Dinners

Recipe—Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta

Recipe—Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta

Right now, I am drowning in youth sports. My son is currently playing soccer and baseball which takes up about 5–6 days a week and sometimes we have both on the same day. I lost my sanity a few weeks ago.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love it! It just means that I need to be diligent in my menu planning and have some recipes that allow me to have dinner on the table quickly. We certainly have nights where dinner consists of sandwiches, Kraft Mac N Cheese, or takeout, but I try and cook a real dinner at least 4–5 nights a week. That means whatever I am making needs to be quick!

This recipe takes less than 30 minutes to make and costs about $15, assuming you have the basic stuff on hand. It is so simple, fast, and tasty! My family loves this recipe!  The chicken comes out so juicy and flavorful after simmering in the creamy lemon sauce. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Recipe—Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta

INGREDIENTS
4–5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1/4 c flour
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb penne
1 c chicken broth
3 lemons, 2 for juicing and 1 sliced
3/4 c heavy cream
1/4 c capers
parsley, chopped

STEPS

  • Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
    Place the flour in a large Ziploc bag and add chicken breasts.
    Toss the chicken breast in the Ziploc bag until they are all evenly coated in the flour.
  • In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Place the chicken breasts in the skillet.
  • Cook the chicken for 6–7 minutes per side or until cooked all the way through.
    While the chicken is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta per the package instructions.
  • Add the broth, juice from two lemons, sliced lemon, heavy cream, and capers to the skillet with the chicken.
  • Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
    Bring the sauce to boil and reduce heat to medium-low heat.
  • Continue cooking the sauce until it has thickened up, about 3–4 minutes.
  • Transfer the chicken breasts to a plate or cutting board.
  • Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the sauce, tossing to coat all the noodles.
  • Serve the pasta on plates and top with a chicken breast.
  • Sprinkle the dish with fresh chopped parsley and serve.
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Dinners

Recipe—Crock-Pot Pork Ramen Bowls

Recipe—Crock-Pot Pork Ramen

Last year for our anniversary dinner, my husband took me to this swanky restaurant in downtown Sacramento. Their special of the night was a spicy pork ramen bowl. It is totally not something I would typically order but that chilly October night, it just sounded so good. And it was. The spicy broth warmed me right up and it was just so rich and flavorful. Not at all what I had expected. I thought it would be similar to a beef broth but it had so much depth to it.

Ever since then, I have been experimenting with perfecting my version of a pork ramen bowl. I think I have the delicious meal pretty much dialed in. The broth is flavorful and the meat so juicy and tender. This dish warms you from the core out and is a perfect dinner as evenings start to cool with the seasons.

Note: This recipe will make between 4–6 ramen bowls.

Recipe—Crock-Pot Pork Ramen

INGREDIENTS
3 lb boneless pork shoulder
salt and pepper
6 c chicken broth
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp miso broth concentrate
8 tsp chile garlic sauce (4 for the broth, 4 for finishing)
2 tsp ginger paste
2 c shiitake mushrooms
large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 (3 oz) packages ramen noodles (dispose of flavor packets)
4-6 boiled eggs, peeled and halved
1/2 c green onions, chopped

STEPS

  • Season the pork with salt and pepper and place in a crock-pot.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the broth, soy sauce, miso broth concentrate, 4 teaspoons chile garlic sauce, and the ginger paste.
  • Place the mushrooms and sliced onions around the pork shoulder in the crock-pot.
  • Pour the broth mix into the crock-pot.
  • Cook on high for 4–5 hours or low for 7–8 hours.
  • When ready to serve, carefully transfer the pork from the crock-pot to a cutting board.
  • Allow the meat to rest for 5 minutes and then shred using forks.
  • While the meat is resting, cook the ramen per package instructions and drain completely.
  • Distribute the noodles among 4–6 bowls.
  • Top each pile of noodles with a scoop of the shredded pork.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the onions and mushrooms from the crock-pot and place around the bowls.
  • Using a ladle, top off each bowl with broth from the crock-pot.
  • Add two boiled egg halves to each bowl.
  • Place a teaspoon of the chile garlic sauce on the top of each pile of meat.
  • Garnish with green onions.
  • Serve with chopsticks and enjoy!
Salads, Side Dishes

