A Chicken in Every Crockpot!

Karen's Kitchen Adventures

Fettuccine with Baby Spinach, Herbs and Ricotta April 20, 2011

Filed under: pasta — frappqueen @ 8:31 pm
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This one comes from the April edition of Cooking Light magazine. It’s super easy to make and really delicious! Make sure you use fresh herbs though, its what really makes the dish seem so light and delicate! The recipe calls for you to use really thick ribbony pasta called Pappardelle, but I couldn’t find it anywhere, so fettuccine works just as well. If you really want the pappardelle you can try an Italian Specialty shop.

Fettuccine with Baby Spinach

8 ounces uncooked pappardelle (wide ribbon pasta)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/3 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
3 cups baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
3 tablespoons grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


Cook pasta with 1 tablespoon kosher salt according to package directions, omitting additional fat. Drain in a colander over a bowl, and reserve 1 cup cooking liquid.
Combine 1/2 cup reserved hot cooking liquid and ricotta cheese in a food processor or blender, and process until well blended.

Combine hot pasta, cheese mixture, spinach, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl; toss gently to coat. Add additional cooking liquid to moisten, if needed.

This recipe super rocks because it takes like 10 minutes to make, and there is barely any prep!


Vegetable Lo Mein* November 2, 2010

Filed under: eat your vegetables,pasta — frappqueen @ 1:01 pm
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This recipe had a decent amount of chopping and prep, but if you have a lovely helper (such as my dear husband), it goes by pretty quick! This is actually from an episode of Giada at Home or whatever her new show is called, in which she makes Chinese food for her family instead of Italian! crazy! I have to say, its really really good, you don’t miss the meat at all, and the sauce is so good I could have just had a bowl of that! Give it a try when you have a little extra time to make dinner!

Giada’s Vegetable Lo Mein

8 ounces Chinese long beans or green beans, cut into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces to yield about 2 cups
2 large carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut into matchstick-size pieces (ahem, bought the pre-prepped bag!)
*8 ounces fresh or dried chow mein noodles (Giada is crazy, she means LO MEIN NOODLES, chow mein noodles are not spagetti-like)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 large shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 (8-ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup hoisin sauce**
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 green onions, thinly sliced
*Can be found at specialty Asian markets though I got mine at Stop and Shop!


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the beans and carrots and cook for 1 minute. Drain and put in a bowl of iced water until cool, about 1 minute. Drain and set aside.

Return the water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Pat dry and set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Add the noodles, ginger and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes until the noodles are lightly browned. Add the mushrooms, beans, carrots, and water chestnuts and cook for 3 minutes. Add the broth, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and honey. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir until slightly reduced and thick, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the green onions to stir and serve with crispy Chinese noodles if you have them!

*Note: Giada actually calls this recipe Vegetable Chow Mein. But uh, Chow Mein doesn’t involve noodles. Its more like vegetables and sauce, that’s it. The only noodles that resemble what she wants are Lo Mein, so that’s what I call it! Maybe its different in actual Asian locations, but in America, its definitely not Chow Mein!


Fresh roasted tomato Sauce September 13, 2010

Filed under: eat your vegetables,pasta — frappqueen @ 6:44 pm
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This is a nice one when you have lots of tomatoes from your thriving garden and want to eliminate them in an easy and tasty way. Or, if you are like me and kill any plant you lay your hands on, you can just buy some nice grape or cherry tomatoes from the store and make it anyway!

Fresh Roasted Tomato Sauce

about a pint of cherry or grape tomatoes (or more if you have a crowd- a pint made enough for two plus leftovers)

salt and pepper

olive oil (like 3 tbsp)

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

fresh parmesan cheese for grating over the top

fresh basil, torn (about 2 tbsp)


Preheat oven to 450. While it is heating, make spagetti or whatever pasta makes you happy on the stovetop. When it is cooked, save about a cup of the pasta water when you drain it. Don’t be like me and dump it all out and THEN remember the pasta water. That stuff isn’t coming back!!

Spread tomatoes out on a baking dish that has sides…those glass ones are nice. Drizzle with the olive oil, and add salt and pepper rather liberally. Swish tray around to coat evenly. Bake the tomatoes in the oven until they start to shrivel and burst open. This will take around 10 minutes, or a little more.

After straining the pasta (andĀ  saving that water!) Combine the pasta with the tomatoes and any drippings into a bowl (you can add a little bit of pasta water to the pan to collect more drippings if you feel you are missing out during the initial pour). Add in an extra tbsp or two of olive oil, plus the vinegar, basil and half of the cooking water. Toss and coat the pasta, making a very light sauce. If it is too dry, add the remaining pasta water. Sprinkle with cheese and toss again. Add some salt and pepper if it needs it.

Serve with extra cheese, because you can never have enough of that…and also some garlic bread. It makes it extra perfect in my opinion. Enjoy!


Mediterranean Orzo Salad with Feta Vinaigrette August 31, 2010

Filed under: side dishes — frappqueen @ 7:43 am
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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!


Stovetop Tex-Mex Mac and Cheese (with toasted cornbread crumbs!) January 30, 2010

Filed under: one dish,pasta — frappqueen @ 1:14 pm
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It’s always fun to try a twist on a classic: Mac and cheese is such a yummy dish, and really quite easy to make when you get over your fear of making a cheese sauce. It’s just a lot of stirring, don’t worry! Anyway, Mike got me this Robin Miller Rescues Dinner cookbook out from the library, and snuck in this photocopy when I picked out ones to try. I’m glad he did, it was delicious! Not spicy at all, but not too mild, the breadcrumbs are really what make it pop, so don’t skip them!

terrible picture but really delicious!I apologize for the pictures, I really do need to work on my food photography skills, or at least to get a decent light to take pictures with!! Also, I drowned my food in breadcrumbs so uh, you can’t see too much up there!! Oh well, despite it’s unexciting photo, it really is awesome!!

Stovetop tex-mex Mac and Cheese (courtesy of Robin Miller)

12 ounces elbow macaroni (you will think this isn’t enough as it is cooking, but it IS so don’t add more!)

2 cups crumbled cornbread or corn muffins (I was thrifty! Got a package of muffins and froze half for next time I made fake thanksgiving dinner, its great for stuffing!)

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups milk

3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese or Pepper Jack (NOTE: I didn’t realize: one of those prepackaged bags is only TWO cups, and if you don’t have enough cheese it will be too watery of a sauce, so buy TWO BAGS….luckily we had some taco cheese in the fridge so I added a cup of that; it was great!)

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 cup diced roasted red peppers (you know, you get em in a jar)

1 4 oz can drained diced green chiles

salt and pepper to taste


Cook the macaroni according to the directions on the box, drain and set aside.

Put the cornbread in a large DRY skillet and set the pan over medium-high heat. Cook, shaking and stirring the pan frequently to prevent burning, for about five minutes. When the cornbread crumbs are lightly browned and toasty, take off the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about a minute or two, until it is smooth and slightly brown. Whisk in the milk, cheese and cumin and cook until the cheeseĀ  melts. You will need to stir it consistently for the first few minutes or else you’ll have lumpy cheese sauce! Once the sauce is smooth and thick enough, remove from the heat. Stir in the macaroni, red peppers, green chiles and season with salt and pepper.

Spoon the mac and cheese into shallow bowls and top with some toasted cornbread crumbs. Eat and be thrilled; it’s just THAT good!