Sausage, Artichoke, and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

img_1376.jpgThis is my go to favorite weeknight meal. It’s super fast, easy, I almost always have the ingredients on hand, and my kids will eat it! Win, win!

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a generous amount of kosher salt. Add pasta and cook to al dente. I used fusilli this time, but any short pasta will do. I often use penne or bow tie pasta in this recipe; just whatever I have on hand.

The Sauce

This dish could be described as “sauce-less” but that makes me sad to even think about because it conjures up thoughts of dry and flavorless. This dish is none of those things! We’ll call this “untraditional sauce” instead.

Here’s what you need…

  • 1/2 to 3/4 lb. of Italian Sausage (You can use hot or mild. I prefer hot, but that doesn’t fly with the kiddos, so unless I am by myself I usually make it with mild Italian sausage.)
  • 1 can or a small jar of Artichoke Hearts (Again, this is a pantry recipe. Use what you have. I prefer marinated artichoke hearts, but if you only have them in water that’s okay too. Less flavor, but okay.)
  • 1/2 C. of Sundried Tomatoes in oil. (I always buy sundried tomatoes in oil because I like the texture and the flavor better, but I will say it again, use what you have.)
  • 1 C. Chicken Stock (Confession time. I don’t like low-sodium chicken stock. I like a salty, rich stock. In fact, I often dissolve a chicken bullion cube or use bullion granules instead. Naughty, I know… but I promise it tastes great and it’s cheaper!)

While the pasta is cooking, crumble the sausage in a saute pan over med/high heat. When the sausage is cooked, remove it to a separate bowl and set aside. Add the artichoke hearts to the pan (quarter them if they are whole) and the sundried tomatoes. Cook for about two minutes. Add the chicken stock and deglaze the pan with a wooden spoon, scrapping up any little bits that have stuck to the pan. Add the sausage back into the pan.

Drain the pasta and add to the “sauce.”

Top with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese if you have them on hand and I like to squeeze a little fresh lemon on top!

Enjoy!

 

Marinated Turkey Breasts

IMG_1335If you are bored with chicken, try these turkey breasts! They are so tender and the marinade is insane. Soy and horseradish make for incredible flavor and my favorite part about this dish is that it’s something everyone in my family will eat!

The Marinade

1 C. Soy Sauce

1 C. Vegetable Oil

1 1/2 T. Garlic Powder

1 1/2 T. Horseradish

2. C. Any kind of Regular Carbonated Soda

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Pour over 4-6 turkey breasts and marinate overnight or 6 – 8 hours.

Grill turkey breasts ideally on a charcoal grill for 15 minutes on each side.

 

 

 

The Best Spaghetti I’ve Ever Eaten

SpaghettiI do two versions of spaghetti at my house. Spaghetti and meatballs and then this version that I grew up eating at my grandma’s house. Every time I make this dish it takes me back home. The peppers, onion, and garlic perfume the entire kitchen. It’s comfort food at its finest and makes for awesome leftovers!

The Sauce

This recipe is all about the sauce. Here’s what you need.

1/2 Yellow Onion

2 Cloves of Garlic (minced)

1 Green Bell Pepper

1 lb. Lean Ground Beef

1 Small Can of Mushrooms

2 16 oz. cans of Petite Diced Tomatoes with Olive Oil and Garlic

1 16 oz. can of Tomato Sauce

2 T. of Tomato Paste

Handful of Fresh Basil

Salt, Pepper, and Italian Seasoning to taste

Parmesan cheese

Spaghetti Sauce

Heat a saute pan with 2 T. of Extra Virgin Olive Oil over medium heat. Finely dice the onion and cook it in the olive oil until the turn translucent. Dice and add the green bell pepper. Cook for a couple more minutes and then add the garlic and toss around with a wooden spoon for about 30 seconds.

Add the ground beef, break it up and cook through.

Add the mushrooms and cook for an additional minute or two.

Meanwhile, puree the diced tomatoes in a food processor with the handful of basil.

Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste.

Season with salt, pepper, and Italian season to taste and then turn your it down to low and let the sauce simmer while you cook your spaghetti.

Pasta Do’s and Don’ts

Cooking spaghetti or any pasta should be really easy, but I’ve seen it messed up time and time again. Follow these rules and you’ll get perfectly cooked pasta every time.

  • Do Salt Your Water! (This flavors the pasta and salty, starchy pasta water and be used to thin a thick sauce out a bit. Be generous. I throw in a handful of Kosher Salt.)
  • Do Not Add Oil to Your Water! (If you drain and serve the pasta right when it is done it won’t stick together. You don’t need the oil. It gives the noodles an odd oily coating you don’t want or need.)
  • Do Not Rinse Your Pasta (This rinses off the starch and leaves you with watery noodles with a weird texture.)
  • Do cook to Al Dente (Look on the back of the package and always follow the al dente directions. This creates noodles that are not too soggy and not too firm.)

