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Spinach Artichoke Chicken with Orzo Pasta

Spinach Artichoke Chicken with Orzo Pasta

Today I decided I was going to make PB Turkey Burgers for dinner, which I have already posted.  So I went through my picture archive and found this Spinach Artichoke Chicken that I made about a week ago.  I hadn’t posted it because I was not happy with my photo, however it was a very yummy and easy dinner, so here it is. 

This is a quick and easy 30 min dinner.  The sauce cooks up real easy and you can just put it in the oven.  I personally love “oven” dinners because you don’t have to watch over them as much. :D  Anyway, Hubby and I really enjoyed this.  The recipe below is a guess-tamate, because I did this over a week ago and I made it up as I went.  If you want to thicken the sauce just add more cream cheese, if you want it thinner, add more broth.  Be sure to taste it, to see if it needs more seasoning, if you want more garlic taste after sauteing the garlic and onions just add some garlic powder.  

Enjoy!

Spinach Artichoke Chicken 4 servings

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 can of artichokes in brine
  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a oven safe casserole dish with non-stick olive oil spray.

Heat large skillet to a medium- high heat. Drizzle chicken breast with olive oil and season with Italian seasoning,  brown chicken in skillet for about 5 mins.  When finished browning, take out of skillet place in casserole dish, set aside.

In the same skillet saute onion and garlic (you may need a little more olive oil)  until translucent, add in chicken broth, cream cheese, spinach, artichokes, salt and pepper to taste . Stir until cream cheese blends with broth and spinach starts to wilt.

When ready spread spinach mix over chicken in casserole dish, bake in oven for 30 mins.

Serve hot over orzo pasta, sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Dinner is done!

Spiced Blueberry Rustic Tart

Spiced Blueberry Rustic Tart

I had some blueberries in my fridge that were going to start to look pretty sad if I didn’t do something with them soon.  I decided I would try my hand at a rustic tart.  A rustic tart is basically a pie without the pie pan.  You mound the filling in the center of the dough leaving 2 inches of edge and then fold over on the filling.  

I was not about to make the crust from scratch,  it’s a weekday and my time is limited on weekdays, second I already made dough from scratch this week for my “pastelillos”.  So I stopped at the grocery store on the way home and picked up some Pillsbury roll-out pie dough.  I have never made blueberry pie filling before, so I looked at several recipes and came up with this one.  I also decided to add some pumpkin spice to the egg wash to give it some extra spice. bbtart-colage

However, it seems I need to practice on how to properly fill and fold the dough, or maybe I just had to much filling, because the crust cracked while baking and the filling began to ooze out. :(  As you can see from my little photo collage.  I was sad to see this happen.  However, it is true that the way it looks does not always affect the way it taste.  My tart may have not been aesthetically pleasing, but is was super yummy.  I am definitely keeping this one in my recipe box.

Spiced Blueberry Rustic Tart

  • 4 cups of blueberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbs one minute tapioca
  • 3 Tbs water
  • 1 tsp lemon rind, grated
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 egg, well beaten with
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice, for egg wash
  • 1 pinch salt, for egg washing
  • 1 Tbs raw sugar, for top of pie
  • 1 individual roll out pie crust

Combine 1 cup berries with 3/4 cup sugar in pan. Simmer on low heat until sugar is melted and mixture is very liquid; about 5 minutes.

Combine tapioca and water in bowl. Add to pan with blueberries.

Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to full boil and is clear and thick.

Fold in remaining 3 cups of blueberries, lemon rind, cinnamon,nutmeg and butter.

Transfer to bowl, let cool before adding to pie crust.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and coat with cooking spray

Roll out pre-made pie dough. Flour rolling pin and roll dough over the rolling pin, and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Spread the berry mixture over the pastry, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Fold the border up and over the filling, pleating as necessary. Blend the egg, salt and pumpkin spice with a fork; brush lightly over the tart rim. Sprinkle with the raw sugar.

Bake the tart for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F and bake until the crust is golden and the juices are bubbling, 30 minutes. Leaving the tart on the parchment (or foil), carefully slide it onto a wire rack. Let cool.

