Jerk Chicken Pasta

Jerk Chicken Pasta Plated

The hardest part of this recipe for me was finding somewhere that sold Jerk seasoning. I looked up and down the spice aisle. Then I tried the international aisle of my local grocery store. Still couldn’t find it. I tried the store across the way from my favorite grocery store. Still couldn’t find it. I found every other type of seasoning spices. Finally I did an internet search. I found it on Amazon of all places.  Finally! This recipes is actually very tasty and not as spicy as I like since my son can’t handle spicy foods. So feel free to adjust the amount of seasoning you use according to your tastes.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound Gemelli pasta (or Penne pasta will work too)
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 tablespoons Jamaican Jerk seasoning (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/3  cup sliced green onions, plus more for garnish
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions to al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. . Season chicken breasts all over using 1 tablespoon jerk seasoning per chicken breast.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook chicken until golden and no longer pink, 8 minutes per side. Remove from pan and set aside to rest.
  4. Add remaining oil and cook peppers until mostly tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Add green onions and garlic until fragrant, 1 minute. Season with remaining  tablespoon jerk seasoning.
  6. Add chicken stock and heavy cream and let simmer until thickened, 5 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, slice prepared chicken.
  8. Add Parmesan and stir until melted and creamy, then add pasta and chicken and toss until completely combined.
  9. Garnish with green onions and more Parmesan and serve.

Jerk Chicken Pasta Skillet

Asparagus Beef in Black Bean Garlic Sauce

Asparagus beef in black bean and garlic sauce

It’s asparagus season here in California. I find myself buying asparagus every shopping trip now. But instead of  making my usual grilled asparagus as a side dish, I wanted to add it into the main dish. If you love making quick dinners like I do then you are going to love this.  Also, this recipe only requires a few ingredients which makes this even simpler.  I have another variation of this dish ( Asparagus Beef ) where you make your own sauce, however this one is using a premade black bean garlic sauce which cuts the time in half and does the work for you.  This serves 2-4 depending on your portions.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 ounce sirloin or flank steak, sliced into thin strips
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil for cooking, separated into 2 tablespoons and 1 tablespoon
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon grated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 pound of asparagus, sliced into thirds
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons black bean and garlic sauce (found at local grocery stores in your international aisle or Asian markets)  Black bean and garlic sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (this offsets the sharpness of the black bean sauce)
  • 1/2 cup beef or chicken stock

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add beef strips to a bowl. Then add cornstarch, grated garlic and ginger. Mix well and set aside. Asparagus beef in black bean sauce 1
  2. Heat up wok or skillet on high heat.  Swirl in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to coat wok or skillet.
  3. Quickly spread the beef slices around the pan in an even layer. Let it sear for 15-30 seconds without stirring. Then give it a quick stir to sear the other side. The meat should be browned and no sticking should happen if you got the pan hot enough. Take the meat out of the pan and set aside.
  4. Keep the wok/skillet on high heat and add one tablespoon oil.
  5. Add in asparagus and onions.
  6. Stir for about 10 seconds and cover, leaving the heat on high. Let it cook for 20 to 30 seconds. Remove the cover. Add the beef back to the pan.
  7. Add the black bean and garlic sauce paste, sugar and beef stock. Stir to mix well.
  8. Let beef and vegetables continue to cook with the sauce for 2-3 minutes or until asparagus is cooked tender. Asparagus beef in black bean sauce 10
  9. Plate with jasmine rice and serve immediately.

Asparagus beef in black bean sauce

 

 

Crock Pot Honey Garlic Chicken

Honey Garlic Chicken plated

I haven’t jumped into the Instant pot craze yet. I think it is probably because most my recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less anyway. But I do love having a crock pot!  All you have to do is put all the ingredients in and set your temperature to either high or low and then set the timer and go about your day.  My crock pot will even keep the ingredients warm after the timer has completed. So if you have other things going on or say, maybe you forget you had something cooking, (um, not speaking from experience) the “keep warm” feature will not make all your hard effort get cold and go bad.

