Chicken Stroganoff

There comes a moment in cooking when you realize you’re a cooking nerd. Ok, admittedly I pretty much already knew that. But making this meal last night, as I stood their whisking the warmed chicken stock into the butter and flour, I got excited. I got really excited. It was thickening perfectly. No lumps. It just all came together exactly how I wanted. After the week I had been having (and it was only Tuesday), this little task made me positively giddy. Of course, my family looked at me like I was loco for being so excited about something as mundane as a roux. What can I say? I happily concede to the fact that I’m a cooking nerd. 

Tonight, I’d like to share with you one of my favorite comfort foods. I hope it brings you as much joyfully nerdy moments as it does me.

Ingredients:

1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into thick slices or chunks
Salt (to taste)
Black pepper (to taste)
½ tsp paprika
¾cup flour (divided)
Canola oil (I used olive oil)
10 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced (save yourself some time and buy the ‘shrooms that are already sliced)
4 Tbs unsalted butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups chicken stock, warmed (I use the low sodium)
Sour cream to taste (the recipe called for 3 Tbs, but that’s just not enough for me, I used at least 1/3 cup. Add as much as you would like)
Egg noodles (I use what I have on hand, this time it was penne)

Preparation:

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Add chicken pieces to a bowl and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika; add ¼ cup of flour and toss everything to coat well.

Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat and drizzle with 3-4 Tbs of your chosen oil. When the oil is hot, work in batches to sear the chicken until golden brown on all sides. As the chicken is browned, remove from pan and set aside. Don’t worry if it’s not quite cooked through, it will finish when added back to the sauce.

Once all chicken has been browned, add a touch more oil if needed and the mushrooms. Sauté until golden brown and somewhat caramelized. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to chicken.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add unsalted butter; once melted add shallots and garlic and sauté until aromatic. Sprinkle remaining ½ cup of flour, stirring it into the butter until a soft paste forms. Slowly add the chicken stock, whisking continually to avoid lumps and allow the sauce to thicken.

Add the chicken and mushrooms back to pan and simmer for 3-4 minutes, turn heat off and stir in sour cream. Serve mixed with cooked noodles.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Chardonnay
Pinot Grigio
Pinot Noir
Sangiovese
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves: 4-6

Total time: 45 minutes

*Derived from The Cozy Apron
FullSizeRender (1)

Chicken Stroganoff


Cheeseburger Macaroni

This recipe was not a hit with the family. D doesn’t like meat. Berto doesn’t like cheese. The Hubs doesn’t like ground meat or cheddar cheese. Sigh. This meal, to me, was wonderful! I do believe, though, it had less to do with the actual meal than with the fact this dish is true comfort food and it’s been over 100 degrees here in Cali. Maybe dinner would have been more successful had I just served ice cream. Hmmm, things to ponder . . .

Ingredients:

1 Lb ground beef (I Texas Longhorn beef from the farmer’s market and it cooked up similar to ground turkey, but still had a wonderful beef flavor)
1 1/2 cups hot water
2 cups milk
2 cups whole grain elbow macaroni (or whatever you have on hand, I used penne)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I can see any number of types of cheese being used and it being wonderful)

Seasonings:

1 1/2 Tbs cornstarch
3 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper

Preparation:

Heat a large skillet to meidum high and brown meat. Once cooked, drain any fat that remains.

While meat browns, mix together seasonings in a small bowl. When drained, return meat to skillet and add seasonings, stirring to combine. Pour in hot water, milk, and pasta. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until pasta is cooked.

Stir in cheddar cheese until melted. Remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes until sauce thickens.

Serve immediately with melty garlic bread and a crisp salad.

Wine Pairing Suggestions (because no matter the dish, we always need wine)

Barbera
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves 6

Total time: 25 minutes


*Derived from FoodFanatic


Creamy Tomato & Beef Noodle Casserole

I love it when a plan comes together. Or, more appropriately in this instance, I love it when a meal comes together. Especially when I walked into the kitchen at 5:00 with no idea what was going to be dinner. Not one piece of meat defrosted. Not a clue in sight. Nothing. Nada, Zip. What I did have, however, were ingredients. Ingredients that were waiting in freezer and pantry for their rightful place on the dinner table. I’d say they found it.

Ingredients:

8 oz Penne pasta
1 lb ground beef
1 cup frozen (or fresh) chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic (or 1 whole clove)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup sour cream (change it up and use prepared alfredo sauce, pesto, heavy cream)
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (or mozzarella; just about any cheese you like)

Preparation:

Prepare noodles according to package directions. Preheat oven to 375.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and brown beef with onion, garlic, oregano, and salt. Add tomato sauce, water, and sour cream. Stir to combine and allow sauce to bubble.