Cut into wedges to serve, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream for an extra treat.

 

quail-eggs126

A girlfriend of mine came over yesterday for dinner and saw these on my counter, she asked me if they were lizard eggs. :D  I laughed and told her that they were quail eggs. 

I found these little eggs while I was at the Asian market picking up some ingredients for my Spicy Crispy Beef.  As an addicted and avid watcher of Iron Chef America, I have seen these eggs used many times.  

I guess at first glance they can look like lizard eggs, but they are so tiny and cute.  I do not know yet what I will do with them, I am sure it won’t taste much different from a regular egg.  If you have ever had a quail egg, let me know how they are.  I am thinking of a small salad and topping it off with an egg, we will see.  Regardless I love finding ingredients that I have never used before.

Here are a few interesting links on quail eggs:

 

Spicy Crispy Beef

Spicy Crispy Beef

 

Today while I was sitting at my desk reconciling an account and looking for 20 cents, I got an idea for dinner, weird right?  Probably why I couldn’t find the 20 cents, my mind was elsewhere.  Anyways I remembered one time a long, long time ago I went to a Thai restaurant in DC with a friend and we ordered Crispy Beef with Green Beans, very yummy.  

I needed a few things, like rice wine and chile paste, so I ran over to the Asian market.  This place is huge and has every single Asian item you can think of, it is interesting shopping there, especially since I can barely make out the labels. :D   

Well the Spicy Crispy Beef was a hit, I loved it, hubby loved it and our friends that we invited over loved it.  This gets a super delicious! 

Spicy Crispy Beef

  • 1/4 tablespoon salt
  • black pepper
  • 12 ounces flank steak, thinly sliced
  • 1 quart oil for frying
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon rice wine
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 7 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon chile paste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger root
  • 1/4 tsp crush red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced onion
  • 1/2 cup of fresh green beans

Heat oil in frying pan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine salt and pepper together. Mix thoroughly. Toss the steak slices.  Deep fry the steak slices until fulling cooked and crisped. Remove from oil, and set aside.

In another mixing bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, rice wine and honey. Add sugar, chili paste, crushed red pepper, water, and ginger. Mix well and set aside.

Heat a wok or deep frying pan over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, and quickly saute the onion, garlic and green beans for 30 seconds. Add the sauce mixture, and cook another 30 seconds. Finally, add the strips of fried steak and toss, coat with sauce, cook for additional 5 mins.

 

 
Pastelillos de Carne (Empanadas)

Pastelillos de Carne (Empanadas)

A traditional treat back home in Puerto Rico is the “pastelillo” which is similar to an empanada, except the dough is a little different.  The dough for a pastelillo is very thin and flaky, most empanadas are a little denser.  If you ever visit my home of Puerto Rico you can find these sold at almost every side of the road kiosk, best with a cold malta, but maltas are an aquired taste.   These yummy treats come with all kinds of fillings, meat, crab, chicken, shrimp, cheese and even pizza.

When we lived in Florida, and I was craving some “pastelillos”  I would cook up the meat and go to the local bodega and get pre-made frozen dough.  However here in Tulsa, OK I am not sure where to go or if I could even find this dough.  So today when I decided to make these treats for my husband’s softball team to eat between games, they had a double header today, I knew I would have to make the dough myself.  I have never made the dough from scratch before so I was a little nervous, but they turned out delicious.  My husband was very excited to have such a special treat, we grew up on these back home. 

For me it was easiest to make the filling first and the then dough.

Pastelillos de Carne 20 servings

Filling:

  • 1 lbs beef tips, diced
  • 2 potatoes, diced
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup recaito
  • 1 envelope of Sazon sin achiote
  • 10 pimiento stuffed olives, cut in half
  • olive oil
  • Adobo (a staple in every Latin home, it’s magic seasoning)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup water

Heat skillet at med-high, drizzle with olive oil.  Saute onions, garlic and recaito until onions are translucent. 

