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Everyday Dinners

Easy + Delicious Bruschetta Chicken

May 20, 2022

There is nothing my husband and son love more then a chicken breast slathered in flavor + cheese for dinner. So when I eyed all of the tomatoes and basil I saw in the produce section, I thought what if what I love slathered on bread they would love on a chicken breast?

Turns out I love it too.

This dinner gets bonus points for being totally easy + doable on a busy sports night. You can easily chop up the shallots, garlic and tomatoes earlier in the day, and then prep is a snap.

Turn on a 350 oven, pour the marinade over the chicken breasts for 10 min.

Toss the tomatoes with a duplicate version of the marinade plus some julienned basil, and voila, your prep is done.

Add some mozzarella cheese and the tomatoes to the chicken and let it cook while you do any of the million tasks you have to do in your house before you leave to go pick up someone from some field.

It also reheats beautifully for anyone who has to eat later or for lunch the next day (yum! flavors just get better).

What is amazing about this dish is how the sweetness of the tomatoes combines with the acidity of the balsamic, plus those lovely aromatics of shallots and garlic, to become one of the most flavorful bites of food you will ever have. The 10 minute marinade infuses the chicken with that flavor so well. And the gooey cheese is the perfect textural combination.

I had mine with spaghetti squash but the others had it over pasta. And those tomatoes look like a lot but they are the perfect amount to create the perfect tomato/chicken/pasta ratio with every bite.

My goal for this blog is always to give great dinner rotation ideas – almost everyone likes them, they are super doable, but they also could make you happy if you ordered it in a restaurant. This one is a winner on all counts. Hope you get to try it soon!

Happy Eating,

xoxo Katie

Bruschetta Chicken

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

  • 4 Chicken Breasts
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots (2 shallots)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella

For the tomatoes:

  • 2 pounds ripe heirloom or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots (2 shallots)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup julienned fresh basil leaves, plus extra for serving
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Directions:

Combine all ingredients for the marinade: shallots, garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 350. Place chicken breasts in a cooking dish and pour marinade over them for 10 min.

While it marinates, combine a second marinade for the tomatoes (minus the Italian seasoning). Toss tomatoes, marinade, and basil together and taste. Add more salt, vinegar or oil if necessary.

When 10 minutes are up, add 1/4 cup mozzarella to the top of each chicken breasts (feel free to add more if you like of course), the spread tomatoes over all of the chicken breasts and cook in the oven for 30-35 min. or until chicken is cooked through.

Serve over pasta or spaghetti squash.

Risotto Primavera

May 6, 2022

 

Spring has sprung here in New Hampshire finally! The lacy tree blossoms, the tulip-and-daffodil studded yards, and warmer temps all beckon us to linger outside every chance we get. The trampoline is in full use, and flip flops and Birks are finding their way onto our happy feet.

I love seeing how the change of seasons affects our appetites. We go from craving warm bowls of comfort food to wanting fresh veggies and salads. This Risotto Primavera is a sort of in-between, with all the stick to your ribs comfort from cheesy, warm risotto and all of the feel good bites of lots of green veggies.

This is the perfect side dish when you break out your grill and cook some chicken or steak, or our favorite, swordfish. It feels indulgent, but also healthy.

There is something so relaxing about cooking risotto. The adventure of stirring and ladeling in more broth and stirring some more (sipping a glass of wine somehow adds to the relaxation right?) until you are left with a creamy, cheesy flavor bomb of a side dish. The wine and the parm make this irresistible.

I love artichokes with risotto – I often make artichoke risotto up north at our camp when we cook steak on an open fire, since we can keep all the makings for it in the pantry. But the addition of fresh asparagus and peas were so springlike and welcome.

Feel free to play around with your veggies though. Mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and butternut squash are all also delicious veggies with risotto.

Though it is delicious hot, this dish can be served at room temperature, so feel free to bring it to a potluck or picnic. It will brighten up any meal. Cheers to spring friends!

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Risotto Primavera

Serves 4 (I doubled this recipe).

  • 1 cup Aborio rice.
  • 1/2 cup onion or shallot (finely diced)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 2 tablespoon butter (preferably unsalted)
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
  • 1/2 cup white wine (we use Pinot Grigio)
  • 3 cups chicken stock (have more on hand)
  • 1/2 cup chopped artichokes (I like canned but frozen is fine)
  • 1/2 cup peas (if frozen, let soak in warm water to thaw)
  • 1/2 cup chopped blanched asparagus (see directions)

Directions:

  • Put chicken stock in small pan over medium heat to warm it.
  • Blanch Asparagus: Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  When boiling, add asparagus and cook for 5-7 minutes until tender. Get bowl of cold water + ice cubes ready, and drain asparagus then add to the ice bath to lock in their green color.
  • Add the olive oil to a large skillet or frying pan and bring to medium high heat, add onions and cook until translucent (about 2-3 minutes). Add butter and Arborio rice, stir to coat rice.
  • Increase heat to high, add white wine.  Let rice absorb the wine while the wine cooks off (2-4 minutes). Reduce heat back to med high.
  • Add the warm chicken stock, one cup at a time.  As the rice absorbs the stock continue adding stock gradually. Stir constantly.
  • Continue cooking until the rice is almost all the way cooked through, it should be al dente with a firm center (approx 15-20 min).
  • When rice is cooked, reduce heat to low. Add ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, the Parmesan cheese and stir. Then add the vegetables. Taste to see if more salt or pepper is needed. Add more Parm on top for serving.

Sausage, Escarole and Tomato Pasta

February 23, 2022

Guys, this is one of the best dinners I have made in a long time. I am so happy to share it with you all!

The idea for this dinner began when I read Alexandra Cook’s post on how much she loves sautéed escarole as a winter side. She makes the point that by February, we have roasted so many veggies that cooked greens hit the spot and are so easy. When I grabbed a few heads of escarole at the store, I got to thinking. Wouldn’t they be delicious in soups or pastas? The answer is yes and yes.

I looked around at other recipes online, and one of them was very similar to a simple pasta dish our family loves making combining these ingredients.

We usually make ours with broccoli or spinach (fresh or frozen) and use any pasta shape. I merged ours with one I found on Epicurious. And the result was amazing. I give all the credit to that glorious trio of shallots, garlic and wine cooked together to give such a delicious base. And the pasta water helps create the most luxurious sauce. Trust me, you are going to want to try it. And then make it again because it is sooo yummy.

The acid from the wine, the slight bitterness from the escarole, the sweetness of the tomatoes and the heat from the sausage, the comforting pasta, all covered in the delicious sauce is so well balanced. And the crispy fried rosemary on top is genius. I can’t stop thinking about how many other dishes I can use it on.

Just all around something I would drive to a restaurant far away to order again and again.

This one will be on heavy rotation because it is so easy, and so satisfying. Hope you get to try it soon too!

Happy eating, xoxo Katie

Sausage, Escarole and Tomato Pasta

1 pound tubular pasta like paccheri or rigatoni

2 sprigs Rosemary

1/3 cup olive oil

20 oz. turkey sausage (or any kind you prefer)

2 shallots, finely diced (1/3 cup)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 cups cherry tomatoes

2 heads (about 8 cups) escarole, torn into pieces

1/2 cup parmesan plus more for serving

Directions:

Bring pot of salted water to boil for pasta. You will need some of the pasta water for the sauce so be sure to reserve.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium high heat. Fry rosemary, turning until crisp about 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towel to drain.

Add sausage to the same pot and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon or fork and stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through about 8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate. While sausage cooks, start boiling pasta, setting timer for 3 minutes less than the packages cooking time.

Be sure there is still enough oil in pot, if not add more to equal about 1 T. Add shallots to pot and let cook for 2-3 minutes to soften, then add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add cherry tomatoes and let cook for a minute before adding wine. Scrap up the bottom bits in the pan and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.

With a slotted spoon or spider, transfer pasta to pot with tomatoes, then add escarole and 1 cup pasta liquid. Cook, tossing until escarole is wilted, pasta is al dente and sauce is thickened, about 4 minutes. Add another 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid then gradually add 1/2 cup cheese, tossing until melted into a glossy sauce. Thin with more pasta water if desired, season with pepper and more salt if needed (you probably won’t if your pasta water is salted.) Add sausage back into pasta and stir to combine.

Divide pasta in bowls, and crumble rosemary on top and sprinkle with more parmesean cheese.

 

 

 

 

Herby, Brothy Beans with Pesto + Burrata

February 11, 2022

For those of you who know and love the blog/cookbook/adorable person behind Dinner A Lovestory, you will  probably love this recipe which comes from her newest cookbook, Weekday Vegetarians.

