Cajun Chicken Pasta

I’ve realized that I barely post “main dish” type recipes here! It’s not like we’re noshing on desserts all of the time (oh, how I wish!), but for what ever reason I seldom share our main courses. I’d like to remedy that by sharing the easy and delicious recipe for this Cajun Chicken Pasta. I first spotted it at The House of Spice, and after serving it, it was declared a winner. I’m not keen on cream-heavy pasta dishes, and this dish fits the bill. It’s loaded with veggies, protein, and can be spiced as lightly or heavily as tolerated. It’s a meal that both children and adults both can enjoy- A total winner in my book 😉

 

CajunChickenPastaPic

 

Cajun Chicken Pasta

Yield: 4 – 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced into thin strips (any color or combination of colors)
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (12 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (diced tomatoes can be used; simply run through the blender before using)
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 pound dried pasta
  • Fresh or dried parsley, for garnish (optional)

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine chicken and Cajun seasoning. Mix well, making sure that the chicken is evenly coated.

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.

In a large pan, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until browned and no longer raw. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add more oil if needed, and add onions, bell peppers, garlic, salt, pepper, and extra Cajun seasoning (if needed). Cook until the vegetables have softened and browned lightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside with chicken.

Add the tomatoes and water, and cook for a few minutes. Add whipping cream and cook until thickened, several minutes (might take longer if using diced tomatoes).

Add chicken and vegetables back into the pan and gently mix. Add cooked pasta and mix well. Check seasonings, adding more if necessary. Serve garnished with parsley.

Chili Mac and An Invitation!

My son is a big fan of chips and salsa, so I asked my husband to pick some up on his recent trip to Sam’s Club. He came home with 2 huge jars (though to his credit, they sell it packaged that way) of salsa. So in an effort to put a dent in our huge salsa supply, I searched online and stumbled upon this recipe for Chili Mac. I took a quick look at the recipe and realized that I had almost everything, and went ahead and gave it a whirl. People, try this! The name is totally misleading, and the meal itself is really healthy. For a meal that serves four, it only has ½ cup of cheese. Also, regular pasta can be swapped with whole wheat or even veggie pasta. It’s a healthy and delicious meal that comes together very quickly.

Also, on a totally different note, I have an invitation for you! My blogging buddy Sarah, of Flour and Spice, recently reached out to me with an idea. Sarah suggested that we team up and host a virtual Eid Party. The premise of the “party” is that those who choose to participate will post a recipe that is evocative of Eid for them, whether that be traditional or something new/innovative. So now my friends, is that I invite you to join us! If you think that you would be interested in participating, just leave me a comment saying that you would. We’ll be sending out emails later this week to everyone that we know, so be on the lookout 🙂

 

ChiliMacPic

 

 

Chili Mac

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound small shell pasta
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup picante sauce (regular salsa can be used as well, although additional liquid might need to be added)
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar or Mexican style cheese

Directions:

Cook the pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, cook ground beef until well browned and all liquid has evaporated. Stir in picante sauce, corn, chili powder, and tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes.

Stir in pasta and cheese. Cover and cook until the cheese has melted.

Simple Mushroom Pasta

After nearly 2 years of blogging, I’ve come to terms with the fact that this isn’t a summer fling, and I really am in it for the long haul. I finally put a ring on it.

My Ninja Naan owns its domain and is officially off the market!

 

Exciting news aside, I love pasta!  I feel like it is one of the most underrated foods (along with lentils), and its greatness is usually masked with copious amounts of cream and/or cheese.  Don’t get me wrong, I love cheesy Ziti and creamy Alfredo, but there is something that should be said about lightly dressed pastas that allow the noodles to shine.

I stumbled upon this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Flour and Spice, and have been hooked!  It’s a lightly spiced pasta dish that is dusted with delicious meaty mushrooms.  It’s a great vegetarian alternative to the usual heavy pasta dishes, and it really allows the mushrooms and spaghetti to shine.  Give it a whirl and let me know how it goes! I’m sure you will enjoy it just as much as we did 🙂

 

SimpleMushroomPastaPic

 

Simple Mushroom Pasta

Yield: 4 – 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound pasta (spaghetti or linguine)
  • 1 pound button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • Lemon, to taste
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Parsley, for garnish

Directions:

Cook the pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Reserve one cup cooking liquid, drain, and set aside.

In a large pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper and cook until the mushrooms begin to change color, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

Add desired amount of lemon juice, pasta, reserved cooking liquid, parmesan cheese, and butter. Toss well and return to heat. Cook for a few minutes until the cheese and butter has melted, and the liquid has been absorbed.

Garnish with additional parmesan cheese and parsley.

 

Lemon and Garlic Spaghetti with Spinach

I’m always on the lookout for side dishes that would go well with a main meal of some kind of protein (chicken, fish, etc.).  I stumbled upon this recipe decided to give it a shot, alongside some baked chicken.  Boy, did this hit the spot!  Not only is this recipe super easy to throw together and versatile (I used multigrain pasta), but also very simple and light.  My 2½-year-old son even enjoyed it!  Now I get requests from him for “spaggy” (translation:  spaghetti) every day for lunch 🙂

 

LemonandGarlicSpaghettiWithSpinachPic

 

 

Lemon and Garlic Spaghetti

With Spinach

Yield:  4-6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (10 ounce) bag baby spinach

Directions:

Cook the pasta until al dente according to package instructions.  Drain and set aside.

In a large pot, heat oil over medium low heat.  Add garlic and cook gently, about 10 to 12 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and add lemon juice and zest, salt, pepper, spinach, and pasta.  Mix well and cover.  Cook for 10 minutes, thus allowing the flavors to infuse.

Spinach and Artichoke Pasta

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, we moved.  One thing that I realized upon moving was that I had accumulated so much stuff over time!  It didn’t look like much from the outside, but after seeing the movers pack everything I realized that I had become a semi-hoarder!

In an effort to lighten the load (pun definitely intended), I’ve put a complete stop on shopping  (except for essentials) and I’ve been trying to cook things with what I’ve got in my pantry, instead of going out to buy new ingredients.  Recently I came across a jar of marinated artichoke hearts, so I ventured out to find a recipe that my son and I could enjoy (my husband isn’t an artichoke kinda guy).  I was intrigued when I stumbled upon a recipe for Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Pasta on Cassie Craves.  I adapted the recipe to increase the pasta to sauce ratio, and I replaced the cream cheese with additional sour cream (only because I don’t like the taste of cream cheese in pasta).  This pasta was a definite hit with my son and me, and I’m sure it will be with your family as well 🙂

SpinachArtichokePastaPic

Spinach and Artichoke Pasta

Yield:  6 – 8 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 (13.5 oz.) can marinated artichoke hearts, drained and diced
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 ½ cups sour cream
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 (10 oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Directions:

Preheat broiler and set aside a greased casserole dish.

Cook the pasta until al dente according to the directions on the package.  Reserve ½ cup of pasta water before draining.  Drain, return to pot, and keep warm.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion, artichoke hearts, salt, and pepper.  Cook until the onions are soft and translucent.  Add garlic, stir, and cook for another minute.  Add sour cream and parmesan cheese and cook until melted.  Stir in spinach.

Add pasta, reserved pasta water, and ½ cup mozzarella cheese to the spinach mixture and mix well so that the pasta and sauce are well combined.

Transfer pasta to greased casserole dish and top with remaining ½ cup mozzarella cheese.  Place pasta under the broiler until the cheese has melted and is bubbly, about 3 to 5 minutes.