Tag Archives: Dinner

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

One of my favorite dinners to make is chicken fettuccine alfredo.  I found a recipe a while back that has never failed me and I felt like making it again today.  I asked The Mrs. if she supported this decision and she said “I don’t think we have fettuccine noodles.”,  to which I responded “We have flour and eggs right?”.  You see, not having a box of noodles shouldn’t hinder your ability to make pasta.   How do you think they end up in the box?!

This past Christmas I received a pasta press and about 2 months ago I took a class on handmade pasta.  Pasta dough is made up of flour, eggs, salt, and oil.   The ratio of flour to eggs varies widely.  Today I used 1 cup of flour and 2 eggs, a tablespoon of olive oil, and 1/2 tsp of salt.  I had to add a little water to make it come together though.   This made enough pasta for ~3 servings I would say.   I also changed up the flour a bit. I used 1/2 cup of regular All Purpose Flour and 1/2 cup of Semolina Flour and I thought the result was a much sturdier noodle.

Flour and Eggs

I decided to mix this by hand and knead the dough for ~15 minutes into this smooth looking ball.  You then let it sit for ~30 minutes to let the gluten rest.

Pasta Dough

Now it takes some time to knead the dough, press it out, and cut into perfect strips, but what else would I rather do on a Sunday afternoon?  The pressing and cutting are actually done for me thanks to the pasta press, so it was just the kneading that I labored over.

Pressed Flat

Cutting pasta

You’ll want to dust the noodles with flour so they don’t stick together.

Pile of Pasta

The alfredo sauce starts by making a roux, which is butter and flour.  I add garlic, onion power, and italian seasoning as the recipe calls for.  After the flour taste cooks off you add milk, heavy cream, and the cheeses (parmesan and cheddar this time).  This is when it starts to get good.  You see it thicken up and become that beautiful white sauce you know is going to taste so good.

Cheese sauce

You throw in the cooked chicken, tomatoes, and this recipe finishes it with sour cream.  I’ve seen others call for cream cheese at this point which is a great alternative.

Final sauce

I cut this particular recipe in half, which still serves 4, so we have leftovers for tomorrow.  It turned out a little more red than I remember, I must have used more tomato this time.

Yum

To make this dish even more hand made I’ll need to raise the chicken, make the cheese, and grow the tomato.  I’m working on it.


Red Beans and Rice with Andouille Sausage

There isn’t much to say about this meal.  It’s a classic creole meal.   The first time I had this meal was backpacking in Wyoming.  Even though it was a vacuum packed, just add water meal, it was my favorite.

The recipe I used tonight is from goodlifeeats.com.  It’s a two-pot meal,  one for rice and one for the rest of it.  It took ~45 minutes because I accidentally bought the slow cooking rice and the stew part cooks for ~30 minutes.

Red Beans and Rice with Sausage


The Cajun Side of Me

A year ago I took a trip to Florida for work and we went out to eat at The Yard House in Boca Raton, FL.  Little did I realize that I was about to experience the best Jambalaya I’ve ever had.  I didn’t know what to expect, but I was amazed at the mixture of flavor.  The spices, meat, and rice were just perfect together.  I knew I had to attempt this dish at home.  I went to my trusted source at FoodWishes.com and Chef John provided a recipe for Creole Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya.  I consider this a “one pot” meal because, frankly, you only use one pot (or pan).

I’ve found when cooking cajun/creole type food there’s a lot of cutting and dicing that’s best to do first. The holy trinity of cajun style cooking is celery, green   pepper, and onion. There’s usually tomatoes that follow that up as well. While I was doing this, The Mrs. was prepping the shrimp.  We just had frozen shrimp that needed some attention before we could eat them.  Once you have those ingredients prepped you can start cooking.

Spices

We start by browning a couple Andouille sausages in butter. Yep, butter.  When the meat is nearly done you add in a few spices (paprika, cumin, cayenne) and let it finish up.

Andouille

Then it’s time to add the tomatoes, wait about 30 seconds and then add in the “holy trinity” (celery, onion, green pepper in case you’ve already forgotten) and let that saute for a few minutes.  The salt and bay leaf cut in at this part of the dance.  I don’t own any leafs of the bay so I just omit that.

Mixing it up

We cap off the interactive portion of this recipe by adding in the brown rice and 3 cups of chicken stock.  You may think 3 cups is a lot but believe me, it cooks off nicely.  This last attempt I only used 2 cups and it turned out drier than I’d prefer.  Now you sit back and let it all simmer together for 45 minutes.  During the last 5 minutes you throw in the raw shrimp which cooks to just the right temperature.

