Tag Archives: pasta

One Pot Chicken and Spinach Pasta with Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

One Pot Chicken and Spinach Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato SauceOne pot meals are a lifesaver.  Whether it is a special occasion or a busy weeknight, getting dinner on the table quickly, with a minimum of dirty dishes is always a win in my book.  This one pot chicken and spinach pasta with creamy sun-dried tomato sauce is a crowd pleaser every single time.  

I’m going to come right out and say it:  I’m not a big Valentine’s Day person.  There.  Judge me if you must.  I do however, enjoy making a nice meal for the one I love.  We always stay in for Valentine’s Day and I’ve done the big, fancy dinners that take hours to prepare and minutes to devour.  While that’s lovely and all,  I spend half the night in the kitchen.  This one pot meal is super delicious and did I mention… ONE PAN to wash?  Furthermore, I have better things to do on Valentine’s Day, like eat the entire box of candy.

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Langostino Mac & Cheese with Crispy Bacon and Chives #SundaySupper #JuneDairyMonth

Langostino Mac & Cheese

This post is sponsored by Florida Dairy Farmers in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own.

This week, I am partnering with Florida Milk to talk a bit about what they do as a part of my post.  I happen to be a fan of farmers.  I grew up surrounded by family farms, so I have an appreciation for them.  I am also acutely aware that without them, food would be scarce to say the least. 

When I moved to Florida a few years ago, I, like most people, really only thought of beaches or theme parks and not much else. But, did you know there are more than 130 dairy farms here and most of those farms are primarily owned and operated by second and third-generation farming families.  They are hardworking men and women who care for their cows and the land, and they are leaders in their communities. Meet some of Florida’s Dairy Farmers here!

A few fun facts about Florida Cows

The majority of the dairy cows living in Florida are Holsteins (the black & white cows) and most dairy herds range in size from 150 to 5,000 cows.  That’s about 123,000 dairy cows in Florida (with Lafayette and Okeechobee being the leading dairy counties) that collectively produce about 2.34 BILLION pounds of milk a year.  That equates to 277 million gallons of Florida-produced milk at the grocery store.

Cheesy Goodness

I’m celebrating “Dairy Month” with one of my all-time favorite foods: Macaroni and Cheese.  It has long been one of my comfort foods.  Mac & cheese has been around for hundreds of years, so I’m sure it has been a comfort food for many.  When I was a teenager, it was my favorite after school snack.  You know the one –  the box with the shockingly orange powdered cheese.  I hadn’t yet learned how to make mac & cheese from scratch, so to my untrained palate it was gastronomic bliss!  I have since learned the delights of real macaroni and cheese.  Thankyouverymuch. 

While I still enjoy plain macaroni and cheese (probably more than I should), I wanted to “fancy it up” a bit and add in sweet langostinos with a handful of crispy bacon.  (Langostinos look like tiny lobsters, but are actually more closely related to certain species of crab.)  Normally, I use extra-sharp cheddar in my mac & cheese because I like the pronounced cheesiness.  However, when paired with the delicate flavor of langostinos, the cheese should complement and not overpower them so I went with a mellow cheddar.   Feel free to add in other cheeses.  Play around with the recipe, swap out one for another, try different combinations… just make sure you keep the same quantity.  Cooking should be fun and creative, recipes like this are a perfect place to start experimenting.

Baked

Mac & Cheese is perfection.  Pasta mixed with a creamy cheese sauce, topped with a layer of (even more) cheese & breadcrumbs and baked.  It’s so simple and satisfying.  
Enough talk, let’s get cooking…

Langostino Mac & Cheese with Crispy Bacon and Chives
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb elbow macaroni, cooked according to package instructions
  2. 5 TB. unsalted butter
  3. 4 TB. AP flour
  4. 2 C. whole milk
  5. 1 C. Half & Half
  6. 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  7. 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  8. 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  9. 2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese + 1/2 cup for sprinkling on top
  10. 1 1/2 C. langostinos, cooked
  11. 1 C. cooked bacon, chopped
  12. 2 TB. chives, chopped
  13. 1/4 C. seasoned breadcrumbs
  14. 1 TB butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. In a small pot, combine milk and half & half. Heat until warm, cover and set aside.
  3. In a medium pot, melt butter over low heat. Add flour and whisk to combine. Turn heat up to medium and whisk roux for 2 -3 minutes. Add milk mixture and whisk to combine. Using a rubber spatula, go around the edges of your pan to make sure all of the flour gets incorporated.
  4. Continue whisking frequently until sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add dry mustard, salt, pepper and 2 cups cheddar. Stir continuously until smooth and uniform.
  6. Spray or butter 9x13 baking dish, set aside. In a large bowl, combine: cooked macaroni, cheese sauce, bacon, langostinos and chives. Stir to combine.
  7. Pour into glass baking dish. Stir together 1 TB melted butter, breadcumbs and remaining cheddar. Sprinkle over macaroni and bake for approximately 20 minutes, until bubbly and browned on top. Remove from oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Notes
  1. Langostinos are most often sold frozen, already cooked.
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/
 

Pin it to your Pasta board!

