Sunday, February 28, 2016

One-Pot Cajun Pasta ****

I'm sorry I've been gone a bit.  I'm still cooking, but I just started a new job last month, after working from home for the past 4 months.  It's been quite an adjustment, so I've been sticking mostly to old tried and true favorites.  Now that I've (hopefully!) found my new rhythm, I plan on getting back in to trying new recipes again!

This was just absolutely amazing.  The kids and hubs raved.  Both kids begged to take leftovers to school.  And the 10-year-old said that when he sat back down at the table after reheating his in the microwave, his friends were all telling him how it smelled like his mom must be a really good cook.  Proud mama moment. :-)  But seriously, this recipe is so amazingly easy that it would be really hard to mess it up.

I took a few little shortcuts, just because I have so little time after work now (my commute home with my new job is longer than it used to be).  For the onion and peppers, I just used a bag of frozen fajita blend peppers and onions.  I meant to set it out to let it thaw ahead of time, but since I forgot, I just threw them in with the chicken at the beginning.  The only difference was that I had to pour out a bit more liquid after everything had cooked down.  No biggie.  Then I used the pre-sliced mushrooms from the produce section.  Ideally, I would have thought to dice the chicken and sausage ahead of time, but alas, that did not happen.

We will most definitely be having this again.  They were all asking me to make it again the very next night, lol.  I'd really like to try it with some crawfish tails.  I can see them being amazing in something like this!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ BuzzFeedTasty)

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 chicken breasts, diced
8 oz Andouille or smoked sausage, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
16 oz box of the pasta of your choice (we used linguine)
5 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded Parmesan
1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning

1. Pour olive oil into the pot. Add diced chicken breast to the pot, cover with Cajun seasoning (You can use a store-bought Cajun spice mix or make your own! We used equal parts cayenne pepper, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.), and stir until the chicken is evenly seasoned. Then, add sliced sausage and stir. Cook the meat on medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
2. Once the meat is cooked, add in the garlic, onion, peppers, and mushrooms, and stir. Continue stirring for 3-5 minutes as the veggies cook down.
3. Add the dry pasta to the pot (if using long, thin noodles, break in half), then pour in the chicken broth. Stir until everything is well-mixed. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, keep covered bring the heat down to a simmer for 10 minutes (stirring every two minutes). If there still extra chicken broth, you can discard it, cook longer until the liquid evaporates, or add a little cornstarch to thicken the liquid.
4. Lastly, add heavy cream and Parmesan and stir until your pasta is well blended. Garnish with green onions, more Parmesan, a sprinkle of Cajun seasoning (if you want some extra spice), and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!
*luckymommy/Amy's notes: I used a bag of frozen fajita blend peppers and onions and put them in with the chicken at the beginning.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Slow-Cooked Ham and Corn Chowder ***

I first made this one back in 2009, and I'm ashamed to say that we never had it again.  I've been trying to remake some oldies from the blog, though, and this one seemed pretty perfect for the small ice that we had a few weeks ago.  It was perfect for the cold weather, and it's the ideal comfort food.  I served it with a nice crusty bread.  I am definitely not going to wait another 6 years to have it again!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Recipezaar)

2 1/2 cups milk
1 (15 ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (10 1/2 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups frozen corn
1 cup frozen hash brown potatoes
1 cup cubed cooked ham
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 teaspoons parsley flakes
salt and pepper
1-2 dash Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning

In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients.
Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Corn Chowder ***

This was pretty good.  The kids really liked it.  It could have used something more, but I'm honestly not sure what.  I did end up adding some instant mashed potato flakes, since it never would thicken up for me.  That made it pretty good.  I'd have it again, but I would definitely still add the mashed potatoes.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ DamnDelicious)

4 slices bacon, diced
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
12 ounces red potato, diced
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cups corn kernels, frozen, canned or roasted
4 cups chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup half and half
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside.
Place chicken, potatoes, onion, carrots, celery, and corn into a 6-qt slow cooker. Stir in chicken broth, garlic, thyme, oregano, cayenne pepper and bay leaf; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours.
In a small bowl, whisk together half and half and cornstarch. Stir in half and half mixture and butter during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.
Serve immediately, topped with bacon and garnished with chives, if desired.
OP's Notes: Half and half is equal parts of whole milk and cream. For 1 cup half and half, you can substitute 3/4 cup whole milk + 1/4 cup heavy cream or 2/3 cup skim or low-fat milk + 1/3 cup heavy cream.
*luckymommy/Amy's notes: I added about a cup of instant mashed potato flakes to thicken it up at the end.