Tag Archives: dinner

Quick dinner: creamy pesto with chicken

Pesto. I love pesto. I’m a traditionalist and tend to prepare it in the classic Genovese way but recently a friend told me his method, with cream and white wine, and I thought I’d try it.

I loved it! Pesto can sometimes have an overpowering garlic taste (it does contain raw garlic) so this version provides the flavor of pesto but is a little smoother.

If you use the Costco basil pesto then it’s a super quick meal, just perfect for a weeknight.

Looking for a flavorful weeknight meal? Try this simple creamy pesto with chicken from Alaskaknitnat.com

Weeknight meal: creamy pesto with chicken

Ingredients:

Looking for a flavorful weeknight meal? Try this simple creamy pesto with chicken from Alaskaknitnat.com

  • 1 lb. spaghettini
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 2/3 cup pesto
  • 3/4 pound leftover rotisserie chicken, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon (optional)

Looking for a flavorful weeknight meal? Try this simple creamy pesto with chicken from Alaskaknitnat.com

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high flame. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Turn down the heat. Add the wine and let simmer for about 3 minutes.

Turn off the heat and add the pesto and chicken.

Drain the pasta. Add to the sauté pan and toss till evenly coated with sauce. Add salt and pepper. Squeeze a lemon over the top. Serve with a side salad.

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Quick weeknight meal: green coconut curry

Being unwell and a parent is like an uphill battle sometimes. You still have to get food on the table whether you feel like roses or crap. On my really down days, I’ve been known to order a pizza or three. But sometimes I can muster up the strength to make something healthy and tasty in a relatively short amount of time.

This green curry recipe is adapted from one I found in Cook’s Illustrated. I’ve made it three times in the past month and have added my own flair to it. The problem is, I don’t remember what that flair is, which is why I’m sharing it here.

It’s quick, flavorful and has vegetable(s) in it! A winner in my recipe book.

Quick meal: green coconut curry with tofu, chicken & peas | a tasty weeknight meal from Alaskaknitnat.com

Green coconut curry with tofu, chicken and peas

Serves 4

Marinade ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon green curry paste
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • pinch of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper

For the curry:

  • 6 chicken tenders (about a pound)
  • 1 brick of extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons green curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 can of coconut milk (found in the Asian cooking aisle)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cups uncooked jasmine rice
  • 1 lime

Directions:

Mix together all the marinade ingredients in a gallon Ziploc. Add the chicken. I marinate the chicken tenders the night before when they are still frozen so they are thawed and marinated the next evening, but if you have time, marinate for an hour before cooking.

Start on the rice as you prepare the rest of the meal.

Add 1 tablespoon cooking oil to a large nonstick pan over high heat. When oil is hot add the tofu cubes and brown them on as many sides as you have patience for. Set aside on a paper towel-lined plate. Cook the chicken in the same pan, browning on both sides. Set aside.

Pour out the remaining oil and wipe out pan with a paper towel. Add the coconut milk, curry paste, fish sauce and sugar and whisk till combined. Add the frozen peas and bring to a simmer. Simmer on low until peas are cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Chop up the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to the curry sauce with the tofu.

Serve over jasmine rice with a squeeze of lime juice.

Weeknight chicken scallopini with asparagus

Now that I work full time I’m always on the lookout for quick and easy meals. Sometimes I rely on tradition and make this simple chicken dish inspired by my favorite Italian cook, Marcella Hazan.

Weeknight chicken scallopine with asparagus | a 40-minute meal from Alaskaknitnat.com

Every member of my family has her own copy of this fabulous cookbook. Her recipes are not overly complicated. They are realistic and wholesome.

Several years ago my mother adapted her veal scallopini with asparagus recipe to include chicken instead of veal. It has become one of my family’s favorite chicken dishes. And it’s just perfect for hectic weeknights.

Weeknight chicken scallopine with asparagus | a 40-minute meal from Alaskaknitnat.com

Continue reading Weeknight chicken scallopini with asparagus

30-Minute Fried Rice

I recently got a full-time job. This means I come home at 5:15 and if my husband and I want some non-kid, sane time I have 45 minutes to get dinner on the table before we start our son’s bedtime routine.

This is not a lot of prep time, I’ve discovered. It takes all my strength to make something nutritious and non-mac & cheesy.

I am realizing that I need to strategize. I can’t expect to chop veggies, thaw chicken, marinate steak, or do all the other simple, yet time-consuming preparatory steps required to make tasty food.

Here’s the first of hopefully many recipes where you can come home from work, make the food, and then spend some quality time with your family, such as watching “Bob’s Burgers” (that’s what we are currently doing).

30-minute fried rice | this simple, flavorful dish can be made in no time with a little prep work the night before. Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com
Photo Credit: Cal ! via Compfight cc

30-minute fried rice

Serves 4-6

To make delicious fried rice you really need to start with cold, cooked rice. That’s hard to do when you want to cook a meal in 30 minutes. But if you make the rice the night before while you’re binge-watching “The Voice,” and stick it in the fridge, you’re good to go the next day.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups uncooked rice, prepared and refrigerated overnight
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, removed from freezer the night before and placed in the fridge (I forgot to do this so we went without today)
  • vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups frozen vegetable medley (whatever medley you prefer)
  • 4 tablespoons softened butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chicken stock or water
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 3 green onions, chopped finely
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • pepper to taste

Directions:

Slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Combine the butter and garlic in a bowl. Set aside. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Lightly coat the pan with vegetable oil.

Pour the eggs in the pan and let set for a minute before stirring vigorously. Set eggs aside. Wipe pan clean and add a little more oil. Toss in the chicken and sauté till cooked through. Set aside.