Drizzle beef with olive oil and season with Adobo.  (I never measure this but I am pretty generous with it) Add beef, potatoes, olives, bay leaves, Sazon and water  to skillet, stir and cover.  Simmer on a low heat for about 45 mins, or until meat is tender.

Dough:

  • 3 1/2 cups of flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • 3 1/2 Tbs of vegetable oil, cold
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • vegetable oil for frying

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. 

Cut in vegetable oil into the flour mixture. ( cut in:  When a fat such as butter or oil is mixed with a dry ingredient like flour until they form into small particles.) I would use a food processor fitted with a metal blade and just pulse it. You can also use your trusty fingers to do the job.

Place mixture in large bowl, add the egg and mix using a fork.

Add the water a little at a time, mixing with a fork.  When done mixing the dough brittle, or in pieces.

Dust a workspace with flour, collect all of your dough.  Knead the dough using your palm, as if you were washing clothes on an old washboard.  Knead until the dough is soft and smooth.  Form into a ball, cover with a cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Roll dough out into a rope about 15 inches long.  (I roll, pull and squeeze)  Once rolled out cut off disks about 3/4 of an inch think.  Dust your rolling pin and workspace and roll out into a thin paper circle.

If you like you can cut and press them out, separate with wax paper and freeze for later use.

Assemble:

Make sure you get the oil is nice and hot, you need the oil to be a least 1 1/2 inch deep.   Take your disk of rolled out dough, and fill with 1 spoonful of filling. 

Wet the edges of the dough with water or oil.  Fold over to make a half moon, Trim the edges if you need to make them even.  Pinch the dough together using your fingers, then go over it, pressing it with the teeth of a fork.  You now have a pastelillo.

Take your pastelillo and carfully drop into the oil.  You should almost immediatly begin to puff and float, cook on each side about 2 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.

Drain on a plate with paper towel, let cool and enjoy. YUMMY!

These are super delicious and not good for you….lol.  A treat we allow ourselves only once in awhile.  You can make virtually any filling you like.

 

 

Today we had ourselves a spicy meal.  This wasn’t planned, it just happened.  I was trying to figure out what the heck I was going to make for dinner.  I had an exhausting day and I wanted to make something, without having to go out to the grocery store.  I visit the grocery store almost daily, seriously I think the cashiers know my name. 

So I knew I had chicken breast, but I had not clue how to prepare it.  I went to my cupboard and stood their staring for a few seconds….maybe a solid minute.  Then in the back peeking out from behind my very large bottle of oregano I was a yellow package.  It was a package of madras curry, I had bought it ages ago because I had never used it and figured that maybe it would motivate me to make a curry.  I literally think I bought this about 4 months ago.  Then I saw a can of chickpeas, there was my dinner, chicken curry with chickpeas over rice.  It turned out quite yummy, and spicy.  It made my nose run….lol.

Curry Chicken with Chickpeas

Curry Chicken with Chickpeas

Chicken Curry and Chickpeas

  • 2 chicken breast, diced
  • 1 Tbs canola oil
  • 1 yellow onion, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 Tbs curry powder
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomato
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • salt & pepper

Heat large skillet with oil to a med-high heat.  Season chicken with salt and pepper, brown in skillet for 5 mins, stir chicken to brown on all sides.  When finished remove chicken and set aside.

In same skillet saute the onions until translucent, about 5 mins.  Add garlic, ginger and curry powder and cook and stir about 2 minutes.

Stir in chicken, chickpeas, tomatoes, potatoes, water, sugar and pinch of salt.  Cover and simmer over low hear for about 30 mins, until potatoes are tender. 

Stir in heavy cream and simmer an additional 10 minutes.  Serve hot over white rice.

