Bored Cook In The Kitchen

Tried and true recipes, new twists on old favorites, and new dishes to expand my family's palate.

Tag Archives: cooking

Delicious Sticky Chicken

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all the fantastic food blogs on the web.  So much talent and so many delicious ideas.  There are some that I visit often, and the blog at Southern Plate has now become a fast favorite. 

If you are not familiar with this blog you need to visit it soon.  It’s run by Christy Jordan the author of The Southern Plate.  It’s a blog filled with great family recipes, followed up with some great family values and memories. 

The recipe I’m sharing with you today I saw at Christy’s blog and knew I had to try it.  It has a total of four ingredients and just looked too simple to pass up.  It’s easy and delicious and has quickly become a family favorite.  There were no complaints on our dinner table the night I served this.

You can find the recipe here .  Christy calls these “Grilled Chicken Tenderloin – Without the Grilling.”  My family refers to them as sticky chicken because that’s how they turn out.  Deliciously sticky!

This is a great meal for a hot summer night.  I can see myself making extra and then using some sliced cold over some lettuce.  Yum!

Check out Christy’s site and some of her other fantastic recipes.  You won’t be disappointed!

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Fusilli Pasta With Creamy Tomato Sauce

Fusilli is my favorite shape of pasta, and I attribute that to the thickness of the stands and the way it really grabs onto whatever sauce you top it with.

I have many ways of making sauce to top pasta, and this is just one of them.  It’s quick, easy, and delicious. 

FUSILLI PASTA WITH CREAMY TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 1 lb. Long Fusilli Pasta
  • 1 – 24 or 28oz. can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 Medium Onion, chopped
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream (Half & Half works in a pinch, too)
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese (Yes, you can use the powdery stuff)
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Chopped Oregano
  • 10 – 12 Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Fresh Flat Leaf Italian Parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Dried Pepper Flakes (*Optional)
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

In a large sauté pan, add the oil, onions and garlic.  Saute until translucent, and if you like it the way I do, I usually let the garlic just begin to brown a bit.  Watch the garlic since it goes from nutty and browned to burnt in mere seconds.

Once done, add the white wine and stir to scrape up all the bits on the bottom of the pan. 

Add the crushed tomatoes, oregano and parmesan cheese and stir well.  Place the burner on simmer and cover.   Stir occasionally to prevent burning.

Meanwhile, in a large stock pot, add water that you have generously salted.  Cover and allow to come to a boil.

Once the water has reached a good rolling boil, add the pasta and stir to prevent sticking.

Uncover the sauce and add the cream, chopped parsley and basil, along with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir well.  *If you are adding the pepper flakes to the sauce, add them now and stir well. 

Once the pasta has reached al dente, immediately drain it and place it in a large bowl.  Remove the sauce from the heat and add this to the pasta.  Stir well and serve immediately.  This is especially good with some garlic bread on the side.

Enjoy!

Baked Stuffed Shells

 This is just one of my oldest son’s most favorite meals to eat.  And it’s simple since you can throw it together early in the day, or even the day before, and then pop it in the oven to bake for a bit when you need a quick dinner on the table.

I’m not going to go nuts about giving precise measurements for this dish because I don’t really have any.  I can give hints of how much of this and that I’ve used, but in all honesty, it’s really just something you can throw together without worrying about being exact with the amounts.  Most of how I cook is really me throwing this and that in together and seeing how it comes out.  If there were one area of my blog I could say I struggle with its coming up with precise measurements for recipes.  While sometimes I’m able to provide that easily, I can’t say it always works out that way.  Sometimes I just need to make something a second or third time before I publish it so that I can really focus on exactly how much of an ingredient I’m using. 

With that being said, use this as a general guideline of ingredients and measuring and don’t make yourself crazy about how much of each you use.  It’s food, folks.  We are meant to enjoy it, not stress over it.

BAKED STUFFED SHELLS:

  • 1 – Box Jumbo Pasta Shells
  • 1 – 24 oz. Container Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 – 16 oz. Block mozzarella Cheese, freshly grated
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Freshly Made or Store Bought Tomato/Pasta Sauce (roughly 4 – 5 cups)
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

If you are making your own homemade tomato sauce, good for you.  There is nothing else in the world like it.  But, if you aren’t, use whatever brand you prefer.

In a 13″ x 9″ baking dish, spoon some sauce across the bottom.

Cook your pasta shells for half the amount of time listed on the box.  You don’t want them aldente for this dish.  You only want to partially cook these since they will continue to cook while you bake the dish in the oven.  Make sure to salt the water well before cooking the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, in a large bowl, add the ricotta, 3/4 of the shredded mozzarella, chopped parsley, grate parmesan and salt and pepper.  Stir together well and then spoon into a large Ziploc bag.  You may want to only spoon in half the mixture to work with and then refill it with the rest when you’re done.  It makes the bag easier to manage while you are filling the shells.

