Creamy Paprika Garlic Chicken

Creamy Chicken Thighs 1

I came up with this recipe to cook for my family.  I had bought some boneless skinless chicken thighs on sale and wanted to do something a little different with them.  I had some heavy cream left in the fridge from another recipe and decided I wanted to make some kind of creamy sauce for the chicken.

My family loves this particular spice blend I have which is a mixture of smoked paprika, garlic, chili powder, chives, oregano, and rosemary, so I decided to use that to flavor the chicken.  You can buy it here, but you can also just make a mixture of similar spices from your own pantry.

This recipe is quick, easy, and delicious.  It is pretty enough to serve to company yet easy enough to throw together for a quick weeknight dinner.  Serve it alongside your favorite rice or potatoes and vegetables, and some great crusty bread to sop up the sauce with.  Believe me, you will want to get every little bit of it you can!

Creamy Chicken Thighs 2

Creamy Paprika Garlic Chicken

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 6 people

Ingredients:
12 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 – 14 oz. can low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. paprika, garlic, chili blend, or to
1 Tbsp kosher salt, or to taste
1 tsp black pepper, or to taste
4 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp olive oil

Directions:

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

2. Place chicken thighs in the pan and sprinkle evenly with half the spice blend, salt, and pepper. Turn the thighs over and sprinkle the other side with the remaining spices. Cook chicken on each side until browned and cooked through. Remove from pan.

3. Add diced onion to pan and cook until translucent. Add flour and stir it into the onions. Allow to cook for two minutes more until the flour is a golden brown color.

4. Deglaze the pan by pouring in about 1/4 cup of the chicken broth and scraping up all the browning bits and blending in the flour. Add the rest of the chicken broth and bring to a slow simmer. Add the cream and stir. Continue to simmer until the sauce begins to thicken.

5. Add chicken back into the sauce and allow to warm through. Serve.

S’mores Pie

Yes, I am fully aware that we are on the cusp of Winter.  Yes, I realize that s’mores are usually something you make in the Summertime over a campfire.  But I don’t care, I was craving s’mores!  So I wanted to find a quick and easy way to enjoy those same flavors from inside my warm and cozy house.  The recipe I came up with is adapted from Sunny Anderson’s “Magical No-Bake S’mores”, and it really hit the spot.  I shared this with my family, but I am telling you, in all honesty, I could probably make one of these just for me.  It’s that good.

I figured it was a no-brainer to put chocolate pudding in a graham cracker crust, but I also knew that marshmallow creme can be a bit tricky to spread.  So when I found Sunny’s recipe, her solution of mixing the marshmallow creme with some whipped topping was exactly what I was looking for.

Now, I have to add a note here:  I wanted to add an ooey-gooey layer to this pie because my favorite part of s’mores is the melty chocolate you get from the heat of the toasted marshmallow.  I tried this twice in different ways, neither of which was perfect, but I think I have a solution.  The first thing I tried was melting some chocolate chips and topping the pudding layer with the chocolate.  That didn’t work because the chocolate set back up and created a hard chocolate layer that was nearly impossible to cut through, which resulted in really messy (although still very tasty) slices of pie.

So on my second pie, I decided to use jarred fudge sauce to top the pudding layer.  This was AMAZING.  The flavor and texture were perfect, but as soon as I cut the pie into pieces, the marshmallow topping slid right off the fudge layer, which again resulted in really messy but tasty slices of pie.  This is why I do not have a tantalizing picture of a beautiful slice of pie.  However, I am not one to give up, so on my next pie, I will try drizzling the fudge over the top of the marshmallow in place of the shaved chocolate.  I’m pretty sure that will work.  But if you’re not worried about how the slices look on the plate, you can add that fudge to any layer you wish.  Or omit this additional layer altogether.  It will still be an amazingly good pie.

This pie can be made any time of year, and I promise you, you will be making it at all times of the year.  I would say I hope you enjoy it, but I know you will.  And if you don’t, can I have the leftovers?

smores-pie-2

S’mores Pie

Serves: 6 – 8 people

Ingredients:
1 ready-made graham cracker crust
1 box Hershey’s instant chocolate pudding
1 1/2 cups cold milk
1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 graham cracker squares
1 Tbsp chocolate chips or 2 squares of a Hershey chocolate bar

Directions:
1. Take plastic cover off of graham cracker crust and remove the label along with any of the remaining sticky stuff. Keep the lid.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the pudding mix and the milk. Pour into the crust, turn the plastic lid over so that it sticks up above the pie and secure by pushing down in a couple of places to hold it on. Place in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to set.

3. In a medium to large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the marshmallow creme and whipped topping together until smooth.

4. Remove pie from fridge, remove the plastic top and set aside. Top the pudding layer with the marshmallow creme mixture and spread to edges.

5. Place the graham cracker squares in a sandwich bag and seal it shut. Use a heavy glass to break up the crackers into fine crumbs. Sprinkle over top of pie.

6. If using chocolate chips: place chocolate chips in a sandwich bag and seal it shut. Use a heavy glass to break up the chips into smaller pieces. Sprinkle over top of pie.
If using a chocolate bar: grate the chocolate squares over a microplane to create chocolate crumbs on top of pie.

