Chicken Bruschetta with Pasta – Gluten Free!!!

Hey guys. So one of my friends was going to come and hang out and offered to bring dinner tonight. I was going to take her up on it, when I totally felt like I needed to cook something. I told her to bring a salad and some red wine; I would take care of the rest. I had no idea what I wanted to make.

I had a day to myself… I went to Pilates, went to lunch, and got my hair done. Then I decided to go to Fresh Market to look around and decide once I got there.

I really wanted to make my Bruchetta Chicken with pasta and marinara. But my friend is gluten free, so I needed to first make sure I could find a decent gluten free pasta. Quinoa pasta is supposedly gluey, plus it cost like $8. Then I saw brown rice pasta. I thought I remembered Rachel Ray say she really liked this, plus it was on sale for $3ish. Score! I got chicken breasts, tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, anchovies (don’t balk yet!), and all the other ingredients for the sauce..

Bruchetta Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

2-3 anchovies
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1/2 container mushrooms sliced and chopped
1 28 oz. can of crushed crushed tomatoes
1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
4 squirts of tomato paste
1/3 bottle of red wine; I used Cabernet
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire
2 pats of butter
3 tablespoons sugar.
3 tablespoons of Dried Italian Herb mixture
fresh basil crushed and chopped
1 bay leaf

Directions

Heat a large dutch oven on med-high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2-3 anchovies. I know some people are going to make the stink eye at my anchovies. Don’t ya’ll. One of the main ingredients in Worcestershire is anchovies! Worcestershire is a chef’s best secret ingredient. You eat it is Caesar Salad, Hamburgers, Meatloaf etc… Once those tiny fish hit the pan, they melt like butter. You will thank me. Please try them. If you want to try to make this, but don’t have anchovies, just add a couple more tablespoons of Worcestershire.

Add a bit more olive oil and your onions. Cook down for 2-3 minutes with a bit of salt and pepper. Add your Mushrooms and garlic. Cook for a few more minutes before adding your tomato paste. Mix that around for a few minutes. A deep tomato smell will fill the air after a couple of minutes. Then add in your wine and Worcestershire. Mix and reduce down for 5 minutes or so. Add your herbs, bay leaf, and sugar. Mix and Reduce to low. Cook for at least 1 hour…the longer the better.

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Bruchetta Chicken

4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts- season each side with salt and pepper.
Then, brown both sides of chicken in your cast iron skillet. Each side about 8-10 minutes. Put the pan in a 350 oven.

Cut a tomato and some mozzarella. Thinly slice some basil. I roll mine up then chop it up. Place these on top of your chicken in the oven. When you start to see your cheese melt a bit, turn on the broil. Cook until all the cheese is melted and browned on top.

I made the brown rice pasta according to the package. It still had a bit of a bite to it, so I added it the sauce. I mixed well. So yummy! I wouldn’t mind buying this pasta again for a gluten free friend =)

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Spicy Chicken and Veggie Risotto

It seems lately I have been on a spicy kick. I have been adding hot sauce, red chili flakes, and jalapenos on just about everything. Maybe it is the cool weather rolling in that makes me want to spice it up? In any case, I felt like adding a punch to my dinner last night. Everyone was doing their own thing and going in different directions, so it was either have straight up leftovers or create something out of the leftovers from the fridge. I decided to create something new from something old.

Spicy Chicken and Veggie Risotto

Ingredients

1/2 rotisserie chicken, finely chopped or shredded
3 tablespoons butter or oil
half a can of tomato paste
3/4 opened stock in a box
half an onion, chopped
handful of mushrooms, quartered
can of green chilies
about 1/2 cup rice
1 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup parm cheese

Directions

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in medium sized pot over medium heat. Add onions and mushrooms and sauté until beginning to soften and brown around edges, about 5 minutes. Add 1 more tablespoon of butter. Add rice and stir 1 minute. Add in tomato paste and green chilies. Mix together well. Add 1 cup broth and simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently, 3 to 4 minutes. Add remaining broth by 1/2 cupfuls, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding next, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Continue to cook until rice is just tender but still very creamy, stirring gently and often, about 10 minutes longer (about 25 minutes total cooking time). Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and chicken. Stir to warm the chicken through, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to large bowl and serve with additional Parmesan cheese. You could make this vegetarian by leaving out the chicken and using veggie stock or water.

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Corkscrew Pasta with Creamy Veggie Tomato Sauce

Leftovers for dinner tonight. Gotta eat up some food instead of wasting it. I still have to use us a bunch of veggies, so I decided to make this pasta for lunches and quick dinner if needed. Pretty quick vegetarian dinner. You could add some grilled chicken to this for a healthy protein if wanted. Very creamy but still uber healthy with all those nutrient rich veggies.

