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The Adventures of Nick & Brittany

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Sausage and Bell Pepper Pasta

This dish is so easy and delicious.  We are not big pasta fans around here but we love this. It has 6 ingredients and is super simple to put together.  The most amazing and important component of this pasta is the sausage- my favorite kind is Johnsonville’s New Orleans Spicy Smoked Sausage (that’s a mouthful).  I would really recommend using this kind or something equivalent like another brand of Andouille or spicy sausage.

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Ingredients:

1 onion, chopped

2 bell peppers (any color), chopped

1 package of Johnsonville New Orleans Spicy Smoked Sausage, sliced thin

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 jar of pasta sauce (we like 4 cheese pasta sauce from Harris Tetter/Aldi)

angel hair pasta

1.) Cook onion, peppers and sausage over medium-high heat with a tsp. of oil until onions and pepper soften and fat is rendered from sausage, about 15 mins.

2.) Add minced garlic and stir for 30 seconds.

3.) Add in pasta sauce and turn to medium-low heat to simmer covered for 30 minutes (longer is better if you have time).

4.) Serve over pasta with grated Parmesan on top.

I like to serve it with these dinner rolls: http://moneysavingmom.com/2013/11/30-minute-rolls.html

Enjoy!

Some of my new favorite recipes

1.) This homemade brownie recipe from Smitten Kitchen: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2012/08/my-favorite-brownies/

I discovered this recipe when I made her Salted Caramel Brownies for Valentine’s day (pictured),

Imagewhich were also really delicious, but a lot of work because of the making, freezing, cutting and combining of the caramel.  Before I added the caramel component I tasted the batter and knew I would be making at least the basic brownie again.  When I did (I have since made them 3 times)- I found that they require minimal effort, less than 15 minutes and 1 bowl to make– and they are so much better than the stuff you buy in the box.

2.) The Pioneer Woman’s Sunday Night Stew with Mashed potatoes.  This stew is so delicious and rich.  You serve it in a bowl next to some really thick mashed potatoes and let the juices run all over.  You should make this stew: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2013/01/sunday-night-stew/

3.) Homemade Avocado ranch from How Sweet Eats- This stuff is good on everything.  Next time I will make it with an extra half of an avocado though, for a little more avocado flavor: http://www.howsweeteats.com/2013/02/cheesy-double-bean-quesadillas-with-homemade-avocado-ranch/

4.) Chicken Pot Pie Soup with Cheesy Biscuits-  This soup is really filling, loaded with Imagevegetables and tastes like chicken pot pie. Also, it’s probably more healthy than actual chicken pot pie if you exercise some biscuit-portion-control.  I put carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, mushrooms, corn and peas in ours and omitted the leeks.  In the recipe she uses store-bought puff pastry but I decided to make our favorite cheese biscuits instead.  To make the biscuits combine 1 1/2 cups Bisquick, 3/4 cup chicken stock, 4 oz. cheese (we like Monterrey Jack or Pepper Jack) 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Use two greased soupspoons to place 12 heaping mounds onto a greased baking sheet.  Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes until golden: http://www.howsweeteats.com/2012/12/chicken-pot-pie-soup/

Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata: the American adaptation of an Italian style of cooking which basically consists of coating a type of meat, pan frying and then making a sauce from the pan drippings.  This is my version of the classic.

You start by seasoning the chicken with lemon juice, salt and pepper then lightly coating with flour and pan frying.  Next you make the sauce- a mixture of white wine, lemon, butter, heavy cream and chicken stock– this sauce is my favorite part of this recipe– it’s tangy, sweet, salty, and creamy.  Then to finish,  toss the chicken in the sauce to coat and serve over warm pasta.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

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Chicken Piccata

Ingredients:

3 chicken breast fillets, pounded to ½ inch thickness and cut into equal strips

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper

1 cup all-purpose flour (for dredging the chicken)

3 tablespoons olive oil + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter + 1 clove garlic minced (per batch for frying)

For the Sauce:

6 Tbs.  butter

2 cloves garlic minced

2 tablespoon flour

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 cup chicken stock

1/3 cup heavy cream (plus more to taste)

Juice of half a lemon (plus more to taste)

1/2 Tbs.  sugar

Salt

Directions:

Season chicken strips with salt, pepper and the juice of 1 lemon.

Dredge the chicken strips in flour, and shake off excess. Set aside.

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Heat olive oil and butter in large skillet over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add one clove of minced garlic and stir then add the chicken making sure not to crowd the pan as chicken strips will not properly brown (I fry the chicken in 2-3 batches depending on the size of the breasts—make sure to dump the oil and replace it after each batch).  Once chicken is browned and cooked through (3 minutes per side) remove and place on a paper towel lined plate. Image

To make the sauce, pour out the oil from the skillet used to fry the chicken. Add butter and when melted add the minced garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.  Next add the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Then, add in the dry white wine, chicken stock, heavy cream and juice of half a lemon. Bring sauce to a bubble over medium-high heat stirring constantly and then reduce heat to medium-low for 3 minutes to reduce it.  Add in the 1 tsp. sugar and extra salt/sugar/lemon/heavy cream  to taste.  Add the chicken strips back into the pan and coat chicken with sauce.Image

Serve chicken and sauce over angel hair pasta.

   Serves   4-6

Nutella Pinwheels

nutella pinwheels

These are so delicious and so easy! The recipe comes from my absolute favorite cooking book, The America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook.   Seriously, if you only ever buy one cook book- just one- buy this one!

Each section of the cookbook (poultry, beef, soups and stews, pasta, cookies, etc..) has recipes that are under 45 minutes and then a page devoted to for cutting corners (ex. “Putting store-bought cookie dough to work” or “putting cooked shrimp to work”).

I guess this post is really about this cookbook and why I think you should get it.

This recipe is from the “Putting store-bought cookie dough to work” page but you could make these even more delicious by making the sugar cookie dough from scratch.

Nutella Pinwheels:

Ingredients:

1 package Pillsbury Sugar Cookie dough (16.5 oz.)

1/3 cup Nutella

1.)  Preheat oven to 350*.  Roll sugar cookie dough (they suggest Pillsbury’s Refrigerated sugar cookie dough)  into an 11 x 8 rectangle between 2 sheets of parchment paper.

2.)  Remove the top parchment paper and spread with 1/3 cup Nutella, leaving a 1/4 inch border at edges.  Working from short side, roll dough tightly into a log and pinch seam; wrap with plastic wrap and freeze for 20 minutes.

3.)  Trim log ends (and eat) then slice into 1/2 inch-thick cookies; place cookies 1 inch apart on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets.  Bake for about 12 minutes or until lightly golden.

Beer Cheese Soup

This soup is amazing.  I first pinned this recipe from How Sweet Eats a month ago and never actually looked at the recipe (typical).  When I finally looked at the recipe today I HAD to make it.  The base of the soup is onion, red bell pepper and garlic sauteed in bacon grease, then add 2 cups of beer, and almost a pound of cheese and boom. the most amazing soup I have ever eaten.   If you like beer you should try this soup.

*I used an Amber ale although she recommended a pale ale simply because this seasonal brew is my favorite and I think it gave it a really rich flavor.  Also, at the end I added an extra 1/3 cup of half and half and a tsp. of salt.  Next time I make it I am hoping to serve it with these homemade pretzel rolls for dipping- http://www.mylifeasamrs.com/2012/01/salted-pretzel-rolls.html

I used 2 cups of this:

and ended up with this delicious pot of cheesy goodness:

You can find the recipe and some pictures that do this soup justice here:

http://www.howsweeteats.com/2012/09/beer-cheese-soup/

Skinny Chocolate Chip Scones: Review

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I tried this recipe last night and was pretty hesitant because of the ‘skinny’ but these were wonderful!! The only major difference I noticed was that these were moister than traditional scones. They are made with a mixture of white whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour and 3 Tablespoons of butter instead of the traditional stick.  These are delicious and I would highly recommend this recipe- and as a bonus each scone  has 4 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber and only 200 calories.

http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/01/skinny-chocolate-chip-buttermilk-scones.html

*Also, if you don’t have buttermilk you can add 1 teaspoon of vinegar to regular milk, just make sure you stir it up really good.

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Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Recipe coming soon!

Whole Wheat Rosemary Olive Oil Bread

This is was my first time making homemade bread by myself and I don’t think I could have picked a better recipe- this loaf was phenomenal!  This bread is kneaded by hand so I am really thankful that the lady I nanny for has baked bread with me before and taught me how to knead and ‘throw’ the dough by hand (if you don’t have experience doing this I am happy to show you :)). The recipe calls for a wood pizza peel and some cornmeal to keep the bread from sticking.  Because I didn’t have either I lined a baking sheet with aluminum rubbed with some olive oil and it worked just fine!  The only other adaptations I made were to make the egg wash with a tablespoon of olive oil instead of water and to sprinkle salt on top along with the Rosemary.  It was wonderful hot out of the oven by itself or served with olive oil and black pepper for dipping.  I estimated the total cost for this loaf to be approximately 1 dollar (using dried Rosemary).  The cost could be further reduced by buying the yeast in bulk.

Here’s where you can find the recipe:

http://www.ahintofhoney.com/2011/04/rosemary-olive-oil-bread.html

Hope you will try it!

 

 

Middle Eastern Pita Sandwiches with Mint Yogurt

I love America’s Test Kitchen.  Their recipes are simple, call for few ingredients and are always keepers!  This one was no exception- AND  it calls for ground beef (something I always have on hand because its cheap and freezes well).

recipe from America’s Test Kitchen’s “30 minute Suppers” Spring 2009:

4 (8 inch) pita bread rounds

1/2 onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

2 Tbs. lemon juice

salt and pepper

1 lb. 85 percent lean ground beef or ground lamb

1 Tbs. vegetable oil

1/2 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh mint

1.) Cut top 2 inches from each pita round.  Process pita scraps, onion, 3 cloves of garlic, oregano, 1 Tbs. lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper in food processor to smooth paste.  Transfer mixture to large bowl, then add beef or lamb and mix until well combined.  Divide mixture into 12 equal balls, then press into 1/2-inch-thick patties.

2.) Heat oil in large skillet over med-high heat until just smoking.  Cook patties until well browned and cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes per side.  Transfer to paper towel-lined plate and tent with foil.

3.) Whisk yogurt, mint, remaining lemon juice, and remaining garlic in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Warm pitas in microwave 20-30 seconds.  Place 3 patties in each pita and top with sauce.  Serve with lettuce, tomato and feta cheese.

I made ours with 93 percent lean beef and whole-milk Greek yogurt.  If you wanted to make this recipe healthier you could use 2 percent or fat free Greek yogurt- although the full fat is AMAZING and totally the reason why I gained 10 lbs. during my 7 week stay in Turkey. 🙂

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