7. Replace plastic lid and leave on counter until ready to eat.

The Ultimate Tuna Melt

Mmm, the tuna melt.  One of my favorite sandwiches of all time.  I have heard countless chefs say that cheese is never supposed to go with fish, but I don’t understand what they’re talking about.  I mean, what about the sandwich that has been a staple on diner menus across this country for decades?  Have they never had the pleasure of eating this warm, delicious treat?  And this version, served open-faced, is literally the best I have ever had.  If you belong to the tuna melt fan club (of which I am the president) then you are going to love this!  So, without further ado, I give you…..the ultimate tuna melt.

tuna-melt-2

The Ultimate Tuna Melt

Ingredients:
Thinly sliced artisan bread, 3 or 4 slices
1 large can of wild-caught chunk light tuna, drained
1/4 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 ribs celery, cut in half lengthwise and diced
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
Sliced Provolone cheese
Garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste
Butter
Non-stick cooking spray
Chopped parsley

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray a large baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and then wipe with a paper towel.

2. Mix tuna, mayonnaise, celery, garlic powder, salt, and pepper together in a bowl

3. Butter the slices of bread and place butter side down on baking sheet.

4. Place one or two slices of tomato on each slice of bread, enough to cover it.

5. Divide tuna evenly among the sandwiches, spreading to cover the entire slice.

6. Top with two or three slices of provolone for each sandwich, enough to cover the entire slice.

7. Place baking sheet in oven for 10 minutes. Remove and garnish each slice with chopped parsley. Return to oven for 8 – 10 minutes longer, or until the cheese has browned nicely but is not burned.

8. Grab your fork and knife and dive in! Be careful, though, the tuna and tomato are hot. Serve with a lightly dressed salad or your favorite chip. Enjoy!

tuna-melt-4_edited

 

Mini “Chick’n” Pot Pies

I am the only vegetarian in my family (for now) so I often have to make a separate meal for myself, and I often try to make a comparable meal to what the rest of my family is having.  So when they were having homemade chicken pot pie, I decided to attempt to make my own.

I didn’t Google any recipes for this one, I just decided to see what I could come up with on my own.  So while at the store getting the pre-made pie crusts for their meal, I looked for what I could use as the crust for mine.  I knew I wanted to make mine in a muffin tin, so biscuits seemed to be the best option.  I found some little biscuits in a miniature version of those exploding tubes (you know the ones) and thought they would be perfect.  There were some made by the leading brand, but being the frugal shopper I am, I opted to go with the store brand which was about half the price. There were five mini biscuits in each tube, so I grabbed two.  I already had the rest of the needed ingredients on hand, so I headed home to get started.

This recipe couldn’t be any easier, and it comes together so quickly you can make it any night of the week.  Also, the results are so pretty you could certainly serve these to any guests at your dinner table.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.  I’m pretty sure you’re going to love this one.

mini-pot-pies-1

Mini “Chick’n” Pot Pies

Yields 5 individual pies

Ingredients

2 cans refrigerated mini flaky biscuits

1 cup vegetarian chick’n pieces or strips (any brand)

1 cup frozen mixed vegetables

1/2 can cream of mushroom soup

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp garlic powder (or to taste)

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add chick’n pieces and heat until no longer frozen.
  3. Add garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  4. Add frozen vegetables and heat until no longer frozen.
  5. Add cream of mushroom soup and heat until warm.
  6. Open biscuits.  Stretch one mini biscuit slightly, place it in the bottom of an ungreased muffin tin and press up the sides.  Repeat with half of the biscuits.
  7. Fill each biscuit cup to the top with the chick’n and vegetable filling.
  8. Top each biscuit cup with another biscuit, stretching slightly and pressing along the edge to seal.
  9. Poke the top of each biscuit with the point of a sharp knife to allow steam to escape.
  10. Bake in oven for time and temperature specified on biscuit can, or until golden brown.

Chicken Noodle Casserole

 

Chicken Noodle Casserole 2

Chicken Noodle Casserole
Serves: 6 to 8 Prep/Cook Time: 30 minutes Bake Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
1 pkg egg noodles, cooked according to instructions
3 frozen chicken cutlets
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 small pkg mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 – 2 cups frozen peas
1 – 2 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Cook egg noodles according to package directions and drain. In a large casserole dish, combine noodles with cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup, and one cup of vegetable broth.

3. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add chicken cutlets, salt and pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through and lightly browned. Remove from skillet and set aside.

4. Add about 1/4 cup vegetable broth to skillet and deglaze the pan by scraping the bottom of the skillet with a rubber spatula. Pour pan drippings over noodle mixture and stir to combine.

5. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to skillet, add onions and a little salt, cooking until just tender. Add mushrooms, peas, garlic powder, pepper and parsley, and cook until mushrooms are tender. Pour vegetable mixture onto the noodle mixture and combine.

6. Dice or shred the chicken cutlets and add to the noodle mixture, stirring to combine. Add additional broth as needed to moisten.

7. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

Baked Nacho Mac & Cheese

Baked Nacho Mac & Cheese 2

During the colder Winter months, I tend to crave warm comfort foods, which for me is a list which includes things like vegetable stew, cinnamon oatmeal, warm nachos, and mac & cheese.  I decided to combine a couple of these favorites into one dish, and it’s a new favorite!  My entire family loved it, and I’m sure yours will, too.

I wanted to make a casserole dish which combined nachos and mac & cheese, so I got some simple ingredients together and gave it a try.  I have to say, I will definitely be making this one again in the near future.  I wish I had more shredded to cheese to use in the topping, but it was delicious even with the little I had.  I have increased the amount here in the recipe, but you can add it to your liking.  I didn’t want to completely cover the tortilla strips, so that they would remain crunchy and that worked perfectly.  If you add more cheese it may affect how crunchy they stay.

This recipe is very simple and comes together quickly, so you can throw it together on a week night after work.  From start to finish this dish took me about an hour until it was on the table.  I hope you’ll give it a try with your family, and feel free to add your favorite nacho toppings to the dish.  I served it simply with sour cream, but it would be delicious with some shredded lettuce, diced tomato, and raw onion as well.  You can also add a layer of beans if you like.  Just experiment with it and make it your own.  You won’t be disappointed, I promise.

Baked Nacho Mac & Cheese 1

Baked Nacho Mac & Cheese

Serves: 8 – 10

Ingredients:
1 pkg meatless crumbles (I used Simple Truth brand)
2 pkgs taco seasoning or sauce (I used this brand)
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 onion, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 box elbow macaroni
1 can or jar of your favorite nacho cheese sauce
1/4 to 1/2 cup dairy milk or non-dairy milk
1 pkg tortilla strips or about 1 cup crumbled tortilla chips
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 small can sliced black olives
1 small can sliced jalapenos (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Cook box of macaroni according to package directions .

3. While your water is coming to a boil for your pasta, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook until tender and translucent.

4. To the skillet, add meatless crumbles, diced tomatoes and taco sauce (if using powdered taco seasoning, also add about 1/4 cup water). Cook until heated through; remove from heat.

5. When pasta is done boiling, drain and place in a 13 x 9 casserole dish. Add the can or jar of nacho cheese sauce and milk (as needed to thin); stir until evenly coated. Spread an even layer of macaroni across the bottom of the dish.

6. Top macaroni with your meatless taco mixture and spread evenly. Do not mix with the macaroni, just spread it across the top.

7. Add an even layer of tortilla strips/chips to the top of the casserole. Spread shredded cheese evenly over the strips/chips. Top with olives and jalapenos (if using).

8. Bake in oven, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes, or until cheese is melted and just beginning to brown (be careful not to burn the chip layer).

9. Serve with sour cream and any of your other favorite nacho toppings. Enjoy!

Skillet Squash Saute

I have never been a huge fan of yellow squash, I’ve always been more in love with zucchini.  But I had some yellow squash sitting on my counter taunting me, so I started thinking about how I could use it.  I had some Roma tomatoes that were going to go soft if I didn’t use them up, and a few jalapenos that would also go soft if not used, so I grabbed everything along with a yellow onion and got to work.

Let me tell you, this dish has made me a believer!  I am now totally in love with yellow squash!  The flavor in this dish is slightly spicy, a little sweet, and totally delicious.  It is low in calories and full of vitamins A and C, so it is a nice side to add to any of your favorite summer meals.  If you’re already a fan of yellow squash, you’re going to love this dish.  If you’re not, give it a try anyway.  You may be pleasantly surprised.  I sure was.

Skillet Squash Saute 2

Skillet Squash Saute
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp olive oil (or less, depending on taste and diet restrictions)
1 yellow onion, diced
2 – 3 fresh jalapenos, diced (see note 1)
3 large or 6 medium yellow squash, cut into 1 inch pieces (see note 2)
4 roma tomatoes, diced
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Heat oil in non-stick skillet over medium heat.
2. Add onion and jalapenos to oil and saute until tender.
3. Add squash and spices, stir to combine. Continue to heat, stirring occassionally, until squash is slightly softened, but still with a bit of crunch (not mushy).
4. Add tomatoes, stir to combine, and continue to cook until everything is heated through; about 3 minutes. Serve.

Notes:
1. For minimal heat, remove seeds and veins from jalapenos. If you want to maintain maximum spice, leave seeds and veins in when dicing.
2. If using large yellow squash, sometimes the skin can be quite thick and bumpy. You can use a peeler to remove a thin outer layer of the skin to keep it from staying too tough while the inside gets too soft. If using smaller squash, only peel off marks and bumps and cook with the skin on.

Nutrition (according to www.caloriecount.com):
Calories per serving: 66 Calories from fat: 44 Total fat: 4.9g Saturated Fat: 0.7g
Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 316mg* Total carbohydrates: 5.4g Dietary Fiber: 1.5g
Sugars: 3.1g Protein: 1g

*The sodium content is most likely incorrect.  I believe the calorie counter was calculating for jarred or canned jalapenos which would contain sodium.  I used fresh jalapenos, which would not.