Monday, November 13, 2017

Creamy Sausage and Tortellini Soup

My husband is very selective on the soups he will call a meal... most do not fill him up and he is eating again 2 hours later.  Every once and a while I will make one and he will tell me "That's a keeper."  Folks, this is a keeper.  Perfectly hearty, fast to make.  Win-win. 

Creamy Sausage and Tortellini Soup

1 lb. Italian sausage
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 small shallot, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
¼ c. all-purpose flour
5 c. chicken broth
14 oz. refrigerated cheese tortellini*
1 tsp. kosher sea salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. Italian seasoning
6 ounces chopped fresh spinach
2 c. half & half (or heavy cream)

In a large stockpot set over medium-high, cook the sausage until browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked sausage to a paper towel lined plate; set aside.

Add onion, shallot and carrot, sauté for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional 2 minutes, or until fragrant, stirring occasionally to prevent it from burning.

Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually add in the chicken broth, whisk to combine. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 6 minutes.

Pat as much grease as possible off of the sausage, then add it along with the tortellini, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, spinach, and half & half. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until the tortellini is fully cooked.

Serve immediately with freshly grated parmesan, if desired.

Recipe Source:  The Best Blog Recipes

Copycat Cafe DaVinci Blackened Chicken Pasta

I tell you of my favorite food destinations is....Columbus Ohio.  I've been to lots of big cities, and the one place that has me craving certain dishes over and over again is this city.   We went and visited last year with friends and seriously just went from restaurant to restaurant and threw a football game in the mix.  It was glorious!  Here are just a few of our selections...

Olive Tree


Jenis Ice Cream

North Star Cafe

And Cafe DaVinci

It's amazing how food brings people together and brings back the best of memories, isn't it?!  Anyhow, after years of weekend cravings not being fulfilled, we decided it was time to try our hand at Cafe DaVinci's blackened chicken.  It is a great mix of cajun/italian, definitely not something I would have dreamed up on my own.  Lets just say this turned out rather spectacular and cravings were satisfied!  Give it a try, just be warned this definitely has KICK :)

Copycat Cafe DaVinci Blackened Chicken Pasta

Kosher salt
Four 5-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 pounds)
Blackening Spice Rub, recipe follows
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup roughly chopped marinated sun-dried tomatoes
1 pound fettuccine
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion, for garnish
Basalmic Glaze (bought or homemade)

Blackening Spice Rub: (or can buy pre-mixed...we bought a Zatarains brand)

1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons granulated onion
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over very high heat. 

Dredge the chicken breasts in the Blackening Spice Rub. Place in the cast-iron skillet. Blacken both sides of the chicken, 2 to 3 minutes per side. 

Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet and place in the oven until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 10 minutes. 

Remove from the oven and slice the chicken into strips on the bias. 

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and lightly brown it, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the wine. Pour in the heavy cream, bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce is reduced by half. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and chicken slices. 

Meanwhile, cook the fettuccine al dente, according to the package directions. Drain. 

When the cream sauce is at the desired consistency, stir in 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, the sea salt, pepper and pasta. 

To serve, toss the pasta with the cream sauce and serve on large rimmed plates. Garnish with the green onions and the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.  Drizzle with basalmic glaze.  

Blackening Spice Rub:
Combine the garlic, black pepper, salt cumin, onion, cayenne pepper, Italian seasoning, paprika and chili powder in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe Source:  Food Network

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Strawberry Almond Overnight Oats

We have been digging overnight oats at our house lately!  It's an easy way for me to make my hubby breakfast he can take to the office, because lets be honest...I'm ALWAYS asleep when he walks out the door.  We have made some we loved, others leave something to be desired.  So the good ones are the ones you will see here.  My other go-to one is the Blueberry Muffin Overnight Oats.  In our trials of different oats, I have found I need texture.  I can't just have oats with mashed up bananas.  I need chunks of fruit, or nuts, or both.  Hence this one made the cut!  It was super fact I got a text the morning after I made it from the mister saying "these oats are super good!"  So there you go...husband approved ;)  Enjoy!  

Strawberry Almond Overnight Oats

1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk (sweetened or unsweetened)
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon strawberry jam (plus more, if desired)
2 teaspoons honey, or more to taste
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 tablespoon sliced almonds
4 strawberries

In a jar or bowl, combine oats, almond milk, chia seeds, jam, and honey. Stir until well combined and all the oats are covered in liquid. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

For serving: warm oats in the microwave, if desired. Add almond butter and little more jam and stir just slightly so that you can see the swirls. Top with sliced almonds and strawberries.

