Monday, August 30, 2010

Cowboy Spaghetti

Truth be told, I was very skeptical about this spaghetti. However, I couldn’t push this recipe to the side knowing there were hundreds of reviewers giving it 5 stars. I told myself- what’s the worst that could happen? It’s inedible, and we can pay a visit to our local pizza haunt. Besides, I started this blog to not only document and organize successful recipes, but to also push myself to try new foods. So what did I think of it? It was quite tasty, and I loved how easy it was- definitely something we can whip up easily on a weeknight (though I wouldn’t serve this to guests). The bacon added a great smoky flavor to the tomato sauce, and I loved the toppings of shredded cheese, chopped green onions, and cooked bacon bits. Some reviewers mentioned it tasted a little bland, so since we both enjoy robust flavors, I did add more hot sauce, tomato sauce, and Worcestershire sauce until our desired tastes. The sauce isn’t heavy, but adds a great flavor.

Cowboy Spaghetti
3/4 pound spaghetti
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
5 slices smoky bacon, chopped
1 pound ground sirloin
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
Ground black pepper and salt
2 tsp hot sauce, eyeball it (I added more to taste)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, eyeball it (I added more to taste)
1/2 cup beer
14-oz can, chopped or crushed fire roasted tomatoes
8-oz can tomato sauce (I added more to taste)
8 oz sharp Cheddar, shredded
4 scallions, chopped

1. Heat a pot of water to a boil. Add spaghetti and salt the water. Cook to al dente or with a bite to it.
2. Heat a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil and bacon. Brown and crisp bacon, 5 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon. Drain off a little excess fat if necessary. Leave just enough to coat the bottom of the skillet.
3. Add beef and crumble it as it browns, 3-4 minutes.
4. Add onions, garlic and stir into meat.
5. Season the meat with salt and pepper, hot sauce and Worcestershire.
6. Add 1/2 cup beer and deglaze the pan. Cook 5-6 minutes more then stir in tomatoes and tomato sauce.
7. Add hot spaghetti to meat and sauce and combine.
8. Adjust seasonings and serve up pasta in shallow bowls.
9. Grate some cheese over the pasta and sprinkle with scallions. Garnish with crisp bacon.

Source: Adapted from Rachael Ray

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Copycat of Red Lobster's Cheddar Bay Biscuits: Garlic Cheese Biscuits

There are many copycat recipes out there for Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits. Believe me, I’ve tried a good handful of them, but none of them have compared to the original one… until now.

The first time my DB and I made this, we were so blown away on how DELICIOUS and TRUE TO THE ORIGINAL these biscuits were. And who knew- the ingredients are minimal and prep work is easy. I know I’ve used all the ingredients below in the various variations I’ve attempted previously, but seriously- it’s only 7 ingredients, and most of what you already have on hand. The biscuits are also incredibly light and fluffy. We made this twice in 1 week, which is a rarity since there are so many recipes I’ve bookmarked to try. I’ve even been told that Tastefully Simple’s Perfect Parmesan Mix is the closest to RL’s biscuits, but both my DB and I were disappointed since we felt this recipe was far superior. And just as easy. You need to add this into your menu rotation NOW.

9/23/11 Updated note: This recipe makes the perfect amount of garlic butter for 6 biscuits. Any more biscuits, it didn't have the "right amount". Trust me on this.

Garlic Cheese Biscuits
  • 1-1/4 cups biscuit mix (I use regular Bisquick; It wasn’t as good with Heart-Healthy Bisquick)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar
  • 1/2 cup water

For the Garlic Butter
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp dried parsley flakes

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combine the biscuit mix and cheese in a small bowl.
3. Add the water and stir just until combined. The dough will be slightly moist.
4. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls (this scoop is perfect!) onto the prepared baking sheet. (Divide into 6 biscuits.)
5. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the biscuits are firm and beginning to brown.
6. While the biscuits are baking, make the garlic butter: In a small bowl, combine the butter, garlic powder, salt, and parsley flakes. Mix well.
7. As soon as you bring the biscuits from the oven, brush them with half of the garlic butter using a pastry brush.
8. Place them back into the oven for an additional 2 minutes to finish obtaining a crispy golden color. Remove them from the oven and re-brush them with the remaining garlic butter. (You'll think you made too much garlic butter, but these biscuits just soak up the butter. We brush it once, and then re-brush it with more butter since the bread soaks it up so quickly.)