When you have perfectly cooked spaghetti, top it with a generous portion of sauce, and top with with plenty of parmesan cheese!

Coconut Curry Chicken

Coconut Curry Chicken

I’m the type of person who could suck up curry through a straw! It’s just so … yummy! This is one of my kids favorite recipes, so its a win win at my house!

Sauce/Marinade

The initial thought of this totally freaked me out because raw chicken scares me, but I’ve made this recipe time and time again and trust me it is totally safe. Marinade your chicken in this delectable sauce and then boil it on the stove and serve it over your chicken. It is literally to die for. Bring on the sauce!

6 T. Vegetable Oil

Zest and Juice of Two Limes

2 Tsp. Ground Cumin

3 Tsp. Ground Corriander

4 Tbl. Low Sodium Soy Sauce

3 Tsp. Salt

4 Tbl. Sugar

4 Tsp. Yellow Curry Powder

1 Can of Coconut Milk.

Mix the ingredients together in a large bowl and marinate 3 chicken breasts (Serves 4) for 2-8 hours or overnight.

After pulling out the chicken bring the sauce to a boil on the stove and set aside.

Chicken

Grill the marinaded chicken (preferably over a charcoal grill because there is nothing like that char!) I’ll be straight up honest, I like my chicken a little on the dry side and I get that all of the real foodies would have my head for that, but I want to make sure my chicken is good and dead! So… I cook it for 8-10 minutes on each side. If you want tender juicy chicken reduce the time a bit. Also take into consideration the thickness of your chicken. That obviously makes all the difference when it comes to cook time.

Grilled Chicken

While the chicken is grilling it’s time to make some rice and cook up some veggies.

Veggies

Quarter 4 red potatoes and throw some baby carrots onto a baking sheet. Slather them with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper, and bake them at 425 degrees for 25-30 min. I like my veggies with a few char marks, but you can pull yours out a little earlier if you want them golden.

Rice

Here’s my rice secret. Cook your rice in broth and your boring white rice is suddenly full of flavor!

For this recipe I use Jasmine rice.

Bring 3 C. of chicken broth to a boil (Use chicken broth since we are using chicken in this recipe. Use beef broth in a beef based dish.)

Add 2 C. Jasmine Rice

Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the rice has soaked up all of that yummy broth!

Now it’s time to assemble! Top a generous portion of rice with sliced grilled chicken, potatoes, and carrots. Then dip.. or drench your plate with your coconut curry sauce! Enjoy!

 

 

Sweet & Savory Swedish Pancakes

Swedish Pancakes

This is the first meal that made me fall in love with food. My grandma would make dozens and dozens of these delicate, buttery, pancakes and my cousins and I would have contests to see who could eat the most! Traditionally they are topped with lingon berries, but the possibilities are endless. Here are two options. One for your sweet tooth and the other for a satisfying supper.

Swedish Pancakes

5 Eggs

3/4 C. Milk

4 T. Melted Butter

1 C. Flour

1 T. Sugar

1 t. Salt

Bring a non-stick skillet to medium heat and coat with a non-stick cooking spray. 

Beat the eggs and milk together in a blender and once the butter has cooled to about room temperature incorporate it into the egg/milk mixture. (Adding the butter when it is too hot will start cooking the eggs and that’s a big no no!)

Add the flour, sugar, and salt to the liquid and blend until you get a smooth batter. 

Pour about a 1/4 cup of the mixture into the middle of the pan and rotate the pan, smooth out the batter to make it as thin as possible. 

Cook each side for about 30 seconds and fold into quarters before plating. Grandma always kept them in a warm oven until there were enough to start serving and then she couldn’t get them out to us fast enough!

Sweet Filling

Nutella

Fresh Sliced Strawberries

Whipped Cream

Powdered Sugar

Stuff the pancake with Nutella and strawberries. Roll and top with the whipped cream and dust with powdered sugar. The result is absolutely beautiful and delicious. 

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As I mentioned before, the options are endless. The above ingredients are my favorite combo, but you can drizzle your Swedish Pancakes with syrup, top them with reduced raspberries and a little sugar, or substitute the strawberries with bananas. My Dad even tops his with a little orange juice. It’s weird, but surprisingly not bad!

Savory Filling

2 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 T. Shallots

1 C. Marinated Artichokes Roughly Chopped

1 C. Shredded Rotisserie Chicken

1 C. Fresh Spinach

2. T. Pesto + more for topping

1/4 c. Feta Cheese

Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the the chopped shallots and cook for about 1-2 min. Add the artichoke hearts, rotisserie chicken, and spinach and cook for another couple minutes until the spinach has wilted down. Add the pesto and feta cheese and just stir to combine before removing from the heat. 

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Stuff the Swedish Pancakes with about 3 T. of filling, roll and drizzle with additional pesto.