Tag Archives: lemon juice

Fuss-Free Spicy Pork and Kale in a Crock Pot

5 Jan
Spicy Pork and Kale

Spicy Pork and Kale

I had a few pieces of frozen pork that had to be used stat, as they were starting to look slightly freezer-burnt around the edges. Then I had this HUGE bunch of organic kale I picked up the other day, for reasons still unknown to me this day. I must have had something in mind, but it never came back to me. Armed with those two ingredients, I thought about making my Spicy Pork and Kale Soup, but decided I needed to try out something new. After countless interwebz searches, I finally settled on a combination of flavors I thought would work together.

Kale Bunch

Kale Bunch

About halfway through the cooking time my daughter said the kitchen smelled really good, so I was hopeful! And thankfully, it turned out delicious! It was spicy, tangy, filling, and made for a great meal for the fam after we spent a good part of the day cleaning out our junk room to make into a bedroom for a foreign exchange student we are hosting in February. (As well as painting my daughter’s bedroom a new color, which I had no part in. That was a father-daughter project for the day.) We served this over a bed of brown rice sided with thick slices of French Bread to sop up the juices. Yummy!

Spicy Pork and Kale Ready to Cook

Spicy Pork and Kale Ready to Cook

Spicy Pork and Kale in a Crock Pot

1 1/2 pounds thick boneless pork loin chops
Sweet Hungarian paprika
Ground black pepper
1 large bunch of kale
2 pints homemade canned tomatoes and liquid, chopped, or two cans of diced low-sodium tomatoes, with liquid
2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Cooked brown or white rice, for serving

Season the pork generously with paprika and black pepper. Add to a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker. Tear the kale off the stems into bite-size pieces and add to the crock pot. It fills up almost the entire crock pot, but don’t worry, it all cooks down. For my homemade pints of tomatoes, I just used a knife to chop them up straight in the jar. Pour the chopped or canned diced tomatoes over all, then sprinkle the Balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and crushed red pepper flakes over the kale.

Cook on high 4 to 6 hours or on low 8 to 10 hours. When ready to serve, shred the pork with two forks in the crock pot and give it a good stir. Serve over cooked brown or white rice, with bread for sopping up the juices. Minimal ingredients, fuss-free, huge taste!

Spicy Pork and Kale

Spicy Pork and Kale

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Balsamic Chicken, Spinach, and Tomato Bake

28 Dec

I posted this almost a year ago and made it last night again for dinner (another one of many times throughout the year). This is one of my daughter’s favorite quick dinners I make, and it’s my go-to recipe for a simple and easy delicious meal! Last night I subbed out Panko bread crumbs seasoned with Italian dried season and used a jar of homemade canned tomatoes, chopped, with liquid drained. If you haven’t made this before, try it out!

anotherfoodieblogger

So simple, so colorful, and soooo good! I had a bag of fresh spinach and a pound of defrosted boneless chicken breast in the fridge. A lovely tomato sat on the counter. In my mind, that’s a no brainer. BUT! I didn’t want to stuff the chicken, it was too cold to grill, and quite frankly, I didn’t feel like spending a lot of time cooking. All the recipes I found online just didn’t “do” it for me, so I set out to combine several of them with the parts I liked, then completely improvised from there. My family gobbled this right up, and now I have yet another easy weeknight dinner I can put into my rotation.

Balsamic Chicken, Spinach, and Tomato Bake

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast(s)
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb, or other seasoning, to taste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon…

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Parmesan Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Skillet

11 Aug

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Parmesan Chicken Broccoli and Rice Skillet

Parmesan Chicken Broccoli and Rice Skillet

This is a quick and dirty post as I have to get back to work. We did a tag team on this dinner, as it was “my night” to cook last night but I ended up having to work until all hours. So I got the chicken defrosted and marinated, then arm-chair coached my hubby through the rest of it. This was literally a throw-it together dinner, and came out sooo tasty! We made a little too much rice, so I’ve halved the amount in the recipe below.

