Saturday, August 24, 2013

Caprese Pasta

I made this for my sister when I was helping her after the birth of her last baby.  It was absolutely delicious. New favorite pasta. Ever. The flavors are so amazing and cheesy and mmmm- goodness!  Her husband even decreed it the best pasta ever.  The best part of this dish is how quickly it comes together.  If you start with cooked chicken, it's in and out of the oven within 45 minutes!  Even including the grill time for the chicken, it's ready in under an hour.  Seriously, make this pasta today.  It's delicious!

Recipe Source: Slightly adapted from Cooking Classy via How Sweet It Is
Feeds: 4-8 (Depending on how much pasta you use)
2 medium chicken breasts (1-1.5 lbs.), grilled and diced (I sprinkle them liberally with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder before I grill them)
1 box Rigatoni or Penne Pasta (The original recipe calls for only half a box of pasta, but I have a big family to feed, so I always use the whole box and just up all the other ingredients a bit)
2 cans fire roasted tomatoes, pureed a bit (I just use my immersion blender on them for a few seconds)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
Red Pepper flakes (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
12 oz. fresh Mozzarella, cubed, sliced or grated (fresh is key, here)
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped chiffonade style
1.  Preheat oven to 375.  Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions.
2.  While pasta is boiling, in a separate pan over low heat, heat tomatoes, heavy cream, Romano/Parmesan cheese, garlic.  Add red pepper and salt and pepper to taste.  Continue to cook over low to medium heat until all the cheese has melted.
3.  Drain cooked pasta and add to Tomato sauce mixture.  Add grilled chicken, grape tomatoes, half of the mozzarella and half of the basil.  Toss to combine.
4.  Pour mixture into a greased casserole or baking dish.  Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese and cook pasta uncovered for about 20-25 minutes, until cheese is melted gooey goodness.  Serve sprinkled with remaining basil.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Best Salad...EVER...Southwestern Chopped Chicken Salad

I saw this recipe on Pinterest a while back and thought it was THE best salad ever. My family started eating it a few times a month- which is big. There are very few recipes I make more than once a month!  This is the best salad- especially for those hot summer months when all you want to eat is salad.

The recipe is from Lauren's Latest, but when I went back a few months ago, she had changed the recipe. So I adjusted it back to the way it was originally- since I need it to make more and I don't like like using half a can of anything in a recipe (what do I do with the rest!?)  Enjoy!

Southwestern Chopped Chicken Salad
Source: Lauren's Latest

What You'll Need:
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken breast
1 head Red Leaf Lettuce, chopped
1 green or red pepper, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 can corn, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 avocado, diced (optional)
1 bunch cilantro, chopped finely
Doritos or tortilla chips

1/3 c. mayo
1/3 c. plain greek yogurt
1/3 c. sour cream
1 T. Ranch seasoning
1 T. Taco seasoning
Milk- to reach desired consistency

What to do:
For the dressing, combine the ingredients together and add milk until you reach your desired consistency. Test it to see if it needs more taco seasoning- if you add too much milk, you will definitely want more Taco seasoning.

I always boil my chicken breasts with a little taco seasoning and then stick them in the mixer to shred them- it's super fast and easy.

Chop up all your salad ingredients and toss together. Crumble Doritos on top and top with the dressing.