I bought another one of those organic chicken packs that come with two breasts and four drumsticks. (Those organic chickens must look funny.) So I thought I’d pull out the crock pot and put it to use. If you do not have a crock pot, that’s quite okay. You can still use this recipe and put everything in a baking dish and bake at 350 F degrees for 50-60 minutes.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 whole cut up chicken (or all thighs, all drumsticks or two breasts and four drumsticks pack like I used.)
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup lite soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or stock
  • 1/4 cup ketchup (low sodium if you have)
  • 1-2 teaspoons sriracha sauce (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley or cilantro (whichever taste you prefer)
  • sesame seeds for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Arrange chicken on the bottom of your crock pot. Do not season chicken with salt as there is plenty of sodium in the other ingredients. You can season chicken with pepper if you would like though. Set aside. Honey Garlic Chicken 1
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine garlic, honey, lite soy sauce, chicken broth, ketchup, sriracha and parsley or cilantro. Whisk until mixed well. Honey Garlic Chicken 2
  3. Pour the sauce over the chicken pieces. Honey Garlic Chicken 3
  4. Close with a lid and cook for 4 to 5 hours on LOW, or 3 to 4 hours on HIGH. Honey Garlic Chicken 4
  5. Remove lid and transfer chicken to a serving plate.
  6. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
  7. Serve with rice or salad.

 

Oven Roasted Tri Tip

tri-tip-doneOkay meat lovers, don’t hate me. I know a lot of the beef eaters out there are literally having a cow (teehee, get it?) seeing my roast not at red rare or medium rare state. But for some reason, any beef cooked under medium does not agree with my tummy. So here you get my pinkish medium to medium well tri tip roast. No worries I will tell you how to cook it to your desired doneness. Best of all, this is a simple recipe that you can make year round especially if you do not have a grill.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3-4 pound tri tip roast
  • kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • garlic powder
  • dried crushed rosemary
  • 1 package Lipton Onion Soup Mix
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • olive oil
  • 2 small onions

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a glass baking dish big enough to hold your roast, season both sides of your tri tip with with the salt, pepper, garlic powder, rosemary, onion soup mix, worcestershire sauce and olive oil. I did not give measurements for any because I just generally season by sight and it depends on the size of your roast as well. Just make sure your tri tip is well covered in seasonings and sauce and oil.
  2. Peel and cut onions into quarters and add to baking dish.tri-tip-prep
  3. Let meat marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Take tri tip out of refrigerator 30 minutes before putting into oven. Make sure fatty side is on top.
  4. Preheat oven to 450 F degrees.
  5. Place in oven and cook for 15 minutes to brown.
  6. Lower oven temperature to 350 F degrees. Cook 15 minutes for every pound for medium rare doneness. Cook 17 minutes per pound for medium doneness.
  7. Take cooked tri tip out of oven and let rest for 10 minutes before cutting.tri-tip-oven

Tender Oven Baked Baby Back Ribs

BBQ Ribs PlatedOnce again, I have failed to go exchange my empty propane tank. So using the grill is out of the question. That’s all right. My oven works fine. I decided to add a simple spice rub to my ribs. I normally just salt and pepper them and let the barbecue sauce do all the flavoring.  But I wanted to change things up and give it a try. Plus, since I am taking a short cut and using store bought barbecue sauce, I wanted to do a little extra something. And the ribs came out surprisingly good. My son, who normally loves his ribs slathered in thick, sticky barbecue sauce suggested next time I leave some of them with just the dry rub and no sauce. What the what?