Add the chicken stock, veggies and onion to the pan. Sauté until veggies are cooked through. Add the sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of the garlic butter. Start crumbling the rice into the pan with your hands, about a cup at a time. Add a little more butter between handfuls. Add the green onions.

When butter and rice are incorporated in the pan, stir in the eggs and chicken. Add the soy sauce and cook until rice gets a little crispy if you like. Add pepper to taste.

Store the leftovers for lunch or cook up some ham or Spam and have breakfast fried rice.

30-minute fried rice | this simple, flavorful dish can be made in no time with a little prep work the night before. Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com
Photo Credit: shainelee via Compfight cc

Spaghetti & Chicken with Lemon Thyme Mushroom Sauce

Sometimes I just don’t want to plan dinner. Today was the case as I opened my fridge at 5:10 p.m. to figure out what to prepare for my family. I came up with frozen chicken breasts, frozen broccoli, lemon and fresh thyme. I was uninspired, but decided to put the frozen chicken in the pressure cooker and figure it out as I went along.

Then, when my son called me out to the yard to look at the newest addition to his playhouse, the best thing happened: I found two pristine king bolete mushrooms standing proudly under our large spruce trees.

Spaghetti & Chicken in a lemon, thyme mushroom sauce | An original recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

I’ve been waiting all summer for this moment. King boletes are the most delectable of the mushrooms my family gathers and they happen to grow in my yard every summer from late July to early September. For the past three weeks I’ve been checking the areas under the spruce trees for these meaty, delicious fungi. They pop up overnight and you have to pick them when they are fresh otherwise bugs will lay claim to them.

As soon as I cleaned my two treasures I had formed a supper strategy. Lemon, thyme, mushrooms, broccoli, garlic, chicken and pasta — yeah, that’s a good combination. By 6:15 I had a decent meal that was a real crowd pleaser.

Spaghetti & Chicken in a lemon, thyme mushroom sauce | An original recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Of course you can use store bought mushrooms, but if you happen to have wild porcini, I encourage you to cook them as soon as you can.

Spaghetti & Chicken in a Lemon Thyme Mushroom Sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1-2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry cooking sherry (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 oz. spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

Place 1/2 cup of chicken stock in a pressure cooker. Line the bottom of the cooker with lemon slices. Add the frozen chicken, zest, thyme and salt and pepper. Set the pressure cooker to 35 minutes. When it’s done, slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Set aside and reserve the cooking liquid as well.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente, drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, place broccoli and 1/4 cup chicken stock in a large sauté pan. Cover and steam over high heat for 5 minutes or until broccoli is tender. Set broccoli with stock aside.

In the same sauté pan, add the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Heat on medium-high and add the mushrooms. Sauté until mushrooms have given off their liquid and they begin to brown, about 7 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Pour in the sherry and let it evaporate, about 2 minutes.

Create a slurry with the flour and 1/4 cup chicken stock. Add this to the mushrooms and garlic. Once it’s thickened, add some of the stock from the pressure cooker until it’s a sauce-like consistency. Add some more butter if you want it creamier. Add the drained pasta, broccoli and chicken. Toss until evenly coated. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Spaghetti & Chicken in a lemon, thyme mushroom sauce | An original recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

White Chili – a simple weeknight meal

I’ll never stop promoting Costco rotisserie chicken. It’s only $5 and not only is it delicious hot off the shelf (I sometimes don’t even bother with a plate or silverware), but the leftovers can be used for myriad dishes such as pesto lasagna roll ups,  quick matzo ball soup and homemade chicken stock.

Tonight on the menu is white chili. My friend Danielle introduced me to the notion of non-tomato chili about eight years ago and when I thought of the dish for tonight I was surprised I hadn’t blogged about it yet.

This one-pot wonder has similar flavors to traditional chili. With the addition of salsa verde and sour cream you give chili night a new twist.

White Chili | A simple weeknight dish from Alaskaknitnat.com

White chili with chicken

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 1 can diced green chiles
  • leftover rotisserie chicken meat, shredded
  • 1, 16-oz. jar salsa verde
  • 1.5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cans great white northern beans, drained
  • 1 cup sour cream

White Chili | A simple weeknight dish from Alaskaknitnat.com

Directions:

Heat oil in a dutch oven. Sauté the onions and peppers till onions are soft, about 7 minutes. Add the chiles, chicken, salsa, stock and spices. Bring to a simmer, turn to low and simmer one hour.

Add the beans and cook another 10 minutes. Add the sour cream just before serving. Top with cilantro sprigs and shredded cheddar cheese.

White Chili | A simple weeknight dish from Alaskaknitnat.com

Lazy Lasagna

My family requested lasagna for dinner yesterday, but I didn’t get home till 5 p.m. so it would have been a mad dash to get lasagna on the table by 6:30.

Here’s what I made instead. Although it’s about the same ingredients as lasagna I didn’t have to take the time to layer everything out. I just threw it all together, topped it with cheese and stuck it in the oven. Easy peasy.

Lazy Lasagna | A delicious and simple recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Lazy Lasagna

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. lasagna noodles
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 8 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 lb. loose Italian sausage
  • One bunch of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 large jar of spaghetti sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When the water boils break up the lasagna noodles into irregular pieces and add to the pot. Cook according to box instructions, about 12 minutes.

In the meantime, heat oil in a large, ovenproof skillet. Add the mushrooms and sauté until some of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and a pinch of salt. Sauté until spinach is wilted, another minute. Set mushrooms and spinach aside.

Without cleaning the pan, add the sausage and brown. Add the sauce, mushrooms and spinach. Combine well. Drain the noodles and add to the skillet. Add half the cheeses and mix well. Top with the remaining cheese, cover and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes.

 

Lazy Lasagna | A delicious and simple recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com