Where has December gone?! We’ve had a busy couple of weeks to start the month. Got back from our Bahamas Thanksgiving vacation with my family, worked a few days and then flew to Florida for Matt’s cousin’s wedding the first weekend of the month. Last week was really busy in general, we had something every night of the week. But this past weekend was a perfect mix of just what we needed. A few parties, the wreath laying at Arlington Cemetery, hanging out time, a fun run, and just a bunch quality time with several friends. Like I said, just what we needed.
Last week was so busy we didn’t have much time to try new recipes, but we did remake this one when we had some friends over for dinner on Thursday. I re-read the blog post from when we first tried it, “It did not disappoint, we will definitely be having this again!” It may have taken almost a year and a half to get back to it, but man was it good! We’ll still be making it again…hopefully before another year and a half pass.
Tonight we picked up a new recipe and boy was is good! It only takes about 30 min to cook and just hit the spot – One pan chicken and broccoli alfredo. ONE PAN. Which means cleaning up isn’t awful either. When I say one pan I’m specifically referring to this pan. It is absolutely amazing. Matt’s aunt gave it to us as a wedding gift, saying we’d use it all the time and she was not kidding!
One Pan Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo (adapted from here)
- 3 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1¼ pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 14 oz can of low sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- ½ a pound of penne pasta, or any bite-sized shape pasta, uncooked
- 2 cups of freshly shredded real parmesan cheese
- 2 crowns of broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
- Salt and pepper
- Flat leaf parsley for garnish
- Start by cutting chicken breasts into 1 inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
- Brown chicken in olive oil over medium high heat, it does not need to be cooked through at this point, it will continue cooking as it simmers.
- Once chicken is browned, add minced garlic and saute for about one minute.
- Add chicken broth, cream, and uncooked pasta to pan and stir.
- Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer.
- Simmer for 15 minutes, until pasta is almost cooked through.
- While the dish continues to simmer, stir in shredded parmesan cheese until melted and completely mixed. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add broccoli to the dish and cook 3-5 additional minutes
- Served topped with fresh minced parsley leaves, if desired.
A week in town means time for cooking! I printed this recipe forever ago and never got around to trying it, which really is a shame. It was pretty quick to make, a good weeknight pick. Enjoy!
Creamy Spinach Tomato Tortellini (recipe from here)
- 1 bag regular sized Barilla three cheese tortellini (8 oz) or 16 oz fresh tortellini in the refrigerated section of your grocery store
- 2-3 cups fresh spinach
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 cloves minced garlic
- 3/4 cup fresh diced onion
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups half-and-half (we used fat free)
- 1/2+ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Begin by boiling your tortellini noodles until they are al dente (aka ready). Follow the directions on the bag for boiling time.
- While the tortellini is boiling, chop the spinach roughly.
- Heat a large skillet using medium heat and put the about 1 Tbsp olive oil and the minced garlic and diced onion into it. Sautee it briefly until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add into the skillet the petite diced tomatoes (undrained), spinach, salt, pepper, dried basil, and onion flakes.
- Cook and stir over medium high heat until the mixture begins to bubble.
- In another bowl, combine the flour and half-and-half. Whisk until fairly smooth.
- Add the creamy mixture into the the skillet along with the parmesan cheese.
- Heat through and reduce the heat to medium low and continue to stir and cook until it thickens, about 5 minutes.
- Add the drained tortellini and mix together gently.
- Serve and enjoy!
Life update – I started the new position at work this week. Right now I’m doing more training and learning and it’s really great. I also travelled to New York (near Westchester) today for a presentation about Investing. Every day this week I’ve had a ‘pinch me, this is now my job!’ moment. It’s great. There are some obstacles to overcome, like the fact that the new office is very different from the old one and I can’t even figure out how to print stuff right now. But the fact that I can walk outside of this office and be in downtown DC, and walk home from work outweigh that. I did walk home from work on Monday. It’s like 3.5 miles, but I’m in a step challenge and needed the steps. It gets dark really early these days…
This new recipe is another quick and easy one. Since I flew to and from New York today I needed something quick to make when I got home. It’s pretty good, and since it’s quick and doesn’t require a ton of ingredients, we’ll be adding it to our rotation for sure.
Fettuccine with Sausage & Kale
- 1 pound fettuccine
- 1 pound spicy Italian sausage*, removed from casing
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 large bunch kale, trimmed and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan, plus extra for topping
- In large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta until al dente; drain.
- In large skillet, cook sausage over medium-low until browned, about 7 minutes. Drain fat if desired.
- Add 1/2 cup water and cream; simmer until reduced by half, about 7 minutes. Add 1-2 Tbsp olive oil if you drained the sausage fat. If you didn’t drain the fat, no olive oil should be needed. Add cheese and mix until melted. If it doesn’t seem very sauce-like add a little more oil and parmesan.