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 racks baby back pork ribs, about 4 1/2 pounds
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 cups your favorite barbecue sauce

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. If your store/butcher doesn’t already do so, you will need to peel off the membrane that covers the bony side of the ribs.
  3. In a bowl, mix together the brown sugar, smoked paprika, garlic powder and black pepper.
  4. Cover the ribs with this rub on all sides. At this point, I like to cut my rib racks into sections of 3-4 ribs. You can leave whole and cut when finished. I just hate burning my fingers when cutting ribs. But that’s my issue. You are probably not prone to burn yourself when cooking like me.
  5. Place ribs on two layers of foil. (or one layer of heavy duty foil) BBQ Ribs prep 1
  6. Place another two layers of foil (or one layer of heavy duty foil) on top of the ribs.
  7. Roll and crimp edges up tightly. Be sure edges are facing up to seal.
  8. Place packaged ribs on baking sheet.
  9. Bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until meat is shrinking away from the ends of the bones.
  10. Remove from oven.
  11. Turn oven to broiler setting.
  12. At this time, if you haven’t already done so, cut your racks into 3-4 rib portions.BBQ Ribs prep 2
  13. Arrange on pan, bony side down. Brush on barbecue sauce generously.
  14. Broil for 1-2 minutes until sauce is caramelized and bubbly.BBQ Ribs prep 3
  15. If you prefer, turn ribs over and repeat with sauce on bony side. I don’t bother since it is all bone. Plus when I tried, the meat fell off the bone.
  16. Serve with your favorite sides and enjoy! Don’t forget the extra napkins. BBQ Ribs

Honey Orange Mango Chicken Breast

Honey Orange Mango Chicken BreastI hate when I have my mind set on a recipe just to find I am out of or don’t have enough of an ingredient. This was going to be a honey lime chicken recipe. Unfortunately the lime I thought was in the refrigerator turned out to be a lemon. So plan B is what I present to you. This recipe takes longer to marinade than it does to cook. So for all you busy people out there, marinade before you go out and come home and bake for 25 minutes and you are done.  You can substitute the breasts with any part of the chicken you like, and of course with skin on and bone-in chicken as well. Just be sure to adjust your cooking time.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/4 cup orange juice (from orange you just zested)
  • 1/4 cup mango nectar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add chicken breasts to a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  2. In a small bowl add garlic, honey, soy sauce, orange zest, orange juice, mango nectar and red pepper flakes. Whisk to combine marinade.
  3. Add marinade to chicken. Make sure the marinade is distributed equally among the pieces. Cover in plastic wrap. Let marinade at least 1 hour. Be sure to turn chicken breasts over after 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Remove plastic wrap cover from baking dish.
  6. Place chicken in oven, baking for 23-25 minutes.
  7. Serve with sides of your choice.

Bacon, Chicken and Spinach Linguine

Bacon and Chicken Linguine PlatedSo one of the ways I get my son to eat things he normally says he doesn’t like to eat is to disguise them. Well more like hide them by mixing them with other foods he really likes. For instances, bacon. By adding bacon to this dish he doesn’t seem to notice the spinach or tomatoes or the cream sauce. But at least he gets one of his favorites in this dish. I remember when I was little and my mom tried to pass of cooked daikon radishes as potatoes. She straight up lied and said they were potatoes! Right then and there I told myself if I ever had kids I wouldn’t lie to them about food. Disguise maybe.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 ounces linguine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 6 slices cooked bacon, cut up in pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14.5 ounce) Italian style diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups reserved pasta water
  • grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
  • Italian parsley or basil for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook linguine noodles according to package until al dente. Drain and reserve 2 cups of pasta water.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium high heat, add the olive oil. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with kosher salt, pepper and garlic powder. Cook chicken until cooked through. Depending on thickness, 4-5 minutes per side.  Set chicken aside on a cutting board and cut into bite size pieces or strips.
  3. To the skillet, add garlic, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning and spinach. Stir well.  Add heavy cream and the reserved pasta water. (Use 1 1/2 cups pasta water to start. Add more if needed.) Combine and season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Lower heat to simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add linguine and toss until noodles are fully coated.
  5. Add chicken and bacon to skillet and toss.
  6. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and Italian parsley or basil.