Corkscrew Pasta with Creamy Veggie Tomato Sauce

Ingredients
corkscrew pasta
a jar of creamy spinach tomato sauce (Classico brand- on sale)
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed and minced
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 container of cherry tomatoes
1 container of mushrooms
1/2 stalk of chopped broccoli (florets)
1/2 chopped each of yellow and orange peppers
1/2 bag of snap peas
1 handful fresh herbs, chopped- basil, oregano, and marjoram
salt and pepper

Directions

Add all chopped veggies in to a large pot. Cook down for about 15 minutes. Add pasta sauce. Cook down further while you make your pasta. Add in your cooked pasta. If thick, add a bit of the starchy cooking water. I added a bit at a time and had about 1 cup leftover. Everyone in this house loves eating the leftover pasta right out of the pan. This was a great pantry raid dish.

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Spicy Quick Pickle Veggies

I had a ton of okra, beans, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and peppers I got from the farmer’s market the other day, so I decided to make a jar of quick pickles. These guys turned out so good; super flavorful and very spicy.

Ingredients

a couple handfuls of okra- Trim off ends and slice okra in half
2 sweet peppers- 1 yellow, 1 green sliced in thin strips
1 jalapeno pepper, cut in half- I used the ribs and seeds, but you can take them out if you wish
handful of beans (green, purple, yellow)- Trim off ends
handful of cherry tomatoes, whole
3 garlic cloves, peeled, whole
3 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
4 cups water
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
pinch of red pepper flakes
4 cups water

Directions

Add all the trimmed vegetables, except the garlic, into a large, stainless steel mixing bowl or stockpot. Combine all the rest of the ingredients in another large saucepan, and bring to a boil over med-high heat.

Carefully pour the boiling liquid over the vegetables, and make sure all the ingredients are submerged in the brine by using some large plates or glass platters to hold them under the liquid.

Cover and let cool to room temperature. Add them to your mason/Bell jar. Transfer to refrigerator and chill before serving. Pickled vegetables can be kept refrigerated, completely submerged in their liquid, in an airtight container, for up to 2 months. =) Enjoy!

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Orzo and Cheese Stuffed Tomato

Forget Meatless Monday! Eat what you want when you want. Lots of veggie options today from my local market. I found a pretty heirloom tomato. The guy said it was hollow and needed to be stuffed. #challengeaccepted

Orzo and Cheese Stuffed Tomato

All I did was cut off the top and hollow out the inside of a summer heirloom tomato… I filled it with leftover cooked orzo and topped with mozzarella. Broiled on low for 10 minutes. YUM!
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Kale and Beet Chips

Hey there! I am here with another idea for summer veggies. Make them into chips! I did my chips 2 ways; kale and beets. Crunchy and healthy.

For the kale- tear or cup off the leaf from the rib and stem. Discard the rib and stem. They are just too fibrous to eat. No bueno. I sprayed a cookie sheet with Pam. Then I sprayed the kale with Pam and salted it just a bit. You could use olive oil. That is fine. Plus, it has no fat or calories, so it is a bit more figure friendly. But if you have olive oil spray, that would be fine as well. Still healthy! Cook at 450 for about 15 minutes. This stuff cooks fast, so be on the watch so it doesn’t burn. I don’t mind when it turns a little brown, but more than that and it is unedible. 014

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for the beets- slice very thin, preferably on a mandolin. Use the guard and be careful! I treated the beets the same way as the kale. Pam and a little salt and pepper. These take a bit longer. Mine went about 30 minutes. 015

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These are a great way to eat kale and beets even if you don’t think you like kale or beets. The kale has this amazing salty crunch that just sort of melts in your mouth after each bite. The beets are a mix of sweet and salty and are just beautiful. I think next time I will gild the lily and add a sprinkle of grated ginger. Ginger and beets go hand in hand.

EASY Yummy Veggie Lasagna

Here is another vegetarian meal brought to you by my farmer’s market veggies. I made a huge pan, knowing full well that I am the only one eating it. Whatever is leftover in a few days will go straight to the freezer for future consumption.

This lasagna was super easy to make. Store bought sauce, pre-shredded cheese, no boil pasta, and lots of sliced veggies. I threw this together in less than 10 minutes, baked for about 45 minutes until the cheese on top was bubbling and starting to turn brown. The end product was super cheesy yet still light and full of summer flavors! You can mix and match your sauce and veggies and even add in ground meat if you want to make it non-vegetarian. Or serve it as a veggie side pasta to some chicken parm etc.

EASY Yummy Veggie Lasagna

Ingredients
jarred sauce- I used a mixture of alfredo and vodka sauce. I find that for lasagna 1 container of thick sauce is never enough, so I experimented with 1 regular sized Vodka Sauce and 1 small jar of light mushroom alfredo sauce. Perfect amount! I love making different homemade pasta sauces, but I love the convenience and ease of a jarred sauce. I try to keep a couple in my pantry for quick dinners.