- Add kale; toss until wilted.
- Remove from heat; toss with pasta.
- Sprinkle with parmesan and enjoy.
*Make sure you use spicy Italian Sausage, even if you don’t think you like spicy things. It give the dish a majority of its flavor. Also, it’s not that spicy once the dish all comes together, and my tolerance for spice is very low!
Another week has passed! Busy season is going surprisingly well so far, but there are still almost 7 weeks left until October 15 so I’m sure I’ll be eating those words in a week or two. Still working overtime, but not as much as I’ve historically been slaving away at this time of year so that’s a big win!
This week was the last week of the Financial Peace class I’ve been helping out with at church. Gosh that stuff was so good. People can hate on Dave Ramsey all they want, and while I will admit that I don’t agree with everything he says (and that’s okay!), I will say that the man is changing lives. And if more people could get into this and follow the principles he teaches, this world would be a different place. It’s funny how big of a difference having a written budget makes! It sounds so simple, but that’s really at the heart of this. I think people hear the word budget and think they’re only for people who are poor or living paycheck to paycheck, but it’s for everyone! It is AMAZING how much money we’ve “found” since starting to just actually keep a budget. I could go on forever. If you want to know more about that stuff, ask me some time. But be warned that apparently I get really excited and talk really loud when I get going about it (Matt shhh-ed me a few times while I was on the phone talking to mom today). I’m really excited to see where this stuff takes us. We’re probably going to be coordinating another one in the new year, it’s going to be great!
Another two quick, easy, and few ingredient recipes for you this week! Both were absolutely delicious, easy, healthy, and will be made again (probably in the next 6 weeks…). The bowties are the PERFECT mix of lemon, garlic, cheese, and deliciousness. And the stir fry I was definitely skeptical about, but ended up being very pleasantly surprised with how good it was. That lime did a lot for it. Thanks, Rachel Ray.
Gremolata Bowties (recipe from here)
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound bowtie pasta (aka farfalle)
- 1 cup peas
- 1 cup grated pecorino
- 1/2 cup minced parsley
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest, plus 2 tbsp. juice
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- Cook pasta according to directions, reserving ¾ cup of the pasta water.
- In skillet, cook chicken in oil over high, stirring, until cooked through; season.
- Stir in remaining ingredients to warm; season.
*Note that peas are not pictured in the pasta below because someone conveniently “forgot” to get them….
Spicy Shrimp Stir Fry (recipe from here)
- 1 14 ounce bag coleslaw mix
- 4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 lime (1 tsp. zest and 1 tbsp. juice)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons sriracha
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- Optional: thin sliced bell peppers
- In a large skillet, cook coleslaw (and peppers, if desired) in 2 tbsp. oil over medium-high, stirring, 2 minutes; season.
- Stir in lime zest and juice; divide among plates.
- In same skillet, simmer remaining oil, sriracha and 2 tbsp. water over medium-high, 1 minute.
- Add shrimp; cook, stirring, until opaque in center, about 3 minutes; season.
- Top plates with shrimp and sauce and enjoy.
I hope everyone had a great weekend! Busy season has officially started so I worked a bit on Saturday. Not too much, but enough to feel caught up and good going into my Monday. And not enough to make me hate busy season yet 🙂
Despite busy season starting, we made time for some fun! Friday night our friend Katie had extra (free!) tickets to the Nats game so we went to that after work. And they just called someone up from the chiefs so we got to see him in his first at bat. Kid can run super fast! Saturday I went to a movie after working and then James came over and hung out with us later. Sunday I was with the preschoolers at church and boy are those kids still adorable! We got some things done during the day after church and then headed to our friend’s house to celebrate our friend Chris’ birthday! It was so much fun to have everyone together, and we got to use our cornhole boards (finally!). It’s so fun to look back at how our community here has grown over the past two years, and even though some people will be moving away this year, we still have some good ones sticking around 🙂
Last week we finished off our weeknight dinners with this last quick and easy one for Thursday’s dinner. Lemon in my dinner in the summer just really hits the spot (we had another dish with lemon in it tonight for dinner…recipe coming soon).
Lemon and Spinach Orzotto
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 shallots, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1½ cups orzo
- ½ cup white wine
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until translucent and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more.
- Add the orzo and stir to combine with the shallots and garlic. Add the white wine and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine has been mostly absorbed into the pasta, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the broth gradually, about 1 cup at a time. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and cook until the orzo has absorbed the broth before stirring in the next cup. Continue until the orzo is completely tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Stir in the spinach and let it wilt in the warm orzo. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, butter and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
*We topped ours with grilled chicken for some added protein
Note: To reheat leftovers, add a little broth or water and microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, pausing to stir once or twice.