Posts Tagged ‘pasta’

Besides all the baking and hosting dinner parties, this time of year is also associated with colds and the “sniffles”.  So every good wife spouse should have a good chicken soup up their sleeve, right?  Well, here’s mine.  It is a south-american style soup, in keeping with the one my mom always used to still makes us to this day.  It’s easy, usually using the ingredients I have on hand, and my husband loves it and requests it now every time he’s sick.  Of course, ladies, you can probably identify with this scenario:  men tend to milk their sick days for everything they’re worth!  But I guess it’s ok to take extra good care of them once in a while, right?  😉

2 lbs of chicken parts (sometimes I use drumsticks or thighs… even used chicken necks)
1 yellow or Spanish onion, chopped
2-3 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 sticks of celery, diced
½ cup of lentils
½ cup brown rice
½ cup pearled barley
2/3 cup of diced potatoes
½ cup small pasta, like ditalini or orzo
salt & pepper to season
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp of cumin
1 tsp of paprika
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
chopped parsley for garnish


Sautee onions, celery, and carrots in a heavy bottomed soup pot with the warm olive oil.  Allow onions and vegetables to soften at med-high heat.  The onions will become translucent.  Now add your chicken, skin side down.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Allow the chicken to brown on both sides. 

I used chicken necks- only about $1 and change and they flavor the broth really well.







Once browned, add about 10 cups of water, or about 2/3 of the way up on your pot.  Stir and scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen and tidbits.  Season your water with a little salt, pepper, and your cumin, paprika, bay leaves, and rosemary sprigs. 







Once water has come to a boil, add your grains and potatoes (except pasta) and reduce the heat to medium and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes or until the grains are cooked and your potatoes are tender.  




 Remove your chicken, remove the skins, and with a fork shred or chunk it and then add it back to your pot.  Discard the skin and bones.  Also, fish out the rosemary stems (if the leaves have fallen off, that is ok) and bay leaves.  With a large spoon skim as much of the fat that has floated to the top and collected along the sides of your pot. 

 Now add the pasta to your pot, and allow to simmer for another 10 minutes. 







Check for seasonings at this point and adjust to your taste.  Jeremy says this bowl nurtures a sick kid back to life!  It is definitely a heartier, thicker chicken noodle than normal, but with all the good-for-you grains and veggies in there, you will certainly get a boost of vitamins.   Feel better soon!


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So things are getting back to normal in our house.  After 4 or 5 loads of laundry, plenty of dishes, vacuuming, a strict potty regiment (trying to get Lucas into cloth underwear fulltime, this means no accidents please!), vacuuming, and grocery shopping a good bit of that food creativity was drained a bit. But no worries!  Good thing I have a plethora of tried and tested recipes that I love!  And since my dad (yes, again, my dear father has bestowed on us some more goods) 😉 sent me home with a huge NY Strip left over from yesterday’s barbecue, I thought of the perfect way to use it: a Penne with Beef and Arugula recipe.  Again, this one is a Giada recipe, and who can blame me??  She is a cute italian chef who maintains her figure and lightens up her dishes so you don’t have to unbutton your pants when you’re finished with your pasta!  Not to mention, I don’t think any of the dishes I’ve made from any of her books are just “okay”.  Plus this recipe has arugula in it.  And I don’t need too many excuses to use that it my dishes.  If you haven’t cooked with arugula yet, please let me encourage you to do it.  This peppery slightly lemony green is just bursting with flavor and is just as delicious raw in a salad, as it is warm, served in pasta, or just used as a simple bed to place grilled steak over.  Let’s be done with boring iceberg lettuce and move on to the amazing greens God has given us to eat!  Not that God didn’t create iceberg lettuce.. but for you Florida folks, it is 2 for $5 this week at Publix, and Barilla pasta is buy one get one free.  So this is the perfect week to try this recipe!

Penne with Beef and Arugula


1 (1 lb) NY strip steak
1 tsp herbs de provence (if you don’t have this mix your favorite dry herbs, like oregano, rosemary, etc)
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 tbsp
1 lb penne pasta ( i used 13 oz of Barilla Whole Grain pasta)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt, plus more for steak and pasta water
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (ran out so I used a lesser amount of dried basil)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 cups chopped arugula


Season the steak with salt and freshly ground pepper, herbs de Provence, and minced garlic.  In a skilled, heat 3 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat.  Cook steak for about 7 minutes on each side.  Remove the meat from pan and let it rest for 5 minutes.  Thinly slice  the steak.  Set aside.













Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the pasta and cook until tender, but still firm to the bite (al dente), stirring occasionally, about 8-10 minutes.  Drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water.

In a small bowl whisk together the balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, fresh herbs and 3/4 cup olive oil. 













In a large bowl toss the pasta with half of the salad dressing and the reserved pasta water. 



















Add the arugula and steak, more dressing (if needed), and season with salt and pepper, as needed.  Toss and serve. 

This is the perfect picnic/date food, by-the-way.

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Hello after a long weekend!  Tonight was my uncle’s last night with us before returning to Spain.  So of course, we had to have a big dinner to wish him a bon voyage.  But my mom was too tired to cook, and my grandmother had her chemotherapy today and wasn’t feeling up to it, so… Super-Pamela to the rescue!  Haha.. no, I offered mostly because it’s nice to cook when grandma will watch Lucas for me, so I can “just cook”.  I love it, it really is like a therapy to me.  So for tonight, in keeping with our fall theme, we have a Rigatoni with Squash and Prawns.  Well, it’s more like Rigatoni with Squash and Shrimp, since we had regular jumbo shrimp on hand.  This is a recipe I cannot take credit for; it was created by a chef I really love for healthful Italian cuisine, Giada de Laurentiis.  Here is the recipe with a few adjustments:

Rigatoni with Squash and Shrimp

3 tbsp olive oil, plus 3 tbsp
1 pound butternut squash, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/2 teaspoon
1 cup chicken stock or broth
1 pound rigatoni
1 pound large or jumbo shrimp
3/4 to 1 cup 2% or whole milk
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan


Warm 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butternut squash, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Saute until the squash is golden and tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the chicken stock, bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the squash is very soft, another 5 to 7 minutes.

Transfer the squash mixture to a blender or food processor and puree. *You can actually add some of your milk at this point, rather than all of it later, if you need some liquid to better puree your squash.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.

Meanwhile, warm the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the shrimp with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook until just pink, about 3 minutes.

In a large pot over low heat combine the cooked pasta, pureed squash mixture, and 3/4 cup milk. Stir to combine. Add the remaining 1/4 cup milk if the sauce needs to be moistened.

Add the cooked shrimp, basil, and cheese. Stir until warm and serve.   Top with a little extra parmesan and basil.

Results:  An incredibly healthy and delicious dish!  The sauce is so creamy, and you actually feel like you’re eating something bad for you, but it’s not!  The combination of the sweet butternut squash with the bite of the pepper in the sauce as well as in the shrimp, along with the saltiness of the parmesan cheese is just delightful!  I doubled my recipe to feed my family of seven plus a toddler.  I got great reviews! 

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