creamy chicken and gnocchi with asparagus

As I continue to incorporate more poultry into my diet, my quest for yummy recipes with chicken breasts continues. This one hit the spot. And while the original recipe came from Diabetic Living… I made some substitutions they probably wouldn’t be so happy with… But delish it was! Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth (I used regular)
  • 2 tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch piecesasparagus
  • 2 cups whole wheat potato gnocchi
  • 1 tsp. olive oil (I didn’t use this)
  • 12 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size pieces (I used super trim & fit thin sliced breasts)
  • 1/2 of an 8-oz. package reduced-fat cream cheese (I used a full package of full-fat cream cheese)
  • 1 tbs. snipped fresh oregano

tara’s tips: Ok, yes, I strayed from the majority of what made this diabetes friendly, so if anyone actually follows the recipe, let me know how it tastes. Also, I learned the hard way that I must season my meat and vegetables, so I did. Salt, pepper, and Season All on the chicken and the asparagus. I let the cream cheese sit out to soften as I was prepping. I cooked the chicken just using cooking spray, no oil in the pan. However, I did drizzle a little garlic infused olive oil over the asparagus and tossed by hand before I roasted it.

Directions

  1. Preheat over to 450. In a bowl whisk together broth, flour, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
  2. Place asparagus in a single layer on a large baking sheet; coat lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Roast 8-10 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender, turning once or twice. (I didn’t turn)
  3. Meanwhile, cook gnocchi in boiling water according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water.
  4. chicken and sauceCoat an extra-large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook and stir 5 to 6 minutes or until no longer pink and starting to brown. (I cooked it until it was done; come on, it’s chicken!)
  5. Stir broth mixture and cream cheese into chicken in skillet. Cook and stir until sauce is thickened, adding enough reserved cooking water to thicken sauce. (I didn’t add any water) Cook and stir 1 minute more. Stir in gnocchi and oregano; heat through.
  6. Divide roasted asparagus and chicken mixture among four dinner plates. If desired, sprinkle with additional oregano. (I did and added some grated parmesan cheese as well)

creamy chix and asparagus

garlic, butter shrimp scampi

IMG_1973Initially, I paused in blogging about this recipe. Then I realized how I could help it! And to be fair, I did go back for seconds of the original recipe. This is another quick, week-night meal that I think would pair nicely with a simple side salad. Let me know what you think!

Original recipe is from How to Nest For Less.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces of whole wheat angel hair pasta
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (half stick) of butter
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 package McCormic® Garlic Butter Shrimp Scampi Seasoning Mix
  • 1 tbsp juice of a lemon
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Old Bay
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions

  • Cook pasta as directed on package. Drain well.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil and butter in large skillet on medium heat until butter is melted. Add shrimp and Seasoning Mix; cook and stir 3 to 4 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Stir in lemon juice.
  • Toss with cooked pasta to coat well. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.

IMG_1975

tara’s tips: Personally, I need my protein (i.e. meat) to be flavorful. I suggest seasoning the shrimp with Old Bay, salt, and pepper, and if you can handle the kick, red pepper flakes. Without the last 4 ingredients, the dish is fine for all–again, I did go back for seconds. But we know me, to take a page out of Emeril’s book, I like to kick things up a notch.

Recipe RoundUp: Spicy Mac & Cheese

spicy mac&cheeseIf I haven’t admitted to this before, I will now: I think I’m part mouse. I LOVE cheese. I think it should be a food group all by itself. So, when I come across an intriguing mac & cheese dish, and one that I would definitely make again, I simply must share. Plus, the recipe is from a site called, “Life as a Strawberry;” seriously, how fun is that?

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. of your favorite pasta
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (reserve 1/3 cup of this for topping the macaroni before you bake it)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, plus 1/8 tsp. for topping
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika, plus 1/8 tsp. for topping
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package or recipe directions (I use VERY salty water) until it is a few minutes (6 min. are usually good) less than al dente – the pasta will continue to cook in the oven, so having very al dente pasta when you put the pasta in to bake will ensure your macaroni isn’t mushy or overcooked!
  2. In a large saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in flour to make a roux and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Whisk the milk into the roux a little at a time, making sure to work out all the clumps so you have a smooth sauce. Cook over medium heat until milk has thickened, about 8 minutes.
  4. Remove sauce from heat. Stir in 2 and 2/3 cups of the cheddar cheese with a spoon or spatula. Stir until cheese is melted.
  5. Stir mustard powder, cayenne, paprika, and black pepper into sauce.
  6. Stir pasta into sauce. Take a bite. Pat yourself on the back.
  7. Pour pasta into a baking dish (I used a 9×9). Top with the extra 1/8 tsp. of cayenne and paprika and the extra 1/3 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.
  8. Bake at 350 for 15-25 minutes or until cheese has melted and edges are crispy.

Tara’s Tips: I used whole wheat elbow macaroni because I genuinely love whole wheat pasta. For all those going gluten-free, this ain’t the recipe for you–sorry. I also used 2 different kinds of cheese–yellow sharp and sharp white cheddar (and since I’m part mouse, I used more than the allotted amount to sprinkle on top). Lastly, I didn’t measure the 1/8 tsp., I just sprinkled until I felt enough was a enough. For those who don’t like spicy or aren’t experienced cooks–stick to the measurements.