Yield: 6 biscuits

Source: Adapted from Paula Deen

Monday, August 23, 2010

The BEST Ever Spinach Dip

It is really difficult for me to pinpoint anything as THE BEST, so I’m always on the lookout for new or interesting recipes of classics, such as chocolate chip cookies, lasagna, buffalo chicken dip, etc. However, I look no further when it comes to spinach dip, because to me- I have found “the one”, and I find no reason to look for better or improved recipes.

While I like to think many dishes taste better homemade, this is THE best spinach dip I’ve ever had… and it comes from Knorr. The recipe comes from the back of the Vegetable Recipe seasoning mix, and it is super easy. Make sure to use real Hellmann’s mayo- not Miracle Whip and certainly not the fat-free or reduced fat kind… it altered the taste for me. I love it, and it always gets rave reviews anywhere I take it. You can use this to dip vegetables, or what I like to do is hollow out a pumpernickel loaf. (I hollow it out, cube the "insides" and bake the cubes and loaf in a 350 degrees oven for 5-7 minutes until crispy but not browned.)

Spinach Dip

10-oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
16-oz sour cream (I use fat-free or reduced-fat)
1 cup Hellmann’s mayo (Use regular, not reduced-fat or fat-free)
1 package Knorr Vegetable Recipe mix
8-oz can water chestnuts, drained and chopped (optional) (… but totally recommend it as it gives it a nice crunch)
3 green onions, chopped (I trim the ends and cup up to 2/3 of the green part)
Dippers- Club Crackers, Pumpernickel loaf, Vegetables (carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes)

1. Combine all ingredients and chill for several hours.
2. Serve with your favorite dippers.

Source: Knorr

Friday, August 20, 2010

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Wow- these were incredibly good, light, and healthy. It tastes like you're using pork sausage, but the wonderful mixture of fresh herbs with the lean turkey sausage makes you forget how healthy this dish is. You could even add more zucchini, as we had ~1.5 cups of meat mixture leftover (which I've edited below). This was a great way to use zucchini from our garden, as well as the fresh herbs from our herb garden.

Stuffed Zucchini Boats
5 zucchini, 6-7" long
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
½ cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup mushrooms, chopped (I subbed this with additional zucchini "insides")
1 lb. turkey sausage or ground turkey (I used turkey sausage)
2 Tbsp dry white wine
2-3 tomatoes, seeded and diced (I used 14.5-oz can petite cut tomatoes, drained)
3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ tsp salt (Omit if using turkey sausage)
½ tsp pepper

1. Cut zucchinis in half lengthwise. Scoop out insides, leaving a shell about ¼-inch thick. Reserve about 1/3 of the insides, and chop them into bite-sized pieces.
2. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Sauté the onion and garlic until tender, about 4-5 minutes.
3. Add the mushrooms and reserved zucchini insides to the skillet and sauté another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
4. Heat the remaining Tbsp of the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble in the sausage or ground turkey and cook until lightly browned on all sides, stirring occasionally.
5. Stir in the cooked onion and mushroom mixture.
6. Add the wine to the pan along with the tomatoes, basil and rosemary. Cook for 1 more minute. Drain of any excess fat, remove from heat and set aside to cool.
7. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
8. Once the turkey mixture has cooled a bit, mix in the Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper.
9. Fill the zucchini shells with the mixture.
10. Fill a baking dish with ¼-inch of water. Place the filled zucchini shells in the pan and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, until golden brown. Remove the zucchini from the pan and serve immediately.

