Tag Archives: easy dinner

Pasta and shrimp in a paprika chili sauce

A couple of weeks ago I posted a recipe for a Spanish-style shrimp appetizer. I am pretty sure I’ve eaten my weight in shrimp since posting it.  One of my favorite parts of the dish is sopping up the flavorful garlic paprika oil with a piece of rustic bread.

The other day I didn’t have any crusty bread, so I decided to toss some linguine in the leftover oil. It was fantastic.

So I turned my tasty app into an entree. This is a wonderful way to impress your guests with a colorful, flavorful dish that takes very little time to make. It’s really easy! I eyeballed the oil and the pasta so these are approximate measurements. Feel free to play around with it!

Pasta and shrimp in a paprika chili sauce | A simple dinner recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Pasta with shrimp in a paprika chili sauce

Serves 3-4

Pasta and shrimp in a paprika chili sauce | A simple dinner recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 dried guajillo or New Mexico chilis
  • 16 raw shrimp, deveined and peeled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sweet Spanish paprika (Hungarian will do)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Splash of white wine (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 pound pasta

Pasta and shrimp in a paprika chili sauce | A simple dinner recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut the dried pepper into rings and place in a small bowl. When water is boiling, remove 1/2 cup and pour over the dried peppers. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes.

Cook the pasta until it’s al dente. Drain and set aside. While pasta is boiling, toss the shrimp with the paprika and set aside.

Heat the oil in a small frying pan over medium. Add the garlic and softened chili and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.

Add the shrimp and any remaining paprika. Turn down heat if needs be to avoid burning the garlic. Cook until shrimp is pink, turning halfway, about 4 minutes.

Salt to taste. Add a glug of white wine and let it bubble away for a few seconds. Add the pasta and toss until thoroughly coated. Sprinkle in the parsley.

Pasta and shrimp in a paprika chili sauce | A simple dinner recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Delicious Homemade Pad Thai

I am trying to work through my pantry. This evening I called out ingredients to my family and when I got to “rice stick noodle” my husband suggested Pad Thai. In my experience, Pad Thai at home is this sticky, icky mess that doesn’t remotely resemble the Thai restaurant staple.

I decided to give it another go. I started researching recipes on Pinterest. One claimed to taste just like the real thing but contained ketchup. Another suggested peanut butter, and I finally decided on the most un-Pinteresty looking recipe from SouvenirFinder.com. Heck yes I want my pad Thai to taste like Bankok street food!

The first go around I didn’t have tamarind concentrate. So I improvised and used peanut butter instead. I was delightfully surprised. I didn’t end up with a sticky ball of noodles that was overly sweet. It was a balanced dish with lots of flavor. Second time around my father gifted me a jar of tamarind concentrate and the recipe was even better – I even had time to snap some photos before inhaling it.

Delicious and easy homemade Pad Thai | a recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Simple homemade pad Thai

Serves 3-4

For the sauce:

  • 2 oz. brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate (sub peanut butter)
  • squeeze of lime
  • 1-2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce (or more to taste)

For the stir fry:

  • 8 ounces Thai rice stick noodles
  • 1/2 pound chicken breasts, sliced thin (you could add tofu and shrimp as well, just don’t marinate them)
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1/2 onion, sliced very thin
  • 3 baby bell peppers, sliced very thin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts
  • cilantro, for serving
  • lime wedges, for serving

Directions:

Fill a large bowl with very hot water and soak the noodles for 20 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside. They should be pliable but not soft – way less than al dente. Don’t worry, they soften up when you put them in the pan later.

Meanwhile, mix together the ingredients for the sauce in a medium bowl. Add the chicken and marinate until noodles are done.

Remove chicken, squeezing out sauce, and pat dry with paper towels. You’ll be using the remaining marinade as the sauce so if you’re worried about salmonella, just heat the sauce in a small pan until boiling and set aside.

Heat a wok or large frying pan with 1 tablespoon oil until smoking. Add half the chicken and leave undisturbed for a couple of minutes until nice and browned. Flip chicken pieces and brown on the other side. Set aside. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Add another tablespoon of oil. When pan is hot again, add the onions and baby bell peppers. Cook until softened, about three minutes, scraping up any browned bits as you stir. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the noodles and chicken stock and stir frequently until noodles are softened, about three minutes.

Push noodles to the side of the pan and add the egg. Let it set and stir until firm and browned. Add the green onions, sauce, chicken and sprouts and mix thoroughly. There might be some sticking to the bottom of the pan, but that’s ok, it’ll still be super yummy.

Serve in bowls and top with a good squeeze of lime, some chopped peanuts and fresh cilantro.

