Friday, June 23, 2017

Chicken and Orzo

I know I haven't been posting regularly lately.  I'm sorry about that.  I love cooking and sharing recipes.  However, I have been crazy busy.  My son just had sinus surgery so I was taking care of him and running him to follow up appointments.  Plus, the renovations are still not finished!  To be fair, the inside is finished.  But, of course, my hubby (who has more energy than the Energizer Bunny) decided to completely change the landscape of the front yard.  So, we have bulldozers and trailers everywhere.  I just want to wake up, drink a cup of coffee, and sit in the silence.  But that ain't gonna happen anytime soon.  Anyway, enough of my bellyaching.  Here is a really yummy one-pot recipe that is sort of a mix between chicken noodle soup and chicken and rice.  It almost has a risotto feel.  Really delicious, but really easy.



CHICKEN AND ORZO

2 TBS oil
1 TBS butter
1/2 lb chicken tenders (or 2 boneless breasts, cut up)
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 lb orzo pasta
1 quart chicken broth (4 cups)
1 cup water
salt/pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Season the chicken tenders with salt and pepper.

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat for a few minutes.  Add oil and butter.  Brown chicken on both sides.  That just means cook it on one side (without moving it around) until it's browned.  Then flip it over and brown it on the other side.  It doesn't have to be cooked through at this point.



Once the chicken is browned on both sides, remove it to a plate.


Those brown bits on the bottom of the pot are great flavor.  You want to get those up and into your dish.  We are going to do that with the veggies.



Add the onion, celery and carrots to the pot.  Lower the heat to medium-low.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir them occasionally and when you do, scrape the bottom of the pot.  The water released from the veggies will help get those brown bits off the bottom of the pot.


After about 7-10 minutes or so, the veggies are softened a bit.


Raise the heat to medium-high and add the orzo.


Stir well then add the chicken broth and the water.



Add the fresh chopped parsley and stir.



Raise the heat to high and bring it to a boil.  Once boiling. stir well, then put the lid on and lower the heat to low.  Let it simmer with the lid on for 25 minutes, stirring twice during that time.


After 25 minutes, turn off the heat, remove the lid and fluff it with a fork.

This dish is so good!  Simple, comforting, filling, one-pot wonder.  What's not to love?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Warm Bruschetta Chicken

Hi everyone.  Holy Cannoli, have we been busy! The renovations continue.  I'm serious,  They are still not finished.  It's been 3 months.  Plus, my son graduated from high school!  My baby boy.  Don't ask me how he grew up so fast; I can't figure it out.  All the workers and the hammering and the dust (oh so much dust) and the cleaning one day only to be dirty again the next, I would have completely lost my mind had it not been for a much-needed vacation.  The day after my son's graduation we headed off to the beach for a few days then on to Disney World.  It was so much fun!  We got to relax and laugh and enjoy time together.  We also ate at some pretty great restaurants.  But, I did miss cooking.  It's my therapy.  It soothes my soul.  So, I got back at it.  Here is an easy recipe that was down right delicious!


WARM BRUSCHETTA CHICKEN

6 chicken cutlets (breasts cut in half lengthwise yielding 2 thinner cutlets)
salt/pepper
2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
14.5 oz can Italian style diced tomatoes
2 TBS balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 TBS chopped fresh basil (about 3 big leaves, chopped)

Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.


In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat.


Cook the chicken cutlets, 3 at a time (don't over crowd the skillet or the chicken won't brown properly), for 5-6 minutes per side or until no longer pink inside.



Remove to a plate and cover loosely with foil.



Once all the chicken is cooked, turn the heat down to medium-low and add the minced garlic.  Saute the garlic for 2 minutes, stirring the whole time (so the garlic doesn't burn).



Add the diced tomatoes and use a spoon to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.  Those brown bits impart amazing flavor to your sauce.



Add the balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese then season to taste with salt and pepper.  Raise the heat to bring it up to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer for 5-10 minutes or until slightly thickened.


Finally, add the chopped fresh basil and stir.



Serve the chicken with the sauce spooned over the top.


This was a big hit with my family.  They loved the tender, slightly buttery chicken with the tangy warm bruschetta sauce on top.  It's great over pasta, too.

This is a quick and easy recipe.  Give it a try and let me know if you like it.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Cajun Pork Tenderloin

The renovation is still happening.  We were supposed to be done by now but of course we're not.  Delays with the flooring, the bricks, etc have pushed things back.  But, at least I'm able to cook in my kitchen.  Last night I made pork tenderloin.  It was slightly spicy with a touch of sweetness and super tender.

