WHITE MISO CREAM SAUCE PASTA

PASTA with MISO CREAM SAUCE

8 ounces uncooked pasta (see note), prepared per package directions
1 1/2 cups WHOLE milk
1/4 cup WONDRA flour
4 tablespoons white miso
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
FRESH ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 pound Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled small
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups heirloom grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 cup marinated artichokes, drained and chopped
2 teaspoon chopped thyme
4 cloves garlic minced
1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves, optional
18-20 mini mozzarella balls, halved or quartered
Torn basil leaves for garnish

  • Place 1/2 cup of milk in deep bowl.
  • Whisk in flour and miso until smooth.

 

  • Add remaining milk and stock to saucepan. Bring to a SLOW boil over medium-high heat.
  • Whisk in flour mixture and reduce heat. Simmer 4-5 minutes until slightly thick.
  • Add pepper.

 

  • Heat oil and butter in skillet over high heat.
  • Add tomatoes, stirring and cooking 2 minutes until beginning to char and pop.
  • Add thyme and garlic, cooking 1 minute more.
  • Add spinach, cooking 2 minutes more until wilted.
  • Remove from heat.

 

  • Add pasta sauce and half the cheese to the skillet, tossing to combine.
  • Serve in pasta bowls.
  • Top with remaining cheese pieces and torn basil.

NOTE: Any pasta works with this recipe!

WILTED CHICKEN SPINACH PASTA

This is a luscious Chicken Alfredo with plenty of OOMPH from the wilted spinach and sun dried tomatoes. The bacon adds yet another layer of flavor making it similar to a Carbonara. Shredding the chickens adds plenty of nooks and crannies for the sauce to adhere and provide lots and lots of flavors, though I tend to use tenders and serve them whole.  I adapted from RECIPE TIN EATS

WILTED CHICKEN SPINACH PASTA serves 4

10 ounces fettuccine (see notes)

  • Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water for package directions minus 2 minutes.  The pasta will finish cooking in the sauce.  Just before draining, scoop out a cup of cooking water. Then drain pasta as directed.

1 tablespoons avocado oil
1 1/2 pounds of chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally or chicken tenders
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.
  • Melt half the butter in a large skillet over high heat.
  • Add chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until deep golden.
  • Remove chicken onto plate, rest for a few minutes then shred with 2 forks.

SAUCE
2 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves , minced
1 small red pepper sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/4 cups heavy cream – DO NOT USE LIGHT
3/4 cup FINELY shredded Parmesan cheese + more for garnish
1-2  cups torn baby spinach
3 ounces sun dried tomato strips, DRAINED (see notes)
4 slices bacon, diced and browned
FRESH chopped Parsley, for garnish

  • Reduce the heat of your skillet to medium high.
  • Add remaining butter, sun-dried tomato oil and garlic.
  • Cook garlic for 30 seconds until golden.
  • Add red pepper slices and cook another minute.
  • Add wine, simmering quickly and stirring to scrape up any brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
  • Once mostly evaporated, add chicken broth, cream, Parmesan and sun dried tomato pieces.
    Simmer on medium for 3 – 5 minutes, stirring often, until it reduces and thickens.

ASSEMBLY

  • Add spinach, chicken, bacon pieces and cooked pasta.
  • TOSS – this is a MUST if you are shredding the chicken!
  • Cook sauce for 2 minutes, until sauce thickens and coats the pasta. (see notes)
  • Serve immediately with Parmesan and parsley if desired.


NOTES:

  • Flat wide pastas are best for creamy sauces, but any pasta will work in reality. DO NOT use fresh pastas.
  • When I drain the sun-dried tomatoes, I drain them into my skillet as part of my cooking oil for the sauce.
  • Use the reserved pasta cooking water as needed if the sauce gets too thick.

BACON MAC & CHEESE

BACON MAC & CHEESE
8 ounces elbow macaroni or small pasta shells
8 slices thick bacon, diced
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons WONDRA flour
2 ½ cups WHOLE milk
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese* (see note)

  • Cook pasta per package directions and drain well.
  • Cook bacon in skillet until crisp.
  • Remove bacon to paper toweling to drain.
  • Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings.
  • Add shallots and garlic to bacon drippings over medium heat and cook a minute or two until shallots soften.
  • Increase heat to medium high and sprinkle in flour, whisking until golden and smooth.
  • Whisk in milk slowly and bring to a SLOW boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook 4-5 minutes until
  • sauce begins to thicken.
  • Reduce heat to low and gradually stir in cheese(s), stirring until cheese is melted and blended well.
  • Season to taste.
  • Fold in drained pasta and bacon pieces.

NOTE: *For an even creamier texture use a portion of Velvetta cheese to replace some of the cheddar cheese.