Recipe—Mexican Street Corn Salad

 

Recipe—Mexican Street Corn Salad

I made this salad last month for a final end of summer hoorah BBQ and let me just tell you, it was delish! The olive oil mixed with vinegar and lime juice creates a zesty vinaigrette dressing and just pairs so nicely with the sweetness of the corn and the saltiness of the quest fresco and then don’t forget the smoky flavor from the paprika. It hits all those flavor points your mouth desires.

This recipe goes great with grilled meats or any Mexican dish. Tacos, enchiladas, you name it. It is cheap, easy, and so quick to make. Like really quick. This recipe literally took me 5 minutes from start to finish.

Note: You can make this with fresh corn on the cob or canned. It is great both ways. If you are using fresh corn you will need about 6-8 cobs of corn. Cook them as you normally would, whether that be on the grill or in a pot of water. Then allow the cobs to cool completely and cut the kernels off the cob and prepare the salad as directed. 

INGREDIENTS

3 (15.25 oz) cans whole kernel corn, drained
1 c cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 c green onions, chopped
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lime juice
1/2 c queso fresco, crumbled
paprika

STEPS

  • Place the corn kernels, tomatoes, and green onions into a serving bowl.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, and lime juice.
  • Pour the dressing over the corn and stir to coat.
  • Top with the queso fresco and a sprinkling of paprika.
Dinners, Side Dishes

Recipe—Jalapeño Popper Mac N’ Cheese

Jalapeño Popper Mac N’ Cheese

My name is Rebecca and I am a cheesy jalapeñoholic. I will literally devour anything with cheese and jalapeños. I HAVE NO SELF CONTROL!

If it has popper in the name, I am game. Mac n’ Cheese with a crispy top is involved. No holding me back. I will literally fall off of any diet wagon for some good mac n’ cheese. That is a universal thing, right? Like, that goes for everyone?

Come on, you start with a creamy white sauce base, add in gobs of pepper jack cheese until it is thick, and creamy, and cheesy, and then add in cooked pasta. It could be perfect as is, but no. It gets better. You add a buttery panko topping that once crisp will replicate that of the exterior of deep-fried jalapeño popper. And then the sliced jalapeños on the top is literally the icing on the cake. SO. DAMN. GOOD!

This recipe goes fantastic with any sort of grilled meat but is totally sufficient as a standalone dish. What says comfort food more than a big ol’ bowl of spiced up mac n’ cheese? Nothing. Absolutely nothing people.

Note: If you do not have an oven safe skillet you can make this in whatever large skillet you have, and then transfer the noodles and cheese sauce to a baking dish before topping with the panko and sliced peppers. 

MACARONI INGREDIENTS
8 oz macaroni pasta, uncooked
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
3 c milk
3 c pepperjack cheese, crated
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red peppers

TOPPING INGREDIENTS
3 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 c panko
1/4 c jalapeño slices

STEPS

  • Preheat the oven to 400º.
  • Cook the pasta per the package instructions.
  • Drain and allow to sit.
  • Melt the butter in a large oven safe skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Whisk in the flour and cook it for about a minute while stirring continuously until it starts to lightly brown and is well combined.
  • Gradually whisk in the milk, about 1/2 cup at a time, making sure it is nice and creamy and starts to thicken after each addition. Continue this until the milk is finished.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer and then reduce heat to low.
  • Whisk in the cheese, salt, pepper, and crushed red peppers and stir until it is all melted and creamy.
  • Add in the cooked pasta making sure all the noodles are evenly coated and remove skillet from heat.
  • Now for the topping!
  • In a small bowl mix together the melted butter and panko.
  • Evenly distribute the topping over the mac n’ cheese.
  • Top with sliced jalapeños.
  • Bake for 8–10 minutes or until the panko starts to turn a nice golden brown and the sauce is simmering around the edges.
  • Allow to rest for about 5 minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy!
Beverages

Recipe—Red Wine Sangria

The big question is, when you take a two-year break from blogging, what do you post? It has to be something amazing, right? Something you are known for by your family and friends.