 

CAJUN PORK TENDERLOIN

2 pork tenderloins (mine were about 1 1/4 lb each)
1 small onion, sliced
1 small bell pepper, sliced
Cajun or Creole Seasoning
salt/pepper
onion powder
garlic powder
2 TBS oil

Sauce:
1/4 cup oil
2 TBS brown sugar
1 tsp hot sauce
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 420 degrees.

Pour 2 TBS oil to bottom of baking dish.



Add sliced onion and peppers to dish.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Stir.


Place tenderloins on top.


Season with salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning, onion powder and garlic powder.


Make the sauce by combining 1/4 cup oil, brown sugar, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce.  Whisk until thickened.


Brush the sauce evenly over the tenderloins.


Bake for 20-25 minutes per pound or to an internal temperature of 140 degrees.  My tenderloins were about 1 1/4 lb each so I baked them for 25-30 minutes.

The sugar in the sauce caramelizes and makes a beautiful color on top.


I like to serve the tenderloin with the onions and peppers on top. They add great flavor to the pork and cook down in the juices to make lovely sauce.


The pork comes out tender and juicy.  It's a little bit spicy, a little bit sweet, and a lot delicious!


This is so easy to make and so tasty.  You will definitely want to make this one!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Crawfish Cornbread

It has been a month and a half since I've posted.  Sorry.  Believe me I'm not happy about it.  My crazy husband has decided that we need to renovate our home yet again.  Didn't we just finish a reno?  Why yes, we did.  But my hubby needs a project at all times.  We're adding a new living room on to the house and opening up our kitchen for a more open floor plan.  So, I was unable to use my kitchen for over a month.  Now, you might think that eating out at restaurants and getting take-out every night is a dream come true.  Not me.  I love cooking.  It relaxes me.  It's my therapy.  With all the craziness of the renovation (and believe you me, it has been insane), I need some therapy!  So, when I was finally able to cook, I wanted something awesome.  My brother boiled some crawfish on Saturday for my goddaughter's birthday.  I took home some leftovers, peeled them and made this delicious crawfish cornbread:



CRAWFISH CORNBREAD

 1/2 lb crawfish tail meat
Cajun seasoning
1/2 an onion, diced
1/2 a bell pepper, diced
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can creamed corn
1 (8.5 oz) box corn muffin mix (like Jiffy)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream
1/2 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Season the crawfish tails with Cajun seasoning.

Grease a 9x13 baking dish.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients well.



Pour into the greased 9x13 baking dish.


Bake in a preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until set and lightly browned.


Let it sit for a few minutes before cutting.

(Sorry for the disposable pan and paper plate in the pics.  All of my kitchenware is still in storage).




This crawfish cornbread is awesome!  It's slightly sweet, slightly spicy and a little creamy with a great crust.  




This recipe is super easy to make and turns out great!  You've got to give this one a try.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Crawfish Spaghetti

We had a crawfish boil for my daughter's 21st birthday this past weekend.  Her boyfriend came down from New York so we had to school him on Cajun food and traditions.  He loved the boiled crawfish!  Of course, we bought too much (we always over do) so I peeled the leftover crawfish and made a delicious pasta dish today for lunch.  He loved this dish, too.  I like this kid, he knows good food.

I have been making this simple recipe since I was a teenager.  I would use the left overs every time we had a crawfish boil, which was often.  We lived on the river so all of my Aunts and Uncles and Cousins would come over to our house and we'd hang out and boil crawfish.  Some of my best memories are of those boils.  Many members of my family have passed on, but I will always have those memories to remind me of my childhood.  Isn't it wonderful how food can create such lasting memories.



CRAWFISH SPAGHETTI

1/2 lb crawfish tails
1/2 an onion, diced
1/2 a bell pepper, diced
2 green onions, sliced (plus more for garnish)
1 TBS oil
2 TBS butter
1/2 cup chicken broth
Cajun Seasoning (or salt and pepper)
1/2 lb. spaghetti
2 TBS reserved pasta water

Boil a big pot of water to cook the spaghetti.

Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil and butter.


Add the onion, bell pepper and green onions.  Season with Cajun Seasoning.


Cook until limp, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Add crawfish and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Add broth and simmer about 10 minutes.



When your spaghetti is cooked, reserve some of the water you boiled it in.  Add 2 TBS of this reserved pasta water to the crawfish mixture and stir (this helps the sauce cling to the pasta).


Stir the drained spaghetti into the crawfish mixture.  You can do this in the skillet or, if it's easier, dump the pasta and the sauce mixture into a large bowl and toss well.  Garnish with extra sliced green onions.


This pasta dish is simple, but delicious.  You could easily swap out the crawfish for shrimp if you'd rather.  This would be a great weeknight dinner because it's so quick to make.  It has a great buttery, spicy flavor.  Ca cest bon!