Parmesan Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Skillet

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced in half lengthwise
Black pepper
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Blend
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup chicken broth, homemade or low-salt
1/2 cup dried rice
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 head of broccoli florets, cooked
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese

Season the chicken with black pepper and Mrs. Dash. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon, and vinegars. Marinate the chicken in it for at least a half hour up to an hour. Cook the rice in the chicken broth according to package directions and steam the broccoli. Meanwhile, add some of the marinade mixture to a medium-hot large skillet and add the chicken. Add a little more oil if needed. Cook the chicken about 5 to 7 minutes on each side, then remove and set aside. Deglaze the pan with the 1/4 cup vinegar mixture, then add the broccoli florets. Slice and cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and return to the pan. The rice should be done now so stir the rice into the  chicken broccoli mixture. Add a little more chicken broth if it looks too dry. Now stir in the Parmesan cheese, and serve immediately with more Parmesan on top.

Parmesan Chicken Broccoli and Rice Skillet

Parmesan Chicken Broccoli and Rice Skillet

Greek Chicken Pocket Sandwiches with Tzatziki and Cole Slaw

24 Jul
Greek Chicken Pocket Sandwiches with Tzatziki and Cole Slaw

Greek Chicken Pocket Sandwiches with Tzatziki and Cole Slaw

Oh my goodness, it’s been a week since my last post but this time you get a FOUR-FER! Yep, four recipes in this post. And, I think I may have found my new favorite sandwich! We had lunch two weekends ago at our annual downtown Summer Fest, where you get to peruse local artist’s crafts and maybe stop for a bite to at at local vendor’s food trucks. It was a really hot day so decided on a Mediterranean Chicken Wrap. It was quite delicious and figured I could make them myself.

And I did! Except I didn’t use regular flatbread, I used flatbread pocket bread, which is like a Pita Pocket except now it’s been renamed to the fancier Flatbread Pocket Bread and made with whole grain wheat, but really, who cares, right? Because it all holds the fillings the same and it’s all good! So light, so refreshing. And the fam gave it two thumbs up. In fact, we liked it so much I made it again last night. Now that’s telling you how good this is. My hubby made a fabulous cole slaw to go with it last night too with the other half of the English cucumber, which rounded this meal out perfectly. The list of ingredients below looks long with four recipes and such, but it’s not, since you use most of the same ingredients in them.

Greek Chicken

3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon garlic
1/2 teaspoon of crushed dried oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound chicken breast, sliced in half length-wise or pounded thin

Tzatziki, Flatbread, and Condiments.

Tzatziki, Flatbread, and Condiments.

Tzatziki with Dill

1 cup Greek yogurt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh dill
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
Small amount of ground sea salt
Ground black pepper, to taste

Homemade Cole Slaw (Sort of)

1/2 small cabbage, sliced thin and chopped in half
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and sliced thin
1/2 cup small chopped or shredded carrots
1/4 cup store-bought cole slaw dressing
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 good squeeze of a half of lemon
Lots of black pepper, to taste

Greek Chicken Pocket Sandwich

Greek Chicken Pocket Sandwich

Greek Chicken Pocket Sandwiches with Tzatziki

1 pound grilled Greek Chicken, diced
Diced tomato
Diced red onion
Flatbread pocket bread
Tzatziki
Chopped romaine lettuce

Mix together the marinade, then marinate the chicken in it for at least an hour or more. Meanwhile prepare the Tzatziki by mixing all those ingredients in a bowl and chill in the refrigerator. Now make the cole slaw by combining all those ingredients in a big bowl and also refrigerate. When ready to cook, grill the chicken over medium-high heat until done through, about 5 to 8  minutes per side.  Chop up the chicken into bite size pieces, and lay out the sandwich condiments in bowls. Assemble the pocket sandwiches with the chicken and yummies, serve with the cole slaw and enjoy!

