Last week, I was looking through the fridge, trying to figure out what to make with the chicken breasts that I had defrosted. None of the usual suspects sounded good, and then I remembered I has seen a video with a recipe for Cream Cajun pasta. I couldn’t find the video again, so I decided to wing it.
It’s super tasty, quick, and easy.
Creamy Cajun Pasta
- 2 T. AP Flour
- 4 T. Cajun/Creole seasoning, divided
- 2 large chicken breasts, slices in half (or 4 chicken breast tenders)
- 2T. Olive or grapeseed oil, divided
- 2T. butter, divided
- 1 medium onion, chopped (I used a purple onion)
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- 3 celery ribs, diced
- 2 small zucchini or 1 large zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 3 large tomatoes diced, or 1 can (about 15oz) diced tomatoes drained
- 1 1/4 cups chicken stock
- 1T. corn starch
- 1/2 block cream cheese
- 1 cup milk (I used whole milk if you want it extra thick and creamy use heavy cream)
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 lb. package of your choice of pasta, cooked per package instructions, reserve 1/4 cup cooked pasta water.
- Mix flour and 2T of the Cajun seasoning in a shallow dish.
- Coat chicken breasts in flour/spice mixture.
- In a large skillet, heat half the butter and oil. Once the butter is melted, add chicken breasts. Cook for about 5-6 minutes on each side, allowing a light golden crust to form on each side of the breast.
- Once chicken breasts are golden brown on each side, remove from pan and set aside.
- Add remaining butter and oil.
- Saute onions, celery, and bell peppers in oil/butter until the onions are translucent, about 5-10 minutes.
- Add in the tomatoes and cook covered for about 5-10 minutes.
- While tomatoes are cooking mix stock and cornstarch to create a slurry. This mixture will thicken the sauce.
- Once the tomatoes have cooked and broken down, add the stock slurry, milk, and cream cheese. Stir and break down the cream cheese as it melts so there are no lumps. Add in the remaining Cajun Seasoning.
- Add back in the chicken breasts, and add in the zucchini, turn the heat down to low, and cook covered for about 5-10 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender.
- Mix in the remaining cheese, and taste. Add more Cajun Seasoning as desired. We added black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste (about 1 teaspoon each).
- Stir in reserved pasta water, and cooked pasta. Allow the entire dish to cook for about 3-5 minutes.
Serve topped with parmesan cheese if desired. This was an amazing dinner and it was done in less than an hour. I had prepped all the veggies ahead of time. I do about 2 hours worth of meal prep each week, including chopping veggies on Monday afternoons after the CSA box arrives.
- To make this dish gluten-free, use Gluten Free AP flour, and gluten-free pasta.
- To make this dish dairy free, use dairy-free milk, cream cheese, and parm.
- This dish is not vegetarian or vegan.
I saw this on TikTok the other day, and while digging through the cupboard this morning, looking for ingredients for other meal prep stuff, I realized we had all the ingredients.
We had 2 bunches of scallions, and I wasn’t sure what to do with them, thankfully, this recipe is perfect for scallions. I also shelled the basket of peas we had from our CSA box and cut a carrot into matchstick size pieces.
The best part about this recipe is adding more sriracha if you love spicy noods. If you are a wuss like me, just a pinch will do.
Let’s get started!
- 1 package of spaghetti noodles, cooked per package directions
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
- 1 cup julienned carrots
- 2 bunches of scallions/green onions
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup sesame oil
- 1/4 cup olive or avocado oil
- 1/4 cup peanut butter (I used smooth, but chunky is good too)
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sriracha sauce (more if you like it spicy)
- 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
- 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
- While the noodles are cooking, combine soy sauce, oils, peanut butter, sugar, sriracha, fish sauce, and sesame seeds in a mixing bowl. Whisk together and set aside.
- Dice/chop veggies and set aside.
- When the noodles are cooked to your liking, drain and rinse. Add to the sauce and coat.
- Add in the veggies, and toss to coat. Serve at room temperature or store them in a closed container for 4-6 hours to allow flavors to meld. This salad is good hot, cold, or at room temperature.
