A Chicken in Every Crockpot!

Karen's Kitchen Adventures

Tortellini Pasta Salad October 30, 2010

Filed under: pasta,side dishes — frappqueen @ 7:27 am
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Well folks, I’m down to the wire: this baby is coming to stay sometime in the next 2 1/2 weeks! (Unless she is late of course), and I just started Maternity leave today! (Okay, I know it is Saturday so I guess it really starts on Monday, but still!) I have horrible sciatica and can barely walk at the morning, so that means I can finally sit down and update this blog with lots more backlogged recipes, hooray!

Today I give you a lovely summer salad, even though its um, almost November. Really though, I just love pasta salad. I can eat it all year round, and I love that you make it for dinner, pack some for lunch the next day, and it tastes even better then as the flavors had time to mix about and be even more awesome! You can’t go wrong with pasta salad. Ever!

I forget where this came from, and I do feel badly about that. I know it came form some blog or something, but at the time I had just cut and pasted the recipe to word and printed it out for some reason so I can’t attribute it to anyone. If it is yours, please let me know!

Tortellini Pasta Salad

1 lb of your favorite tortellini (I used fresh four cheese)

1 c. grape tomatoes, halved

5 carrots, sliced thin (Or be lazy like me and buy a bag of the matchbook diced ones and use like a cup!)

1/4 c of your favorite olives (I like mine cute into bite sized rings)

8 oz fresh mozzarella balls (Or do diced regular mozzarella or shredded if you can’t have the fresh, thats what I did)

1 c. olive oil

1/2 tsp whole fresh thyme (can always sub. dried)

1 tbsp minced garlic

2 lemons, zested

1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tsp. dijon mustard

2 tbsp champagne or white wine vinegar  (I had white wine so used that)

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

grated parmesan for the top


Cook pasta according to directions, drain..

Meanwhile, add tomatoes, carrots, cheese and olives to a large bowl and combine with the pasta when it is ready.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan and add the thyme, garlic and lemon zest. Cook over low heat for 1 minute. Off the heat add the lemon juice, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour the hot vinaigrette over the pasta and enjoy!!


Chicken with Champagne Risotto and Asparagus September 24, 2010

Filed under: poultry,side dishes,Uncategorized — frappqueen @ 7:25 pm
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This one was really very delicious! The champagne in the risotto was a nice kick, though to be honest, I didn’t taste too much of a difference from using wine when it comes down to it. So, if you have champagne at home, by all means, use it. But if you don’t, I don’t really think you need to go run out and buy some to make this recipe either! White wine is great too.

Oh, one more thing. This came from the Rachel Ray magazine website I think, and the original called for a lemon cream sauce to put over the chicken. Well, I don’t know if it is because I tried to be health conscious and used fat free half and half instead or what, but the sauce was watery and NASTY. We didn’t use it, and the recipe was still great! So, I left it out in my directions below. If you are intrigued by the sauce, look it up on the website!

Chicken with Champagne Risotto and Asparagus

3 cups chicken broth
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup arborio rice
Salt and pepper
1 split champagne or sparkling wine
poultry seasoning (about a tablespoon or so)
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/8 pound sliced pancetta, chopped
1 small bunch asparagus, cut on an angle into 1-inch pieces
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
3 to 4 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped and chopped

lemon juice (optional)


In a medium saucepan, heat the chicken broth over low heat. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the rice and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the champagne and boil to evaporate slightly, about 2 minutes.

Stir a couple of ladlefuls of warm chicken broth into the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates. Add more broth, a few ladlefuls at a time, reserving 1/2 cup. Cook until creamy, stirring occasionally, about 18 minutes.

Meanwhile, season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. In a nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for about 6 minutes on each side. Transfer to a cutting board (reserving the skillet); add the reserved 1/2 cup chicken broth to the pan juices in the skillet and stir. Stir this liquid into the risotto as it cooks.

In the nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the asparagus and shallot and cook, stirring, for 3 more minutes.

To serve, stir the cheese and thyme into the risotto and spoon generous portions onto plates. Slice the chicken breasts on an angle and fan out over the risotto. Pour the lemon juice over the asparagus and toss; spoon around the risotto.


Mediterranean Orzo Salad with Feta Vinaigrette August 31, 2010

Filed under: side dishes — frappqueen @ 7:43 am
Tags: , ,

This one is reallyl good, and it is made with orzo, which is kind of like tiny pasta in the shape of rice. It is super delicious! Mike and I liked it because it was really easy to make and had a nice greek kind of pasta salad feel. It’s excellent on a hot summer day, or as a side to maybe a nice marinated chicken or lamb dish.

I ate half of it before I realized I hadn’t photographed it yet, whoops!

Mediterranean Orzo Salad with Feta Vinaigrette*

1 c. uncooked orzo (rice shaped pasta)

2 c. bagged prewashed baby spinach, chopped

1/2 c. chopped, drained oil packed sun dried tomatoes, halved

3 tbsp chopped red onion (I used half an onion)

3 tbsp chopped pitted kalamata olives (I think I cheated and used a can of olive rings)

1/2 tsp fresh black pepper

1/4 tsp salt

1 6 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, undrained

1/4 c. feta cheese, crumbled and divided


Cook the orzo according to the package directions, drain. Rinse with cold water. Combine with the spinach and next five ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl.

Drain artichokes, but RESERVE the marinade. Coarsely chop the artichokes and add them, as well as the marinade and 1/2 c. of the feta cheese to the orzo mixture, tossing gently to coat. Top with remaining feta cheese.