Source: Originally on Simply Recipes, adapted from Annie's Eats

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

This cookie combines a triple delight- Peanut butter, oatmeal, and chocolate chip cookies- in 1. The texture of the cookie resembled a peanut butter cookie- the edges were slightly crackled and had a light, buttery texture- and each bite had the delicious goodness of chocolate chip and oatmeal. The cookies were chewy and moist, yet light and airy at the same time. A great mix for a yummy cookie!

Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
½ cup rolled oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
3. On medium speed, cream together the butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract, about 3 minutes.
4. Add the egg and beat to combine.
5. On low speed, gradually add the flour until just combined.
6. Stir in the oats, and then the chocolate chips.
7. Use a large cookie scoop (3 Tbsp) and drop dough onto prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly golden. The cookies won't look done, but they'll continue to bake on the hot baking sheets out of the oven. If they are slightly brown, the edges look just set and they are puffy in the middle they are ready to come out!
8. Cool completely on the baking sheet and then store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Yields- 14-16 cookies

Source: Brown-Eyed Baker

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Spicy Asian-style Marinated Chicken Breasts

We’re always looking for new chicken recipes we can throw on the grill- especially if it’s a recipe that’s as easy as marinating. I had to go to the local international food market (Jungle Jim’s) to find the pasilla chili, but I’ve been told that some of the larger grocery stores may carry it in the ethnic aisle. I threw all the ingredients into the blender, and marinated the chicken breasts while I was at work. The flavors were smoky (from the cumin) and a bit of spice. Next time, I think I will decrease the amount of cumin in half (just my personal preference), and I am glad to have found an Asian-inspired chicken marinade. I halved this recipe since it’s only the 2 of us, and it was terrific. I paired this with some Sweet & Spicy Green Beans, which were fantastic!

Spicy Asian-style Marinated Chicken Breasts
For the Marinade
1 lemon, juiced
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp ground cumin (Next time, I will halve this amount)
2 Tbsp honey
2 dried whole Pasilla Chili with seeds (This is a mild pepper used in Latin cooking)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp roasted red chili paste (any Asian brand) (I used Sriracha sauce)
Few drops of green habanero chili sauce (I used Tabasco’s green Jalapeno hot sauce)

2-3 lb chicken breasts, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Add all the marinade ingredients (except the chicken, salt and pepper) into a blender, and blend until you have created a nice smooth sauce.
2. Place chicken in a shallow dish, and season with salt and pepper.
3. Add the marinade and refrigerate the dish overnight.
4. Remove chicken from refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling, allowing it to come to almost room temperature.
5. Heat your grill, and place your chicken on the grill and cook 4-5 minutes per side (this might take longer, depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts).
6. Remove from heat and let sit for about 3-5 minutes before serving to allow the juices to distribute.

Source: She Cooks and Bakes

Sweet and Spicy Green Beans

This was definitely more spicy than sweet- but still all together fantastic. I wanted to pair some green beans with my Asian-style chicken, and this definitely foot the bill. It was spicy with a little bit of sweet, and we loved the soy-garlic-honey mixture. We both gobbled it up! If you’re worried about the spice level, I would halve the amount of garlic chili sauce.

Sweet and Spicy Green Beans
3/4 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp garlic chili sauce
1 tsp honey
2 tsp canola oil
Sesame seeds

1. In a glass, microwave-safe bowl, add your trimmed green beans and a few Tbsp of water. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in the microwave for 5 minutes.
2. In a separate small bowl, mix the soy sauce, garlic, garlic chili sauce, and honey.
3. Heat the canola oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the green beans, and fry for 3 to 5 minutes.
4. Pour in the soy sauce mixture. Continue cooking and stirring 2 minutes, or until the liquid is nearly evaporated. Serve immediately.

