Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli, and Smoked Mozzerella

I love any kind of pasta dish. When I read the ingredients in this recipe I knew it was going to be true love. It definitely did not disappoint. The sundried tomatoes were the real star for me. They gave this pasta dish a jump up the delicious ladder. My whole family loved it and there were not even any leftovers unfortunately.

Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli, and Smoked Mozzerella

INGREDIENTS

Topping:
3/4 cup bread crumbs (store-bought or make your own)
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling:
1 bunch broccoli (about 1 ½ pounds), stalks cut off, florets trimmed into 1-inch pieces
12 ounces penne pasta (or whatever pasta you have)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
6 medium garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 teaspoon dried thyme
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 3), trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
3 ounces smoked mozzarella, shredded (I used fresh mozzerella cubes, but will try to find the smoked mozzarella next time I make it)
8 ounce jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped into pieces

DIRECTIONS
In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and butter and set aside. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and make sure the oven rack is placed in the middle of the oven. In a large pot, bring the water for the pasta to a boil. Stir in one tablespoon salt and the broccoli. The broccoli cooks quickly so stay close! Cook the broccoli for 1 minute, until it is bright green. Quickly remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon to a plate. Return the water to a boil and add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 1-2 minutes less than how you would eat it normally (it will cook a bit more in the oven while baking). Drain the pasta in a colander and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Leave it in the colander and set it aside.
Wipe the pot dry. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and return to medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the flour, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the broth and cream; bring to a simmer, whisking often. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 6-7 minutes. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and smoked mozzarella.
Add the cooked pasta and broccoli to the sauce; stir to combine. Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the bread crumb topping. Bake until the casserole is bubbling and the crumbs are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Nutella Cheesecake Fruit Dip




I love a good fruit dip, but when I saw this Nutella one on Pinterest, I just knew I had to try it. I love Nutella. All my kids love Nutella. I knew this recipe just could not go wrong. I hosted a neighborhood Bunco game at my house and decided to make the Nutella Dip as one of the appetizers. It turned out amazingly delicious. I know I'll be making it again.

Nutella Cheesecake Fruit Dip

Ingredients
1 cup heavy cream
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
3 Tbsp powdered sugar
3/4 cup Nutella

Directions
In a mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer, whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form. In a separate mixing bowl, whip cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth, about 1 minute. Add nutella and blend until well combined. Add half of the whipped cream and gently fold mixture until nearly blended then add remaining whipped cream and gently fold mixture until well blended.Serve with strawberries or graham crackers. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Cupid's Cloud

I made these yummy treat for our Valentine's Day dinner. I absolutely loved it. It was really simple to throw together. I love that it was so light and fluffy. Most of my kids really enjoyed it also. I mixed mine a little too much. If you just barely mix it, you get a really pretty white and pink swirl.

Cupid's Cloud - A Valentine's Day Dessert

1 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp sugar
½ tsp vanilla
2 cups frozen raspberries (see notes)
½ cup sugar

Instructions
In a mixer, whip together the whipping cream, 1 tbsp sugar, and the vanilla. Set aside.
In a food processor blend together the frozen raspberries and ½ cup sugar.
Once the raspberries have been blended, fold them in to the whipping cream.
Evenly distribute the dessert between 4-5 dessert cups or fancy glasses.
Refrigerate until you are ready to eat them! (see notes)

Notes
Things to Note:
- You can make this dessert in the early afternoon of the same day that you are going to eat it. That way it will be ready for dessert when you are!
- You can use any type of fruit that you would like: strawberries, blueberries, mango.
- I like to use frozen fruit for this because it doesn’t get pureed down like fresh fruit does. But either type is delicious and works for this dessert.

* Recipe from www.aprettylifeinthesuburbs.com