Monday, January 18, 2010

chicken tomato spinach alfredo pasta

Derek and I love, love, LOVE the Chicken Tomato Spinach Alfredo pizza from Papa John's. {Can Papa John's go wrong, really? I say, "nay."} One day I thought I'd try out a pasta version {pizza pasta is a hit at this house generally}. It turned out really well! And it was so, so easy and quick. Perfect combo, imo. Try it and let me know what you think.

Note: For the record, I like this better sans chicken. Maybe it's the pregnancy {this girlie is a vegetarian, I think} or maybe it's just better that way. Derek likes the meat-factor, though, so I make it with chicken and just pick it out of mine. Anyway- thought I'd let you know. You'll have to decide which way you like it best.

RECIPE: Chicken Tomato Spinach Alfredo Pasta

spaghetti noodles {sorry... I'm really bad at pasta quantities}
1 lb. chicken breast
2 Tbsp. (ish) EVOO
1 c. (ish) frozen spinach
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 pkg. Western Family {Seriously, this is the BEST!} Alfredo mix
Parmesan cheese, shredded
salt/pepper, to taste

First get your water boiling and cook spaghetti noodles according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a frying pan, dice the chicken breast(s) and brown the chicken in the EVOO over medium-high heat. Make sure the chicken is cooked through.

Also meanwhile {you should have time for both chicken and sauce; pasta takes a while}, prepare the alfredo sauce according to package directions. {This only takes a couple of minutes... it's quick, easy, cheap, and so yummy!}

When the spaghetti is nearly done (about a minute or so shy), add the frozen spinach to it. Let the pasta finish and the spinach defrost and blanche. Then remove from heat and drain.

Add the chicken, diced tomatoes, and alfredo sauce to the pasta/spinach pot. Toss well to coat/mix. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper- to taste.

Serve warm with fresh Parmesan cheese on top... and garlic bread on the side {mmm}. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

ham fried rice

I was craving something Asian and was too unambitious to make manapuas (which is the Hawaiian name for them, I suppose, making them not-so-Asian... if you're curious as to what they are, stay tuned. I intend to make them sometime in the near future). So I made ham fried rice. Easy. Quick. And it used up several ingredients we had around from the holidays. I hadn't really made this before, but I think it turned out pretty yummy. We were going to have this accompany pot stickers, but it made a ton and we wanted to eat ASAP. So this was our meal. Hey, at least we had grain, protein and veggies. It's a relatively balanced meal. :) Either way, it was good. And hey- a little Asian good luck to start of the new year is never a bad thing, right?

RECIPE: Ham Fried Rice

1/4 c. diced onion
1 c. diced ham
2 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, divided
2 tsp. vegetable oil {or canola or whatever, but probably not EVOO}
1 c. frozen peas
1 c. shredded carrots
3 eggs {I'd probably do 4 next time}
4 c. cooked, cool white rice
soy sauce, to taste
sesame seed oil
ginger powder

If you have leftover rice, use that. Otherwise {I didn't} cook 2 c. rice according to package directions (it will double once cooked) and throw in the freezer for at least 30 min. or so, preferably with the lid off. You want it cold and slightly dried out... leftover-like, if you will.

Over medium-high heat, fry onion, ham and 1/2 tsp. garlic powder in 1 tsp. vegetable oil in a large skillet/frying pan. Fry/cook for about 2 minutes or so, or until the onion is soft and the whole thing's a little browned. Reduce to medium heat and add 1 tsp. oil, peas and carrots. Fry for another couple of minutes, until peas are thawed and all is warmed and cooked a bit. Add eggs and stir to scramble. Once eggs are cooked, add the rice. Mix well to combine, then add the remaining seasonings to taste.

{Note: I put in about 7 glug-glug-glug turns around the pan of soy sauce (sorry for the crumby terminology), about 1/8 tsp. sesame seed oil (be careful with this guy; a little goes a very long way), 2 tsp.-ish garlic powder and oh... 1 tsp. ginger powder, along with a decent amount of ground pepper and a bit of salt (you don't need much; the soy sauce is pretty salty). Just add a bit, taste it, add a bit, taste it... that sort of thing. Ultimately YOU will eat it, so make it taste good to you.}

Serve warm... alone or otherwise. And enjoy!

salmon chowder

Note: Picture AND recipe courtesy of Kurt & Bonnie Anderson. Kurt ice-fished and brought home some gorgeous, delicious salmon. Kurt de-scaled and de-boned (I know there are real words for these things, but I don't know them) the fish at his own apartment- which was especially kind (ick). And he and Bonnie came over and cooked up this amazing soup for us. They even took the picture. Absolutely none of this is mine, but it was a delicious recipe, and I wanted to share it. Thank you, Kurt and Bonnie! Try it. You will thank them too!

PS. I don't like fish as a general rule. At all. And I LOVED this. It's not really "fishy" and tastes great. So if you're leery of fish like I am, still try it. It really is that good!

RECIPE: Salmon Chowder

2 lbs. red potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 large onion, chopped
1 (49.5 fl. oz.) can chicken broth
1 lb. salmon steaks, bones removed, cut into 1" cubes
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 c. milk
1 c. half-and-half cream
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper, to taste

In a soup kettle or Dutch oven, bring potatoes, onion and broth to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook until potatoes are tender. Add salmon and bacon; cook over medium heat until fish flakes easily with a fork. Reduce heat; stir in milk, cream, butter, salt and pepper; heat through (do not boil). Thicken if desired.

{Note: He did have to thicken it and used probably 3-4 Tbsp. corn starch (mixed first with cold water) to do so. Also- don't be afraid to bring it to a boil (it needs it to thicken with the corn starch); just don't leave it there.}

Mmm... try it. It's wonderful.