I saw her post a video of this recipe by showing a big pot of beans, which got my attention because she put three things in a pot then said ‘when dinner cooks hands free in under an hour’ or something approximating that. Always a good sell to a busy mom.

She spooned the contents into a bowl, put some pesto on top and THEN put some burrata and a drizzle of olive oil, at which point I had to try this deliciousness somehow, someway.

The result? Maybe one of the best things I have eaten all year. It is so bright, creamy, healthy, stick-to-your-ribs comforting. And so easy. The bright pesto is like sunshine, the warm broth is so comforting, and the creamy burrata melting a little in the heat of the broth – it’s all perfection.

You may have a little trouble finding butter beans or big lima beans, but you can get them on Amazon or find them in a specialty food shop (I actually found canned butter beans at Eataly in the Prudential Center in Boston but it is just as easy and delicious to buy the dried ones online or substitute with any northern white bean).

It is funny to say that such a humble dish like beans is the best thing I’ve eaten, but its true. And if you are like me you are starting to think about easy, meatless meals during lent. (Ok full confession I always feel like the challenge to eat meat only once a day on not on Fridays is a chance to eat all the delicious vegetarian foods which I know is not the point but I will still try to offer it up). Good thing this recipe comes from a book chock full of great vegetarian ideas. Even if my 8-year-old declared that it ‘had too many vegetables’.

The real flavor comes from the broth with its simple onion and thyme. I didn’t even chopped the onion as she suggests in her cookbook I just let it simmer. It was the best potlikker I have had in a while.

And I can’t recommend a bit of Naan bread or french crusty bread enough to dip into all this goodness. If you want to add chili oil or red pepper flakes no one would stop you.

You may want to go ahead and buy the big bag at Amazon so you can make this over and over again. It’s so so good.
Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Herby, Brothy Beans with Pesto and Burrata

Ingredients:

16 ounces dried or canned lima beans, or broad beans

1/2 medium yellow onion roughly chopped

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling

1 dried bay leaf

Leaves from 8 fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (optional)

Store bought pesto for serving

Fresh Burrata or Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

If you are using dried beans: place the beans in a large pot, cover with water by about 2 inches, and let them sit for at least 6 hours and up to overnight, 8-10 hours. Check them and be sure they stay slightly submerged.

Add more water to cover the beans by 1 1/2 inches and place on the stove top. Stir in the onion, salt, olive oil and bay leaf. Simmer uncovered, until tender, about 40 minutes, scraping off any foam as they cook.

If you are using canned beans: put beans in the pot and cover the beans with water by 1 1/2 inches and place on the stovetop. Stir in the onion, salt, olive oil and bay leaf. Simmer uncovered, until tender, about 10-15 minutes, scraping off any foam as they cook.

Once tender do not drain the beans. Scoop them into a small serving bowl with a little of the bean broth. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon if using, pesto and burrata or parm.

Adapted from the cookbook Weekday Vegetarians by Jenny Rosenstrach 

 

One-Pot Chicken and Artichoke Cavatappi

January 26, 2022

What could be better on a cold winter night then lighting a fire, turning up the music and making a one-pot pasta dish?

I love artichokes, and will use any excuse to use them in a dish. I actually almost always have some open in my fridge to use in omelets, salads, sandwiches (they are so yummy on egg sandwiches with grainy mustard). I also have a family to feed where half of them want pasta at every meal, and the other half wants meat. Voila! Everyone is happy with this dish.

The first step is to brown the artichokes. This brings out there flavor and the cartelized color is so pretty.

Then you remove them from the pan (I doubled this recipe, so I used a heavy-bottomed pot for this recipe).

You add oil to the pan, season chicken with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper, and brown on both sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and sauté onions, then add garlic and oregano. Then add tomatoes and broccoli and season with salt and pepper. Finally add lemon juice and chicken broth (which adds a lot of flavor but you could use water in a pinch) and the pasta, cover and let cook for 10 minutes. Then add the chicken back in and you’re done. If there is too much liquid you can cook it off, and if the pasta seems al dente you can add a little more broth and let it cook for a few minutes. 

