Monday, July 19, 2010

Chicken and Veggie Alfredo

When I think about the joys of life, I think of a sweet sleeping puppy, wildflowers blooming in the springtime and butter and cream.  And freshly laundered crisp cotton pajamas.  Sometimes these all come together.  Well, they didn't EXACTLY all come together at the same time for me, because it's summer.  BUT ANYWAY.  I made a pasta alfredo with some chicken and all sorts of yummy veggies.  Behold.

I had never made an alfredo sauce from scratch, but I was so happy to find out that it was a cinch!

First, set some water to boil and get your spaghetti or fettuccine or whatever ready to cook. 

Then, get some chicken and slice thinly.  Sautee until cooked and then set aside.

Repeat with some lovely veggies of choice.  I went with a nice assortment of summer veggies here.

I literally chopped up what was in my fridge.  Follow my lead!

Here's the magic stuff.  Butter, a stick of it or 1/2 C, plus 1 more Tbsp.  And 3/4 C of heavy cream.  And 1/2 C of grated parmesan plus more for the sprinkling.  Also, have some salt and pepper on hand too.  Never hurts, right?  This magic stuff is very, very naughty.  But you know what?  Live a little.  Don't eat like this every day.  But if you had a bad week or got some fabulous news, or it's a cause for celebration, invite your nearest and dearest around you and whip this sauce up.

Now, what I did here is put the butter in the same Dutch oven that you browned the chicken and veggies in.  It was a good idea.  Scrape up the brown bits.  Stir.  Believe.

Then drain your pasta and dump into the butter and add the chicken and vegetables.

You can stop here and add some of the pasta cooking water and some salt and pepper and be pretty happy. But let's not stop here, okay?  Let's venture a little further down the rabbit hole.

Add cream and cheese and some of the pasta cooking liquid and some salt and pepper.  Then add that extra tablespoon of butter.  And stir it all together.  Adjust according to your own taste.  I use tongs to toss all the noodles and veggies and chicken so it gets evenly coated with cream and butter and cheese.  I know!  So good.

Throw it in a bowl.  Sprinkle some more parmesan on top.  It's what your Mom would want you to do.  And stand up straight, for crying out loud!

I added some fresh cracked pepper on top.  I roll like that.  

But let's get down to brass tacks here, folks.  This recipe is easy, but also rich and delicious.  It's very simple, but don't let that fool you.  It is really, very delicious.

I adapted it from this classic recipe from Gourmet magazine and now available on Epicurious.  And by adapted, I mean I added chicken and veggies.

Enjoy, people!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Just Peachy BBQ Chicken

Oh, baby.  My husband might be a grilling machine.  We recently bought a grill and Kendall is really, really good at grilling things.  Case in point, I came home yesterday to something delicious on the grill.  Actually, two delicious things, if you want to get technical about it: chicken and onions.

Don't be fooled by such a simple description.  The chicken was moist and flavorful and yummy and the onion was juicy and tasted like grilled French Onion soup.  I know!  I couldn't believe it either!

Kendall first took boneless, skinless chicken breasts and marinaded in this delicious peach grilling sauce he found in Gettysburg on a recent trip.  Sometimes he brings me gifts, and he knows the best gift to give me is something I can eat.  Preserves, chocolate, sauces... I'm a sucker for unique condiments and dessert.

Then he slapped them on the grill for about 20 minutes.  Here's what we got:

Yes.  It really is as delicious as it looks.  And after putting some on our plates, we then put a little more of this magical stuff over the top.

I don't know who invented this, but they really should be considered for sainthood.  I would call them a genius.  Here's the thing about this sauce.  It is peachy and spicy.  Sweet and savory.  But it's not TOO sweet.  I can taste the peach, and I can taste the chili pepper, and it is delicious.  AND I don't feel like this was concocted in a lab somewhere and contains lots and lots of high fructose corn syrup.  So we were very, very happy campers.

THEN we pulled this little beauty of the grill.

Inspired by one Paula Deen, this was the second grilled onion blossom in our house and we are now addicted to them.  Pray for our souls.  THIS gem was all Kendall.  He split the red onion into eight wedges, but did not totally cut apart.  Leave the root intact.  Then put it in foil, add some butter popcorn salt and a pad of butter.  Then gather up the foil around the onion and grill for 45 minutes.  Then open and eat.

I did this rather ungracefully.  I ended up eating most of my half standing, hunched over the table, slurping, too distracted with deliciousness to even sit down.  COULD NOT SIT DOWN, people.  That is how good this was.

See that broth in the lower left corner?  Yes.  That will rock your world.  Your shoes and socks will fly off your feet with delight.

So there you have it.  The fourth of July is over, but grilling can continue.  So this weekend, fire that baby up and eat something simple, yet delicious.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

It's Going to Happen Eventually. I Promise.

I know you have missed me just terribly.  And I have missed you too.  It's mutual, baby.  Trust me.

I have been cooking, you know.  And scouring cookbooks, of course.  And hunting online for lots and lots of tasty things to try and share.

One of the things I cooked this weekend and did NOT take pictures of it because I was so busy eating it is this heavenly little recipe for macaroni and cheese from Ms. Paula Deen.  You make it in a crockpot.  It's creamy and delicious.  The only thing I would recommend is checking in after one hour, stirring it, and trying again in 30 min.  Then taste it.  If it feels and tastes done, then take it off the heat!  I cooked mine for the recommended 3 hours, and it got a little curdle-y.  Is that a word?  Was I really an English major?  What are we doing here on earth?

Anyway, just check in on it every once in a while and trust your gut.  That's what I'm sayin' here.

This weekend, when I wasn't busy celebrating our nation's independence and stuffing my face with chicken, macaroni, barbeque, potato salad, cake or rice krispie treats, I was reading cookbooks or talking to my grandmother about family recipes.  I got a lot of them out of her.  They are awesome and timeless and remind me of holidays at her house.  And I also managed to smuggle out my other grandmother's favorite cookbook and get it safely into my new cookbook cabinet.  It's chock full of retro recipes and menu suggestions.  Some of them are funny.  Some of them aren't funny, but simply dated, and others are obviously classic and timeless.  I'll share here soon, I promise.

Also, did you read that part about a new cookbook cabinet?  Yes!  You read right!  My cookbook collection outgrew its home above our microwave, and has now relocated to a lovely new desk in our kitchen.  I am very, very happy about this. 

Speaking of things to be happy about, how about these apples?

Just kidding, those aren't apples!  That, my dears, is a fresh sampling of what my co-worker brought to work today and shared with me.  Bell pepper, green tomatoes, and three spicy, hot chilis that I will certainly put to use in something Thai and delicious.  Ta ta for now, lovelies!