BACON RANCH CHICKEN CASSEROLE

BACON RANCH CHICKEN CASSEROLE
8 ounces pasta, prepared per package instructions
3 slices bacon, chopped
1 small shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound shredded rotisserie chicken pieces
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
12 ounces evaporated milk
1 Hidden Valley ranch dressing seasoning mix
1/3 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s hot sauce
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

  • Preheat oven 350°.
  • Spray 8×8 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

  • In a large skillet cook bacon until crisp. Remove and drain on paper toweling.
  • Add shallots and garlic, quickly sautéing.
  • Drain of excess grease.
  • Add chicken pieces and cook several minutes until golden and cooked through.
  • Whisk together the milk, ranch dressing mix and hot sauce. Pour over chicken and stir together.
  • Remove from heat and add the pasta, mixing well.
  • Top with 1 1/2 cups of the cheese and most of the bacon, stirring to combine.
  • Pour into prepared baking dish, top with remaining cheese and garnish with remaining bacon.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted and golden.
  • Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

PEPPER PASTA SALAD

PEPPER PASTA SALAD
PREP & COOK time 20-30 minutes Serves 6-8 as a side dish

1/2 pound pasta shells (DO NOT USE GLUTEN FREE)
10-12 mini peppers (red, orange and yellow combo)
1 shallot, chopped
1 small bunch radishes, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup chopped chives
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons QUALITY Italian dressing
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Frank’s original hot sauce
FRESH ground Sea Salt and Black Pepper

  • Cook pasta per package directions. Drain and rinse WELL with cold water until completely cool.
  • While pasta is draining WELL slice or dice peppers, radishes, shallot and chives.
  • Toss pasta with peppers, radishes, shallots and chives.
  • Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk, apple cider vinegar, Italian dressing, hot sauce and garlic powder.
  • Pour mayonnaise mixture over pasta, tossing to coat well.
  • Season to taste.
  • Sprinkle with dill.
  • Chill 6-8 hours.

NOTE:

  • Hard boiled eggs are a nice optional addition. When I use these I also add a sprinkle of paprika instead of the dill.
  • You can also shredded rotisserie chicken and turn this into a meal which serves 4 instead.

COWBOY GOULASH

COWBOY GOULASH
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1 large carrot, small chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon avocado oil
4 cups beef broth
1 can original Rotes tomatoes
1 small can green chiles, drained well
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
sour cream

  • Heat oil over medium high heat.
  • Add beef and brown.
  • Drain off grease.
  • Add carrot, onion, garlic and bell pepper sautéing until soft.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add broth and hot sauce.
  • Cover and bring to a FULL simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Add Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes and green chiles.
  • Return to a simmer for another 20 minutes.
  • Serve with warm tortillas or corn bread and a dollop of sour cream.  Sometimes we serve it over pasta, rice or mashed potatoes.

 

LEMON SHRIMP FETTUCCINE

LEMON SHRIMP FETTUCCINE

3/4 pound medium shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1 small fennel, cleaned, halved and sliced – save chop fronds and keep separate
12 ounces fettuccine, prepared al dente (save 1/4 cup hot pasta water)
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved
2 Meyer lemons, Juice of LARGE Meyer Lemon + slices for garnish
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Whisk together the cream, lemon juice and egg yolks.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Heat avocado oil in skillet over medium heat.
  • Saute shrimp for 90 seconds. Remove shrimp and set aside to keep warm.
  • Add the fennel pieces and saute for 2 minutes.
  • Add the snap peas and saute another 3 minutes until peas are tender and fennel is browned.
  • Add cream, 1/4 cup pasta water, prepared fettuccine and shrimp into pan.
  • Turn off heat and stir together until well blended and sauce thickens.
  • Season to taste.
  • Garnish with fennel fronds and lemon slices.
  • Serve immediately.

NOTE: Meyer lemons are a bit sweeter than regular lemons so if you can’t find a Meyer lemon, use half of a regular lemon and half of a tangerine.

FRENCH ONION PASTA BAKE

This recipe is for recipe experiment night.  I was looking for a tasty alternative that I could also use as leftovers for my lunches.  I am happy to report that it was a success!
FRENCH ONION PASTA BAKE
6 ounces penne pasta
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon avocado oil
8 ounces button mushrooms, 1/4 inch slices
1 large shallot, halved and sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Better than Chicken bouillon
4 ounces heavy cream
2 tablespoons Marsala Wine
3-4 FRESH thyme sprigs
3/4 cup seasoned croutons, crushed
4 ounces shredded Mozzarella

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Prepare pasta al dente.
  • Drain pasta WELL and set aside.
  • In a large skillet melt butter and avocado oil.
  • Add mushrooms, onions and garlic. Season with FRESH ground salt and pepper, stirring and cooking 10-12 minutes until caramelized and deep brown.
  • Whisk together the Marsala wine, cream, two-thirds of the thyme, and the bouillon base.  Add to the mushroom mixture stirring and blending together until heated through.
  • Fold in the pasta and then half the cheese.
  • Spread into prepared baking dish.
  • Top with remaining cheese and crushed croutons.
  • Bake 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and golden.
  • Top with remaining thyme.