Delicious and easy homemade Pad Thai | a recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Swedish Meatballs Stroganoff

The other day my husband requested Swedish meatballs for dinner. Having thought I had this recipe down pat, I proceeded to make meatballs seasoned with nutmeg and allspice, coated in a delicious mushroom sour cream sauce. When my husband sat down for dinner he asked, “Wait, did you make beef stroganoff?” I realized I made a sort of Frankensteined recipe. It was so good I thought I would share it.

Meatballs aren’t photogenic AT ALL, so here’s a meatball photo I took back in 2011. Trust me, this recipe was really really good.

Swedish Meatball Stroganoff

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices good white bread soaked in milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound raw Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoons allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Marsala or white wine
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 pound egg noodles

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 F. After the bread has soaked up the milk, squeeze out any excess liquid and break up the bread with your hands. Place into a Kitchen Aid mixer bowl along with the beef and Italian sausage. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high. Add the onions, salt and pepper and cook until onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool.

Add to the mixing bowl the eggs, allspice and nutmeg. When the onions have cooled, add to the bowl and mix until thoroughly combined.

Form into golf ball-sized meatballs and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until browned and cooked through.

Meanwhile, set a large salted pot of water on the stove to boil. Now we’ll make the sauce while the meatballs are baking and the noodle water is coming to a boil.

Add the butter to the same pan as you cooked the onions. Set to medium-high heat. Once butter is melted add the mushrooms and sauté until their moisture has evaporated and they start to brown, about 10 minutes. If there’s no more butter in the pan, add another tablespoon. Deglaze the pan with the marsala and let it bubble for a minute. Sprinkle on the flour and stir. Cook for 1 minute.

Pour in the chicken stock and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer and let thicken. If it isn’t thick enough, make a slurry of 1 tablespoon flour with 1/2 cup cold chicken stock and pour that in.

Cook the noodles until al dente and drain. Remove meatballs from oven and set aside. Add the peas and sour cream to the sauce just before serving and heat until peas are hot.  Adjust sauce for salt.

Toss in the meatballs and coat them all over with sauce. Serve atop the egg noodles.

Spinach Bacon Quesadilla

I didn’t have the energy to grocery shop or cook today so I dug through the fridge and pulled out some flour tortillas, cheese, spinach and bacon and set to make something with minimal effort and maximum flavor. Success!

Bacon Spinach Quesadilla - a quick and simple dinner from Alaskaknitnat.com

Bacon Spinach Quesadilla

Makes one quesadilla

Ingredients:

  • 1 large flour tortilla
  • 2 slices of bacon
  • cream cheese
  • pinch of granulated garlic
  • pepper
  • Mexican-style grated cheese
  • Handful of baby spinach

Directions:

Fry bacon in a medium pan. Meanwhile, spread a thin coat of cream cheese all over the tortilla. Season with garlic powder and pepper.

Set bacon aside to drain on a paper towel and add spinach to the pan. Cook until spinach is wilted.

Chop the bacon into bits. Sprinkle the grated cheese on one half of the tortilla. Add the bacon and spinach. Fold tortilla in half and place back in pan. Brown on both sides until cheese is melted. Cut in half and devour.

Bacon Spinach Quesadilla - a quick and simple dinner from Alaskaknitnat.com

Pasta with chicken and spinach in a creamy garlic sauce

My husband travels for work so I’m frequently “solo parenting.” Working full time, picking up our son and getting dinner on the table by 6 or 6:30 can be a struggle. Tonight was really tricky since we got home late, but thanks to my rare meal planning this week I was able to put together a wholesome pasta dish in under 30 minutes.

By marinating the frozen chicken in the fridge overnight I didn’t have to make a mad dash to thaw it out and flavor it right before preparing the dish. I felt like a winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Pasta with chicken and spinach in a creamy garlic sauce | Make this wholesome meal in under 30 minutes! Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Pasta with chicken and spinach in a creamy garlic sauce

Serves 4

For the chicken marinade:

  • 5 frozen chicken tenders
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • salt and pepper

For the pasta:

  • 3/4 pounds pasta
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 5 oz. baby spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

The night before, place the frozen chicken in a large Ziploc bag with all the marinade ingredients. Let sit overnight in the fridge. It’ll be delicious by tomorrow.

Place a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil. Cook the noodles according to packaging.

Meanwhile, heat a skillet with a tablespoon of oil over high heat. When the pan is hot, cook the chicken tenders till browned, about 4 minutes on each side. Set aside. When cooled, chop into bite-sized pieces.

Pasta with chicken and spinach in a creamy garlic sauce | Make this wholesome meal in under 30 minutes! Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Clean out the pan with a paper towel and add the rest of the oil and the butter. Add the spinach and tomatoes and cook spinach till it’s wilted. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or so. When pasta is drained, add it to the pan with the chicken, Parmesan and cream. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Pasta with chicken and spinach in a creamy garlic sauce | Make this wholesome meal in under 30 minutes! Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

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