Monday, May 10, 2010

Skillet Penne and Sausage Dinner

When I stumbled across this recipe, I knew it was one that would be immediately popular with my family.  The creamy, sun-dried tomato sauce is the perfect pairing with the spice of the Italian Sausage.  By the time I added the spinach in, I was one happy camper!  The flavors had so much dimension and the colors looked beautiful on the finished plate.  Not only is it a quick meal to throw together, but it is a one-dish meal which earns even more points on a busy weeknight.  The whole meal came together well under 30 minutes and there was barely anything to clean up.

Skillet Penne and Sausage Dinner
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, minced
1 pound sweet Italian Sausage (casings removed)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, rinsed and chopped fine
8 ounces penne 
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 (5 ounce) bag spinach
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until simmering. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat, until no longer pink.  Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Sprinkle the tomatoes and pasta evenly over the sausage. Pour the broth and cream over the pasta. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the spinach a handful at a time and cook until wilted, about two minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.  

Source: A Blog About Food, originally from America's Test Kitchen

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Chicken Stir Fry Wraps

This is a perfect light and healthy meal for the upcoming summer months!  I've heard several friends raving about a similar dish that can be ordered at a local Chinese restaurant, so I jumped at making these once I saw the recipe.  The flavor of these wraps was incredible and the crispness of the lettuce leaves gave just the right amount of crunch to each bite.  My one recommendation would be to make these one at a time as you are ready to eat them.  The heat from the stir fry will otherwise wilt the lettuce some.  The entire meal was ready in under 30 minutes, so it is a great weekday option!  The filling heats up really well, so I would even recommend making enough to save some for lunch the following day.

The only change I made was to substitute green peppers for the red.  Red peppers have been really high around us lately and I wanted to keep the dish affordable.

Chicken Stir Fry Wraps
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves; halved horizontally and thinly sliced
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons grated, peeled fresh ginger
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on how much heat you prefer)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
12 to 16 Boston lettuce leaves (about 2 heads)

Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over high heat.  Add half of the chicken and cook, stirring constantly, until opaque throughout (about 2-4 minutes).  Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken.  Add the remaining tablespoon oil to the pan, along with the onion and the bell pepper.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the onion is tender and golden.  If the onion is browning too quickly, reduce the heat.

Reduce the heat to medium.  Add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes to the pan.  Cook, stirring, until fragrant.  Stir in the soy sauce, vinegar, and cornstarch mixture.  Remove from the heat.  Add teh chicken and any accumulated juices; toss to coat.  Serve in the lettuce cups.

Source: Great Food Fast, Everyday Food