Bacon and Chicken Linguine

Bacon Cheeseburger Pie

Bacon Cheeseburger Pie platedEver get in a dinner rut? I know I do. The same 5-10 dinner recipes on rotation week after week? Sometimes because they are quick and easy and other times just out of necessity.  So there I was. Staring at a pound of ground beef. What do I make? Stick to the routine or change it up? I say change is good.  Now I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this recipe on the back of a pancake batter box years ago.  But I don’t have any pancake batter mix, so I decided to make my own. But if you have some on hand, by all means feel free to substitute and save yourself a few steps.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cooked bacon slices, chopped into small pieces (optional, if you leave out then you are making cheeseburger pie)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven at 400 degrees. Spray a 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray.
  2. In a skillet, cook ground beef and onions until beef is browned and onions are translucent. 8-10 minutes. Drain fat from skillet. Add Worcestershire sauce to meat and mix.
  3. Spread ground beef and onions onto prepared pie plate.
  4. Using either a food processor or hand mixer, mix flour, sugar, salt and butter together until it forms into small pebbles of dough. (If you have pancake mix, use 1/4 cup and go to step 5.)
  5. Add milk and eggs. Mixing until combined.
  6. Pour into pie plate with meat mixture.
  7. Top with cheese and bacon pieces.
  8. Bake for 23-25 minutes. Or until inserted toothpick in center comes out clean.
  9. Serve with all your favorite cheeseburger sides.

 

Bacon Cheesburger Pie

 

 

Baked Penne Casserole

Baked PenneI was really in the mood for lasagna tonight. Then I checked my cupboard and refrigerator and soon discovered I was lacking lasagna noodles and a few ingredients. I also discovered that I was too lazy to go to the grocery store. So, I decided to make do with what I had and came up with this baked penne casserole. Don’t laugh, but I had to use provolone and mozzarella cheese slices that I normally would use in my sandwiches. I told you, I was too lazy to go to the grocery store. In the end it still worked out nicely.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 8 ounces sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 3 1/4 cup your favorite marinara or one 24 ounce jar pasta sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound uncooked penne pasta
  • 1 container low fat cottage cheese (32 ounces)
  • 6 ounces provolone cheese slices (about 10 slices or enough to cover casserole)
  • 6 ounces mozzarella cheese slices (about 10 slices or enough to cover casserole)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, coat your 13 x 9 casserole dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large skillet, brown your ground beef and mince it down to your desired size.
  3. Add diced onions and mushrooms to the ground beef and cook for 3-5 minutes until onions are tender.
  4. Next add the wine, sauce, sugar, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and pepper. Stir to mix well. Sauce should be a little watery, not thick.
  5. Once the sauce is mixed and comes to a boil, turn off the heat.
  6. Add a layer of sauce to the bottom of casserole dish.
  7. Then add half your uncooked pasta to layer the casserole dish. (Yes, uncooked. Let the meat mixture you just made do the work for you.)
  8. Next layer the cottage cheese over the noodles.
  9. Now add the provolone cheese slices to cover the casserole dish.
  10. Add the rest of the penne noodles. Be sure to make an even layer.
  11. Add the rest of the sauce mixture over the penne noodles.
  12. Finally, arrange the mozzarella slices over the top of the sauce layer.
  13. Cover loosely with foil. (Tip: spray foil side that will be in direct contact with casserole with cooking spray, so the cheese does not stick.)
  14. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Baked Penne plated

Game Day or Any Day Chili

Chili platedIt’s that time of year again. Football season. (I wanted to say Fall, but it’s in the mid 80’s around here and I’m still wearing shorts.) What better way to feed a hungry crowd gathered at your house than with a big pot of flavorful chili. You can omit the ground beef and go meatless, and you won’t miss a thing. Added bonus, only one pot to clean.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (Yes, dark chocolate chips. Trust me.)
  • 1 15 ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup water

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS:

  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheese
  • Diced green onions

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook ground beef over medium high heat. When browned, add onions, celery and corn. Stir and cook for an additional 3 minutes until onions have softened.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir to mix well. When chili comes to a boil, lower heat to low. Let simmer for an hour.
  3. Top with sour cream, shredded cheese and diced green onion and serve.Chili pot