Recipe Source:  Julie's Eats and Treats

Sunday, April 2, 2017

New Orleans Style Gumbo

After returning from Disneyland and craving some gumbo from the Orleans Cafe, I went on a hunt for a recipe to satisfy my cravings!  Granted, this may not be the easiest dinner out there as it takes a long time to brown the roux.  It. Is. Worth. The. Time.  Seriously!  What is the saying...the secret ingredient is love?!  I say the secret ingredient to many recipes is TIME, which I think equals LOVE. So, next time you are craving some Southern comfort food or want to host a Mardi Gras party...make this.  It is soooo worth it! Enjoy :)

New Orleans Style Gumbo

For the Roux:

1 heaping cup flour
2/3 cup oil

For the Gumbo:
1 whole bunch/stock celery, diced, leaves and all
1 green pepper, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 bunch of green onion, finely chopped
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic
1-2 Tbsp Cajun Seasoning
6-8 cups of homemade chicken stock
1 Andouille Sausage, sliced into "coins" (substitute Polska Kielbasa if you can't find a good Andouille)
Meat from 1 Rotisserie Chicken*
2 cups cooked Shrimp
Cooked white rice, for serving

For the Roux*:
In a large, heavy bottom stock pot combine flour and oil. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring constantly for 30-45 minutes. This part takes patience--when it's finished it should be as dark as chocolate and have a soft, "cookie dough" like consistency. Be careful not to let it burn! Feel free to add a little more flour or oil as needed to reach this consistency.

In a separate skillet on medium-high heat place the sausage slices in one layer in the pan. Brown them well on one side (2-3 minutes) and then use a fork to flip each over onto the other side to brown. Remove to a plate.

Add 1/2 cup of the chicken broth to the hot skillet that had the sausage to deglaze the pan. Pour the broth and drippings into your large soup pot. Add remaining 5 1/2 cups of chicken broth. Add veggies, parsley, and roux to the pot and stir well. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 5-7 minutes, or until the vegetables are slightly tender. (Skim off any foam that may rise to the top of the pot.) Stir in cajun seasoning, to taste. Add chicken, sausage, and shrimp.

At this point taste it and add more seasonings to your liking--salt, pepper, chicken bullion paste, garlic, more Joe's stuff or more chicken broth--until you reach the perfect flavor. Serve warm over rice. (Tastes even better the next day!)


*You can make the roux a day or two in advance to cut down on prep time!

*The best way to make this gumbo is by buying a rotisserie chicken--removing all the chicken, and using the carcass to make homemade chicken stock. Then make the gumbo using the homemade broth. You could use store-bought chicken broth, but homemade is way better! 

Recipe Source: Tastes Better From Scratch

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Huevos Rancheros Tosdada

I LOVE Mexican food and flavors.  We live in an area where we can get absolutely AMAZING Mexican food, I have become a snob when it comes to many dishes.  Places I used to love just don't compare anymore.  It's a rough problem to have ;)  

So we can't always head out to the restaurants because we'd go on occasion I will try and re-create some dishes to eat at home.  This one has become a new favorite at home for a quick dinner or breakfast.  It is fantastic!

Huevos Rancheros Tosdadas

For the Avocado Salsa Verde:
2 medium tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1/2 jalapeno, sliced (seeds removed if you prefer less spice)
1 large California Avocado, peeled and pit removed
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, packed
1/2 lime, juiced
salt to taste

For the Black Beans:
1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, mostly drained
1/2 tsp each: Chili Powder, Garlic Powder, Cumin
1/2 lime, juiced
pinch of salt

For the Tostadas:
8 crunchy corn tostada shells
1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
8 eggs
salt and pepper
cotija cheese
fresh cilantro
sliced cherry tomatoes


For the Avocado Salsa Verde:
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse a few times, until mixture is mostly combined, but still slightly chunky. Set aside. (can be made up to a week ahead of time, store in an air-tight container in the fridge)

For the black beans:
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. These can be made up to 4 days ahead of time. (store in an air-tight container in the fridge)

For the Tostadas:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with tinfoil and lightly spray with cooking spray. Place the tostada shells in an even layer on the baking sheet.
Spread about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the black bean mixture over the top of each tostada, then sprinkle with a couple tablespoons of shredded cheese. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Meanwhile cook your eggs to your preference. The eggs pictured are "sunny side up." Lightly coat a skillet with non-stick spray and heat over medium-high heat. Crack the egg into the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until whites have set and yolk is still runny.
Place cooked eggs on top of the hot tostadas, top with the avocado salsa verde, sliced tomatoes, fresh cilantro and a little cotija cheese. Enjoy!

Recipe Source:  I Wash You Dry