Sunday, March 30, 2014

Chickpea & Sausage Minestrone

I don't know about where you live, but here on the East Coast, it is still cold....very cold...and rainy....oh yuck, it has rained for three days straight!!! So, with no real "spring" in sight, I decided to make a warm, hearty soup for dinner tonight....because really, it's still soup weather for this side of the country! And this recipe from Cooking Light magazine warmed us up nicely. So, if you abide in a sunny state, are basking in the warmth of spring and eating al fresco every night, stash this recipe away come fall. But for the rest of us, whom Mother Nature has been oh-so-spiteful to this winter, enjoy this easy, hearty soup this week.

  • 3/4 cup uncooked small shell pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 (4-ounce) link hot turkey Italian sausage, casing removed <I used a mild chicken sausage>
  • 1 cup diced onion 
  • 1 cup diced carrot 
  • 1/2 cup diced celery 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can unsalted chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 4 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.

2. While pasta cooks, heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add sausage; cook 3 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring to crumble. Add onion and next 6 ingredients (through garlic); cook 10 minutes. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, and stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in pasta, salt, and black pepper; cook 1 minute.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Four-Ingredients Chicken Verde Enchiladas

Yes, this post really does say four ingredients and yes, these enchiladas really are good!  I was a bit could a recipe with only four ingredients actually taste good enough for me to blog? But, they do! They are delicious!! AND these enchiladas are incredibly quick and easy to make.  I had them prepped and ready to pop into the oven BEFORE the oven was even finished pre-heating. Super cool, huh? The perfect meal for a weeknight when the kids have after-school activities and you are strapped for time.

Since you are only using four ingredients, make sure they are high quality!! Good quality tortillas really make a difference!!!

This recipe comes from one of my fave blogs, Kevin & Amanda (she has great step by step photos!):

1 (16 oz) jar Salsa Verde
2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
3 cups (12 oz) cooked, chopped chicken
8 medium (soft taco size) flour tortillas

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon a thin layer of salsa verde into the bottom of the dish. 

2. Combine chicken, 1 cup salsa verde, and 1 cup cheese in a bowl. Spoon about 1/3 cup mixture down the middle of a tortilla. Fold sides over and place seam side down in prepared baking dish. It’s okay if they overlap a bit.

3. Top with remaining salsa and 1 cup shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes until bubbly. Serve and enjoy!

<I added a dollop of sour cream and fresh made guacamole to these enchiladas. I served with a side salad and chips with salsa and guac to complete the meal. Enjoy!>

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Incredible Steak Fries

I made these steak fries last week for dinner and my husband and I just about licked the plate clean. They were so amazingly good I have been craving them ever since! There is a two step process for cooking these beauties - both steps are super easy. If you plan on cooking for more than two people, I suggest baking an extra potato (or two or three).....plan on one potato per person. Serve warm and with plenty of ketchup. Yummers!!!!

Two large baking potatoes
Canola oil
Kosher salt

Step one:
Preheat oven to 425F

Wrap each potato in aluminum foil

Cook wrapped potatoes for 1 hour. Remove them from the oven and let the potatoes cool COMPLETELY. I actually cooked the potatoes first thing in the morning while I was getting the kids ready for school. I left them on the counter ALL day long. By the time I was ready to cook them that evening, they were prepped and ready to go!

Once the potatoes are cooled, remove from foil and sliced them in half length-wise (keep the skin on). Then slice each half in half, then in half again. You will end up with eight wedges per potato.

Step two:
Put about an inch of canola or vegetable oil in a heavy bottom pan. Heat over medium heat until oil is hot and starts to sizzle up when you dip the tip of a potato in. Fry potato wedges for three minutes on each side (there are three sides on each wedge- fry the two exposed potato sides; don't bother frying the side with the skin).

Use tongs to remove the hot, crispy steak fries from the pan. Place on a paper towel and sprinkle with kosher salt. Serve immediately. Enjoy!!

PS I think these would taste delicious with sour cream and bacon bits!!! WOW!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Healthy & Delcious Veggie & Rice Bowl

This healthy rice bowl is filled to the brim with veggies, fiber and delicious-ness!!! Oh, and I must also mention is was SUPER easy and took me under 20 minutes to throw together! It is perfect for those nights when you don't have a lot of time to get dinner on the table. The trick is using frozen pre-cooked brown rice that requires mere minutes to heat up in the microwave. All the vegetables are raw (which is the healthiest way of eating them) so there is no cooking required there either. Add veggies you like and omit those you don't care for..... I served this meal with pita bread wedges. Enjoy!

*I don't have any measurements with this meal (except for the dressing)- just use as much or as little as you like/need

Dressing (this makes enough for two servings):
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbl lemon juice
Pinch of salt & pepper

Red bell pepper, chopped
Cucumber, sliced into thin quarters
Carrot, shredded
Kalmata or green olives
Feta, crumbled
Garbanzo beans
Cooked chicken, chopped
Tzatziki sauce
*Pre-cooked brown rice (I found this in the frozen section)

To make the dressing, put the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small tupperware with a tight fitting lid. Shake until combined.  Divide all other ingredients between two large bowls. Divide the dressing evenly between the two bowls. Yummy!!

*Of course, you can make the brown rice from scratch......but, it just takes the "easy" factor out of this meal.....and part of the beauty of this meal is the "easy" factor! ;)