Once the pasta is done, strain it and rinse with cold water.  Once cool to the touch, begin filling each pasta shell with the ricotta mixture.  You don’t want to over fill the shell’s, but put just enough in each shell so that you can easily fold the shell so that each open end meets.

As you fill and fold each shell, place them seam side down in the baking dish.  Continue repeating until you have filled the dish. 

Spoon on some tomato sauce, followed by a sprinkling of the shredded mozzarella. 

At this point you can either place them in the fridge until you are ready to bake them, or throw them into the oven and bake them right away.

Place them, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven and bake until heated through and bubbly and the cheese has completely melted.

Enjoy with a salad and some garlic bread!

Note:  I ended up with about 38 cooked and stuff shells.  I was able to fit 27 of them on the first layer of the baking dish.  I covered those with sauce and mozzarella and then added the remaining stuffed shells to the top of them, spaced out as evenly as possible, and topping those with sauce and shredded mozzarella as well.  You can do it this way with the extra shells that don’t fit into a single layer in the baking dish, or you can just make a smaller batch in a smaller baking dish.  Your choice.  Either way, nothing goes to waste.

 

 

 

Chicken & Cilantro Cakes

A few months ago I visited one of my favorite food blogger sites: Kathy at Polwig.

She had just updated her cooking section with a dish she called Chicken Cakes with Herbs and I knew right away I wanted to give them a try.  I did and exactly as her post described they were not only simple, easy and delicious, but my family too requested I make them again several times that week. 

Kathy’s recipe calls for two herbs: chives and basil.  By the time I made them the second time for my family I was out of these herbs and my garden was long done, so no fresh basil to pick from.  I did have a large bunch of fresh cilantro sitting in my fridge so I used that in place of the chives and basil.  It gave it a completely different twist, and when I decided to make these into slider style cakes and top them with some fresh Pico de Gallo, it became pure heaven.

I will tell you this, these are delicious anyway you choose to make them.  Simple and tender, you can use Kathy’s version with chives and basil, add the fresh cilantro like I’ve tried, or add whatever fresh herb you want as the dominant flavor in this dish.  Fresh rosemary might be good, too. 

I’ve made these with both ground chicken and ground turkey and both were equally delicious.  Unlike other burgers or bites made with lean ground turkey or chicken these are not dry in the least.  I lend that to the addition of the grated mozzarella cheese. 

My next venture with these is to vary the cheese and see what else I can come up with.  No matter how you make them, I bet your family will be begging you to make them over and over again.  Simple and delicious.  Perfect.  These are great as a main meal or even made smaller for an appetizer with a dipping sauce.  Maybe some honey mustard, ranch or chipotle sauce.  Yum.

If you haven’t checked out Kathy’s blog you really should.  She shares her family, home and her kitchen with you.  If you want something different and unique for dinner or lunch, check out what she has to offer.  Her recipes are varied and not the ordinary everyday dish.  I bet you will enjoy her blog as much as I do.

To see how to make these tasty bites, visit her blog for the recipe Chicken Cakes with Herbs.  I followed her recipe exactly, switching out the chives and the basil for a bunch of fresh cilantro.  Other than that, they were exactly the same.  Give them a try and see what you can come up with.  The possibilities are endless!

Thanks, Kathy for a great recipe.  My family loves them!

Beef Barley Soup

Do you love soup as much as I do?  I could eat soup three times a day, everyday for a month and never be sick of it.

My husband has another opinion.  He likes soup, but for him it’s a lunch item accompanied by a sandwich.  For me, it’s a meal.  For my children it means grilled cheese, because soup for dinner has to be shared with grilled cheese sandwiches or they won’t eat it.  My family is fickle and they make me crazy sometimes.

If you checked out my Smothered Roast Beef recipe from the other day, I hinted that the leftovers from that dish would be used in another recipe.  This is that recipe. 

And before any of you balk at this I’m going to tell you upfront that some of the gravy from that roast beef is used as the base of this soup.  Don’t go thinking that is weird, gravy in soup, because if you remember that gravy was made with a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup.  So really, it’s only fitting for it to be in this soup.  And it works.  Very well, I might add.

I make this in the slow cooker and it works out perfectly fine.

BEEF BARLEY SOUP:

  • 1 1/2 Cups Diced Leftover Roast Beef
  • 4 Cups Low Sodium Beef Broth
  • 1 Cup Leftover Gravy
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 2 Carrots, diced
  • 1 Stalk Celery, diced
  • 1 Small Onion, chopped
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 3/4 Cup Small Pearl Barley
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients in the slower cook leaving out the barley.

Stir well, season accordingly, cover and set to low.  Allow to cook on low for 4 hours.  At the end of 4 hours, stir in the barley and cover.  Allow to continue cooking for an additional 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until barley is tender.

Serve up with some grilled cheese. 

Enjoy!

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