*from Cooking Light

Note: If you HATE artichokes, you might get a similar result if you just mix a bit of greek salad dressing into the orzo mixture. Artichokes are good though, and their marinade is awesome! Give em a try!


Garlic Dill Fries!! June 12, 2010

Filed under: eat your vegetables,side dishes — frappqueen @ 7:35 pm

These are SO good and So simple, we ate them three times in one week! Using store-bought frozen fries, it seriously takes only the time to heat the fries in the oven to enjoy this awesome side dish. Great with chicken or steak, or even as a snack! Give ’em a try!

Garlic Dill Fries

frozen thin cut french fries (however much you want to make)

4 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons of FRESH dill, chopped finely

1 garlic clove, minced

salt and pepper


Cook fries in the oven as per instructions on the bag. Meanwhile, get the butter going!

Mix the remaining ingredients into a bowl and then microwave til the butter melts, about 30 seconds.

When the fries are crispy, remove from the oven and put in large bowl. Add the melted butter mixture and toss to coat the fries.

Serve them just as they are, crispy and covered in garlic dill butter. YUM!


Beef Tenderloin a La Larsen February 14, 2010

Filed under: eat your vegetables,meat,side dishes,Uncategorized — frappqueen @ 8:12 pm
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Happy Valentine’s Day! Now, don’t get upset here, I personally have  hated and always will hate this stupid holiday. Just another way stores want to sell you stuff and force you to be nice to people or make you feel terrible if you are valentine-less. I think that just isn’t right. If you love someone you should be telling them every day! However, I suppose that 4 (almost!) years of marriage has softened me in my old age and in the past few years I have slowly allowed Mike to celebrate the day just a little bit. This year he got me really pretty flowers, awesome Pjs, and best of all: He cleaned the house! Hooray! In return, I got him two video games and made delicious dinner! This is a super fancy but super easy recipe from our friend Jen. She has made it for lots of fancy holidays, and generally does it with a whole giant beef tenderloin, which is apparently the part of the cow that  filet minion comes from. When I asked my butcher (I dont really have a butcher personally, but I ventured into a meat store the other day so I guess he’s mine now!) he gave me three individual filets, so I guess it depends on who slices your meat. Either way, it just involves a bit of prep work and an instant read thermometer to get it right.

how romantic!

As you can see, I did make surf and turf for myself! Mike hates fish of any kind, but I figured it was a good chance to treat myself tonight, so I got a super score sale on lobster tail at the grocery store: 5 bucks!! Considering the fish store wanted 23 bucks for a frozen one, this made me quite pleased with my thriftiness. The total menu was this: Rosemary beef tenderloin, lobster tail with chive butter sauce, roasted asparagus and roasted oniony potatoes! The entire meal pretty much just roasts in the oven for 20 minutes, it can’t be simpler!

Anyway, on to the recipes!! Get a pen, you’re gonna want notes on these guys!

Garlic and Rosemary Beef Tenderloin

1/2 c. soy sauce

1/2 c. olive oil

1/4 v. balsamic OR red wine vinegar (I used balsamic, I think Jen usually does the red wine)

8 garlic cloves, minced

4 tspns dried rosemary

1 5 lb beef tenderloin, trimmed (or enough for who you’re feeding…for the two of us I got three steaks, it was too much food!)

1 tbsp  pepper


Combine the first five ingredients in a heavy duty zip top bag. Add beef. Seal and chill at least 8 hours, turning occasionally.

Remove beef from marinade, discarding bag and extra marinade. Place in a roasting pan or shallow dish. Sprinkle evenly with pepper and let stand 30 minutes.

Bake at 500 degrees for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned (I did mine for 10 as I had less meat). Lower temperature to 375. Bake 20 minutes or to desired degree of doneness. Use a thermometer to check temperature, 160 is perfect for  medium meat. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing. YUM.

Buttery Chive Lobster Tail

4 tbs butter

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tbsp chives

lobster tail, butterflied (cut the shell vertically and scoop the meat out so it sort of rests on top)


Melt all ingredients in a small pot. Reserve 1/4 of the mixture for dipping. Preheat a grill pan and spray with cooking spray. Pour the remaining butter mixture over the tail meat. Place tail meat side down into the hot pan. Cover with a lid and let cook, about 6 minutes. Flip lobster over and cook, covered, for another 5 minutes or so, until the tail is bright red and the meat is no longer translucent. Remove from heat and enjoy, dipping into the remaining butter sauce. SO GOOD!

Roasted Potatoes

1/2 lb baby red potatoes, cleaned and quartered with skins on

1-2 tsp olive oil

1 packet Lipton onion soup mix

Preheat oven to 450 (If you are making it with the tenderloin, you can put it in at 500 with the meat and just make sure you stir it up when you lower the oven to 375)

mix ingredients together and pour into a shallow baking dish. Roast for about 20 minutes to a half hour, until the potatoes are crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside.

Roasted Asparagus

At the same temperature as above, place asparagus, trimmed of the ends in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and top with salt and pepper. Give the pan a shake to coat the asparagus evenly. Roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes, depending how hot the oven is. Give a shake when you check on the asparagus to keep it cooking evenly. When the veggies are toasty looking and bright green, they are ready to eat! Remove and cover with foil til the remaining foods catch up with the cooking!

I over roasted mine (whoops!) but really, they still taste awesome, they just look a tad shrivelly.

Once you’re done eating, top it off with a McDonald’s hot fudge sundae and some Buffy watching in your Pjs. Perfect date all around!!