This is great as a side salad, or top it with grilled chicken breast and serve with a side of rice and green salad topped with miso dressing to make a tasty meal.
This salad will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days (if it will last that long).
If you need a crunch on your salad, top with a few teaspoons of diced peanuts.
In my recent post about hosting a mermaid-themed party, I mentioned that we will be serving pasta salad.
One of the things that I love about pasta salad is that it’s so flexible.
Basically, all you need is a pound of pasta (your choice) cooked per package directions, drained, and rinsed. After that, whatever you add is up to you.
- I use 1 cup of dressing to start. Usually, I use zesty Italian-type dressing, but if you are a pesto lover, 1 jar/can of pesto and a few tablespoons of your favorite oil (I like avocado oil) is excellent. Red or green pesto, whatever your preference is. If you are serving vegetarians, avoid red pesto because it contains anchovies.
- 1 cup of diced cheese- Mozzarella, or mozzarella pearls, or cut up a couple string cheese sticks.
- 2 cups vegetables, cut into bite-size pieces. Bell peppers, broccoli, black olives, tomatoes (either grape or cherry), and fresh, shelled peas are some of my favorites.
- Optional, but tasty: a bunch of fresh basil, cut into ribbons (chiffonade).
Mix all ingredients together, and store in a tightly closed container for at least 4-6 hours prior to serving.
This recipe serves about 8-10 as a side dish, less as a main dish. If you need to add meat to this, as a can or 2 pouches of chunk tuna, drained and rinsed.
A few weeks ago my mom and I cooked a dinner for 50 people as part of our local SCA group’s winter event. Most of the recipes were historical in nature, however, this Chicken Gnocchi soup is not strictly historically accurate for our group (pre-1603ish), as most people in Europe didn’t consume potatoes or potato gnocchi. The gnocchi did exist, however, it was usually made from cheese, flour, and eggs (example and recipe here).
This soup is a great complete meal. It freezes well and makes a great gift.
I’ve scaled down the recipe to make it a little easier to prepare for the average size family.
Chicken Gnocchi Soup Serves 6-8
- 2 T. Butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 ribs of celery, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 T. Italian Seasoning
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 2 cups of chicken cooked and cut into bite-size pieces- leftover rotisserie chicken is perfect for this.
- 1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 1 lb. package of Potato Gnocchi
- 12 ounces of your favorite milk (I used 1/2 and 1/2)- evaporated milk is a good choice too.
- In a large stockpot, melt butter, and add onions, carrots, and celery. Cook until onions are translucent (about 10 minutes).
- Add garlic, and herbs/bay leaf- cook until fragrant.
- Add broth, and scrape brown cooked bits off the bottom of the pot.
- Add chicken, and simmer on low for about 20-30 minutes, allowing flavors to meld.
- Add in Potatoe Gnocchi and allow to cook on medium for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep gnocchi from sticking together.
- Finally, add in your milk of choice. Bring soup back up to a simmer for 10-ish minutes.
Serve topped with parmesan cheese. I also like this soup served with a salad like this one.
- If you are Dairy Free, use Dairy Free milk. I recommend nut milk like unsweetened almond milk.
- If you are a vegetarian, use vegetable stock and substitute chicken for 1 can of rinsed and drained chickpeas/garbanzos.
- If you are vegan, do the 2 above recommendations and saute veggies in olive oil instead of butter.
- If you are Gluten Free, use GF Gnocchi, like these.
If you follow me on Instagram, you saw that I made soup the other morning. This stew is easy to make. It’s hearty, filling, and is a great way to incorporate veggies into your diet without much fuss.
Oh, and it’s great with crunched-up tortilla chips and cheese on top!
Let’s get into it!
