Do you have those go-to recipes in your head that you can just make with your eyes closed? You know that pinch of this and a dash of that are the perfect measurements, no need for measuring cups or recipe cards. That’s my chili recipe — honed over the years to be both classic and at the same time totally unique to me. For example, I alway do half beef, half ground turkey — you still get the flavor of the beef but it cuts down on fat; I also feel strongly that all chili should be made with tasty golden kernels of corn (fire roasted is the way to go!) and simmered for hours in a sturdy cast iron dutch oven (I love our Martha Stewart one.). And my secret ingredient — a trick my dad taught me as a kid — is to add a can of baked beans into the mixture for a little punch of sweetness to balance out the spice.  A  few weeks back my sister pointed out that even though I make this 2x a month all winter long, I never posted about it before on the blog. So here it is, finally written in stone for her to use (and hopefully you too!). Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset read more

This weekend I was in major need of some comfort after a long string of holiday parties and maybe a few too many glasses of champagne (shh!).  My usual go-to comfort food is a bowl of pasta, but I decided to mix it up this time and try a savory chicken dish with a creamy sun-dried tomato sauce, lots of sautéed mushrooms and shallots, and a little crispy bacon and goat cheese just to amp up the richness. Full recipe below if you’re in need of comfort food too!
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Ingredients:

  • 3-4 large chicken breasts
  • 2 large Portobello mushroom caps
  • 2 small shallots
  • 2-3 slices of thick cut bacon
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil (reserve oil)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup of light cream
  • 1 tbsp of goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan, plus extra for garnishing
  • 2 sprigs of fresh tarragon
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

  • Heat a large cast iron skillet on high and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and brown in the hot pan on both sides.
  • While the chicken is browning, roughly chop mushrooms, shallots, bacon and sun-dried tomatoes; mince garlic.
  • Remove chicken from pan when cooked through,  add 1/2 tbsp of the sun-dried tomato oils  and 1 tbsp of butter to the pan, then toss mushrooms, shallots, bacon, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes and sauté mixture. (Scrape the pan to loosen any browned bits from the pan).
  • Lower heat to medium and stir in 3/4 cup of light cream, 1 tbsp of goat cheese, and 1/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese; stir continously to break down the cheese and incorporate the tomatoes flavors with the cream.
  • Add the chicken back to the pan while the sauce cooks and thickens.
  • Remove from heat, garnish with fresh parmesan cheese and torn tarragon leaves.
  • Try serving over pasta or a bed of spinach.

After a rather busy week last week, I was so happy to have a lazy Sunday on the books over the weekend. I caught up on blogs and my DVR, lounged around in my cozy new sweatshirt, and got a pot of bolognese cooking for the better part of the afternoon. Making a big pot of tomato sauce just reminds me of being at my Grandma’s house growing up — the smell of the garlic and onions filling up the whole house. I used a recipe from Williams-Sonoma as my guide, but made it my own with a few ingredient swaps.  It totally hit the spot and exceeded my expectations. It’s a recipe that I’ll be adding to my cookbook file for future reference, comfort food at its best!

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I’m not going to lie, I really enjoyed being snowed in this weekend. It was such a great excuse to be lazy, watch movies (saw To Catch a Thief for the first time!), and of course make some delicious comfort food. As part of my ‘get-your-relax-on’ strategy I made one of my favorite indulgent concoctions that  I call ‘fat pasta’ (I’ll let you guess why). It was the perfect splurge for a cold wintry Sunday, yum! Sad to have to leave my house and deal with the aftermath of the storm today, I want my snow day to last for a just a little bit longer. DSC_0008 copyDSC_0025

Fat Pasta.
 
Ingredients
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 1 Box of bowtie pasta
  • 3 Slices of bacon
  • 4 Cloves of garlic
  • Flour
  • 2 Boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Paprika
  • Onion Powder
  • Frozen peas
  • 1 Cup of light cream
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Granulated sugar
  • Salt & Pepper
Instructions
  1. Start a pot of boiling water
  2. Chop 3 slices of bacon into small bits, heat a skillet over medium heat and drizzle EVOO in pan, begin to brown the bacon
  3. Mince 4 cloves of garlic, add to pan
  4. Dredge cubed chicken in flour, season with paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper
  5. Add chicken to skillet and sauté (add EVOO as needed)
  6. Cook pasta as directed -- in the last two minutes of the pasta's cooking time, add in a handful of frozen peas, then drain and set aside
  7. Remove chicken, bacon and garlic mixture from pan and set aside, and melt 2 tbsp of butter in with leftover EVOO
  8. Whisk in 3 tbsp of flour until the mixture begins to thicken
  9. Whisk in 1 cup of light cream, 3 tbsp of parmesan cheese, and ¼ tsp of granulated sugar, continue to whisk until sauce thickens
  10. Stir in pasta and peas, top with chicken, bacon, garlic mixture.
  11. Season with salt and pepper, garnish with more parmesan.