Source: Adapted from All Recipes

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries

These little desserts are perfect for showers and parties- they look gorgeous and taste fabulous! They are also less time consuming than making chocolate-dipped berries, and I love the cheesecake filling. I made these for my boss’ baby shower and they went over very well- and with less than 30 minutes from start to finish, the prep work was a cinch for something that looks so elegant and tastes even better. I made homemade cheesecake filling, but I’ve heard others using Jello’s No Bake Cheesecake or Philadelphia Cream Cheese Ready-To-Eat Cheesecake filling with success. I would definitely recommend making this the day of- I made them the night before, and the strawberries “shrank” having been in the cold temps of the fridge overnight.

Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries
Cheesecake filling (recipe below)*
24 large, firm strawberries
Ziploc bags
“Dippers”- Chopped nuts (almond, pistachio, pecan, walnuts), Mini chocolate chips, Graham cracker crumbs, sprinkles
Melted chocolate (optional)- Semi-sweet, almond bark or candy melts**

Cheesecake filling
12-oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
¼-1/2 cup powdered sugar

1. Combine and whip together the cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar. (Skip this step if you’re using pre-made mix.)
2. Wash your strawberries and cut off the tops. Using a sharp paring knife, hollow out the inside of the strawberry without puncturing the bottom. I use the "white" insides as a measure and try to use that as my diameter to hollow out:

3. Fill a pastry bag (or Ziploc bag) with the cheesecake filling, and gently fill each strawberry until the filling is slightly overstuffed.
4. Dip the cheesecake end of the strawberry into your favorite “dipper”, completely covering the cheesecake.
5. Heat your chocolate slowly and carefully, until the chocolate is melted thoroughly. (If you plan to drizzle the berries with chocolate, make sure the berries are spaced out enough- not too close to each other- so you have enough room to fully drizzle the entire berry. If they’re too close, the chocolate drizzle doesn’t get to the sides of the berry, resulting in a chocolate drizzle on the tops of the berry only, and not the sides.)
6. Spoon the melted chocolate into a Ziploc bag, cut off a VERY small tip, and squeeze the chocolate over the strawberries.

* Can use Jello’s No Bake Cheesecake or Phildelphia Cream Cheese Ready-To-Eat Cheesecake filling
** If you want to use white chocolate, I would highly recommend using Wilton’s candy melts or almond bark. Melting and working with white chocolate was a struggle! If you use chocolate, adding a little shortening helped make it a smooth consistency.

Source: Adapted from The Novice Chef

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bacon, Egg, and Toast Cups

These were so fun and easy to make! I wanted to make an easy breakfast for my DB and the entire process took less than 30 minutes- and that includes 15 minutes of baking time. This idea is a nice twist from your usual breakfast items, and it’s all in one little cute breakfast cup which is also portable! I personally don’t like runny yolks, so I increased my baking time an extra 5 minutes. The yolks were a little runny, but mostly cooked all the way through.

Bacon, Egg, and Toast Cups
Cooking spray
6 slices of bacon
6 slices of bread (I used whole wheat)
Shredded cheese, 6 Tbsp
6 eggs
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
2. Grease 6 wells of a muffin pan with cooking spray.
3. In a frying pan, cook bacon on medium high about 3-5 minutes, until partially cooked but not completely crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
4. Cut out rounds of bread (I used a 3.5-inch round cookie cutter, but a drinking glass would be fine.) Press the bread rounds into the greased muffin wells.
5. Curl a piece of bacon around the periphery of each piece of bread, positioning it between the bread and the muffin tin to help keep it in position.
6. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of shredded cheese in the center of each piece of bread.
7. One at a time, crack an egg, removing about half of the white, and dropping the remaining white and yolk over each piece of bread, being careful not to break the yolks. Season with salt & pepper.
8. Once all the bread pieces have been topped with eggs, bake until eggs are cooked through to your liking (about 6-10 minutes) and bacon is crispy. (I baked it for 15 minutes.)
9. Run a knife around the edge of each muffin well and pop the egg cups out. Serve immediately.