Drain pasta and return to pan, add meat and sauce mixture. Stir together. When completely mixed, add to a casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Top with cheese. Bake about 20 minutes until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbly. Serve with warm French bread and salad.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Barbera
Chianti
Grenache
Sangiovese

Serves 6 to 8

Total time: 30 minutes

Featured image

Creamy Tomato & Beef Noodle Casserole

*Original Serves4 Recipe


Creamy Leek and Mushroom Pasta

I have a very good friend who is vegetarian. I’m not. But because of this friend, I’m always on the lookout for vegetarian dishes. A lot of them make me think of her. This is one of those dishes. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 Tbs olive oil (one of my best, best friends Agbeko, gave me this amazing garlic olive oil.  I use it for everything now.  Check them out at SunshineinaBottle.com)
2 large leeks, white & light green parts only, thinly sliced and rinsed (I thought I had leeks, but I didn’t. To sub I diced a large yellow onion. Yes, it changes the flavor of the dish, was still awesome, though)
1 lb sliced mushrooms, I used cremini and sliced baby bellas (save yourself some time and buy pre-sliced)
3 cloves of garlic, minced (another time saver is to buy it in a huge jar, such as that by Spice Island)
1 cup low sodium chicken broth (for truly vegetarian, use vegetable broth)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp pepper, or to taste
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional. I opted out)
12 oz Angel hair pasta
Parmesan for serving

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks (or, as in my case, onions) and garlic, sauté 2 minutes. Add sliced mushrooms and sauté until softened, 6-7 minutes.

Stir in broth and cream. Allow mixture to simmer 5-7 minutes, until thickened. Stir in parmesan and parsley, stirring until cheese is melted. Add salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Drain pasta and return to pot. Slowly add creamy mushroom mixture. Toss to coat. Serve immediately with additional parmesan, fresh ground pepper, and parsley.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Albariño

Chardonnay
Pinot Noir
Rioja

Serves 8 large / 5-6 small

Prep time 10 mins / total time 30 minute

I have a very good friend who is vegetarian.  I'm not.  But because of this friend, I'm always on the lookout for vegetarian dishes.  A lot of them make me think of her.  This is one of those dishes. Creamy Leek and Mushroom Pasta *Derived from Kitchen Daily Ingredients: 2 Tbs olive oil 2 large leeks, white & light green parts only, thinly sliced and rinsed (I thought I had leeks, but I didn't.  To sub I diced a large yellow onion.  Yes, it changes the flavor of the dish, was still awesome, though) 1 lb sliced mushrooms, I used cremini and sliced baby bellas (save yourself some time and buy pre sliced) 3 cloves of garlic, minced (another time saver is to buy it in a huge jar, such as that by Spice Island) 1 cup low sodium chicken broth 1 cup heavy whipping cream 1/2 cup shredded parmesan  1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste 1/8 tsp pepper, or to taste 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional.  I opted out) 12 oz Angel hair pasta Parmesan for serving Directions: 1) Cook pasta according to package directions 2) Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add leeks (or, as in my case, onions) and garlic, sauté 2 minutes. Add sliced mushrooms and sauté until softened, 6-7 minutes. 3) Stir in broth and cream.  Allow mixture to simmer 5-7 minutes, until thickened.  Stir in parmesan and parsley, stirring until cheese is melted.  Add salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.  Taste and adjust seasoning. 4) Drain pasta and return to pot.  Slowly add creamy mushroom mixture.  Toss to coat.  Serve immediately with additional parmesan, fresh ground pepper, and parsley. Enjoy! Serves 8 small portions / 5 large Prep time 10 mins / total time 30 minute

*Derived from Kitchen Daily

Baked Ziti

I have an almost irrational obsession with baked ziti.  And I can pinpoint exactly where it comes from.  It was, I’d say, wow, about 10 years ago.  My wonderful Hubs (who was not my  Hubs yet) invited a coworker to go to dinner with us.  We went to Pasta Pomodoro in Rockridge (amazing outside seating with equally amazing heaters).  I very clearly remember ordering the very rich and creamy baked ziti.  When the waiter brought our food and said, “baked ziti?” I watched in dumb-founded amazement as Hector said, “Yes, right here.”  Right here?!??  “No, RIGHT HERE!!!” I silently screamed.  I don’t even remember the non-baked ziti dish I ended up with that night.  How could I?  It wasn’t baked ziti.  Ever since that fateful evening I have been on a baked ziti quest.  Each variation of a recipe that I try gets put in the “never again” pile, the “hmm, give it one more try” pile, or THIS could be the ONE” pile.  I made this ahead for our Tahoe trip.  My dad loved it, which is a whole other story, but got it added to the THIS could be the ONE pile.  🙂 

Ingredients:

16 oz dry ziti pasta
1 small / medium onion chopped (depends on preference)
1 lb extra lean ground beef (can sub turkey or chicken)
2 (26 oz) jars pasta sauce (such as Classico Tomato & Basil)
6 oz sliced provolone cheese
1 1/2 cups sour cream
6 oz mozzarella, shredded
2 Tbs grated Parmesan

Preparation:

Add ziti to slightly salted boiling water.  You want to cook to al dente because this dish will go in the oven.

