An Adventure in food, DIY, and More

Monthly Archives: January 2016

Many people love to grow their own vegetables in the summer. If that’s you, you might want to tune in to this post, since it uses fresh tomatoes and basil…and nothing is better than picking it straight out of your own garden right before you begin cooking. That’s one of the biggest thrills of gardening for me, the produce yields. Whether it be fruit or vegetables, it’s still exciting every time you get to pick something that just ripened to perfection, with plans to use it in tonight’s dinner. Tomatoes and basil are both a very simple backyard gardening effort, as long as you have a decent amount of sunshine and ample water. Basil can even grow year round if you have it in a pot that you can bring indoors during the colder months. Tomatoes typically grow from mid-May until September or October, depending on the summer. Picking a fresh tomato (regardless of variety) and cooking with it that day makes for some excellent flavor in your dinner, I promise!

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In our household, we have a picky 2 year old who doesn’t eat much besides cheese, yogurt, cereal, mac n cheese and hot dogs, much to my dismay. I love to cook and it’s very difficult to find meals that he will eat. Shockingly, he actually ate a good portion of the noodles in this dish, although he did pick around the tomatoes a bit, and steered very clear of the basil. He does appreciate some garlic on occasion, and I always tend to go a bit overboard with it because I am just a huge garlic lover. This is a very light and delicious dinner, and served next to a loaf of homemade bread, it’s downright delicious. I would recommend this to anyone, and I sure do hope you’ll try it. It’s well worth it.

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I have varied the types of tomatoes I’ve added to this dish, you can use varieties such as early girl, roma, and even cherry tomatoes like sun golds or sun sugars. Each tomato has it’s own unique flavor and I think if I had to choose, a mix of fresh roma and cherry sun sugars is my favorite. It just emanates summer. If you make this recipe in winter and buy the tomatoes from the store, I’d highly recommend just using roma tomatoes or a mix of roma and grape tomatoes. We make it in winter because it’s just too good to wait all the way until next summer to eat it again, and it brings nice fluffy feelings…and reminds us that summer isn’t too far off again.

Another fun twist, if you’re tired of chicken or just have a hankering for seafood, you can easily substitute shrimp into this recipe instead. If you decide to go that route, skip cooking the chicken at the beginning and just start by sauteing the tomatoes. As the last step, you’ll add the shrimp (peeled and deveined) and cook for 4-5 minutes or until pink and cooked through. Pre-season them with salt and pepper, and if you’d like, a seafood seasoning. Both ways are delicious!

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Lastly, the type of noodles can easily be varied as well. Linguine, fettuccine, spaghtetti, etc. It’s even more fun if you make your own homemade noodles. 🙂

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And without further ado, here is the recipe!

Tomato & Basil Chicken with Pasta

Ingredients: (4 servings)

  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced into strips (or 1/2 pound shrimp, if substituting)
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups roughly chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 2 tsp minced fresh garlic
  • 4 Tbsp cold butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
  • 1/2 lb dry pasta of your choice

Step 1
Season chicken breast slices with salt and black pepper. Add olive oil to your skillet, and heat oil on medium high. While waiting for the oil to heat, start your pasta according to package directions, or if using homemade pasta, follow recipe directions. You don’t want to have to wait for your pasta to finish at the end. Make sure your oil is hot before adding chicken, you can splash a small amount of water on the oil and if it sputters, it’s hot enough. Add the chicken when hot, and cook until chicken is no longer pink.

Step 2
Next, add your tomatoes. Stir and cook for about a minute, and then add your fresh basil (reserve a small amount for garnish). Your kitchen will be smelling wonderful about now, so enjoy it! Then add the cold butter, and allow to melt, making a very delicious, thin sauce. Lastly, add in your garlic. At this point, you can sneak a quick taste and if you like, season your sauce with additional salt and pepper. Stir the sauce and chicken together well.

Step 3
Your pasta should be ready by now. Top the pasta with the chicken and sauce, and garnish with Parmesan cheese and remaining basil, and serve!

 

I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as we have! Feel free to share and leave a comment below telling me what you think!


You know, there is just something about winter and soups….they just tend to go hand in hand. I love settling down to a hot bowl of thick soup, and a loaf of crusty bread or cornbread muffins. We eat lots of soups and stews in the winter, and sometimes doing the same recipes over and over again can get kind of old. I try to find new ones and branch out a little, sometimes with good results, sometimes not. It’s really awesome when you find one that’s OMG good. Like, when the first bite is so good, you just want to take your bowl and go hide in your room so you don’t have to share with anyone else. I sure do love those moments.

In our house, beyond loving soups and stews, we really love Mexican food. I love tacos, nachos, enchiladas, you name it, I probably like it. Oh…and tamales…one of these days I’ll learn how to make them! That said, wouldn’t it be neat if you could make something other than just a tortilla soup? Well, what about an enchilada soup? One that tastes just like an enchilada, but served in a bowl of hearty goodness. Look no further, here it is!

Enchilada sauce, mild green chiles, shredded chicken and spices, rice and corn are what make this dish so good. Cream cheese is used to make it thick and creamy, and it’s very hearty and delicious. The nice thing about this recipe, is it can be made in both the crockpot and just a regular stockpot on the stove. You’ll have to adjust how you cook it on the stove timing wise, but I find that it’s just so much more simple to throw it all into the crockpot. The recipe says to cook for 3.5 hours, I usually just put it on low and let it cook all day. Works great!

Now, back to the bread part! I have served this soup with both rolls and cornbread. Both are great. I suggest a fluffy dinner roll or a crusty artisan bread to dip, or you can make some delicious corn bread with honey butter to serve alongside a big bowl of this tasty creation.

Regardless of how you make it, and what you serve it with, I can assure you that you will not be disappointed. The taste is incredible. I’d love to hear your comments and opinions on it, so sound off in the comments once you’ve given it a try! And feel free to pass this recipe around!

Crock Pot Green Chile Enchilada Soup
Ingredients
  • 4 chicken breasts (cooked and shredded)
  • 2 – 14.5 oz cans chicken broth
  • 2 – 15 oz. cans mild green enchilada sauce
  • 2 – 4 oz. cans diced green chiles
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 1½ TB cumin
  • 1 TB chili powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ⅔ cup corn (if frozen, thaw out)
  • ⅔ cup instant rice
  • 1 – 8 oz. bar cream cheese (cubed)
  • salt and pepper
  • Monterrey Jack Cheese
Instructions
  1. Place chicken broth, enchilada sauce, green chiles, water, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic podwer and shredded chicken in crock pot on HIGH. Cook for 3.5 hours.
  2. After cooking for 3.5 hours add corn, rice and cubed cream cheese. Stir and cook for half hour.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste and top with Monterrey Jack Cheese. Serves 4-6.

(Recipe from LilLuna.com, originally adapted from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom)