Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta

I discovered this recipe about a year ago from My Kitchen Cafe. I made it for a dinner with my parents and I immediately fell in love. The lemon gives the entire dish a very light and fresh flavor that mixes perfectly with the cream sauce. This is a simple but elegant dish that is great for dinner parties or for a regular family meal. This dish is very versatile and can be thrown together in under 30 minutes. But if you have a little extra time, I would recommend marinating the chicken for a few hours before cooking the pasta to give it that extra kick of garlic and lemon flavor.


Chicken Marinade:

  • Juice of one lemon, approximately 3 Tbsp.
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 pound chicken breasts


  • 4 cans chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 (16 oz.) package rigatoni pasta
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded

Chicken Marinade: combine all ingredients in a large ziploc bag and marinate for 5-6 hours or overnight. If short on time, dice chicken and throw all ingredients into a large skillet. Cook chicken in lemon garlic sauce until cooked through.

Pasta: In a large saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil and add lemon juice and pasta. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until all liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes. Stir chicken into cooked pasta, along with the cream, lemon zest, and parmesan cheese. Cook, stirring over low heat, for 5 minutes until cheese is melted and pasta is heated through.

Classic Chicken Enchiladas

This meal appeared on my dinner table at least 2 times a month at my house growing up. I shared it with my husband after we were married and now he insists it be on our table 2-3 times a month as well. These enchiladas are simple, filling, comforting, and so yummy! Everyone I've made them for raves about them and demands the recipe. I laugh everytime because it really is so easy. I promise you everybody in your family will love this meal! (Picture courtesy of Cooking Light.)

  • 1 cup cooked chopped or shredded chicken
  • 1 small can diced green chilies
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1-2 cups grated cheese (I prefer cheddar or pepper jack)
  • 1 can green enchilada sauce
  • 1 small can diced olives (optional)
  • 6-8 Burrito-size flour tortillas

Mix chicken, chilies, sour cream, and cream of chicken soup together in a medium mixing bowl. Fill tortillas with about 2 large scoops of chicken mixture and roll tightly. Lay tortillas vertically in a 9x13 baking dish. Pour enchilada sauce over the top of the rolled tortillas and sprinkle with grated cheese and diced olives. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through. Serve warm with diced tomatoes, lettuce, hot sauce, fresh cilantro and salsa.

Chili Queso Dip

Let's be honest here.. Who doesn't love the classic cheese dip with tortilla chips at a party or football game? Made by simply melting Velveeta cheese and throwing in a can of Rotel, you can't go wrong. This recipe, however, adds a kick to the regular dip and results in a great combination of flavors. And the best thing about it? It's easy, and you can make a ton and freeze it until you need it. Perfect for those last-minute get-togethers. (Picture and recipe courtesy of The Pioneer Woman.)

  • 32 ounces Velveeta loaf
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 pound sausage (spicy fans: use hot sausage)
  • 1 7-oz. can diced green chilies
  • 1 whole yellow onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (optional)

Using a nonstick sprayed skillet, cook sausage and onions until brown, stirring occasionally. Drain fat from skillet. Cube Velveeta loaf and add to the sausage mixture. Pour in Rotel (juice and all) and green chilies and stir over low heat. Dice up jalapeno pepper (remove the seeds) and add to the queso. Stir until cheese is melted and the dip is warmed through.

Jalapeno pepper tip: Use rubber gloves, if available, to chop pepper. I always get too much on my hands and accientally touch my eye causing a burning sensation the rest of the day- not so fun. If you don't have rubber gloves, wash your hands very well under hot, soapy water after dicing the pepper to get rid of the spice.

Pumpkin Cream Pie

Although I love the taste and texture of the classic pumpkin pie, I couldn't turn down this new recipe I saw from The Pioneer Woman. This. Pie. Was. Amazing. It was so creamy and comforting with a slight hint of pumpkin and classic fall spices that I love. It wasn't too sweet or overpowering and the graham cracker crust gave it the perfect crunch. I brought this to the Thanksgiving lunch at my office and it was devoured in minutes. My only regret is that I didn't save some to snack on later at home.. If you love cream pies, then I promise you'll love this one!


  • 1 1/2 packages of Graham Crackers (About 15 sheets)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 stick butter or margarine, melted


  • 1 box (3 oz.) vanilla cook-and-serve pudding
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup Pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • Extra graham cracker crumbs, for garnish

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grind graham cracker crumbs in food processor (if you don't have a food processor, place graham crackers in ziploc bag and pound them with a rolling pin). Add powdered sugar and melted butter and process until totally combined. Press onto bottom and sides of pie pan until nice and firm. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until warm and set. Allow crust to cool completely.

In a medium saucepan, mix pudding with half-and-half and cream. Add spices. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly and thick. Remove from heat and stir in pumpkin. Set aside to cool. When cool enough, place pot in fridge to cool completely.

In a medium mixing bowl, add 1/2 cup heavy cream and brown sugar. Beat until very light and fluffy. Fold in pumpkin cream mixture until combined. Poor into cool crust and spread out evenly. Cover and put in fridge for a couple of hours or overnight. Serve with graham crackers crumbled on top.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pumpkin Apple Spice Muffins

I got this recipe from Mel over at MyKitchen Cafe. These muffins were absolutely incredible. The pumpkin gave them a rich flavor and combined with the apples and spice they were the perfect fall treat. I loved them so much I made 2 batches in a week! I think my husband and I seriously ate the first batch in 2 days- that's a lot of muffin! The second time I tried to make them into a dessert with cream cheese frosting. Both versions were amazing and I honestly can't decide which one I like better. All I can say is these will definitely be appearing in my kitchen in the very near future! (Picture courtesy of My Kitchen Cafe)

  • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice**
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted (1 cube)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 firm apple, peeled and finely chopped

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large mixing bowl; make a hole in the center. In another bowl, combine pumpkin, butter and eggs and stir into dry ingredients, just until moistened. Fold in the chopped apple and spoon into greased muffin pans, filling 2/3 full. Combine 3 Tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice; sprinkle evenly over muffins. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and let cool on wire racks.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 2 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cube of butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 bag powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients together with hand mixer until smooth. Add more powdered sugar as needed to thicken frosting.

**If you don't have pumpkin pie spice, use 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ginger, 1/8 tsp. nutmeg and 1/8 tsp. cloves. Mix together and you have the equivalent of 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice.

BBQ Chicken Soup

I was craving some type of chicken tortilla soup a couple of days ago so I started to throw in a few random ingredients. I noticed a new bottle of Bulls Eye BBQ sauce I had just bought and thought, "Eh, why not?" So I poured some in and came up with a new smoky-flavored soup! It was delicious. I loved the familiar flavors and tastes of the regular ingredients of tortilla soup, but the bbq sauce added so much more flavor and a hint of sweetness that otherwise wouldn't have been there. We ate our soup with some cheese quesadillas on the side and it was perfect. Try it! I know you'll love it. (Picture courtesy of Real Mom Kitchen)

  • 1-2 cups cooked chicken, chopped or shredded into small pieces
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup corn, frozen or canned
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
Stir all ingredients into a large saucepan and heat over medium-low until warm (about 25-30 minutes). This recipe would also work great in a crock pot with cooked or uncooked chicken on low for 5-6 hours, or high for 3-4. Top soup with sour cream, cheese, cilantro, tortilla chips or whatever else you have on hand.