Yield: 6 muffin cups

Source: Originally from the Noshery, As seen on Christine's Kitchen Chronicles and Annie's Eats

Monday, August 9, 2010

Parmigiano and Herb Chicken Breast Tenders

I made this for the first time during a weeknight and thought the chicken tenders were delicious, easy, and quick to make. We used fresh thyme and rosemary from our new herb & veggie garden the DB created for me for our anniversary. True to its name, the chicken strips were so tender, moist, and flavorful. I definitely think the fresh rosemary made this dish stand out from all the other recipes I’ve tried- the breading is key, so use fresh herbs and garlic in this recipe! Reviews stated this made way too much breading so we halved it (keeping the remaining measurements the same)- So glad we did, since we still had some breading leftover. The perfect blend of herbs, breading, and cheese. Turn this dish into an easy snack (you can dip with BBQ sauce or honey mustard), pair it with a salad and some mac & cheese, add it on top of some salad, or top it with some spaghetti sauce for a Chicken Parmigiano, like we did:

Parmigiano and Herb Chicken Breast Tenders
Olive oil, for frying
1-1/2 pounds chicken breast tenders
Salt and pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten with 1/4 cup water
Sauce: BBQ, Honey Mustard, and/or Spaghetti sauce

For the breading
1 cup Italian style bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
3 sprigs or stems fresh thyme leaves, stripped and chopped (1-2 Tbsp)
3 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped (1-1/2 Tbsp)
1 handfuls chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Chicken Parmigiano, recipe follows

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place a nonstick cookie sheet in oven with a tin foil liner.
2. Heat 1/2-inch oil in a large nonstick skillet or frying pan over medium to medium high heat.
3. Season chicken tenders with salt and pepper. Wash hands.
4. Place flour in a shallow dish.
5. Beat eggs with water in a second dish along side the flour.
6. In a third dish, combine the breading ingredients.
7. Coat chicken in flour, then egg, then bread and cheese mixture.
8. Cook chicken until deeply golden on each side, 3-4 minutes. Transfer to cookie sheet in preheated oven and finish off for another 5 minutes cooking time. Cook chicken 5 or 6 tenders at a time in a single layer, adding additional oil if necessary. If the chicken begins to brown too quickly lower heat slightly.
9. Serve chicken hot or cold with green salad or, complete as a Parmigiano.

Source: Adapted from Rachael Ray

Friday, August 6, 2010

Ina’s Mac & Cheese

* Photo courtesy of It's All About The Bacon

Another Ina Garten winner! This was the BEST macaroni and cheese ever. I loved it. It is gooey, delicious, and what mac and cheese should taste like… and in true Ina style, it isn’t difficult or time consuming to make either. This macaroni and cheese dish is a little different in that it uses Gruyere and extra-sharp cheddar cheeses- it results in an incredible combination of flavors but can be a little more expensive than your usual mac & cheese. The dish is topped with crunchy Panko breadcrumbs and sliced fresh tomatoes. Ina recommends using a cavatappi pasta, and I agree with this- it holds onto the cheese sauce much better than elbow macaroni. It is a beautiful presentation. A fantastic break from your regular mac & cheese- Ina took a basic comfort food and made it elegant and unique with its ingredients list. Edited to add: This is best eaten day-of. The pasta continues to absorb the cheese sauce, so it may not be as cheesy the following day. This also makes a lot of food. We halved the recipe, but the original full-size recipe is shown below.