Mac & Cheese Pin

Want to meet the cows, get recipes from the Florida Milk Kitchen (including a lavender milk bath!) and see what’s new on the farms?  Check out Florida Dairy Farmers and keep up with Florida milk in the news and in the schools.

You can also keep up with Florida Dairy Farmers on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.

Here are more recipes from the folks at Sunday Supper featuring Florida milk:

Milk in the Morning:

Milk during the Day:

Milk in Desserts:

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

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The 4 Food Groups…

Bacon, Eggs, Cheese, Pasta.   
It seems every time I make pasta, I always have leftovers.  Every. Single. Time.    I used to hear the phrase “your eyes are bigger than your stomach” on an almost daily basis and I think it may still be true.

So, seeing that sad bit of pasta hanging out in the fridge I felt the need to rescue it.  I’m not a fan of throwing food in the garbage (unless of course it has started to look like a science experiment gone horribly wrong).   With that sense of resolve,  I scanned the kitchen to see how this bit of leftover pasta could transcend its current state into something seriously good.

Staring into the refrigerator, I felt a bit like the woman from “Romper Room”…  you remember her right?   She would look through her looking glass and say the names of the kids she saw.  Every week I waited and waited to hear my name.  Never happened.  

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Linguini & Roast Chicken

Do you ever have those moments when a completely random thought pops into your head out of the blue for no apparent reason at all?   This happens to me so frequently, that I’m starting to wonder if this is normal…  Well, that is how this recipe ended up here.  

I used to make this for dinner once or twice a month about 10 years ago, then because I had it so often I got sick of it and haven’t made it since.  As soon as I tasted it again I realized WHY I ate it so often.  It’s really, really good. 

It is about as uncomplicated as you can get, but the flavors are amazing.  The pan juices from the chicken are the sauce for the pasta with a few little goodies thrown in.   Let’s talk about the sauce for a minute… 
I know some of you are going to groan that I would suggest tossing pasta in a little bit of chicken fat, but fat is FLAVOR. 

I’m not suggesting you dive into a block of lard with a knife and fork.  The amount of fat is roughly a few tablespoons and unless you’ve had a triple bypass already, it won’t kill you, so live a little…  have a salad for lunch & all will right with the world.

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On the Go…

It’s finally summer and you know what that means…  picnics, barbecues and long days at the beach.
This pasta salad is perfect for taking on the go.  It is light, yet substantial and dressed in a light vinaigrette, so no worries over gloppy mayo sitting out in the sun.

I love this particular pasta salad because of all the veggies in it and you can even add more…  broccoli, julienned zucchini, summer squash, cauliflower, red bell pepper, summer beans, etc. would all be great in this salad.  The beauty of summer is that so much fresh, gorgeous produce is available! 

One of my goals in summer is to avoid turning on the stove most days…  The black tar roof of the building I live in is my ceiling, need I explain further how I have come to understand what a roast chicken must feel like in the oven?!

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Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy

It is (almost) officially summer and that means lighter meals.  Most of us love cooking and ALL of us love eating (please tell me it isn’t just me), but let’s be honest for a minute…  Wouldn’t you rather be outside instead of stuck in front of a stove on a blissfully perfect summer day?

This pasta dish comes together in record time.  From start to finish it’s about 15 minutes and then it’s off to the beach or hanging out in the backyard.  There is no heavy sauce here, just a light “vinaigrette” that comes together from the oil of the sundried tomatoes & artichokes,  a squeeze of lemon juice and a splash of starchy pasta water.

A few big handfuls of spinach give it color and make a healthy addition to the pasta.  Spinach is rich in iron and the nutrients are more easily broken down and absorbed by your body with the addition of fresh lemon juice (and it’s just good!)

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Falling for Fregula

One of the best things to come out of Sardinia as far as I’m concerned is fregula (or fregola).  It is a toasted semolina pasta and it is similar in size to Israeli Couscous.  They are chewy, toasty little pearls and this is one of my favorite recipes for days when I need a little extra something.

I happen to live in a predominantly Italian neighborhood, so finding this isn’t difficult but if you aren’t that lucky you can find it online (or have a friend mail it to you!).  Another option if your grocery store doesn’t carry it, is to ask them to start!  Most stores are happy to oblige if they know someone will buy it.

The first time I had fregula was in culinary school and I was instantly hooked.  The pasta is unlike anything else. It has a dense, chewy texture that you just don’t get with regular pasta.  It holds up very well with hearty ingredients making it perfect for an autumn meal.

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Autumn Minestrone

While I am not a fan of cooler weather,  the one thing I can appreciate is the comfort food that is ushered in with the chill in the air.   I love one-pot meals, mostly because I am lazy about washing dishes, but there is something rather “warm-fuzzy” inducing about a big pot of soup bubbling away… 
The great thing about soups and other meals of this sort is they are fuss-free and that is a prerequisite during my hectic fall schedule  (besides the fact that my beloved Buckeyes are on every Saturday and I’m not one to miss a game).  Another added bonus is you can make a big batch and freeze it for days when you just can’t fathom the thought of breaking out a saute pan.

The variations on this are endless…  because it is fall I am using some root vegetables in the soup, however these vegetables can be changed out for any that you like.

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