Simmering

Finally, the meal is ready to eat!  It’s got a little kick to it due to the cayenne so adjust it to your taste if necessary.  While this recipe is not as good as The Yard House jambalaya, it will hit the spot and give you the satisfaction of saying “I’ve made jambalaya.”  People are impressed when you throw around that word. I think it’s because most people don’t know what jambalaya is, they just know that people in Louisiana eat it.

Jambalaya


Pioneer Woman – Cajun Chicken Pasta

Day #4 of Pioneer Woman Dinner Week is Cajun Chicken Pasta. A couple years ago I experienced Yats in Indianapolis, Indiana and have been hooked on cajun food since then. Yats has an amazing Chili Cheese Etouffe that I highly recommend. I know I’ll be making that again so I’ll post it when I do.

As with most cajun recipes, the first step is cut, chop, and dice up all the ingredients. The holy trinity of cajun recipes are green pepper, onion, and celery. However, this recipe mixed it up and swapped the celery for tomatoes. I was working with a dull knife tonight so it wasn’t super fun, but I like getting all the prep work done first so it’s just combining, cooking, and stirring after that.

Vegetables

I used a single chicken breast from the whole chicken I dismantled on Sunday and added shrimp since that’s also a staple in most cajun recipes. Mmmmm… my mind often drifts back to a jambalaya pasta I had at the Yard House in Fort Lauderdale, FL about a year ago. It was the BEST jambalaya I’ve ever had.

Meat

Anyway, enough daydreaming, back to dinner. The garlic was diced by hand, although I think I prefer the garlic press. Not sure if there’s any difference in the results.  Definitely use fresh garlic though, not that powdery stuff.

Garlic

The meat is cooked first, on high, in some butter and oil.

Cooking Meat

Once that’s done we set it aside for later.

Cooked

Now it’s the veggies turn, peppers, onions (if you’re using them), and garlic goes in first. After the peppers have browned and softened add the tomatoes for a short stint.

Veggies in Pan

The sauce is white wine, chicken stock (hand made, from the same whole chicken), and heavy cream. It’s supposed to thicken up but I struggle with that part. Then you combine everything together in the pan and season to taste.

Combined

Here’s the final plated version that we both devoured. This was about a 45 min recipe I would say. I couldn’t decide if noodles or rice would be better here. I’m a fan of my cajun food on rice so I’ll probably do that next time. Rice helps soak up the extra sauce too.

Cajun Chicken Pasta


Pioneer Woman – Spinach Artichoke Pasta

Day 3 of my Pioneer Woman Week of dinners I decided to make Spinach Artichoke Pasta. Heidi and I love spinach artichoke dip and I thought the pasta version sounded great. I used rice noodles to reduce the amount of gluten we’re intaking, but still had 1.5 T of flour in the sauce to thicken it up.

Cooking Steps in a nutshell, see the original recipe for full details.

  1. Butter + garlic + spinach, set aside.
  2. Butter + artichokes, set aside
  3. Butter + flour + milk + cheese (parmesan and mozzarella)
  4. Combine everything together and season with salt, pepper, and cayenne.
  5. Once combined, top with red pepper flakes and panko bread crumbs for a nice crunch.

 

Spinach

Artichokes

 

Here’s the final product.  I think I had too much pasta and could have used some more artichokes.  The red peper flakes gave it a good spice and the bread crumbs gave it some additional texture.   This meal was extremely easy to make and took ~30 minutes.

Finished Product


Pioneer Woman – Grilled Chicken Salad

Tuesday of “Pioneer Woman Week” was Grilled Chicken Salad with feta, corn, and blueberries.

First step is to pound down a chicken breast or two, season them, and grill it up.  I tried to get the criss cross lines you see in a restaurant but didn’t only got the criss part.
Grilled Chicken

The sauce here is a combination of mayonaise, sour cream, lemon juice and spices.  You combine finely chopped celery, corn, chicken, and sauce and mix it up. We skipped the chopped onions since Heidi and I don’t do raw onions.  We decided to put it over a bed of lettuce even though the recipe doesn’t call for it.  Finally, it’s topped with fresh blueberries.  It was a light, refreshing dinner.  It took about ~30 minutes to make and was something fun to try out.
salad4


Pioneer Woman – Perfect Pot Roast

I’ve planned a week long menu from The Pioneer Woman’s website.  Day 1, Monday, is Perfect Post Roast.  I followed all the preparation instructions but threw everything into a crockpot and let it go for 8 hours on low.   It turned out great and the mashed potatoes are a must to go with it.

Plated