Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tomatillo Salsa Chicken

Look at this tray of ingredients - isn't it inspiring? I had all of my ingredients out to make a tomatillo salsa and just had to take a picture.

Anyway, the plan for last night's dinner was something with a Mexican flair. I was thinking of a creamy, cheesy casserole or enchiladas, but decided to keep it light, fresh, and healthy since we'll be doing a lot of eating in Vegas this weekend!

I wanted some sort of chicken stew, something with the flavors of my White Chicken Chili but without all of the work. So I decided to put together a simple tomatillo salsa, cook and shred some chicken, and let it all simmer to give it that stew-like feel. I had everything done in about 25-35 minutes, earning this dish a Quick and Easy tag. 

This meal is one of the best things I have made over the past few weeks, and I'm so happy to have leftovers for tonight. I served the chicken over brown rice, and with a side of sauteed veggies - red and green bell peppers, green onion, black beans, and corn. 

Ingredients - Tomatillo Salsa
  • 6 tomatillos, husks removed, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, thoroughly washed
  • 1 sm onion, roughly chopped
  • juice from 1/2 of a lime
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed (unless you want it to be really spicy) and roughly chopped
  • Approximately 1/2 tsp salt

Ingredients - Chicken
  • 3 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1.5 c water, 1.5 c chicken broth (or more - you want the chicken to be just covered)
  • Spices - anything you want! I used 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder, 1 tsp Mexican oregano (measurements are approximate)
  • Additional 1/2 c chicken broth 
  • Chicken - place the chicken in a pot and cover with broth and water. Add spices. Bring to a steady simmer to poach - remove at 165-170 degrees. Shred with two forks. 
  • Salsa - Put all of the salsa ingredients in a blender and blend. I kept mine just a touch chunky.
  • Putting it all together - put about half of the salsa in a large saute pan with 1/2 c chicken broth. Bring to a light simmer. Add chicken and let simmer until heated through. Serve over brown rice, rice, or chips, or tostada shells (I used brown rice) and top with queso fresco, chopped green onions, and cilantro. 
You will have a little salsa leftover (not cooked) and it's great with chips! 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Arugula Pesto

I was excited when I received my recipe for Taste of Home Cooking's most recent recipe swap featuring Celebrity Chef Recipes. I have always wanted to make a pesto using something other than basil, but had just never gotten around to it. So getting this Giada De Laurentiis recipe for Arugula Pesto (minus the grilled shrimp in that link) submitted by the author of the blog Fried Ice and Donuts was perfect timing.

Though a dainty green, arugula is strong and peppery and all of that came through in this pesto. Another great thing about this pesto - it is ridiculously easy and takes all of three minutes to make. And not to my surprise, my almost 2-year old daughter ate and loved it. Chicken nuggets or french fries - forget it. But give her something "fancy" and packed with flavor (especially garlic) in terms of kid-food and she'll devour it.

I tossed the arugula pesto with pasta, but would also love to use it as a spread on a sandwich or panini - maybe some grilled chicken, tomato, and mozzarella!

The only change I made was to use 2 cloves of garlic instead of one. The original recipe is below.


  • 2 cups Arugula, packed
  • 1 Garlic Clove (I used 2)
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper, plus more to taste
  • 12 ounces Pasta Shapes (I used 8 oz of penne and have some pesto leftover to use on a sandwich or 2)


  • In the bowl of a food processor, blend the arugula and garlic until finely chopped.
  • With the machine running, gradually add the oil, processing until well blended.
  • Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.
  • Season with more salt and pepper, to taste.

*This recipe makes 1 cup of pesto, which will serve 4 over 12 ounces of pasta. It can be made up to 2 days ahead of time, kept covered in the fridge.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

Pasta, cream sauce, veggies, chicken, a bit of spice, and the fact that it was a quick and easy meal - that sounds about perfect to me. I bookmarked this recipe for Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta when I first saw Elly post it on her blog 2 months ago (go to that link - her blog is great! I have made several of her recipes and still have a few more bookmarked to make).

This dish was so easy to make, and was really good - creamy, flavorful, a bit spicy, and nice and fresh from the crispy veggies. I made enough to have leftovers to take to my dad for lunch the next day, but Jon liked it so much that he ate 2 big portions. Sorry, dad. I'll make it for you some other time!!

I made some minor changes; my version is below. For Elly's version, see the link above.


  • 8 oz linguine, cooked
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced
  • 4 tsp Cajun seasoning, divided
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced into strips
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c chicken broth
  • 1 c half and half
  • Salt and pepper


  • Season the chicken with 1/2 of the Cajun seasoning. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan. Add chicken and cook until cooked through, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and keep warm.
  • Add the peppers, onions, and garlic to the pan; saute 2-3 minutes.
  • Add half of the remaining Cajun seasoning and saute another 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the chicken broth and stir, scraping up all the brown bits (about 2 minutes).
  • Reduce the heat to medium low and add the half and half. Simmer until it begins to thicken. Taste and add Cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper if needed.
  • Add the chicken and pasta. Toss until everything is coated.

I loved this dish, I loved how easy it was, and based on Jon's reaction, I will definitely be making it again!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Spicy Sesame-Soy Rice Noodles

This is such a simple and tasty side that I threw together the day after I made the Balsamic Glazed Chicken. I had leftover cooked rice noodles so I decided to reuse them in another dish.


  • Cooked pad thai rice noodles - about half of a package
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 c chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (less or more depending on how much heat you like)
  • Handful of chopped cilantro
  • Heat the olive and sesame oils in a large saute pan or wok over medium high heat
  • Add the garlic; saute 1-2 minutes
  • Add the noodles and toss for just a few seconds
  • Add the soy sauce, broth, and red pepper flakes and toss
  • Stir in the cilantro, or us it as a garnish
I think that took all of 5 minutes. Even if you didn't have cooked noodles on-hand, they only take about 6-7 minutes, so this dish is still under 15 minutes from start to finish. And delicious!