Summer Pasta Salad

 

Hello all– This weekend we’re happily stacking all the things we need to pack up for early Monday morning, when we fly off for our Laurel & John’s wedding in the woods of Wisconsin!  Party dress,  check. Sunblock, check. Grandma Lo’s wedding cake bride and groom, check.  Surprises for grand-girl Jobay, turning 6 on the wedding date, checkity check.

And meanwhile, around here, we’re cleaning out things lingering in the kitchen before we go.  Had a 1/3 bag of egg noodles, a ready to eat avocado, MORE of Larry’s sweet tomatoes…  Throw them in with some corn, a couple slices of bacon and a little chicken.  Summer Pasta Salad  –just right on a hot summer evening!

SUMMER PASTA SALAD
4 oz. pasta (I used egg noodles)
1 boneless chicken breast
1 tab. olive oil
5 slices bacon
2 ears of corn, cut from the cob
3 green onions, sliced thinly
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 avocados, cut to nice chunks

Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tab. tarragon vinegar*
1 tsp. seedy mustard
1 tab. honey
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.  Drain and let it cool.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet.  Cut the chicken breast into 3 flat filets and saute in a skillet until it’s nicely browned and cooked through (3 or4 minutes on each side). Remove to cutting board and cut into nice polite size pieces.

Wipe out the skillet and cook up the bacon.  Crumble it to small bits.

Cook the corn cobs in the microwave 6 or 7 minutes.  Cut the corn from the cobs with a large knife.

To make the dressing put the oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, salt & pepper into a container with a tight fitting lid and shake it up until it’s completely blended.

When the chicken and pasta have cooled, put them in a large mixing bowl and mix in the bacon, corn, tomatoes, green onion and dressing.  Then gently fold in the avocado.  Put to chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes or more before serving. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

 

Chicken & Summer Veggie Tostadas

Hello all– If you go into our back yard and peek through the fence, you can see our neighbor, Mr. Wicks’ garden!  Really more of a mini-farm.  Fruit trees and all kinds of squash,  green beans and loaded tomato bushes eight feet tall!  And he’s generous.  Giving out fruit and his famous roses to neighbors who pass by.  And we are the often happy beneficiaries of his bounty– this week zucchini and yellow squash!

And of course, the best way to use any lovely food is to roll it into a taco, in this case a tostada.  Thanks Mr. Wicks.  They were delicious!

 

CHICKEN & SUMMER VEGGIE TOSTADAS
1 tab. olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound boneless chicken breast
1/4 cup red onion, chopped fine
1 medium zucchini, chopped to small bits
1 cup fresh (or frozen, defrosted) corn kernels
1/2 cup sales verde
3 tab. chopped cilantro
6 standard corn tortillas
1 tab. olive oil
1/2 cup colby jack, grated
garnish: cilantro, avocado slices

 

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet.  Mix the cumin, salt & pepper in a bowl.  Cut the chicken into flat filets and dredge it in the cumin mixture.  Set it in the hot pan and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side.  Take the chicken out of the pan to a cutting board and cut it into small bite size pieces.

In the same skillet, add the chopped red onion, zucchini and corn.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Add in the salsa verde and cilantro.  Mix. Take it off the heat.

Set the tortillas onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Brush the tablespoon of olive oil onto the tortillas.  Set them under the broiler on a medium heat setting for 1 or 2 minutes until they are crispy and lightly browned.

Then stir the chicken into the zucchini mixture and heap it onto the tortillas.  Sprinkle the cheese over the tops and set them back under the broiler for just a minute until the cheese melts.  Garnish with cilantro & avocado.  Add a crispy salad and dinner is ready!!

Lime Cilantro Chicken Tacos

Hi there friends– Truth be told, we eat Mexican-ish food 2 or 3 times a week around here.  I’ve never met a food I didn’t like folded into a tortilla.  How about you?? I have a feeling we’re not the only ones.

So when I found this super easy way to come up with a potful of spicy chicken (thank you Pinterest)– that could top a tortilla any number of ways, I couldn’t wait to try it.  And it was delish!

LIME CILANTRO CHICKEN TACOS

Chicken:
2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 small yellow onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup chicken broth
to finish it off: 2 limes, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Taco ingredients:
street size corn tortillas (or whatever is your favorite!)
chopped lettuce
chopped cilantro
grated cheddar jack
avocado

Drop everything into a pot and bring to lowest simmer on your stove top. Cook for an hour (maybe a little more depending on how big you cut up the chicken chunks).

With a slotted spoon remove the chicken to a plate and shred it with 2 forks.  Scrape it all back into the sauce in the bottom on the pot and let the chicken soak up all the juicy sauce.

Serve with warm tortillas, lettuce, tomato, cheese, salsa, jalapeños, sour cream, salsa, avocado…  The list is pretty endless– just pick the taco ingredients you have on hand!

P.S –The recipe I worked from said to dump it all in crock pot and let it cook– 3 to 4 hours on high– or 6 to 7 hours on low.  Alas, I don’t own a crock pot, so you get my stove top version–or you can crock pot it yourself!

Stacked Green Chili Enchiladas

Hola!  Here’s dinner with a crowd of friends who came in last week.  Happily, it was pretty easy to make two big pan-fulls–using pre-roasted chicken from the market.  Instead of rolling all those enchiladas, you just stack the ingredients in a baking dish and pop it into the oven.

And I think they all loved it because there was only 1 serving leftover to take a picture to show you!

