Friday, February 26, 2010

Chicken and Penne with Tomato Vodka Cream Sauce

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise
2 Tbsp. Olive oil

1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup vodka
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup heavy whipping cream
salt & pepper to taste
1 pound penne pasta

Heat a large nonstick skillet on med hig heat. Add olive oil then add chicken, turn when browned, cook on other side until done, approx 7-10 minutes total. Remove to plate and keep warm.

1. In another large skillet over med heat, melt butter with olive oil; add onion and garlic and saute until transparent.

2. Add canned tomatoes and vodka and cook for 25 minutes or until almost no liquid remains, stirring frequently.

3. Increase heat and add red pepper flakes and cream; boil for 2 minutes or until thickened to sauce consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add penne pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Pour sauce over pasta and toss to coat. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired.

Serve with the chicken breasts, salad, and french bread, Enjoy!

Serves 4

Sometimes when I have the time, I make homemade gnocchi and serve it instead of the penne. It is really good, but pretty labor intensive, but well worth it.

Gnocchi (I normally double this recipe to serve with the sauce as an entree)

1 (8 oz) container ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 - 2 cups all purpose flour, or as needed.

Stir together the ricotta cheese, eggs, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a large bowl until evenly combined. Mix in flour 1 cup at a time, adding additional flour if needed to form a soft dough.

Divide the dough into 3 or 4 pieces, and roll into 1/2 inch thick ropes on a floured surface. Cut each rope into 1 inch pieces, and place on a lightly floured baking sheet. Place in the refrigerator until use.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Boil the gnocchi until they float to the surface, approx 1-2 minutes, then dain and mix with the above sauce.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Beef Stew

My boys enjoying the beef stew, aren't they handsome?!

2 - 2 1/2 lbs stew meat
2 Tbsp veg oil
3 cups beef broth
1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 bay leaves
3/4 cup red wine, optional
1 med. onion, chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
3 lg carrots. sliced
3 lg potatoes, cut up
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, cleaned and halved
2 Tbsp cornstarch

Brown meat in hot oil. Add broth, worcestershire sauce, wine, garlic, bay leaves, onion, salt, pepper and paprika. Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Remove bay leaves and garlic cloves. Add vegetables, cover and cook 30 minutes, or until tender. To thicken gravy, in another bowl, mix cornstarch with 1/4 cup water. Mix in a little of the hot gravy, then add all back into the stew. Stir and cook until thickened and bubbly.

I usually serve in a bowl over rice. You can really use any vegetables you like, these are just the ones we like, be creative.
Enjoy :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Shepherd's Pie


4 large potatoes, peeled & chopped
1 Tbsp oil
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 - 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp ketchup
1/8 cup worcestershire sauce
1 packet brown gravy mix
8-10 oz frozen peas & carrots
Shredded cheddar cheese


1. Boil potatoes for making regular mashed potatoes. Drain & mash, adding butter & milk until good consistency. Add salt & pepper to taste. Set aside.

2. Add oil to large frying pan. Add chopped onion and cook until softened. Add ground beef and cook until browned. Drain fat. Put the meat back on the heat and add flour, cook for 1 minute. Add ketchup, worcestershire sauce, brown gravy mix and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer about 5 minutes or until thickened.

3. In a 2 quart casserole dish, spread the meat mixture on the bottom, then add a layer of the frozen peas & carrots. Top with the mashed potatoes and sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese.

4. Bake in a preheated 375 oven for 20 minutes.

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It's been a loooooong time!

It's not that I haven't had anything to say, I just wasn't feeling it. I have determined that the most requested thing I am asked for is recipes. So for now I'm going to start posting my favorite recipes, or dishes I stumble upon that I think you might like. If I can remember, I will snap a photo and post it as well.

I think tonight I'm making Shepherd's pie, as requested by David Longobardo (Jordyn's BF). Speaking of which, I have asked the two of them to start making dinner for the family once a month. They need to select the menu, prepare the meal and then clean up. It serves two purposes really, one, it will hopefully inspire a love for cooking for Jordyn, and two, it will give me a break once a month. If they cook something good, I'll share their recipe as well.

I hope you enjoy the food as much as I do :)