Is it bad that my mind went right to sangria? LOL What can I say, I have a busy life and this girl loves her wine. One of my favorite things to do on the weekend is have friends over for a relaxing dinner where we can all just sit around and laugh over our crazy lives and yes, wine is almost always involved. Many of my friends have come to know me for my sangria. I make a bomb sangria and it is so easy! So here you have it folks, the Diva’s go to sangria recipe. And guess what, I have one for each season. Here is my summer one if you want to take a peek at that.

Note: I like to let my sangria sit in the fridge for a couple of hours with the fruit. It really allows the sangria to take on some nice flavors from the fruit and allows the fruit to soak up some of the boozy goodness.

INGREDIENTS
750 ml bottle of your favorite red wine
1/2 c brandy
1/2 c orange juice
1/2 c sugar
fresh fruit, sliced (I like oranges, limes, and blackberries)
12 oz can of gingerale or sprite

STEPS

  • In a large pitcher mix together the wine, brandy, orange juice, and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Add in the majority of your prepared fruit. (Set some aside for a nice garnish).
  • Place in the fridge and allow it to set for a couple of hours. (Or drink it now if you don’t have time. It will still be delicious either way.)
  • Add in the 12 oz can of soda right before serving.
  • Pour over ice and garnish.
  • Drink up!
Uncategorized

I’m Back, and in a New Kitchen!

The last several months have probably been the craziest of my life so I apologize that my posts have been non-existent. I am working on getting back into the swing of things and promise more recipes coming soon!

Why has my life been so crazy you ask? My family and I bought a new house! A beautiful house that I can say without a doubt is my dream home! I will live and die in this house. If not because I love it, because moving is such a pain!

It really did all happen in a whirlwind. We went and looked and a house just for fun and fell in love at first sight. We weren’t really in the market for a new house we just happened to drive by it one day after having lunch and thought it would be fun to look. Within 3 days we were signing papers on it. The house was not even a finished house. As a matter of fact it was only framed.

This is what it looked like when we bought it. Crazy, right?

House

Over the next four months we worked hard on fixing up our old home, staging it, getting it on the market, packing up all our possessions and moving up the road to our new home. And keep in mind this was all going on throughout the holidays. It was so worth it but oh my goodness! Moving is a pain and you don’t realize how much stuff you have until you have to box it all up and move it from Point A to Point B.

We have now been in our home for 6 weeks and it finally feels like life is getting back to normal. Hallelujah!

Now onto what really pertains to this blog. My kitchen! My glorious beautiful kitchen! I am in love! The kitchen has granite countertops with full backsplashes, is equipped with stainless steel Whirlpool appliances, including a microwave, TWO ovens (yes, two!), a 5 burner gas range, a beautiful new side by side refrigerator, and more cabinets than a gal knows what to do with.

Kitchen

Oh yeah, and it even came with an incredible view! This is the view from the kitchen and dining room. Not too shabby, eh?!? (Never mind the landscaping, that is still a work in progress.)

View

Here is the funny thing, I was in love with my kitchen from the moment I saw it. However, I was completely intimidated by it. I didn’t cook in it for a week because I didn’t want to mess it up. It was too perfect! So the first time I went to use the digital high tech oven it took me five minutes to figure out how to turn it on. I am not even kidding! All I wanted to do was toast garlic bread for Pete’s sake!

Now I am much more comfortable in it and this past weekend I even hosted my first party with great success. The new kitchen is so much better equipped for entertaining.

Anyways, my sincere apologies the non existent posts the last four months. I hope you can all forgive me and will continue to check in for more regular recipe posts. I’m sure I will have some great and humorous stories of my adventures in my new kitchen over the next few months.

I have missed my regular blogging and am looking forward to getting back into the groove of things. Stay tuned!

XOXOX

Diva di Cucina