New Potato Salad with Lemon, Dill, and Chives (No Mayo)

22 May
New Potato Salad with Lemon, Dill, and Chives

New Potato Salad with Lemon, Dill, and Chives

I finally get to show off my new Ninja food processor I got for Mother’s Day! For whatever reason, we hadn’t cooked anything that needed something chopped small until now. Well not exactly true. We made a chef’s salad the other day and I had fun chopping up the carrots and such for it, but it was not a blog-worthy meal. Just a typical throw-in-anything-you-have-in-your-fridge salad on a busy weeknight. However, the other night I set out to make a “lighter” version of potato salad that didn’t use mayonnaise. From all my research it appeared Greek yogurt was the best substitute, along with some oil and citrus and herbs.  This would make a great potluck salad since it doesn’t have mayo or eggs in it!

Ninja with Chopped Celery and Radishes

Ninja with Chopped Celery and Radishes

New Potato Salad with Lemon, Dill, and Chives

1 1/2 pounds small red new potatoes, quartered
1 celery stalk
2 radishes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh minced chives
1 tablespoon fresh minced baby dill
Ground pepper, to taste

Boil quartered potatoes for about 10 minutes. Remove the potatoes from heat, drain, and rinse in cold water. Add to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to make the salad. Meanwhile, finely dice the celery and radishes. I really enjoyed using my the Ninja for the chopping. It only took about 4 pulses on the button to make me smile. It’s small and only handles two cups max of anything, but it does the job quickly and was a snap to clean up. I love it! (No I was not paid by Ninja for this endorsement.)

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, yogurt, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, minced chives, minced dill, and ground black pepper, to taste. Take a taste to see if it needs more of any one flavor.  Stir into the bowl of potatoes, then cover and refrigerate to let flavors meld until ready to serve.

Potato Salad Ready to Mix

Potato Salad Ready to Mix

I thought this was a fabulous light side dish to go with the babyback ribs my husband cooked for dinner. The only complaint I had from the family was that I made my potato chunks too big. Some of the new potatoes were not exactly small, so use your judgment on what size to chop them. I have learned my family likes smaller. Oh, and the hubs inquired why it had no bacon, either. 🙂

P.S. I will not have a weekend post, as we are off to our river property for five days over the Memorial Day Weekend. God Bless all our troops and the family members who have lost their loved ones for our country.

Potato Salad and Ribs

Potato Salad and Ribs

Grilled Turkey Sausage, Broccoli, and Cauliflower Foil Packets

8 May
Foil Packets Ready to Close and Grill

Foil Packets Ready to Close and Grill

I just love the start of grilling season! That, and the versatility of grilled foil packets. There are so many variations of meats and vegetables you can add to the packets, and a tried and true simple marinade goes with just about anything. Rather than make “individual” packets, I just divide the food between two large packets then dump everything onto a platter when ready to eat. (Unlike this variation I made last summer the size of a watermelon! Link here for the variation, using red peppers and mushrooms: Grilled Sausage and Vegetables in Foil Packet)

I had my husband put these on the grill, and didn’t realize he had the two middle burners set on low instead of medium, so we didn’t get the yummy crispy-crunchy browned bits all over everything, but the potatoes and vegetables were tender and we were ready to eat, so I let it slide this time. Next time I’ll remind him of the heat setting.  This recipe easily feeds five or six people, and we enjoyed the leftovers for lunch the next day.

Marinating Broccoli Cauliflower Potatoes Onions and Tomatoes

Marinating Broccoli Cauliflower Potatoes Onions and Tomatoes

Grilled Turkey Sausage, Broccoli and Cauliflower Foil Packets

1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
3 medium potatoes, washed and chopped into chunks
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup cauliflower florets
1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
1 large Roma or Plum tomato
1 large green onion, chopped
1 Smoked Turkey Sausage link (I used Jennie-O), cut into 1/2 to 1-inch chunks
1 tablespoon butter or substitute, cut into tiny chunks

In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, Mrs. Dash (or salt), and black pepper until well combined. Add all the veggies and let them marinate while you preheat a grill to medium heat. Prepare two large pieces of aluminum foil — heavy duty if you have it or double up if you don’t — to fit everything in them.