Serve with plenty of shaved parmesan cheese on top, and crusty bread. This is a great dish for a busy weeknight but it’s also nice enough for company. The leftovers keep very well and get better the next day. The lemon, garlic and oregano add lots of flavor. I also added red pepper flakes to mine. Crumbled feta or olives on top would also be delicious.

The best part is this dish is pretty healthy, especially if you use whole wheat pasta (which my kids cannot abide so I didn’t.)

Hope this dinner warms up your insides and is an easy meal to add to your dinner rotation! It is delicious and easy.

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

One-Pot Chicken and Artichoke Cavatappi

Serves 4  (I doubled this recipe) 

INGREDIENTS

  • Olive oil
  • 15-ounce can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1pound chicken tenders
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1-2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 small onion chopped, about 1 cup
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic, about 5 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, divided
  • 3 ounces julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes
  • 3 cups broccoli, fresh or frozen (you can use kale or spinach instead)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, about 1/2 lemon, plus more to taste
  • 2.5 cups chicken broth
  • 8 ounces cavatappi, regular or whole wheat (you can use penne or other shape)
  • 2 ounces shaved parmesan, (optional)

Directions: 

Heat a large non-stick skillet with high sides (or a large pot if you are doubling the recipe) over medium heat.

Heat 1 T. olive oil. Working in two batches, add artichokes and char until dark golden—3 to 4 minutes. Remove to a plate.

Season chicken with 1 teaspoon each garlic powder, onion powder and salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

Heat another 1 T. olive oil in pan, add chicken and cook 5 minutes, turning half way through cooking. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Heat an additional 1 T. olive oil, then add onions, garlic, and 2 teaspoons oregano. Cook, stirring, until onions are softened and golden, 4 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes and broccoli, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 2 1/4 cups of chicken broth. Stir in cavatappi, cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces.

Remove cover, stir in chicken and artichokes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 5 more minutes or until pasta is al dente and chicken is reheated. Remove cover and cook off any excess liquid if necessary. Serve topped with parmesan (if using), remaining oregano, and more salt and black pepper to taste.

Recipe adapted from Skinnytaste.com

Chorizo, Kale & Potato Soup

January 12, 2022

Greetings from the house of Covid surrounded by frozen tundra!

We are going on our second month of the virus slowly going through our family (good times!) and I am so thankful that I got it first so I can play nurse to everyone else. Our 4 year old twins seem to be made of teflon and have yet to get it that we know of, but it does mean for lots of baking, baths and abc puzzles as they quarantine away January.

I don’t know about you, but under duress, comfort food needs to also be easy food. I can finely chop ingredients and slow cook meat all day when everything is smooth sailing, but add another job like nurse to my roster and I need food to be easy. I actually have so many fun recipes to make for this blog this year, but for right now I am relying on one pot, ten ingredients or less dinners. But crusty bread is always a must.

I looked in our fridge and found chorizo and potatoes singing to me, and I whipped up this super simple, 7 ingredient soup, and it totally hit the spot.

It was such an easy lunch to warm up for anyone, and it was great to have a different soup in the rotation. (For other soups we had a lot of recently, see this Chicken Gnocchi Soup, Sausage and White Bean Soup, and this Greek Wedding Soup with lots of lemon. And I recently posted on Instagram about our love of tomato soup – it is in our weekly rotation with lots of grilled cheese.)

There are a lot of variations you can make with this soup, and you can treat this as a clean out the veggie drawer soup – chopped carrots, celery, spinach, zucchini are all great additions, and you can swap out beans or pasta for the potatoes and corn. The best part is the chorizo is so well seasoned that it infuses the soup with flavor.

I loved this simple version, and it warmed me up all week as I entertained preschoolers and tended to sick kids.

I hope your family is staying warm and healthy, and that you get to cook up something simple and delicious to bring everyone together for dinner.

Chorizo, Kale & Potato Soup 

1 med onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

8-10 oz. chorizo, cut in half moons

2 cups potatoes, cubed

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon salt + 1/2 teaspoon pepper (more to taste)

6 cups chicken broth

2 cups kale, sliced

10 oz. corn

Directions:

Heat 2 T oil in heavy pot over med heat. Add onions and cook for 3-5 min until soft. Add garlic and chorizo and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add potatoes and cook for 2 minutes more. Add bay leaf, salt & pepper and broth and bring to a boil. Cook for 15-20 min or until potatoes are tender. Add kale and corn and cook for 5 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve warm with crusty bread.