1 small bunch of kale, chopped- just the leaves- the ribs and stems are too fibrous to chew-
1 large or 2 small summer squash, sliced
2-3 summer tomatoes- I used one large yellow and 1 small red
1 package of no cook lasagna
1 pound of shredded mozzarella

Directions

Preheat oven to 350
Spray large oven safe casserole dish
put a bit of sauce spread on the bottom
add kale, then some cheese, then pasta, add sauce
add squash, then some cheese,then pasta, add sauce
add tomatoes, then some cheese, then pasta, add sauce

Bake for 45 min-1 hour until cheese is bubbly and brown. That combo of the mushroom alfredo and vodka sauce is unbelievable. It is rich and creamy, yet somehow still manages to feel light and delicate. It pairs perfectly with the veggies, which just kind of melt into the pasta and sauce. This is an awesome recipe to use some pretty amazing farmer’s market ingredients. I hope you give it a try!

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Oven Baked Tilapia

Happy Thursday my fellow food fanatics! Thanks for supporting me in my culinary adventures in the kitchen. Here is another food win… oven baked tilapia. This fish turns out moist and flaky and has a delicious crunchy parmesan coating that my family loves.

Oven Baked Tilapia

Ingredients

3 large tilapia fillets- almost 1 pound. On sale, it cost less than $6.
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
2 cups breadcrumbs (plain or Italian will do fine)
1 tablespoon paprika
3 tablespoons parmesan
1 teaspoon each of onion and garlic powder
Salt and Pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 450

Set up your 2 stations…
Station 1- milk and egg mixed together
Station 2- breadcrumbs, paprika, parmesan, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

Take your fish and dunk in station 1 on both sides well. Then dunk in station 2. Add each piece to a oven safe dish that has been coated with your favorite cooking spray.

Cook for about 12 \minutes- 6 minutes on each side; flip halfway through. This all depends on the thickness of your fish.

I served with pan roasted brown butter squash (brown 3 tablespoons of butter and add squash with salt and pepper), spicy sauteed spinach (bunch of spinach sauteed in olive oil, a tablespoon of both butter and marscapone, crushed red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper), and couscous cooked in chicken stock.

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Oven Baked Barbecued Chicken

Good evening! So one of my most popular recipes is my easy oven baked chicken. https://funfoodiefamily.com/2013/08/31/oven-baked-chicken/ I think people love it so much, becuase it is so simple and easy. Work weeks are busy; weekends are filled with soccer/baseball/gymnastics games/tournaments etc. Sometimes you just want to come home, sit on the couch and watch Ellen/Rachael Ray etc. This is a great recipe for just that.

Oven Baked Barbecued Chicken

Take your chicken; I used legs and thighs, but any kind will do; Salt and pepper them. Place them in a zip top bag. Some people I have talked to HATE touching raw chicken. There are 2 inventions called gloves and tongs. Used them if you must. No biggie; seriously. If you don’t mind touching the chicken, just wash your hands. Soap. No worries, ya’ll!

Add your favorite barbecue sauce to the bag; about 1/2 the bottle. Ours is Sticky Fingers Original.

Put in a greased oven safe casserole dish. Cook at 350 for 45 minutes- 1 hour. Turn halfway through. Add more sauce if needed. Moist, tangy, and juicy!

I cooked yellow rice and oven roasted corn to go with it.
Roast the corn in the husk in the oven for about 30 minutes.

And let me just say that I LOVE summer corn! So sweet and juicy! It doesn’t even need butter! This is a great way to cook it. You could also grill it in its own husk as well. YUM!

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Make It Your Own Boxed Pasta Salad

Hey guys! I hope you all had a great 4th of July celebrations with your friends and family! We all got together with some friends, had a fish fry, kids played together, and had fun with cheap grocery store fireworks as well as a large firework display at a nearby park. Tons of fun! I brought a bottle of wine, a pasta salad, and some dessert. Lots of great food!

I love making pasta salads. They are so easy and fun, because the combinations are endless. Homemade pasta salad is easy, but there are a lot of great boxed mixes out there to have in your pantry for those nights when you need something fast to throw together. Here I took a couple of boxes of Simply Pasta Salad (there are lots of different kinds out there, but I just stuck to the regular Italian flavor) and added in a few fresh ingredients. I added halved cherry tomatoes, fresh cubed mozzarella, and sliced black olives (kalamata).

You could totally add in fresh basil, grilled chicken, shrimp, broccoli, chopped bacon, pesto sauce, etc. Be creative and use what you have already in the fridge! Make extra to have enough leftovers for lunch. This is a great summer meal!

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