Spinach Tomato and Sausage Skillet over Angel Hair Pasta

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I am not a big fan of super saucy dishes unless it is curry. I feel that when things are over sauced it takes away from the real stars of the dish. The big players in this one are spicy sausage and chunky style sun dried tomatoes. The combination of these two offers a degree of savory-sweet (with a kick). It is my favorite flavor combo making this recipe a new favorite in my Rolodex. If you are into bold flavor and a meal that will feed your family for a few days than give this dish a try! This recipe was adapted from a beautiful recipe blog called Julia’s Album.

Time: 35 minutes

Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Italian Sausage (I went with spicy but refine to your own taste)
  • 8.5 oz jar of sun dried tomatoes julienne cut in oil (reserve the oil you will use it to cook)
  • a pinch (or more) of red pepper flakes. I tend to like things spicy and opted for upwards to three pinches. Tailor it to your taste
  • 6 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • One bunch of fresh basil, chopped (I am aware that “one bunch” is incredibly vague so to clarify just buy a packaged bunch of fresh basil from your market’s produce section)
  • 8 oz fresh spinach
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb angel hair pasta (or whatever pasta you prefer)

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet heat the entire contents the sun dried tomato jar over low heat. Once heated up the temperature to medium and add the sausage and red pepper flakes. Cook until the sausage is no longer pink.
  2. Add Roma tomatoes, basil, spinach, garlic, and salt/pepper to taste. Toss this mixture gently to be sure that all veggies get coated with the tomato oil goodness. Continue to cook until the spinach begins to wilt. Then remove the skillet from heat and cover it.
  3. Cook your pasta per the packaging, drain and add it to your sausage and vegetable skillet. Mix it all together and plate.
  4. One extra and totally optional tip is to reserve some of the spinach (or buy extra) and add crisp spinach to the dish as you plate it. This adds color, nutrients and a wonderful crunch to the dish. I highly recommend.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

 

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Pineapple Baked Chicken – ★★★★✩

11008513_10205998715465070_8853942480179284495_nIt is no secret that I love savory sweet, and this recipe delivers just that. This chicken dish is baked so the meat came out really juicy and tender with the pineapples perfectly soft. I found it to be an easy, quick and delicious recipe that had us coming back for seconds. I honestly ate a heaping second plate of just the pineapple for desert, that is how tasty it was. We added extra pepper flakes for more heat and I think that took it to a whole new level of yummy. I’m falling in love with Dijon mustard after the saucy pork chops I made a few weeks ago, and I must say I think that is what holds all the flavors in this recipe together. Perry really enjoyed this dinner, but gave 4 stars because he had a suggestion that could potentially make it even better. I’ll let him describe it himself:

“There is no doubt in my mind that this recipe is 5 star quality. It is salty, it is sweet and it is spicy. I think that adding smokey to that list of adjectives would pump this recipe up. I suggest grilling the pineapple chunks before adding them to the recipe. Kelsey thinks it might be an annoying extra step for those who are trying to rush dinner on the table, but I think if the time is available it would be awesome. I know that I love grilled corn in soup so why not have grilled pineapple in this recipe. We will give it a go next time around and at that point I’ll give this one a full five-star rating. Until then it is a 4 because I know there is a little bit of room for improvement.

Serves: 4     Calories: 350 per serving     Time: MARINATE 3 hrs  COOK: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts, trimmed
  • 2 (20 oz.) cans of pineapple chunks, if you can get the ones in pineapple juice not syrup
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • Crushed pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:

  1. To marinade, combine chicken, pineapple juice (drain from the canned stuff and keep pineapple chunks aside), garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest and paprika. Place in a large bowl or ziplock bag and refrigerate for 4 hours.
  2. Pre heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Spray 9×13 cooking dish with cooking spray.
  4. Remove the chicken from the marinade and put into the baking dish and set aside. Discard of the marinade.
  5. In a large pan melt the butter. Once butter is melted add the Dijon, honey, and pineapple chunks stirring for a few minutes until bubbly. Remove from heat
  6. Pour the saucy pineapple chunks over the chicken and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  7. If you are into spicy, sprinkle pepper flakes on top before serving.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