When ready to cook, add the sausage chunks to the bowl of vegetables and lightly toss around to distribute. Evenly spread the food over the center of the foil pieces, leaving enough room to close and seal the packets. Distribute the tiny chunks of butter over the top, then seal the foil packets.  Place the packets on the grill and close the lid and cook for about 40 minutes, or one hour if the hubs decides to mess with the heat settings, turning halfway through. Carefully open packets and dump contents onto a serving platter. Pass it around and help yourselves! You will be surprised how quick plates are emptied.

Grilled Turkey Sausage and Vegetables Ready to Eat

Grilled Turkey Sausage and Vegetables Ready to Eat

Spicy Spinach Alfredo Pasta

30 Mar
Spicy Spinach Alfredo Pasta

Spicy Spinach Alfredo Pasta

I made this as a side dish yesterday, but by doubling or tripling the ingredients this can easily be turned into a meatless main. Add some artichokes, broccoli, or asparagus — and — Bada Bing! Dinner! However, this time around it was served as a quick and easy side paired with a store-bought lemon-seasoned tilapia baked in parchment paper. No credit for the fish goes to me, because all I did was turn on the oven to bake it. However, I will take credit for this easy-peasy spinach pasta dish. As usual, I way over-estimated the amount of pasta, and I bow down to anyone who can guestimate how much dried pasta should be used for X amount of people. Last night it was just hubby and I, and pasta for two is still eluding me.  Am I the only one with this issue?

This is another by-the-seat-of-my pants dish. I knew what I wanted to put in it, but just didn’t know the amounts, pasta aside. My brain told me I should add a “pinch” of crushed red pepper flakes, but my hand had a mind of its own and threw in three large pinches. Note to self: Do NOT add equal parts of red pepper and garlic to your recipe, as plainly noted in my photo below.

Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes

Do NOT add this much red pepper flakes. I am not leading by example with this. 🙂

I saved the day by adding another ounce of cream cheese and a splash of milk to tone down the heat factor, which I can tolerate but was worried the husband might not like it. Well he sure proved me wrong! “Wow, this is spicy!” Pause. “I like it!” Thank you, thank you. And another thing I was thrilled about with this recipe is it was ready to serve EXACTLY at the same time the fish had to come out of the oven. No lie. I was completely bewildered by this simple fact.

This recipe feeds two people as a side, and we had a serving leftover, due to my poor pasta estimate. Adjust as needed.

Spicy Spinach Alfredo Pasta

Angel hair pasta
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (a pinch, OK?)
1/4 cup white wine (or chicken broth)
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 ounces fresh spinach
2 to 3 ounces Neufchâtel cream cheese
Splash of milk, if necessary
Black pepper, to taste

Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. While that’s coming up to speed, gather all your ingredients and get them all measured out and ready. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta, then add the olive to to a skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and red pepper flakes, and saute for just about a minute. Pour in the white wine, lemon juice, sprinkle in the nutmeg. Bring to a simmer, then start adding the spinach by handfuls, stirring occasionally, until spinach is wilted. Add the cream cheese on top, just like this:

Spinach and Cream Cheese Brick

Spinach and Cream Cheese Brick

Plop. Then smoosh it down and start incorporating it into the spinach. It looks all weird and clumpy and grainy and not very appetizing at first, but just keep stirring around and mixing it up, and suddenly it turns all creamy and yummy looking. At this point, add a splash of milk or more cream cheese if you think it needs it. Then grind black pepper all over it. By now your angel hair pasta should be done, so drain and then add to the skillet of spinach sauce. Toss to coat, and serve. Quick and easy and yummy good!

