Creamy Chicken with Mushrooms and Orzo

Creamy Chicken with Mushrooms and OrzoI’m all about quick, easy and one pot dinners. Here’s a recipe for all you busy people out there that want a home cooked meal but don’t have the time or energy to spend more than 30 minutes making it. This is a fun take on chicken and rice. Except we are using orzo pasta instead of rice. For my vegetarian friends out there, feel free to omit the chicken, substitute vegetable stock and add more veggies to this recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt, pepper and garlic powder to season chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 ounces sliced baby bella or cremini mushrooms
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • Parmesan or Romano grated cheese for garnish
  • Italian parsley for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Sprinkle liberally both sides of chicken breasts with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  2. Heat large skillet over medium high heat.
  3. Add olive oil and butter. Heat until bubbly.
  4. Sear chicken for 2-3 minutes per side until a nice crust forms. (chicken will not be cooked through but will continue cooking with the orzo.)
  5. Remove seared chicken to a plate.
  6. Add mushrooms to hot skillet and saute until cooked about 2 minutes.
  7. Reduce heat to medium.
  8. Add garlic and orzo to pan and saute for 2 minutes.
  9. Add chicken stock, cream and spinach.
  10. Place chicken into orzo mixture.
  11. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 F degrees.
  12. Top with grated Parmesan or Romano cheese and Italian parsley leaves.

Makes 4 servings.

Egg Cups

Egg Cups PlatedThese were so much fun to make. If you have young children and want to introduce them to cooking I think these would be an ideal beginner’s dish. There are so many different variations you can make depending on what ingredients you like or what you have on hand. I made vegetarian ones and for my son I did a take on a Denver omelette using ham, cheese, bell pepper and green onion.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 eggs (will make 12 egg cups)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

FOR VEGETARIAN EGG CUPS:

  • 1/2 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 2 large shiitake mushrooms, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup baby spinach, diced

Egg Cups 1

FOR HAM AND CHEESE EGG CUPS:

  • 1/2 cup diced ham
  • 12 tablespoons shredded cheese, divided (I used cheddar and mozzarella mix)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 green onions, diced

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Meanwhile, generously spray muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. (For easier clean up, use baking cups instead of cooking spray.)
  2. Break eggs into a large bowl or 4 cup measuring cup. Add milk, salt and pepper. Whisk until ingredients are combined.
  3. Add equal amounts of your vegetables (or ham and cheese) into each cup of your muffin pan.
  4. Pour in egg mixture into each cup about 3/4 of the way up for each.

     

  5. Bake egg cups for 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes up clean.Egg Cups 6
  6. Let cool for a few minutes before taking egg cups out of pans.Egg Cups 7
  7. Serve with your favorite condiments or none at all.

You can keep these in an air tight container for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave.

Egg Cups Plated 2

Shrimp and Vegetable Stir Fry

Shrimp and Vegetable Stir Fry PlatedIf you are wondering why I don’t post very many seafood recipes it’s because I’m allergic to seafood. But there are two types of seafood I will eat and later pay the price of itchy hives for: shrimp and crab. So, Benadryl and anti-itch skin cream I’ll be seeing you soon.

Feel free to change up the vegetables and protein to your tastes. I had these on hand, so it is what I used.

Shrimp and Vegetable Stir Fry IngredientsINGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 small carrot, julienne sliced
  • 1/4 of large red onion, sliced into half moons
  • 20 sugar snap peas
  • 20 snow peas
  • 4 large shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can, 8 ounces sliced water chestnuts
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined uncooked shrimp

SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha, optional if you want a little spice

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a small bowl combine all the sauce ingredients. Whisk until cornstarch is dissolved. Set aside.
  2. Add oil to a wok or large skillet over medium high heat.
  3. Add carrots, onions, and sugar snap peas and stir and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Next add snow peas, mushrooms and water chestnuts and stir and cook for 1-2 minutes or until mushrooms become tender.
  5. Move vegetables to edge of wok or skillet and add shrimp to center of pan. Stirring occasionally, cook shrimp for 2-3 minutes until pink.
  6. Add sauce to shrimp and vegetables and stir until all the shrimp and vegetables are coated with sauce, cooking for another minute until sauce is heated through.
  7. Serve immediately with jasmine rice.

Shrimp and Vegetable Stir Fry

 

One Pot Lasagna Soup

Lasagna SoupHappy New Year everyone! I wish you a year of health, happiness and tasty food!

It’s been mighty chilly here in Northern California. We are having a week of much needed on and off rain showers. So today felt like a hearty soup kind of day. I know, lasagna soup doesn’t sound like the healthiest way to start your year. But eat in moderation and you should be fine. Right?!

Okay, will it make you feel better knowing I added spinach and mushroom to the recipe and used low fat cottage cheese instead of ricotta to make this soup a little healthier and lighter?

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 medium size red or yellow onion, diced
  • 4 ounces of white or brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (32 ounces) box chicken stock
  • 2 (14.5 ounces) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 10 uncooked lasagna noodles, broken into 2 inch pieces
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • low fat cottage cheese (1 tablespoon per serving)
  • chiffonade of basil for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Turn heat to medium high. Add olive oil to Dutch oven or heavy bottom large pot.
  2. When oil ripples, add ground beef and Italian sausage to pot and stir occasionally until meat is browned.  Add onions, mushrooms and garlic. Mix and continue to cook until onions become translucent.
  3. Drain any excess fat from pot.
  4. Add chicken stock, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce,Italian seasoning, sugar, kosher salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese and lasagna noodles. Mix well.
  5. Bring soup to a boil, then lower heat to simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. During last 5 minutes of cook time, add spinach to soup and stir.
  7. Serve soup with a tablespoon of cottage cheese and basil for garnish.

Lasagna Soup 2