Chicken Fajita Stew
- 8-10 cups of chicken stock (I made my own, but you can use canned chicken stock or broth)
- 1 T. Butter
- 2 Onions, diced
- 2 Bell peppers, chopped
- 2 ribs of Celery, diced
- The kernels from 2 ears of corn (about 2-ish cups). You can also use frozen or canned (no salt added)
- 2 Yellow Italian Squash, cut into slices and then quartered
- 2 Tomatoes, diced
- 1 can of heirloom beans
- 1 can of diced tomatoes
- Roughly 3 cups of chopped rotisserie chicken
- 1T. each: cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large stock pot, melt butter over medium heat and add onions, bell peppers, and celery. Cook, stirring frequently until onions are translucent.
- Add in stock and remaining ingredients. Simmer over medium/low heat for 30-45 minutes, or longer if you like.
- Serve with quesadillas or top your soup with tortilla chips and shredded/crumbled cheese.
All of the fresh veggies came from our CSA Box! To learn more about our favorite CSA, Yasukochi Family Farms, check out my post here.
This recipe makes 10-12 servings. It freezes well, and yes, like most soups, it’s better the next day.
This recipe is naturally gluten-free.
We’ve been doing a lot of meat-free nights around here lately. To be honest, meat is really expensive lately, and the kids and I don’t eat it often anyway.
I was craving soup over the weekend, so I rummaged through the cupboard and fridge and dug out some ingredients that made a super easy and filling soup.
Veggie Cheese Tortellini Soup (makes 4-6 servings)
- 2 t. oil of your choice
- 1 package TJ Farms Seasoning Blend (From Dollar Tree). Contains Onions, bell pepper, celery, and parsley
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced*
- 1 cloves garlic, diced
- 3 tomatoes*, deseeded and diced 0r 1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes in juice
- 6 cups of your favorite stock- I used veggie stock
- 1 bag of washed spinach leaves*
- 1 bag shelf stable cheese tortellini
- 2 T Italian Seasoning
- 1 Bay Leaf
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large stock pot, heat oil.
- Add bag of seasoning blend and carrots. Cook until onions are clear, about 5-10 minutes.
- Add garlic, cook over medium until fragrant.
- Add tomatoes, stock, bay leaf, and Italian seasoning. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer on low for 10-20 minutes.
- After soup has simmered and adjust the seasoning as needed. Add in spinach leaves and tortellini, cover, and cook on low for an additional 15-20 minutes. The pasta will swell as it cooks. Discard the bay leaf prior to serving.
- Serve topped with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and hot, crusty bread.
All ingredients that have an * next to them came from our Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box. I love these boxes- Farm Fresh produce is delivered to our door once a week, no traveling to the store, worrying that I am overpaying for produce, or that I am going to pick the wrong melon or corn.
If cheese tortellini isn’t your speed, here is a shelf-stable mushroom tortellini that sounds tasty! If you want another type of filled pasta, use the suggested cooking time on the package instead of the time in step 5.
This soup is even better on the second day, and freezes well!
This recipe is slightly more involved than previous recipes I’ve posted, but I guarantee you excellent results, and there will be no leftovers.
It’s perfect for a family dinner or dinner party where there are a lot of people with diverse tastes.
- 10 to 12 small yellow-skinned potatoes- I like Yukon Gold
- One stick of butter
- Herbs of your choice (I like this Penzeys mix. Or use any of the following together: rosemary, tarragon, granulated garlic, granulated onion, and thyme)
- Spray release
- 1 cup of grated cheese, your choice (I prefer sharp cheddar, but I’ve also tried it with an Italian blend also and it’s quite delicious).
- Clean the potatoes thoroughly. DO NOT PEEL.
- Place potatoes in a large pot with water, cook on the stove for about 15 to 20 minutes until they are fork-tender.
- While the potatoes are cooking, in a separate dish combine spices of your choice, and the stick of butter. Microwave for 15 to 20 seconds until butter is melted.
- Drain potatoes, do not rinse.
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Either line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and coat with spray release, or use a nonstick cookie sheet, your choice.
- Place potatoes approximately 1 inch apart.
- Gently press down on the potatoes with the backside of a fork (or the bottom of a coffee mug if your potatoes are bigger) until they are slightly smashed.
- Pour a little of the butter/herb mixture over the slightly smashed potatoes (less than a tablespoon).
- Bake potatoes in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they appear to have crisp/browned.