And for those who celebrate, Happy Easter! I’ll be off to a friend’s house with a dish of au gratin potatoes in hand to go with the ham.

Spinach Alfredo Sauce

Spinach Alfredo Sauce

Hash Brown, Ham, and Cheese Spinach Casserole ~ Light Version!

6 Mar
Hash Brown, Ham, and Spinach Casserole, Plated and Ready to Eat!

Hash Brown, Ham, and Spinach Casserole, Plated and Ready to Eat!

Now this is a yummy comfort food dish that doesn’t have to be laden with a gazillion calories if you don’t let it. This is probably one of the most common dishes brought to a potluck in the South. Most likely a funeral or some kind of “event.” I don’t say that in a bad way,  either. It’s just a dish you can bring, no matter the occasion. I’ve had so many variations of this over my lifetime, (and usually just potatoes, ham, and cheese) and to me it’s all goooood! This lightened up version is fairly easy to make aside from a little chopping and a rather abundant use of bowls. The hardest part was trying to make this flavorful without all the fat. I spent more time scouring Pinterest and the internet looking for a hash brown and ham casserole that didn’t have a “cream of” soup in it or too much  butter and cheese than I did actually preparing it. I finally settled on mashing the best parts together of several recipes, and this is what I came up with. The result? Both daughter and husband went back for huge second helpings, leaving me with a very small portion to take to work for lunch the next day. It was so small I had to make a snack run to the store later for some rice cakes to help fill in before dinner. Of course, you can double this recipe and make plenty, but I only had a half a bag of hash browns in the freezer to start. This recipe would feed four if the fam wasn’t so starving. Or perhaps they really liked it,  huh?

Hash Brown, Ham, and Spinach Casserole

Hash Brown, Ham, and Spinach Casserole ~   This is my mom’s vintage bakeware, don’t you just love it??

Hash Brown, Ham, and Spinach Casserole

12 ounces of frozen, shredded  hash browns
2 tablespoons butter, or substitute
Ground black pepper, to taste
Mrs. Dash Table Blend or salt, to taste
1/2 cup lowfat milk (I used 1%)
1/2 cup lowfat sour cream
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cups chopped, diced ham
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
1 6-ounce bag spinach
Squeeze of lemon juice
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs mixed with 1 tablespoon melted butter, or substitute
Chopped green onion parts, for garnish

Ham, Red Pepper, Cheese, and Hash Browns

Ham, Red Pepper, Cheese, Onions, and Hash Browns all ready for mixin’

Bowls! You need lots of bowls for this dish, sorry. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and chop all your veggies and shred your cheese. Once that’s done, add the hash browns to a large bowl with the butter. Microwave for a minute or two until the hash browns are somewhat thawed and the butter is melted. Grind a bunch of black pepper over it and sprinkle Mrs. Dash or salt on to taste and mix again. In a bowl or glass measuring cup, add the milk, sour cream, and mustard and whisk to combine then stir into the hash browns. Now add all the chopped ham, veggies and cheese and combine.  Last, add the chopped spinach to another bowl, sprinkle with a little water and lemon  juice, then microwave for one to two minutes until wilted. Stir that in with the potato mixture. Now spray a small casserole dish (or large one if you doubled!) with some oil, spread the mixture evenly into the dish, then pop in oven for 45 minutes. Pull it out, sprinkle the buttered Panko bread crumbs over the casserole and put back in and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes until the breadcrumbs start to brown. Take out and let rest until it stops bubbling. Serve on plates with chopped green onion for garnish. This will be hot, creamy, and oh so good for your belly.

Hash Brown, Ham and Spinach Casserole 3

I just had to show you one more picture of my mother’s vintage casserole dish. I don’t cook in it that often but it’s the perfect size for this scaled-down version of the casserole. It’s probably 7 by 5 or so? Never measured it!