While dinner was simmering I was thinking that it would be nice to have something sweet.  I have also been noodling on some recipes, because I have been considering entering the Pillsbury Bake-Off.  I had a tube of sugar cookie dough sitting in the fridge and then I thought about how I have seen the combination of chocolate and Cayenne pepper a lot lately.  So I decided to try and make some “Hot Chocolate Cookies”   I have never tried this combination of spicy and sweet, so I gave it a whirl.  I was surprise how much I liked it.  It is a little odd to eat a cookie and it be spicy but they were yummy and great with a cup of milk.  Try it out for yourself. :D

Hot Chocolate Cookies

Hot Chocolate Cookies

Hot Chocolate Cookies 12 Servings

  • 1 Tube Pillsbury sugar cookie dough, room temperature
  • 6 tablespoon(s) Hersey’s Cocoa Powder
  • 1 cup(s) chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon(s) vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup(s) coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup(s) chopped toasted pecans
  • 1 teaspoon(s) cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Take room temperature sugar cookie down and mix in with electric hand mixer at med speed, coca powder, cayenne pepper and oil. Mix well.

Add coconut, chocolate chips and pecans. Mix together using hands.

Spray cookie sheet with butter cooking spray. Roll 12 balls of dough, place 6 at a time on cookie sheet, flatten to where cookies are about 1/2 an inch think.
Bake for 14 minutes at 350 degrees. When done cool on cooling rack, enjoy with milk. Mmmmmmm

Shrimp Scampy & Rice Tortitas

Shrimp Scampi & Rice Tortitas

For my wedding I registered for a tapas cookbook.  If you are unfamiliar with what are tapas, they are Spanish appetizers and finger foods that are served in the bars and restaurants of Spain.  At  a tapas restaurant you will usually find a menu full of all kinds of delicious appetizers and finger foods to share at your table. 

Today I finally pulled out that cookbook and tried a dish from it.  I was going to just cook a quick dinner of yellow rice with some shrimp scampi but when I saw this recipe I thought this would be a great variation, since it was rice & potato “tortitas”. (“tortita” means pancake)  I make my shrimp “scampi” by saute-ing the shrimp with some olive oil, butter, chicken stock and 3 cloves of garlic, real easy.

Rice Tortitas (From Tapas, by Pepita Aris) Serves 4

  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 cup of cooked long grain white rice
  • 1 potato, grated
  • 4 spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs of chopped parsley
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp of paprika
  • salt & ground pepper

Heat half of the olive oil in a large frying pan and stir-fry the rice, potato, spring onion and garlic, over a high heat for 3 minutes, until golden

Tip the rice and potato mixture into a large bowl and stir in the parsley and eggs, with the paprika and plenty of salt and pepper.  Mix well

Heat the remaining oil in the frying pan and drop in large spoonfuls of the rice mixture, leaving room for spreading.  Cook the tortitas for 2 minutes on each side.

Drain the tortitas on kitchen paper and keep hot while cooking the remaining mixture.  Serve hot.

These “tortitas” are great to serve any sort of protein on, you can also eat them plain with some sort of dipping sauce.  Yummy!

I have been wanting to make homemade pasta FOREVER, and  I have been asking for a pasta machine probably for just as long.  So when I saw this recipe I HAD to try it out.  For my first try, and without a machine it turned out pretty good.  Although apparently I needed to roll it thinner because I ended up with some pretty fat noodles, which made an extra hearty meal. :)  No matter, I froze some of the dough so I will have a chance to try it again.  The sauce that I made, I borrowed from Dutch Girl Cooking, except I used a combo of Italian sausage and beef.  It turned out quite yummy so I recommend you give it a try.  Her recipe makes A LOT of sauce so I froze some of it to facilitate a quick dinner in the future.

This pasta making process is a great weekend project and as you get better at it you can be more creative with it.  I am hopping to make my own ravioli down the road, once I get comfortable with the rolling.

pasta-1131

Homemade Pappardelle(From: Michael Chiarello, Feb/Mar 09 Food Network Magazine)

  • 1 3/4  cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup semolina flour, plus more for dusting
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 4 tsps extra virgin olive oil
  • salt

Directions:pasta-steps

1. Sift both flours together on a large work surface and make a well in the center.  Place eggs, olive oil and a pinch of salt in a bowl, then pour into the well, with a fork, break up the eggs, then gradually mix the wet ingredients into the flour mixture just until combined.

