Friday, September 12, 2014

September 12, 2014

We had two keepers this week, one almost keeper, and a new dish we planned but never got to try.  It was busy!  My family (the kids especially) love pasta and potatoes, so it shouldn't be a big surprise that those were the main ingredients in both keepers.  The first keeper recipe made some fabulous super crispy baked french fries - truly the crispiest french fries I've ever had at home or out to eat. With the first bite everyone voted them to keeper status.  The second keeper dish is called Garlic Chicken Rigatoni.  This is a quick dinner that we thought was fantastic and will definitely become a regular in our dinner rotation.  One way to make it even easier...when you buy chicken breasts in bulk and are freezing them in meal size portions, go the extra step with one or two of the portions and cut them up into bite sized pieces prior to freezing.  This way, when you are ready to make stir fry or some other dish that calls for cut up chicken you are already to go!  It saves serious prep (and clean up) time!

Our almost keeper was popcorn marshmallow bars.  I was in the mood to bring rice kispie treats to our book club meeting this week, but I did not have any cereal on hand.  I did, however, have popcorn kernels.  I popped some up and mixed it with a marshmallow mixture and they were good.  Good, but not yet great, so I'll try again soon and see if I can get it right!  And the other dish  that didn't get tested this past week will make it on the meal plan again this week...here's hoping that we have time to make it!  School, my class, 2 cross country meets, flag football practice, a handful of soccer practice, an out of town business trip...a lot going  on this week so we'll see how (and what) meals turn out!

Our youngest has started soccer and is loving it. In fact, when practice was cancelled this week because of the heavy rain he was absolutely bereft.  Miss Hannah even offered him an Oreo and he declined.  Yikes!  He was seriously devastated!  Fingers crossed that the rain predicted for tomorrow morning passes us and he gets to play soccer!

Happy Cooking!

New Recipes
Garlic Chicken Rigatoni 
Crispy Baked French Fries

Garlic Chicken Rigatoni


Ingredients
* 10 oz uncooked rigatoni or penne pasta
* 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
* 1/2 cup boiling water
* 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1 inch cubes
* 1/4 tsp garlic salt
* 2 tbsp AP flour
* 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
* 8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
*3 garlic cloves, minced
* 1/2 cup white wine, divided
* 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
* 1/4 tsp dried basil
* 1/8 tsp salt
* 1/8 tsp pepper
* 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
* grated Parmesan, for serving

Directions
1. Cook the pasta according to the box directions.
2. In a small bowl combine the sun-dried tomatoes and the boiling water.  Let stand 5 minutes, then drain and chop the tomatoes.
3. Sprinkle the chicken with the garlic salt and then toss with the flour.  In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp of oil over medium high heat.  Add the chicken; cook and stir for 4-5 minutes or until no longer pink.  Remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm.
4. In the now empty skillet heat the remaining oil over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook and stir until tender, 4-5 minutes.  De-glaze the pan with 1/4 cup of wine.  Combine the remaining wine, chicken broth, parsley, basil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and tomatoes.  Stir this mixture into the mushrooms and bring to a boil.  Stir in the chicken and heat through.
5. Drain the pasta and add it to the chicken mixture.  Serve with Parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

Notes
We absolutely loved this - all of us!  And you cannot believe how easy this was to throw together.  I had 3/4 lb of chicken in the freezer so I used that, and I didn't need to adjust any of the ingredients.  This is similar to another favorite or ours,chicken, broccoli and sun-dried tomato stir fry, but definitely not the same.  The leftovers were delicious the next day; I look forward to making this again!

Super Crispy Baked French Fries


Ingredients
* 4-5 russet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch thick fries
* 5 tbsp oil, divided
* 1 tbsp cornstarch
* 1 tsp salt

Directions
1. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position and preheat the oven to 450 F.
2. Place the potatoes in a large bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Microwave the potatoes for 2 minutes.  Shake the potatoes and then microwave for an additional 2 minutes.  Transfer the potatoes to a cooling rack and blot the potatoes dry with paper towels.
3. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with 4 tbsp of oil.  Place the baking sheet in the oven to heat the oil, for 4-5 minutes.
4. Mix one tbsp of oil with the cornstarch and salt.  Add the potatoes to the oil mixture and toss them to coat.
5. Carefully arrange the potatoes on the baking sheet in a single layer.  Bake for 15 minutes, then flip and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.
6. When finished baking transfer the potatoes to a towel lined plate and blot with additional paper towels.  Move the potatoes to a bowl and serve while hot.  Enjoy!

Notes
Wow - these were incredibly crispy!  I was hesitant to try these fries out given the amount of oil for them to cook in, but in the end decided to to give the recipe a try.  They were such a hit that I am glad I did!  In the future I will try with a little less oil and will update this recipe posting if I have success!