Over medium – high heat, in a large skillet, sweat onions until soft, add ground beef.  Once browned, add pasta sauce and simmer 15 minutes.

While simmering sauce, preheat oven to 350°.  Spray a 9×13″ baking pan with nonstick spray.  Layer 1/2 of the ziti, provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture.  Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake 30 minutes, or until cheeses are melted

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Barbera
Chianti
Malbec
Pinot Noir
Sangiovese

Serves 10
Total time: 1 hour

Baked Ziti

Not a great picture, we got busy in Tahoe and I forgot to take another when cutting into it!

*Derived from AllRecipes.com

Quick Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Pasta is a staple in my house.  For the most part, you can make it fast.  But, there are also some amazing dishes that take a while (lasagna, baked ziti anyone?).  I kind of have to admit, too, that one of the reasons I love pasta has to do with the control freak in me.  It’s also the same reason I prefer texting and email.  It’s all on my time. I get to decide, do I want/need a quick pasta tonight?  Do I need/want to respond to this text right now? Basically, whether a text or pasta, it comes down to me.  And no one knows the elements that brought me to the decision.  This dish, however, I’ll share with you the behind the scenes thought process.  I already had defrosted the extra lean ground beef.  I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it simply because my family is just coming back from a quick little vacation to Kings Beach in North Lake Tahoe (one of our fave places and I encourage everyone to go) and anyone that knows me understands that I spent the week leading up to Tahoe planning, cooking, and packing for our trip (those recipes to follow).  By the time we got back home I was 1) exhausted from a wonderful trip, 2) really tired of planning and cooking, and 3) completely out of groceries save for the staples I had on hand.  I can tell you, quite confidently, this was a huge hit!

Ingredients:

1 lb extra lean ground beef (can sub ground chicken or turkey)
1 (14.5) oz diced tomatoes
1 (14.5) oz tomato sauce
1/2 of (6.5) garlic & herb spreadable cheese (such as Alouette)
1 Tbs dried basil (such as Morton & Bassett) (I prefer fresh, but since my GSD puppy ate my plant, I had to go with dried)
Handful of dried spaghetti
Parmesan grated, shredded, shaved (your preference) for serving

Preparation:

Boil pasta according to your doneness preference.

While pasta cooks, brown meat. Once browned, drain off any excess fat. Add diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Reduced heat to medium low and heat through. Add the garlic and herb spreadable cheese. Stir to completely incorporate through. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer 5 – 10 minutes. Add basil the last few minutes and stir (if using fresh basil, wait until ready to serve.

Mix pasta with sauce, in batches, stirring to combine with each batch. Top with favorite Parmesan. Serve with crusty bread.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Barbera
Chianti
Malbec
Pinot Noir
Sangiovese

Serves 8
Total time: 40 minutes

photo (5)

*Original Serves-4 Recipe

Sausage “Alfredo”

For some reason I’m drawn to the dishes that are a play or rip-off of other dishes.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe I feel like this play-on-another-dish is an underdog and I kind of feel like Robin Hood, giving that dish a chance.  Or I could feel a little like Peter Pan, with the dishes that never want to grow up and be the big, bold dish it could have been.  No, stay, play, have fun!  Or, maybe it’s just that these dishes are easier than the actual dish.  Ya, I have to go with that last one.  As much as I’d like to be Robin Hood or Peter Pan, I just don’t look good in tights.  

Ingredients:

1 Pkg Hillshire Farm smoked sausage
12 oz cooked pasta, drained
2 cups heavy cream
1 Tbs Italian seasoning
1 Tsp garlic salt
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pt cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups frozen peas

Preparation:

Prepare pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.

While preparing pasta, cut sausage in ½” – 1″ thick slices.  Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium – high heat.  Sauté sausage for about 5 minutes, until crispy.  Drain any grease.  Add cream, Italian seasoning, and garlic salt.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.  Add tomatoes and peas. Simmer 4-5 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken.

Stir in Parmesan and add to pasta.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Chardonnay
Semillon
White Burgundy

Serves 6 – 8

Total time: 30 minutes

Sausage "Alfredo"

Sausage “Alfredo”

*Derived from: Hillshire Farms