in-law (insert my shout-out to Martha).

I personally love to have leftovers after most meals. Many dishes are actually better the next day, I love having meals to take to work for lunch, its very convenient – and cheaper than eating out. The problem w/ regular chicken pot-pies (in my opinion) is ¬†at the intersection of leftovers and the pie crust. The crust¬†does not reheat well – it gets all soggy and bleh. This is my approach to having chicken pot pie that is AMAZINGly delicious with plenty for leftovers¬†without¬†the soggy crust. These pot-pies¬†become ‘made to order’ which is actually really easy and kinda’ like magic. Ta-da!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 can grands biscuits – bake according to package directions
  • 1 rotisserie chicken – about 2.5 cups shredded chicken
  • 1.5 cup frozen peas
  • 1 can of corn
  • 4 small carrots – peeled and chopped into discs
  • 2 celery ribs –¬†medium dice
  • 1 small onion – medium dice
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp dried ground sage
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp ground thyme
  • salt and pepper

*You can use a bag of frozen veggies if you wish (peas/carrots/corn), but be sure to let them thaw so the water from the veggies doesn’t water down your dish. You’ll skip step 4 and just add the thawed veggies at step 9.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Thaw peas almost completely in the microwave – you don’t want them to be mushy, they can still be a bit cold as they will heat through in the sauce
  2. Heat oven to 375 degrees
  3. In large deep skillet melt 4 tbsp butter over medium to medium/high heat
  4. Add carrots, celery, onion, garlic and all herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme) and sauté for a few minutes until onions begin to turn translucent.
  5. Add flour and cook/stir for about 3 minutes
  6. Add chicken broth slowly, bit by bit and stir until the sauce begins to thicken.
  7. Cook for about 3 more minutes
  8. Add cream and continue to stir until thick and bubbly – again about 3 more minutes
  9. Add in chicken, peas and corn
  10. Add 3 pinches of salt and 2 pinches of pepper (more or less – whatever you prefer)
  11. Cook until bubbly again and heated through
  12. Spoon into baking dish.
    • This is where the magic happens. Only spoon in as much as you need for this serving for you/family/friends. I did about 5 large serving spoon-fulls for me, my husband and my son into a medium size dish.
    • The remaining chicken mixture¬†you can put into a tupperware dish and refrigerate for leftovers
  13. Cut the biscuits in half and place them on top of the chicken mixture. You can tear up biscuits and fill in the empty spaces as needed.
    • Save other biscuits for future servings. DO NOT put biscuits in the fridge. Keep them in a Ziploc bag or tupperware container at room temperature.
  14. Bake for 15 minutes
  15. Remove from oven and serve!
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Biscuits – baked and ready to go!

 

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shredded rotisserie chicken

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Cooking onion, celery, carrots, garlic & herbs

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adding flour

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adding chicken broth

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adding heavy whipping cream

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stirring until bubbly

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added chicken, corn and peas

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stirring until heated through

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in baking dish

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added biscuits on top – ready to cook!

For leftovers (made to order!):

  • Put however much chicken mixture you want into a baking dish – based on how many people you are serving
  • Cut biscuits in half and place on top of chicken mixture
  • Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes until mixture is bubbly and biscuits are hot on top

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Mexican Street Corn Soup

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I’m back! Having a kid = no time to cook, let alone time to blog if¬†I happen to actually cook something. For you¬†ladies who somehow make the whole full-time job, blog, kid or even MULTIPLE kid thing happen successfully – hats off to you. Cocktails on me. If you¬†follow me or know me,¬†I have not been focused on the blog for a while but going to¬†try to get back into it in 2017.

I feel so much better when I cook for either myself, my family or my friends. I like to turn on the tunes, grab a glass of wine and just chop and simmer. Breathe and chill. My hope¬†for 2017 is to do Sunday meal prepping so I’m cooking and then I’ll also have quicker ‘heat up’ meals since we try to be around the dinner table¬†at 5:30 or so.¬†Wish me luck.

Without further adieu – here is the recipe¬†for Mexican Street Corn Soup – a few variations included. Apologies here for limited pictures. Not fully back on my blog/capture images game. Get more wine and use your imagination – or message me. ūüôā

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Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oiil
  • 6¬†ears of corn – with the corn cut off the cob
    • I couldn’t find much fresh corn in the winter so I did 3 cobs and 2 cans of corn OR you could do 4 entire cans of corn if you can’t find fresh corn
    • If you use canned corn, drain WELL and pat dry with paper towel. Or you can do this earlier in the day and leave the corn out on paper towels for a couple of hours to dry out a bit.
  • 1 medium¬†carrot peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery rib peeled and chopped
  • 1/2¬†chopped yellow or white onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp¬†chili powder + 1 tsp for garnish (can add more as you wish)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups chicken¬†broth
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup crumbled queso fresco
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro – divided
  • 1 avocado chopped (optional)
  • 1 immersion blender or food processor
  • 1 fine mesh sieve or strainer

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in non-stick stock pot over medium to medium-high heat
  2. Add in onion, celery, carrot and corn kernels (cut from cob or from can), chili powder, cumin, salt & pepper (I did about 3 pinches of salt and 1 pinch of black pepper)
  3. Saute until onions begin to look translucent and the corn begins to stick to the pan and get brown in spots. Took me about 10-13 or so minutes
  4. Add garlic and cook about 2 more minutes
  5. Remove 1 cup of corn mixture and set aside
  6. Add chicken broth and corn cobs (no more than 6 cobs) to the pot.
  7. Simmer 30 minutes on low
  8. With tongs remove the corn cobs and throw away
  9. Add in cup of sour cream and 3/4 cup of queso fresco. Stir well to combine.
  10. In batches (I had to do 2 batches), blend the soup with your food processor or blender.
    • After processing, I ran/pushed half of the blended soup through a sieve.¬†I don’t like super thick soups and the corn kernel skins were getting stuck in my teeth when I tasted so I strained it to ensure it wasn’t too gunky.
  11. Put all soup back into the pot and heat to medium
  12. Add corn mixture from earlier when you removed it prior to adding chicken broth (step 5)
  13. Add in 1 tbsp (half) of the cilantro and lime juice – stir well
  14. Pour soup into bowls
  15. Garnish with lime zest, cilantro, queso fresco, chili powder.
  16. Add avocado if you wish.
  17. ENJOY!
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Step 6 – adding broth & cobs to then simmer

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Queso fresco, chopped cilantro & lime

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Finished soup bowls – ready for my belly!