Friday, November 26, 2021

Chicken Bacon Alfredo Gnocchi

We love fettuccine alfredo at our house. I mean, who doesn't, right? Thick strands of pasta drenched in rich, creamy sauce--can it get any better? And alfredo sauce is soooo easy (it's literally like two ingredients,) so I make it all the time. There's only one thing I can think of that could possibly improve on this classic dish. BACON! I also add some chicken for the sake of my meat-loving hubby.

To mix things up a bit, I decided to swap out the noodles for something just as carb-rific as fettuccine--fluffy pillows of potato in the form of gnocchi. Toss in some green beans and you've got a full meal, all in one bowl and ready in less than 30 minutes. Now that's a winner winner chicken dinner!

Chicken Bacon Alfredo Gnocchi
Prep time: 20 mins 
Serves 4

6 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 3 thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 lb uncooked potato gnocchi
1 cup frozen cut green beans
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to taste 

In a deep skillet, over medium-high heat, fry the bacon until it's crispy (about 10 mins.). 

Once the bacon is done, strain it and set the bacon aside, reserving a tablespoon of grease.

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper then add to the pan with the reserved bacon grease. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until the chicken turns white. Strain off any liquid and return chicken to pan.

Add the garlic and cook another minute, until fragrant.

Reduce the heat to medium then add the chicken broth, cream, Italian seasoning, gnocchi, green beans, and bacon back into the pan. Simmer until gnocchi is tender (about 5 minutes) and sauce has reduced to your liking. 

Stir in the parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper, as needed.

518 calories per serving. Click here for more nutritional info and shopping list!

Monday, March 22, 2021

Pork Lo Mein

At our house, we love chinese food...well, not exactly at our house, because making good chinese at home has been the bane of my existence as a home cook. No matter how many recipes I've tried, they almost never turn out as good as the chinese restaurant version. But I'm too stubborn to give up, so I keep trying recipe after recipe, subjecting myself to one disappointment after another. But last night, I finally had a breakthrough! 

This lo mein recipe was just as delicious as anything I've ever ordered at any restaurant. The hubs must've said, "This is so good!" at least four times during dinner, and he started talking about having the leftovers for lunch the next day before his plate was even clean.

Like most stir fry recipes, this is very flexible. Don't like pork? Use chicken. Hate cabbage? Leave it out. Have some broccoli lingering in the bottom on your veggie drawer? Toss it in! Obviously, lo mein gets its name from the noodles, but honestly, even those aren't essential; spaghetti works just fine. But do yourself a favor and pick up a bottle of oyster or hoisin sauce. (I like to use some of each.) They're not that exotic--you can find them both at Walmart--but they add that "special something" that really makes this dish.

Pork Lo Mein
Prep time: 15 min Cook Time: 15 min
Serves 5

8 oz Lo Mein Egg Noodles (or spaghetti)

For meat:
1 lb pork loin (or chicken), cut into thin strips
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp vegetable oil

For main dish:
1-3 Tbs sesame oil
1 Tbs vegetable oil
2 Tbs minced ginger
2 Tbs minced garlic
1/2 cup onion, sliced
1/2 cup carrot, cut in thin strips
1 bell pepper, sliced (any color or a mix)
1/2 cup green onion, cut in 2 inch pieces
1 cup cabbage, shredded
1 cup bean sprouts
1/2 tsp salt

For sauce:
6 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs oyster sauce or Hoisin sauce (or 1 Tbs of each)
1.5 Tbs Sriracha
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sesame oil

Cook noodles according to package instructions and set aside.

Mix meat with salt, soy sauce, cornstarch, and vegetable oil in a large ziptop bag. Let marinate for 5 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbs sesame oil. Cook meat in small batches until slightly browned, adding more oil as needed for each batch. Set cooked meat aside.

In the same pan, heat 1 Tbs vegetable oil. Add the ginger and garlic and fry just till fragrant. Do not burn or the final dish will turn bitter.

Add all the veggies and cook until crisp tender. Set them aside.

In a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients. Pour over cooked noodles and mix well.

Stir in the cooked veggies and meat. Toss well to mix.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Chicken Bacon Ranch French Bread

If you're on a diet, look away now. This never has and never will be a health food blog, 'cause I love junk food way too much to ever give it up, and this recipe doesn't even pretend to be healthy. But oh, is it good!