NOTE: Penne pasta works best, but any other similar sized pasta would work well too.

CHICKEN BLT CASSEROLE

CHICKEN BLT CASSEROLE serves 6
12 ounces Barilla cellentani or rotini pasta
6 slices bacon, chopped, cooked until crispy
3 cups rotisserie chicken pieces
2 cups alfredo sauce (homemade or jar** – your choice)
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 cups micro arugula
2 large green onions, sliced thin
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray 3 quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Cook pasta al dente per package directions. Drain well.
  • In a large mixing bowl toss pasta with chicken pieces.
  • Add alfredo sauce and toss until well coated.
  • Season to taste with FRESH ground salt and pepper.
  • Fold in green onions, bacon pieces and tomatoes.
  • Cover and bake 25 minutes.
  • Top with cheese and return to oven uncovered for 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • Enjoy.

NOTES:

  • This recipe is good leftover. BUT is BEST FRESH because of the lettuce and tomato. 
  • RAGU makes a basil alfredo that is super yummy!

CHICKEN CAESAR MAC & CHEESE

CHICKEN CAESAR MAC & CHEESE
3 cups dry elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions and drained
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons WONDRA flour
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground sea salt
1/4 teaspoon FRESH ground black pepper
1 cup milk
1 1/4 + 1/4 cups shredded SHARP cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
3/4 cup Ken’s Caesar salad dressing
1 1/2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken pieces
10 pieces bacon, diced, cooked and crumbled

  • Add cooked macaroni, chicken and 3/4 of the bacon pieces to a large baking dish.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Lightly spray a 13×9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat.
  • Whisk in flour, salt and pepper until smooth and golden.
  • Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a SLOW boil, stirring constantly until thickened.
  • Stir in the cheeses (except the 1/4 cup SHARP) until well blended.
  • Stir in dressing.
  • Pour mixture over macaroni and chicken and fold together until well coated.

TOPPING
1/3 cup Panko
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon minced FRESH parsley

  • Toss Panko crumbs and melted butter until well blended.
  • Sprinkle over the macaroni mixture.
  • Top with remaining cheese.
  • Top with remaining bacon pieces.
  • Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

CARROT ORECCHIETTE

For a nice change of pace in the spring and summer I try to make lighter AND healthier dishes. I ran across this recipe at the dentist office and instantly fell in love after a few adjustments for our tastes, especially with my new restrictive diet! I’m ALWAYS looking for more flavor and it has been hard to come by – until now!

CARROT ORECCHIETTE serves 4

1 pound large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/8 inch rounds
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
2+2 tablespoons cup avocado oil
4 ounces dry orecchiette pasta
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3-4 sprigs FRESH thyme
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped chives
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • Preheat oven to 475°.
  • Cover a baking sheet with foil or a silicone mat.
  • Add carrots to a large bowl.
  • Drizzle with 2 tablespoons avocado oil.
  • Generously season with the salt and pepper.
  • Toss to coat well.
  • Spread carrots onto baking sheet in an even layer.
  • Nestle thyme sprigs randomly into carrots.
  • Bake 8-10 minutes until tender and carrots are beginning to curl at the edges.
  • While carrots are roasting cook pasta per package directions. DO NOT ADD THE SALT OR FAT.
  • Drain pasta WELL.
  • Add pasta to large mixing bowl.
  • Add vinegar, 2 tablespoons avocado oil.
  • Lightly season with salt and pepper.
  • Toss to coat.
  • Remove thyme sprigs.
  • Add carrots and GENTLY toss again.
  • Divide among the plates.
  • Top with chives and Parmesan cheese.
  • ENJOY!

TEX-MEX MAC-N-CHEESE

TEX-MEX MAC-N-CHEESE
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 can shoepeg corn kernels
1 medium Vidalia onion, small dice
3 small sweet red pepper, seeded, small dice
1 can original ROTEL tomatoes with green chiles, drained WELL
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk, cold
2 cups shredded cheddar
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
FRESH ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound mini rigatoni or pasta of choice, cooked al dente
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
OPTIONAL GARNISHES
1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese
Minced cilantro leaves
Pickled jalapenos, drained and minced

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Add the butter, corn, onions, red peppers, garlic and 1 teaspoon of salt to a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, sauteing until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the cumin, chile powder, cayenne pepper and flour, stirring frequently 3 to 4 minutes until roux forms.
  • Pour in the cold milk in a steady stream, stirring vigorously until the mixture is smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until mixture starts to thicken, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in the cheddar and Monterey Jack. Cook until the sauce is smooth and creamy, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Add the scallions, tomatoes, peppers and rigatoni, mixing well to combine.
  • Pour into a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish.
  • Sprinkle with panko crumbs evenly over the top and cover with foil.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling.
  • Remove to a cooling rack and let rest for 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Garnish with the Cotija cheese, jalapeno and cilantro.
  • Serve immediately.

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