Tuesday, February 17, 2009

In the Kitchen: Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo

The base sauce for this meal is easy and versatile. I make it with chicken, mushrooms and spinach but it is also delicious without or you can add any vegetables you like. I serve it over cheese tortellini but it is good on any pasta or even grilled chicken or fish. This recipe will easily serve 4 people or 2 people twice and you will find a link to a printable recipe card at the end of the post.

Prep time: 15 min  |  Cook time: 15 min  | Serves 4

What you'll need:
16 oz jar roasted red peppers in oil (1/4 cup used in recipe)
skinless boneless chicken, 3-4 tenderloins or 1-2 breasts
6-10 mushrooms
2/3 cup spinach, fresh or frozen
16 oz jar alfredo sauce
grated parmesan cheese (in a shaker is fine)
onion powder, garlic powder, salt & pepper
1 package cheese tortellini

The first step is to prepare the red peppers. Drain the oil from the 
jar and puree the peppers in a food processor or blender.

Once pureed, pour back into the jar for storing. You will only use a small amount each time you make this sauce so one jar will last for several meals (which also makes it easier next time!). It stores well in the refrigerator.

I always cook with chicken tenderloins which we buy in bulk - they are inexpensive and easy to use. You can also use breasts. I use 3-4 tenderloins for this meal but you can use as much or as little as you wish depending on how many you are feeding. I also like a lot of mushrooms.

Cut the chicken into bite size pieces and saute in a deep skillet. Season with onion and garlic powder and a little salt and pepper. 
For the amount of chicken I use, about 1/8 to 1/4 tsp is good. 

When the chicken is almost done, add the mushrooms and saute until cooked through.

Next, push the mixture to the sides and add a bit of margarine to the center of the pan. Add the spinach and saute until cooked through. I use frozen spinach but fresh works as well. 

Pour in the alfredo sauce and mix well. We like a little more sauce so I add 1/4 cup milk to the empty alfredo jar, shake well and pour into pan along with a few shakes of parmesan cheese.

Next add about 1/4 cup of the pureed red peppers to the sauce. You can use more or less depending on taste. Mix well and heat through.

Serve over cheese tortellini with garlic bread and enjoy!

> Click here for a printable recipe card.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Meet the Family: Smudge

We have a full house here on Parkwood Drive and there is never a dull moment. Children, you ask? Real ones? Nah, not yet - I'm not sure where we would put them. Just lots of fur, feathers and scutes, and I thought you might like to meet them.

First up, our cockatiel, Smudge, though we usually just creatively call her birdie. She's a big Lillyella fan, loves to take a bath and can't live without her oat groats. Don't worry, no beaks, paws, tongues or claws touch the jewelry I ship out!

Twelve more to go - stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

In the Kitchen: Santa Fe Chicken

This week, Santa Fe Chicken - quick and yummy, this meal couldn't get much easier! It makes enough to easily serve four or you can save the leftovers for another meal or a quick lunch.

Total time:  About 20 min  |  Serves 4

What you'll need:
• skinless boneless chicken, 3-4 tenderloins or 1-2 breasts
• 15 oz can black beans
• 15 oz can sweet corn with peppers (or Mexicorn)
• 15 oz can diced tomatoes with chilies
• 4 oz can chopped green chilies
• 1/3 cup shredded pepper jack cheese (more if desired)

Cut thawed chicken into small cubes and cook in a deep skillet. 

Season chicken with about 1/4 tsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, black and red pepper mix, cilantro and a few shakes of red pepper flakes. It may seem like a lot of seasoning for the chicken but it gets watered down once you add the other ingredients. 

Once the chicken is almost done, add the green chilies, undrained, and heat until the chicken is cooked through. Next add the diced tomatoes and black beans, undrained, and the corn, which needs to be drained. Simmer until heated throughout. 

Give it a taste and you may want to add a few shakes of salt or more seasoning depending on preference. 

Add shredded cheese to pan and stir until melted. I use pepper jack but cheddar would work well also.

Serve over hot white rice with a dollop of sour cream, if desired, and Fiesta Breadsticks - yum!