Fried Cinnamon Apple Chimichangas

27 Feb
Fried Cinnamon Apple Chimichanga

Fried Cinnamon Apple Chimichanga

My teenage daughter asked if she could make these about a week ago. She showed it to me online, and I said that was fine, so we went and bought the ingredients. She’s discovered Pinterest, and while most of her browsing is on nail and fashion boards, she does browse the foodie boards here and again and glommed onto this recipe and pinned it. As we started making it for our Sunday dinner dessert, she said, “Mom? Can you put these on your blog?” Wow, I didn’t think she even read it or had one iota of interest in this site of mine. Now I’ve probably completely embarrassed her by saying all that, but oh well. So here you have these incredibly delicious, incredibly oil-splattering messy but oh so good dessert (or breakfast — hey they have apples!) Chimichangas. They really were not that hard to make and the process took probably an hour total if you don’t include the cooling time of the filling. It’s just that when you have an inexperienced cook/fryer who needs assisted a lot, making them does take a while longer. If you know how to roll up a burrito and fry food, then you’re good to go. Just a note, the original recipe said this will make 8 to 10 Chimichangas using small flour tortillas. We ended up with 17 of them! Either our apples were really big or our tortillas were really small, or maybe both. I’m going to try to freeze some or take some to work for my office mates, if my daughter and husband don’t polish them all off soon.

Fried Apple Chimichangas
Adapted from Juanita’s Cocina, recipe here: Apple Cinnamon Dessert Chimichangas

For the filling:
1 1/2 to 2 cups water
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 apples, any kind, cored and chopped bite-sized (We used 2 Fuji and 2 Granny Smiths)

Apple Filling

Apple Filling

In a large skillet or saucepan, mix the all the filling ingredients except the apples and bring to a boil. Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes until the mixture becomes really thick. Add the chopped apples, cover, and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally until the apples are tender. The original recipe called for 10 minutes or so, but ours took closer to 20 minutes. I’m sure that was due to our high altitude. We also had to add an extra half cup of water to the mixture partway through to compensate for the longer cooking time. Once the apples are tender, set the mixture aside until cool. At this point dinner was ready so we let it sit through dinner and that clean up, which was about a half hour.

For the Chimichangas:
8-17 small flour tortillas (sorry for the wide range! Just get a 20-c0unt or more package)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Oil for frying

First assemble your Chimichangas by spooning  some filling in the top third half of the tortilla. I’m laughing now because that’s how I taught my daughter to do it, and the original instructions say the bottom half. I wonder if it’s easier the other way? I don’t know, that was just how I instinctively did it. Anyways, flip in the sides of the tortilla partway over the filling then start rolling top-down, making sure the sides stay tucked in. This part was one of our issues, as daughter had a hard time keeping the sides tucked in as she rolled. I do think a majority of our splatter mess was due to the filling leaking out.

Platter of Fried Apple Cinnamon Chimichangas

Platter of Fried Apple Cinnamon Chimichangas

Once they are all assembled, now add the rest of the sugar and cinnamon to a wide bowl or plate and mix up, then set aside. Next, add about a quarter inch of oil for frying in a large heavy bottomed or deep cast iron skillet. We used plain vegetable oil. Heat it until medium-hot. (I don’t use a temperature gauge, I use the old-fashioned trick of sticking the tip of a wooden chopstick to the bottom of the pan. If it sizzles and bubbles right off the bat from the bottom, then it’s ready.)  Using tongs, lower two to four Chimichangas into the hot oil one at a time. My daughter could only handle frying two each batch as the splatters freaked her out, so that took us a bit longer too. We did use a splatter screen! Let them fry for maybe 30 seconds per side (really!) then move them off to drain on a paper towel once golden brown. Some were done more than less than others but don’t fret, it’s all good. Don’t let them sit too long or the sugar coating won’t stick! Roll each one around in the cinnmamon sugar mix while still moist, then put on another plate while you fry and coat the rest. Once done, feel free to sprinkle more cinnamon sugar over the top, and do eat them while warm! I will have to experiment on the best way to warm them up. Toaster oven? Microwave? Not sure yet as of this writing. I hope you have a chance to enjoy this dessert, as I don’t post many at all here. I’m a savory kind of gal, but one of these really hit the spot after dinner! And if you think flour tortillas would not be crispy or too floury tasting for this, well you have another think coming. I was amazed!

Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Angel Hair Pasta

17 Feb
Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Angel Hair Pasta

Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Angel Hair Pasta

What’s not to love about a thick, cheesy sauce filled with spinach and artichokes? Well, maybe the fat content but I reduced it down as much as possible to still give you an awesome meal without meat! I can’t believe I pulled it off. I was worried, I tell you. I don’t serve meatless meals that often in this household, but it was rich enough to sate even my husband’s carnivorous appetite. While shopping for my list of food for this, I was specifically looking for  some Neufchâtel in the cheese aisle and when I started peering closely at labels, this more than helpful stocker asked if he could assist me. When I told him what I was looking for, he pointed it out and said “Neufchâtel is the original cream cheese, and has 1/3 less fat than that other stuff.” Well I was one not to argue since I knew that already but thought I’d throw that out there for you in case you didn’t. He also informed me that they have various forms of  Parmesan cheese in no less than four different locations in the store, and five if you counted the fake-shake stuff by the jarred spaghetti sauce. I think this guy really knew his cheese. Thank you, sir.

Moving on, I’ve mentioned before that if you use spinach,  always think of lemon and crushed red pepper flakes. That combination just can never go wrong. In fact, just go off right now and cook up some fresh spinach with a little butter and lemon juice and red pepper flakes, and tell me what you think? OK. We have an understanding. Before I lose too many carnivores in this post, you can always add some cooked chicken at the end to this. I was tempted. But I resisted.

Please do not be intimidated by my long post below, as this actually comes together in about a half an hour. I just had lots of  words to share with you!

Adding Spinach to Creamy Cheese Sauce

Adding Spinach to Creamy Cheese Sauce

Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Angel Hair Pasta

8 ounces Angel Hair pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 brick (8 ounces) Neufchâtel cream cheese
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 6-ounce bag fresh spinach
1/2 to 1 cup low-sodium homemade or boxed chicken broth, as needed
More Parmesan cheese for serving

Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. In a deep cast-iron or heavy bottomed skillet, heat the olive oil to medium, cook the garlic a minute or so, then add the brick of cream cheese. Once the cheese starts melting a bit,  add the milk (I used 1%)  and light sour cream. Using a spatula or back of large spoon, smoosh the brick of cheese all around and get it to mix with the liquid. Just keep smooshing and stirring and cooking and finally it will start looking creamy. I know, I had my doubts on this. It does eventually happen.  Once the mixture starts looking creamy enough, add the 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese, then stir until combined. Grind a bunch of black pepper over it all, to taste. I add lots, usually. Now add the lemon juice, pepper flakes, and artichoke hearts and stir and stir around to combine nice and good.

At this point, you better put your Angel Hair pasta into the water that’s probably boiling by now. Now it’s time to start adding the spinach into the sauce. I just grabbed a handful of spinach and tore it up a bit and started adding it to the creamy sauce handful by handful and stirring it in. This is where the chicken broth comes in. As the sauce starts to get too thick, stir in a bit of chicken broth, maybe a quarter of a cup at a time, stirring all the while. Add more torn spinach, stir, simmer, add more, stir simmer. Too thick? More chicken broth. You get the picture. Finally all the spinach will be in and wilted, and you will be very hungry now because it looks and smells so good. OH! Drain that now-cooked pasta, heap a mess on a plate, then spoon the delicious creamy yummy spinach artichoke sauce over it. Top with more shredded Parmesan cheese to taste. Whoa! This is goooood. Real good.

Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Angel Hair Pasta

Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Angel Hair Pasta Ready to Eat

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