**Recipe adapted from http://www.diethood.com 

Margherita Pizza – ★★★★✩

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We moved back to Pennsylvania from Southern California about a month ago and are taking full advantage of the wonderful farmers markets around here. Summer in the northeast translates to Jersey Tomato season, and I am extra spoiled because my mom grows all kinds of hearty veggies and fragrant herbs in her back yard. I really wanted to utilize all these resources to feed my family a delicious and easy-to-make meal. This is a new crust recipe as I normally use a cornmeal dough, but I was really happy with the results. The crust is pretty simple which allows for the tomato and basil to really stand out. The flavor was wonderful and had only a couple of complaints. First, that I did not add sauce to the pie. The reason I usually do not add sauce is because I am selfish and don’t like the taste of reheated sauce. However, I do heat up marinara for dipping if anyone wants sauce so keep that in mind if you have family/friends who don’t like white pizza. Secondly, I did not overload with toppings. This pizza is meant to be light so please enjoy the simplicity of it because it is a nice change from extreme pepperoni and sausage. I doubled this recipe in order to make two pies which worked out perfectly. The four of us ate until we were satisfied last night, and there was enough for three of us to have left overs today.  Perry gave 4 stars and here is why:

“The flavor of this pizza was really good but I’m an extreme pizza topper. When I order a pizza I ask for double meat, double cheese and double veggies. This is not that kind of pizza. It is really light on your stomach which is good, but it’s nothing like the loaded Mediterranean Pizza Kels makes. That is why I’m not going to give full stars. It was a delicious slice. but I would have added double cheese, double tomatoes, and double basil. However, if you’re looking for something with decent flavor and doesn’t sit heavy in your gut then this is the pizza for you.”

Serves: 4         Calories: 413.4 per 2 slices     Carbs: 55 per 2 slices      Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 tbsp yeast
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2/3 cup lukewarm water + 2 tbsp lukewarm water
  • 1 large tomato, rinsed and sliced thin
  • sprinkling of garlic salt and black pepper
  • large handful of fresh basil, rinsed
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Mix 1 cup of water with yeast, salt, sugar and lukewarm water. Gradually add the second cup of flour until a dough ball forms.
  3. Knead dough ball on clean surface for 3-5 minutes
  4. Put dough ball back in mixing bowl and cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Let dough rest and rise for 15 minutes
  5. While dough is rising, slice tomato and season with garlic salt and black pepper. Set aside until ready to assemble pizza.
  6. Spread dough on greased pizza stone or pan and poke with a fork in order to avoid large bubbles in the finished pizza.
  7. Rub down the “face-up” side of dough with olive oil and bake for 8-10 minutes. Be careful because you will be baking it again after you put on your toppings so you don’t want it too crisp right away.
  8. Remove from oven and assemble your toppings.
  9. Bake for an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.
  10. Slice and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

**Original pizza dough recipe can be found at http://www.food.com

One Pan Chicken and Veggie Bake – ★★★★★

ImageI love “one pan” recipes. I’m a messy cook so dirtying only a single pan is a huge deal for me. This dish is simple and packs a lot of flavor. I added a few things to the original recipe I found on pintrest so if you are interested in seeing the original you can find that here: http://www.highheelsandgrills.com/2013/09/green-beans-chicken-and-potatoes-one.html

There were a ton of comments on the original recipe that were about “busts”, but that is because they didn’t use fresh green beans and tried to substitute with weird watery stuff. Please try to stick to these recipes as best as you can because, seriously, this is an incredibly delicious dish. Also, the photo above was taken before the dish was cooked. Your chicken and veggies should not be raw when all is said and done 🙂  Perry gave 5 stars and here is why

“I walked into our apartment and the smell was so savory I couldn’t wait to dig in. Everything about this dish was great. The chicken was zesty and cheesy, the potatoes were perfectly soft and seasoned, and the green beans had nice browned edges that practically melted in your mouth. I’m ready to have this for dinner again very soon.” 

Serves: 5          Calories: 375/serving          Time: 15 prep time – 1 hour cook time

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz fresh green beans, rinsed and trimmed
  • 1 lb chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 lb baby red potatoes, quartered
  • 1 zesty Italian salad dressing seasoing packet
  • 1/2 cup of butter, split into about 12 small pads
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, to sprinkle on chicken

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Prep green beans, chicken and potatoes, and toss each with a small sprinkling of italian seasoning (don’t use all of it just a little bit)
  3. Lay the prepped green beans, chicken and potatoes in a 9×13 baking dish with chicken in the middle (as pictured above) 
  4. Place the butter pads all over the dish and sprinkle the rest of the italian seasoning packet over the dish as well.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste
  6. Bake for 1 hour, then remove and sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the chicken. Cover with foil and bake for an additional 3 minutes or until cheese is melted/bubbly. 
  7. Serve and enjoy!

*Original recipe belongs to http://www.highheelsandgrills.com

*Photo is an original belonging to me