Ina’s Mac and Cheese
Vegetable oil
Kosher salt
1 pound cavatappi or elbow macaroni
1 quart milk (4 cups)
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 oz Gruyere, grated (3 cups)
8 oz extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 pound fresh tomatoes (4 small)
1-1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs or fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crust removed)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling water. Add 1 Tbsp kosher salt and pasta. Undercook the pasta about 2 minutes- this will ensure the pasta doesn’t get too mushy while it’s baking in the oven. Drain well.
3. Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it.
4. In a separate large pot, melt 6 Tbsp of butter, and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk.
5. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth.
6. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 Tbsp salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
7. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
8. Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top.
9. Melt the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter, combine them with the fresh breadcrumbs, and sprinkle on the top.
10. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

Source: Adapted from Ina Garten

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Soy Lime Pork Tenderloin

I love pork tenderloin, not only for its tender cut of meat and flavor, but its versatility in many dishes. I was eager to try this dish since I’ve yet to grill it outdoors. I loved that I could throw this dish together in the morning before work, allowing it to marinate throughout the day, and then I could come home and throw it on the grill. The original blogger made it a point that this should not be cooked indoors, and only to be grilled. I am so glad we tried it. It was easy, tasty, and perfectly seasoned. Pair it with a simple summer salad, and you've got yourself a light and easy meal.

Soy Lime Pork Tenderloin
2 limes
2 Tbsp wine or white vinegar
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp dried red pepper flakes
1.5-2 pounds pork tenderloin


1. Cut the limes in half and squeeze the juice into a 2-cup measuring cup.
2. Add vinegar, vegetable oil, soy sauce and honey, garlic, and red pepper flakes into the measuring cup.
3. Whisk the mixture to blend honey.
4. Place meat in self-sealing plastic bag and pour the marinade over the meat. Scrape out any honey that clings to the measure. Allow it to marinate for 4-8 hours in the fridge.
5. When you’re ready to cook, remove the meat from the fridge and allow it rest in room temperature for 30 minutes. During this time, you can preheat your grill.
6. Heat gas grill on high. Cook 6 minutes and rotate the meat and turn. Cook 6 minutes more and rotate, turning so all sides are brown.
7. Cook 8 - 10 minutes longer until internal temperature is 160°.

Source: So Tasty So Yummy

Monday, August 2, 2010

Feta, Roasted Red Pepper, and Chorizo Sausage with Orzo

This dish was originally inspired by this dish, creatively improvised by my friend Rachel. She’s got a great knack of creating tasty food/ingredient combinations, and putting her own spin to recipes. She was ecstatic about how her dish turned out, and emailed me her version. And to no surprise, it was delicious. We loved the smoky flavors from the chorizo sausage and seasonings, and the chicken marinade took this up a notch. It allowed us to expand out to flavors from Portugal with its peri peri marinade, made of peri peri peppers. This is the first time we used Manchego cheese (native to Spain)- it is a white cheese that is compact and has a buttery texture. We found the Peri Peri marinade at Jungle Jim’s, which is a huge ethnic grocery store, and we found Manchego at Whole Foods as well as larger grocery stores (Kroger, Meijer). It took less than 10 minutes to throw together, and it allowed us to relax while the dinner was baking away. Thanks Rachel!

Feta, Roasted Red Pepper, and Chorizo Sausage with Orzo
½-3/4 pound chicken tenders, cut into 1-inch pieces
Portuguese Chicken Marinade (Peri Peri marinade)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp Moroccan seasoning (We used Peri Peri seasoning)
1/2 pound (8-oz) orzo
1/2 cup shredded Manchego cheese (4 ounces)
½ cup chopped roasted red peppers
1 chorizo sausage link, uncased, sliced
½ cup grated Parmesan

1. PREPARE AHEAD – Marinate the chicken in the Portuguese Chicken Marinade for 4-6 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
3. In a saucepan, bring broth, butter, pepper, garlic, paprika and Moroccan seasoning to a boil.
4. In a 1.5-quart baking dish, combine marinated chicken, orzo, Manchego cheese, roasted peppers, and chorizo sausage.
5. Pour broth mixture over orzo and stir once to incorporate. Make sure to fully incorporate the orzo into the liquid mixture (or else you’ll come out with some crispy orzo!)
6. Bake until orzo is tender and cooking liquid is creamy, 40 minutes.
7. Sprinkle Parmesan on top and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Yield: 3-4 servings

Source: As seen on The Babbling Starfish
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