2. Gather the dough into 2 equal-size balls; flour the surface.  To kneed each piece, push the dough away from your with the heel of your hand, fold the dough over it self and turn it counterclockwise.  Continue pushing, folding and turning until the dough is smooth and elastic.  4 to 5 minutes.

3. Pat each piece into a ball.  Flatten slightly, wrap inplastic and refrigerate for at least 30 mins. or overnight. (You can freeze 1 ball for later, or roll out both and freeze the cut pasta.)roll

 4.  Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and dust with flour.  Starting in the middle, push away from you with a rolling pin, easing up on the pressure as you approach the edge.  Continue rolling the dough into a sheet, turning occasionally, until you can see your fingers through the bottom.  Let dry 10 minutes.

5.  Dust the top of the sheet of dough with flour and loosely roll it into a cyliner.  Using a sharp knife, cut into 3/4 inch wide slices.  unwrap the noodles; dust with semolina and gentily toss to separate.  Place on a sheet pan and cover with a tea towel until ready to cook (or freeze bags for up to 2 months.) 

pasta-roll1121

6.  Cooke the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and serve with your favorite sauce.

raspcoco-tart114

This is was something that came to mind while surfing several different recipes.  Although they turned out pretty good, they weren’t exactly what I was going for, I debated whether to post them but they photographed well so I figured I had to at least post the photo.  I am going to try them again with a different crust and try and make them thinner and less raspberry.  I will be back in the future with the redo.

They are basically tart shells make from sugar cookie dough, filled with chocolate, raspberry jam and topped with coconut icing.   From this decription you can see why they came out a little sweet, it makes me wonder why I didn’t see it sooner….LOL.

goodwill

Today hubby and I had a nice relaxing, but full day.  We got up this morning and went to the gym and later in the morning I went to church where I had an activity with the ladies ministry.  When I got home Hubby and I decided to do some Goodwill hunting.  We like to scavenge the local Goodwills and Salvation Armies for interesting home and kitchen items.  I like to find dishes and Hubby seems to have a fixation with anything that is cast iron.  It is also a great way to “change up” your food pictures at a minimal cost.  You can find all kinds of intersting dishes and items to present your food on.  Here is a collage of my finds today.  My favorite find was a set of 4 glasses that will be great to serve a layered dessert in.  I got all of these items for a grand total of $20.00, considering there are 3 cast iron skillets in the find, I think it was a pretty awesome stinking steal.

When we got home I cleaned up a bit and prept the pasta dough for lunch tommorrow.  (I will be posting step-by-step photos of this)  Then we had to figure out what to make for dinner.  Yes, I could have made the pasta but it was already late and I still had to let the dough rest and roll it out, so we decided on something a little quicker.  Hubby asked if I wanted breakfast for dinner and I thought that was an excellent idea.  We got into the kitchen together and whipped up some waffles, yummy Honey Yogurt Pecan Waffles.  I found the recipe on Annie’s Eats who got it from William and Sonoma.

Honey Yogurt Pecan Waffles

Honey Yogurt Pecan Waffles

 
Honey Yogurt Pecan Waffles
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats (I used instant)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups milk
3/4 cup vanilla yogurt
1/3 cup honey
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

 

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, spray baking pan with butter non-stick spray.  Spread pecans evenly on baking pan, spray with butter non-stick spray. Toast in oven for about 5 mins.  Keep and eye on them you don’t want them to burn.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Melt the butter; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, oats, pecans, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, honey, eggs, and vanilla until well blended. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Gently fold in the melted butter.

Preheat and lightly grease a waffle iron. Pour batter into the wells of the waffle iron and bake until the waffle is golden and set. Place in an oven preheated to 200 degrees F to keep the finished waffles warm while you use the rest of the batter. Serve with maple syrup or honey and top with fresh fruit.

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Copyright © Meseidy Rivera 2007-2008. All recipes written and photos taken by Meseidy Rivera are All Right Reserved. If you are interested in using the recipes and photos, link back & please do ask me first! Thank You!

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