Chicken and Pasta Prima Vera

This recipe started out as pasta prima vera but I thought “why not add some protein to it”? Turned out to be quite yummy and when a group of friends wound up back at my house all hungry I happened to have a big bowl left over from a food order I had just filled so was able to get everyone fed and happy in a very short period of time.

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Ingredients – serves 6-8:

Olive oil – enough to sauté vegetables

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into small bite size pieces

4 cloves minced garlic

1 red and 1 yellow  pepper cut into thin strips

2 large handfuls of chopped raw kale

2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 cup grape tomatoes cut in half

1.5 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 cup fat free evaporated milk

2 tablespoon all-purpose flour, dissolved in 6 tablespoons water

Pepper to taste

1 large carrot peeled and sliced into strips with a peeler

Fettucini or linguini – enough for 6-8 people

3/4 – 1 cup grated Parmesan

A large handful of fresh parsley leaves chopped

1/4 – 1/2 cup shredded fresh basil leaves

Salt to taste if you want to (I don’t usually cook with salt)

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add peppers and cook until they begin to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes and kale and cook until softened about another 4-5 minutes. Add carrots and stir into other vegetables. Stir in flour/water combination and mix throughly with vegetables. Add stock, evaporated milk and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until liquid has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. If liquid does not thicken enough add another tsp of flour and water mixture and stir through.

While the vegetables are cooking, bring water to a boil for the pasta. Cook pasta until it is al dente. Drain pasta and combine and toss  with vegetables and sauce. Serve garnished with Parmesan, parsley and basil.

Note: sauce thickens even more by the next day.

Sweet and Spicy Stir Fry Chicken with Eggplant and Broccoli

That is a very long title I realize….But it is accurate.  I found a sauce at the grocery store that was a sweet and spicy chilli sauce.  I thought it might work well on a stir fry so I bought it.  I am doing a lot of cooking this month for a friend of mine so I figured this is a good time to experiment with some dishes to add to my menu lists. This week was the chicken in this recipe, pasta prima vera with chicken and quinoa with roasted vegetables. Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks for the other recipes 😉

spicey sweet chicken

This was pretty easy to make and didn’t take much time at all. For my friends version I am providing brown rice to go with it but for myself I thought I would have it on it’s own.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients – serves  2

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut in cubes

1/4 cup of sweet and spice chilli sauce (if it says sweet on the label of the chilli sauce then it is most likely sweet and spicy) plus a small reserve amount for broccoli and eggplant

1 japanese eggplant cut in 1/2 inch slices round

2 cups of broccoli florets

1 tsp of canola oil for frying

Directions:

Pour 1/4 cup of sauce over cubed chicken pieces and marinate for about 15 minutes (can be longer). Stir fry the chicken till cooked and put aside when done.

Add a bit of oil to the pan and put the slices of eggplant one side face down and brown slightly. Then flip over and brown the other side.  Remove and set aside. Steam the broccoli in the microwave for about 3 minutes, drain and put in the pan to sauté slightly. Add the eggplant back in and drizzle a bit of sauce over the vegetables and stir fry for a minute or two.  Take off the heat and arrange on a plate any way you like.  You can put rice down first, then mix the chicken and vegetables together or separate them as I have done in the picture.  Any way works!

Enjoy

100 Mile Cassoulet Meal in the Country

I spent the other weekend at my friend Victoria’s place in the country.  It was a wonderful weekend full of art shows and country town drives.  We hit the farmers market on Saturday morning to get ingredients for dinner that night, still not totally sure what we were going to make but wanting to be inspired by the local produce.  We decided on a version of a cassoulet.  I had brought up smoked turkey and smoked chicken sausages from my local butcher shop that were already cooked but just needed a bit of grilling to brown them.  It was so delicious!!!!!

We got two meals for us and then another three meals to freeze out of the recipe which when we worked it out came to about $2.50 – $3.00 per serving at the most.  Full of great vegetables and flavours.  (As an aside – I added leftover cooked quinoa with vegetables to a serving I brought home and it was great).

Victoria also made a Caprese style salad on skewers for us – it was so good and so unusual. The secret is to soak the cubes of mozzarella cheese in balsamic vinegar for several minutes or longer before putting on the skewer. The cheese along with fresh basil from the garden and small grape tomatoes from the garden made for a wonder “salad”

Caprese salad sticks

Cassoulet 1

Casoulette 2

Ingredients:

1 onion

1 leek

2 medium carrots sliced

2 celery stalks sliced

2 garlic cloves – minced or chopped

1 can white kidney beans

2 bay leaves

1 large red pepper

1 small can diced tomatoes (we used Victorias homemade roasted tomatoes which gave an even smokier flavour)

Pepper to taste

2 large cooked smoked sausages (turkey or chicken) sliced (1/4″ thick max.)

3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

8-10 large mushroom (large pieces)

Pinch of cumin

1-2 tsp of chilli garlic hot sauce – quantity depends on how spicy you like your food)

Parmesan cheese to top it with

Directions:

Sauté onions and leeks. Add all ingredients and simmer for 1 hour. When you plate it – add some grated or shredded parmesan cheese to the top and serve with a baguette to absorb any liquid

Serves 6

Chunky Chicken and Vegetable Stew

This is one of those meals that you make with whatever vegetables you have sitting in your fridge and don’t want to have to throw away in a few days. I made it for a bunch of people so my recipe is for 8. Cut it accordingly to suit however many people you want to feed. It also freezes well.

chicken stew

chicken stew in bowl

Ingredients

8 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I would have used chicken thighs too but my company doesn’t like dark meat)

1 butternut or acorn squash (can likely use any squash you like)

3 carrots – large dice (1” pieces)

3 parsnips – large dice (1” pieces)

Green beans – cut into 1.5” pieces (use as many as you like)

2 red peppers – large dice (1” pieces)

2 large onions large chop (big pieces)

Mushrooms – as many as you like – I used large button mushrooms and cut them in half so I had large pieces.

3 tbsp hoisin sauce

4 tbsp dijon mustard

1/2 cup orange juice

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tsp dried oregano

Pinch of cumin

Pinch of cardamom

Pinch of chili powder

1 large can chick peas (just because I love to add chickpeas to everything!)

1 small can of corn niblets

1 large can diced tomatoes

Directions

Season raw chicken with just pepper (many of the ingredients have some salt in them so no need to add). Cut chicken into pieces about 1”. Pour a bit of hoisin sauce over and mix up a bit. Do not use too much sauce as it doesn’t take much to flavour the chicken. Maybe 1.5 tsp per 4 chicken breasts. Saute the diced chicken until slightly browned (the hoisin helps with the browning). Put into slow cooker.

Take onions that have been chopped in large chunks and saute in the same pan as the chicken till lightly browned. The onions will clean up the bits lefts by the chicken which adds flavour. Put the onions into the slow cooker. Saute the mushrooms in the same pan (add a touch of olive oil if you need to) and then put them in the slow cooker too. Next, throw in the carrots, squash and parsnips and saute lightly until you see a few browned edges (doesn’t have to be much). Add to the slow cooker. Now add the chick peas, corn and diced tomatoes along with the mustard, brown sugar and the spices and orange juice to the slow cooker and mix everything together. Turn slow cooker to low for 3.5 hours.

Once the stew has cooked for 3.5 hours, add the green beans and red peppers and cook on low for another hour as these items do not take as long to soften and cook. You can saute them first if you like for a bit of added flavour but not really necessary. Serve over brown rice or pasta or quinoa (something to soak up the juice). I add a bit of grated parmesan on top.