I was perusing Pinterest for a recipe to try, as I have been checking out Pinterest lately for recipes. There is such a variety of culinary adventures to undertake. I do feel guilty ignoring my collection of New Orleans cookbooks, however.
My husband and I don’t normally eat a lot of chicken, though we probably should opt for it rather than red meat or pork. When I saw the recipe for chicken with mozzarella and pasta, I thought that sounded like a tasty combination. Plus, cheese compliments so many dishes, in my opinion.
I want to thank the blog Julia’s Album for this delicious recipe.
Chicken Mozzarella Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
I didn’t take a picture. This photo is credited to Julia and her blog, Julia’s Album.
Side note: I did make a couple of adjustments.
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small jar (3-4 oz) of sun dried tomatoes in oil (I used a bag of dried sun dried tomatoes)…Note: drain if using sun dried tomatoes in oil, and set aside oil for sauteeing
- 1 pound chicken breast tenders (The recipe implies keeping them whole, but I think I would chop them next time)
- Salt and pepper (for seasoning chicken)
- Paprika (for seasoning chicken)
- 1 cup half and half (I used heavy whipping cream)
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese (I recommend shredding your own, because it tends to melt better than pre-shredded)
- 8 ounces penne pasta (I think this recipe would go with cavatappi or rotini as well so all that creamy goodness can work its way through the pasta)
- 1 tablespoon basil (if dry), or more if fresh
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup reserved cooked pasta water
- Salt, to taste
- Note: If using sun-dried tomatoes in oil, use the drained oil to sauté the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes for 1 minute until fragrant….If you did not use sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, just use regular olive oil to sauté.
- Remove sun-dried tomatoes from pan and set aside. Don’t be like me and turn away for a moment. I burned some of mine and had to toss some out. Those little things brown quickly, and you don’t want them brown. Lol!
- Season the chicken tenders with salt, pepper, and paprika. Add chicken tenders to the pan (or cut them into chunks and add). Cook on high for 1 minute on each side.
- Cook pasta according to package directions and save some pasta water. Drain and rinse and set aside.
- Slice the sun-dried tomatoes and add them back to the skillet. I sliced them prior to initially sautéeing them, because slicing them after would have been more difficult with the oil on them.
- Add the half and half or whipping cream (whatever your preference), as well as the mozzarella cheese, to the skillet and bring to a gentle boil. Once the cream starts boiling, reduce to simmer and cook. Stir consistently to make sure the cheese completely melts. The recipe recommends adding some of the reserved pasta water to the sauce to keep the sauce from getting too thick. I did not do this.
- Add the basil and red pepper flakes. (I also added some grated parmesan cheese)
- Add salt to taste.
- Finally, add the pasta into the sauce and fold everything together.
Note: After burning half of my sun-dried tomatoes, I was glad that I had some chopped baby bella mushrooms on hand to add in. I think that this can also be done with fresh spinach as well.
Final word: The recipe was great but after initially cooking the chicken I would take it out to make the sauce and then add the chicken back in again. I found it difficult to stir the sauce while the chicken was in the pan.
When I visit home I always make a trip to Acme Oyster House in Metairie, Louisiana, just outside of New Orleans proper. The main location is in the French Quarter in New Orleans. Their menu is a variety of salads, po’boys, and seafood. While I have had the chargrilled oysters, as well as raw oysters, and seafood platters, which come with fried catfish, soft-shell crab, oysters and shrimp, I often get the same dish when I visit. My favorite dish is the Metry Combo…which is a po’boy with a soup or salad.
For my Metry Combo, I choose the Roast Beef Debris Po’boy with Oyster Rockefeller Soup. Roast beef debris is basically roast beef cooked until it is fall apart tender, with the debris or the shavings and accompanying gravy on po’boy bread, usually toasted. Oyster rockefeller soup is a cream based soup with spinach and oysters and topped with a fried oyster. The soup is rich and creamy with chunks of garlic and full-bodied oysters. The roast beef is tender and full of garlicky flavor with a flour-based gravy that clings to the roast beef.
In New Orleans, the sign of a good po’boy is gauged by how many napkins are used to clean up the mess. The more the better. And if gravy is dripping down your arm…well, that’s just a bonus!
My husband has often asked me to make paella, which I have never made, often because I thought that I needed a proper paella pan and also because I thought it would be a lot of work. I decided to take on the recipe this weekend and learned that neither of my presumptions were true. First, I searched Google to see if a proper paella pan was necessary and I found the most people used a cast iron skillet as an ample alternative. Being that I already have a 12″ skillet, I was set. Next, came the ingredients, so off I went to the store.
Before getting into the details, I must note that I was inspired by the following recipe. Besides the skillet, I needed the following:
- 4 tbsp. olive oil
- 3-4 saffron threads (I purchased the actual saffron threads from my local spice shop)
- 2 c. short-grain white rice (I used Aborio)
- 4 c. chicken broth (which is a 32 oz. container…there are low sodium varieties as well)
- 1 lb. chorizo, cooked and diced
- 1 lb. chicken, cooked and diced (I shredded a store bought rotisserie chicken which saved time and steps)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced (I used a pint of grape tomatoes)
- 1 c. thawed peas
- 4 tsp. smoked pimentón (Spanish paprika)
- ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp. oregano
- salt + freshly ground black pepper (season to taste)
- Over medium heat, add 2 tbsp. of olive oil into the pan and sprinkle in saffron threads. Heat until fragrant
- Add garlic, onion, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Cook until soft.
- Add remaining olive oil and pour in rice. Stir well making sure all rice is coated in oil.
- Add chicken broth.
- Bring mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat.
- While the mixture was simmering, you can cook your chorizo in another pan. It finishes up in perfect time.
- After about 15 minutes add chicken, chorizo, and peas.
- Cook about another 30 minutes and stir often to make sure all rice is getting cooked and nothing is sticking.
- Season with smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, oregano, salt, and black pepper and serve.
Serves 4-6. Enjoy!
I was looking for something different to do for breakfast. I never make pancakes at home so decided to try it. Like omelets, pancakes are something that can be customized and changed up. I just purchased some a pint of fresh blueberries from the store so I though I would use that. I was inspired by the following recipe.
To make the batter, the following ingredients were needed:
- 4 tbs unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt 3 eggs
- 1 1/3 cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- powdered sugar, for sprinkling
At the time, I was short on vanilla and baking powder, so I will admit that I used Bisquick Shake n Pour for my batter.
- Take a cast iron skillet (I used a 10″) and put it in a 450 degree oven with 4 tbsp of unsalted butter, allowing it to melt
- Once the butter has melted, pour in the batter.
- Once the batter is spread evenly throughout the pan, sprinkle whatever berries you have on top (I used blueberries)
- Bake for 12-15 minutes until top starts to brown
- I used a toothpick to check the inside of the pancake for doneness.
- Sprinkle powdered sugar…the finished product was so moist I barely used any syrup.
Now I am armed with vanilla and baking powder to create my next pancake from scratch.
I love Mexican food. We now live in Austin proper, but when we lived in Round Rock (just North of Austin) we used to frequent this little family owned place called Garcia’s. They had all you can eat enchiladas for $7.00 some weeknights and really great nachos.
I love when the nachos are laid out on a plate with the toppings on each chip rather than a pile of nachos with all the toppings on top with ensuring that each chip would have some flavor. Sadly, this restaurant has closed and I have been hard pressed to find another restaurant that will satisfy my cravings for delicious nachos and enchiladas.