Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Bowties with Bacon, Carrots and Peas

Summer is not yet officially over, but school has begun in many places, including for the school going ones at my house (5 of us!). So it's a great time to try some new family friendly dinners that are quick and easy to prepare and hearty enough to fill up the hungry tummies of the soccer players/dancers/runners around the table. (Or desk sitters, in my case. Ha!)

I love this recipe because it is light enough to be a great summer dish but it is filling enough to satisfy the aforementioned appetites. And it's a great way to get the veggies in! And, it's beautiful with the green and orange. Make it today! I know it will become a regular on our table.

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Bowties with Bacon, Carrots and Peas

12 ounces uncooked bow tie pasta
1/2 pound center-cut bacon slices, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup chicken stock
1 12 oz. bag frozen green peas
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
4 ounces low fat cream cheese
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta until al dente; drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid; set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon; cook 4-6 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon.

Remove all but 1 Tbps. of bacon drippings from pan. Add onion and carrot to drippings in pan; cook 5 minutes. Add stock; bring to a boil. Add peas; cook 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat; stir in bacon, thyme, salt, pepper, and cream cheese. Add pasta to pan; toss to coat. Stir in reserved cooking liquid if necessary. Top with cheese and serve immediately.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Cooking Light

Monday, August 22, 2016

Southwest Pasta Salad with Chili Lime Dressing

There are a few weeks left of summer, so there's plenty of time to get this great pasta salad onto the menu of your next picnic or get together. This salad has the best flavor! A spunky dressing combines with corn, black beans, onions, cilantro and of course, pasta, to really make your taste buds sing! It's a nice change of pace from the traditional Italian pasta salad, and would be great alongside grilled meat or even fajitas!

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Southwest Pasta Salad With Chili Lime Dressing

2/3 cup light sour cream
1 tsp. chili powder
zest and juice of 1 lime
salt & pepper

3 cups pasta shells
1 can corn
1/4 cup green onions, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 to 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

Whisk all dressing ingredients together until smooth. Taste and adjust salt as necessary. Chill, covered, until ready to use.

For the salad, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water. Drain and rinse with cold water.

To the cooked pasta, stir in the corn, green onions, black beans, cheese, jalapeno, and cilantro. Add the dressing and stir well to combine. Refrigerate a couple hours to let the flavors meld.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Jo and Sue

Monday, August 15, 2016

Barbacoa Beef {Crock pot!}

Taco night is a frequent occurrence at our house. We enjoy ground beef, chicken, shredded pork tacos and now, I am thrilled to have found a great recipe for Barbacoa Beef from Stephanie's blog, Dessert Before Dinner. I was first introduced to barbacoa beef at Chipotle, like I'm sure many of you were. But if you're like me, and want to minimize the risk of E coli, you can make this at home! And I promise, it will be even better than the restaurant's, and much more economical, too.

This recipe has a long list of ingredients, but I'm sure you already have most of them in your pantry. The beef gets a nice kick from chipotle peppers (adjust to your family's tastes!) and all the ingredients (even orange juice!) work together nicely to produce super moist, delicious meat.

The best part? It cooks up in the crock pot all day, and then it only takes a few minutes to heat up tortillas, make guacamole, cut up tomatoes, and assemble all the other fixings your family loves on tacos (especially homemade salsa!). This beef is obviously very flexible too - instead of tacos, you could make burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, salads, even a great sandwich!

Thanks to Secret Recipe Club for a great blog to visit, and a great recipe to add to my rotation!

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Barbacoa Beef

2 lbs beef chuck roast
1/4 cup orange juice
3 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped small
1 tsp. adobo sauce

Place roast in crock pot. Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium measuring cup, and then pour over roast. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Shred with two forks and then use in tacos, enchiladas, burritos, tamales, etc. Serves 6-8.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Blueberry Pancake Ice Cream

I saw this recipe last year and knew I would have to make it this summer. Ice cream with maple syrup and blueberries??? Yes please. I adapted this recipe to be more like the Jeni's creations, not using eggs, but instead using the cornstarch/cream cheese method (this is how I refer to it!). This worked really well on this recipe. It did help that my whole milk was near its expiration date, so my ice cream naturally had that buttermilk pancake zing... I served it at a dinner party to rave reviews. And I've never met something that so easily could be used an excuse for "ice cream for breakfast!" It is called blueberry pancake, after all...

Find more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Create Link Inspire, Clever Chicks, Fabulous, Show and Share, Hearth and Soul, What's Cooking, Wow Me, Wow Us.

Blueberry Pancake Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups whole milk (+2 Tbsp.)
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. butter extract (or butter buds)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 oz. reduced fat cream cheese

For the blueberry sauce:

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a large saucepan, combine whole milk, maple syrup, and sugar, heavy cream and butter buds. Heat on medium-low heat until the mixture reaches a boil. Stir together cornstarch and 2 Tbs. milk and gradually add to the milk mixture and continue boiling until slightly thickened. Slowly stir this mixture into the cream cheese and whisk well until combined. Refrigerate overnight.

About an hour before churning your ice cream, make your blueberry swirl. In a small saucepan, heat the blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice on medium heat until the blueberries just slightly begin to release their juices. Remove from heat and allow to chill for at least 1 hour.

Once berry mixture is chilled, pour ice cream into your ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer's instructions. Once the ice cream is done churning, scoop half of it out into a container. Pour half of your chilled blueberries over the ice cream. Repeat this process with the second half of your ice cream and blueberries.

Use a spatula to gently swirl the blueberries into the ice cream. Cover and allow to freeze for another 12 hours. Makes 1 quart.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Broma Bakery

Monday, August 1, 2016

Chicken Thighs with Ginger-Sesame Glaze

I like to cook with chicken thighs once in a while as a change of pace from chicken breasts. And they work wonderfully with Asian-inspired flavors such as this treatment. The chicken marinates all day in a soy/gingery mixture and then cooks quickly on the grill. If you don't have a grill, you can easily bake the chicken (see Teriyaki chicken) or cook on a grill pan, about 5 minutes each side.

Combine with rice pilaf (or even plain rice!) and a green vegetable, and you have a winner of a dinner. (And it's a chicken dinner!)

Find more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Create Link Inspire, Clever Chicks, Fabulous, Show and Share, Hearth and Soul, What's Cooking, Wow Me, Wow Us.

Chicken Thighs with Ginger-Sesame Glaze

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds)

In a 1-cup measuring cup, combine brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, chili garlic sauce. Whisk to combine. Stir in 1 tsp. sesame seeds and 1/4 cup green onions. Place chicken in a 11x7 baking dish (or similar) and pour marinade over. Let chicken marinate for at least one hour or up to all day, in the refrigerator.

Heat a gas grill to medium heat. Add chicken; cook over indirect heat for 15-20 minutes, flipping twice. Meanwhile, transfer marinade to a small saucepan and bring to boil; cook and stir for one minute.

Transfer chicken to a platter; drizzle with reduced marinade and top with remaining sesame seeds and onions. Serves 4.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Cooking Light
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