- Top each potato with a small amount of cheese (1 to 2 tablespoons).
- Serve potatoes with sour cream, real bacon bits (I like the ones from Costco), or whatever toppings you and your family prefer.
As a side dish that serves 4 to 6 as a main dish serves 2 to 3. These smashed potatoes are also great with chili or a hearty salad.
There are literally hundreds of ways to make Potato Salad. However, none of them should involve raisins (That’s an internet thing, I’ve never actually seen it in person).
This is my great grandmother Tootie’s Potato Salad Recipe, and I think it’s the best. Luckily for me, we’ve gotten all of the veggie ingredients in this week’s Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box. And because they sell eggs too as an add-on, you can get most everything you need without leaving home.
This recipe is pretty simple.
Tootie’s Potato Salad
- 4 cups peeled, cut-up potatoes (bite-size pieces)
- 3 ribs of green celery, cut into bite-size pieces- I slice each rib in half and into small pieces.
- 1/4 cup Italian Dressing- I like Wishbone
- 1/2 cup Full Fat Mayo. I like Best Foods/Hellmans, but Dukes is good too
- 3 eggs, hard-boiled and chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Chives or parsley to garnish- optional
- Boil potatoes in water until they are fork tender, about 15-20 minutes.
- Drain potatoes, do not rinse.
- Chill potatoes in the fridge (30 minutes to 1 hour-ish).
- In a bowl, combine the salad dressing and mayo, pour over cooled potatoes, and stir. You want to coat the potatoes in the mixture.
- Add in the celery and eggs. The egg yolks will break down and combine with the dressing/mayo mixture, turning light to medium yellow.
- Chill in the fridge at least overnight. If the salad is too dry, add a few more tablespoons of mayo and dressing (a 2-parts mayo to 1-part dressing mixture).
- Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Prior to serving top with chives or parsley if desired.
If you like green onions (my mom doesn’t like raw onions so she doesn’t add them), you can add 1-2 sliced green onions to the salad during step 5. I grew up without it, but they are really good in this salad.
This salad is good in the fridge for up to a week and is perfect for the 4th of July or other summer celebrations.
Dietary options: It’s already vegetarian, but I’m not sure it could be made vegan unless you use veganaise and omit the eggs (in my opinion it needs).
We eat a lot of veggies in this house, but recently I picked up a few pounds of bulk hot Italian sausage and I was jonesing for a meaty baked pasta dish. We don’t eat a lot of meat, so 1 pound for this recipe is a lot for us. If you are a big meat eater, you can add up to an extra pound of sausage to make it extra meaty.
This recipe makes a lot, but, it keeps well for leftovers and you can freeze leftovers as well.
Meaty Baked Pasta
- 1 box pasta (whatever variety you like best), cooked per package directions
- 1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
- 2 T. butter or oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1 medium-sized zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 32 oz of your favorite red pasta sauce
- 1 small can of tomato paste
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups mozzarella, divided
- 1 cup parmesan/romano blend cheese, divided
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Cook pasta per directions, drain off the water, reserving 2-3 Tablespoons.
- In a large pan, cook and crumble Italian sausage. After it is cooked, drain it on a paper towel.
- Using the same pan, saute onion and pepper for 10-15 minutes, until the onions are clear and have started to caramelize.
- Add in garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add in zucchini, sauce, and tomato paste- cook until sauce comes to a simmer.
- Add meat back in, and stir to combine.
- Add reserved pasta water to the sauce and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- In a baking dish layer sauce, pasta, cheese, and sauce. Repeat until the baking dish is full and top with the remaining cheese.
- Cover the baking dish with a lid or tented foil and bake for 45 minutes.
- Remove the lid/foil and cook another 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Serve with a green salad and garlic bread!
This recipe made a 9×13 baking dish, which will serve 6-8 people a hearty portion.
If you need more veggies in your life, add carrots, drained diced petite tomatoes, more peppers, and even a few handfuls of spinach!
This meal was so satisfying. I’ve had leftovers for lunch twice now.
I ended up with extra sauce, and I plan on making calzones with it.