Bacon, tons of ooey, gooey cheese, and a thick slab of crusty french bread--what more could you ask for? If you liked my chicken bacon ranch pasta or my chicken bacon ranch pizza, you're going to love this recipe, too! Make it for a snack, a meal, or even a party appetizer, but whatever you do, make it soon!

Chicken Bacon Ranch French Bread
Prep time: 10 min Cook time: 35 min
Serves 8

1/2 pound bacon, diced
2 large chicken breasts, diced
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 large tomato halved, seeds removed and diced
2 whole green onions, sliced and divided
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup ranch dressing, plus more for serving
1 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup grated fiesta blend cheese, divided
1 loaf French bread, cut in half lengthwise

Preheat oven to 375

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add diced bacon and cook until crispy, about 5-6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

Pour off some of the bacon grease, leaving about a tablespoon in the pan. Return pan to burner and heat to medium-high heat. Season chicken with ¼ teaspoon salt and black pepper. Add seasoned chicken to pan and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until cooked through.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked chicken, tomatoes, and half of the green onions, bacon pieces, and cheese.

In a small bowl stir together mayonnaise, sour cream, ranch dressing, ¼ teaspoon salt and black pepper. Pour ranch mixture over chicken mixture and stir to combine.

Place both halves of the French bread on a large baking sheet lined with foil or a Silpat. Spread chicken ranch mixture evenly on top of both pieces of French bread. Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and top with remaining bacon and cheese. Return to oven and bake for an additional 3-4 minutes, or until cheese is melted and edges are lightly browned.

Top with remaining green onions. Cut into 8 equal pieces--or more if serving as a snack or appetizer. Serve immediately with additional ranch dressing for dipping, if desired.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Creamy Italian Sausage and Bean Soup

We love soup at our house. I mean, really, what's not to love about a belly-warming bowl of goodness, especially on a frosty night like tonight? Soup has all the simplicity and versatility of a casserole without turning up any noses by its name. Even though I love my old standbys--taco soup, lasagna soup, baked potato soup, broccoli cheese soup, and white chili--I'm always on the lookout for a new favorite. Made in one pot, in under 30 minutes, and chock full of delectable flavor (plus a healthy serving of vegetables), this soup is definitely going at the top of my list.

There is one thing a little, well, strange about this recipe. It calls for an undrained can of beans.

I know, I know--I freaked out a little bit, too. I've never used a can of beans without draining it! What even is that cloudy goop I normally drain and rinse away? The first time I made this recipe, I reread it at least three times to make sure I understood correctly, and then I crossed my fingers and prayed I wasn't ruining the whole batch when I dumped in the can, goop and all. But it came out great!

Turns out, that goop is just salt, water, and the starch generated by the beans themselves, so it's actually quite useful for thickening and flavoring. Who knew? Well, now we both do, and I'm sure I'll be experimenting with bean goop more often from now on.

BTW, this soup was extra yummy served with some Ritz crackers crumbled on top.

Creamy Italian Sausage and Bean Soup
Prep time: 10 min Cook time: 15 min
Serves 5

1 lb ground Italian sausage
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
1 (15.5 oz) can undrained cannellini beans
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a stockpot, cook sausage. Drain and set aside.

Melt butter in the stockpot. Add onion, celery, carrots, and garlic. Season lightly with salt and pepper then cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent.

Stir in flour.

Slowly add the evaporated milk and chicken broth while stirring constantly. Once the mixture comes to a complete boil, add sausage and beans.

Heat through, and season with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Taco Mac

I don't know how on earth I missed this recipe all these years! Once I found it, I realized versions of it were all over the internet, but I loved it so much I had to add it to my own blog, as well. I'm a big fan of chili mac and taco spaghetti, which are similar to this in many ways, so it's no big surprise that I loved this familiar combo of meat, cheese, pasta, and tomatoes. Add in some taco seasoning, and you've got an easy, tasty new dish that should please just about everyone. Especially since it's made in one pan in under 30 minutes!

Taco Mac
Prep time 5 min, Cook time: 30 min
Serves 4

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 (10 oz) can tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (1 oz) package taco seasoning
1 1/2 cup elbow noodles
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar (or Mexican blend cheese)

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef with onions over medium heat. Drain off any grease.

Add the can of tomatoes, broth, milk, tomato sauce and taco seasoning. Increase heat to medium high until the mixture begins to simmer.

Stir in noodles and reduce heat to low. Cover and allow to cook for 20-25 minutes, until noodles are tender.

Stir in shredded cheese until melted. Serve and enjoy!