STACKED GREEN CHILI ENCHILADAS
1 grocery store roast chicken,
deboned & cut to bits
1/4 cup butter
2 tab. olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup flour
14 oz. can chicken broth
1 cup milk
4 oz. can diced green chilis
1/2 cup salsa verde
2 cups grated cheddar jack cheese
12 to 14 corn tortillas
garnish: avocado and a little more sour cream

Remove the skin, debone and cut the chicken to small chunks.  Cut the tortillas into 6 triangles each.

Melt the butter in a large skillet of pot.  Add the olive oil and garlic.  Bring it to a simmer and stir in the flour until it’s a thick paste.  Keep simmering and stir in the chicken broth a bit at a time.  Then add the milk the same way.  Continue to stir until it thickens.

Mix in the green chilis and salsa verde. Turn off the heat and stir in the sour cream.

In a 9″x13″ baking dish, pour 1/4 cup of the sauce to coat the bottom of the dish.  Layer 1/3 of the tortilla triangles to cover the bottom the baking dish.  Sprinkle 1/3 of the chopped chicken over the tortillas.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheese on top.  Then drizzle 1/3 of the sauce over the cheese.

Repeat the same layer process two more times, topping with a full cup of cheese.

Tent foil over the baking dish, so that it doesn’t touch the cheese on top.  Bake it all up at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Take off the foil and cook 10 minutes more to melt the cheese completely.

Cut into squares and serve with a dollop of sour cream and a little avocado.

Chicken with Sun Dried Tomato Sauce

Hello hello–  All I can say is—-the Sauce!!  I poured the extra over my tortellini and sopped up every last drop.  This dish is easy enough for everyday, beautiful enough to share with a table full of friends.

CHICKEN WITH SUN DRIED TOMATO SAUCE|
4 to 6 chicken thighs
2 tab. olive oil
sale & freshly ground pepper
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp. fresh thyme*
1 tsp. dried basil*
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped to bits
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup cream or half & half
1/2 cup grated parmesan romano
garnish: thyme sprigs, a sprinkling of parmesan

Heat the olive oil in a skillet and then drop in the chicken thighs.  Salt and pepper them liberally while they cook 5 to 7 minutes on each side (until they are cooked through).  Remove them to a plate and cover to keep warm

In the same skillet add the garlic, thyme, basil and dried tomatoes.  Stir for a minute to blend the flavors.  Then mix in the broth and cream. Let the sauce simmer on low for 3 to 5 minutes until the sauce thickens.  Stir in the parmesan romano.

Pour the sauce over the chicken.  Garnish with a bit of parmesan and sprigs of thyme.

We ate this luscious chicken with tortellini and a hearty salad.  Perfect.

*I just used thyme because it is growing in the side yard, basil, marjoram, mined rosemary, any fresh Italian-ish herb would be fine.
**Of if you have Italian seasoning, oregano…

Thai Curry Chicken Skewers

 

Hi all– It was a wacky wonderful weekend.  Family pulled in from Ojai, San Francisco and Wisconsin to celebrate John & Laurel, about to get married!!  A Bachelorette Party and two festive showers–it couldn’t have been sweeter.

Now it’s back to real life.  And here’s an straight forward everyday dinner to throw on the grill.  Mix the marinade, drop in the chicken and skewer it up when you’re ready to grill.  A little spicy, and so flavorful.

THAI CURRY CHICKEN SKEWERS
2 to 3  pounds chicken boneless chicken breast
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tab. brown sugar
2 tab. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tab. curry powder
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 tab. Thai sweet chili sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
garnish: lime wedges & chopped cilantro

Cut the chicken breasts in to chunks.  Set aside.

In a gallon zip loc bag, add in the other ingredients– soy sauce, brown sugar, oil, garlic, curry powder, ginger, Thai sweet chili sauce and salt.  Squeeze the bag until they all is thoroughly mixed and then drop in the chicken.

Marinate the chicken in the sauce, for at least 4 hours or overnight in the fridge.

Thread the chicken onto 3 or 4 skewers and grill the chicken on a bar-b- que until the it’s charred around the edges and cooked through.

Move the chicken to a platter and sprinkle on the chopped cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

Here’s a simple summer supper on the coffee table (Angel baseball on the tv).

Lemon Pepper Chicken

Hello there–  There are a few reasons I love this chicken:
#1. It’s delectable.
#2. It’s pretty on your plate with steamed broccoli and a chunk of crusty bread.
#3. I can put it on the table in about 30 minutes.
#4. Luckily, I had all the ingredients in the kitchen (no trip to the market)
#5. I get to pass the recipe on to you…

LEMON PEPPER CHICKEN
2 medium chicken breasts
2 tab. olive oil
garlic salt
freshly ground pepper
1 cup chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
dash of red pepper
2 tab. lemon juice (1 small lemon)
1/3 cup red onion, chopped fine
lemon slices for garnish

Filet the chicken breasts slicing them horizontally to make 4 flat servings.  Liberally sprinkle both sides with garlic salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet and then drop in the chicken.  Cook on high heat just 2 or 3 minutes on each side until the chicken is well browned.  Remove from the skillet and set aside.

In a container with a tight fitting lid,  shake together the chicken broth, garlic, red pepper, lemon juice and cornstarch until it is well blended.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In the skillet, saute the red onion a couple minutes until it turns tender (add a splash of oil if the pan seems dry).  Then pour in the chicken broth mixture and stir 3 or 4 minutes until it thickens.

Nestle the chicken back into the sauce (or put them both in a baking dish if your skillet is not oven proof)– and cook the chicken 15 to 20  minutes, until the chicken is tender,  in a 350 degree oven.

While that’s cooking, slice your remaining lemon and brown it in the pan juices in the skillet for a couple minutes.

When the chicken comes out of the oven, serve it up on a platter, grind on a bit more black pepper and add the lemon slices as garnish.  Serve any extra sauce on the side.   Delish!