Recipe: Creamy Cajun Pasta

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

Ingredients:

  • 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.

Directions:

  1. Mix flour and 2T of the Cajun seasoning in a shallow dish.
  2. Coat chicken breasts in flour/spice mixture.
  3. 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.
  4. Once chicken breasts are golden brown on each side, remove from pan and set aside.
  5. Add remaining butter and oil.
  6. Saute onions, celery, and bell peppers in oil/butter until the onions are translucent, about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add in the tomatoes and cook covered for about 5-10 minutes.
  8. While tomatoes are cooking mix stock and cornstarch to create a slurry. This mixture will thicken the sauce.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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).
  12. 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.

Allergy variations:

  • 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. 

 

 

 

 

Give the Gift of the Farm with the Yasukochi Family Farms Black Friday Sale!

On Tuesday I posted about practical gifts for busy families. Little did I know that Yasukochi Family Farms was having a sale this weekend!

This is an amazing sale!

This sale is only good today, FRIDAY, 11/25, and ends on Sunday, 11/27! To learn more or order, check out their website.

One month of CSA Boxes your choice of regular box or Jumbo box. and 1 bottle of olive oil. I love this olive oil, it’s the best I’ve tried.

I get a Regular sized box each week, and it’s good for a family of 4 or smaller. A Jumbo-sized Box is perfect for larger families or for families that are vegetarians or vegans.

 

Repurposing Leftovers: Turkey Soup!

Leftover Turkey. It’s coming. Here is my favorite way to repurpose leftovers and make a really yummy soup.

The best part is that you can add anything you’ve got left over and it’s yummy.

Turkey Soup

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 cups of turkey stock (I use the recipe here and substitute the turkey for chicken)
  • 4-ish cups of leftover turkey chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 2-3 cups of leftover roasted veggies (Or if you don’t have any: 2 carrots, peeled and chopped, 2 ribs celery, chopped, 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1-2 cups turkey gravy (optional, but makes the soup thick and richer)
  • Optional, but yummy: 1 cup uncooked Noodles/pasta. I like Rotini or Elbow Macaroni.

Directions:

  1. In a large stock pot, add stock, meat, and veggies. Simmer on medium until the soup has reached a gentle boil, and if using fresh veggies the veggies are fork tender.
  2. Add in noodles/pasta, and allow to simmer 10-ish minutes, until pasta is cooked.
  3. Now it’s gravy time. Gently pour in the gravy, and bring the soup to a gentle boil, stirring frequently.
  4. Serve soup immediately. It’s really good topped with reheated leftover stuffing/dressing.

This soup reheats well and can be frozen for future meals.

Back To School Sale from Yasukochi Family Farms CSA!

Two things I love: Fresh produce and deals! Thanks to  Yasukochi Family Farms we are able to get both through September 10th.

Now through 9/10/2022 you can score 4 Regular boxes for $108, or 4 Jumbo boxes for $152.

I get a Regular sized box each week, and it’s good for a family of 4 or smaller. A Jumbo-sized Box is perfect for larger families or for families that are vegetarians or vegans.

Here are pictures of a box we received earlier this year.

This is the type of variety that comes in the boxes each week! Each week the box is stuffed full with the freshest. in season fruits and veggies! And don’t forget there are add-ons too! Berries, local honey, olive oil, farm-fresh eggs, and more!

I’m partnering with Yasukochi Family Farms this month to bring you all of the best deals and freshest produce! I’ll be posting pics on my socials as well.

 

Recipe: Meaty Baked Pasta!

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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cook pasta per directions, drain off the water, reserving 2-3 Tablespoons.
  3. In a large pan, cook and crumble Italian sausage. After it is cooked, drain it on a paper towel.
  4. Using the same pan, saute onion and pepper for 10-15 minutes, until the onions are clear and have started to caramelize.
  5. Add in garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.
  6. Add in zucchini, sauce, and tomato paste- cook until sauce comes to a simmer.
  7. Add meat back in, and stir to combine.
  8. Add reserved pasta water to the sauce and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  9. In a baking dish layer sauce, pasta, cheese, and sauce. Repeat until the baking dish is full and top with the remaining cheese.
  10. Cover the baking dish with a lid or tented foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  11. Remove the lid/foil and cook another 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  12. 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.

Faith Chapel: Food Distribution Monday June 6th and More Upcoming Dates!

Late last year I posted about the Faith Chapel neighborhood food distributions. Here is an update on more upcoming dates, and date changes due to upcoming holidays.

There is a June 6, 2022 food distribution. Sign-up for the event can be found here.

The 7/4/2022 Distribution has been moved to 7/11/2022 due to the holiday. Later in the summer, the 9/5/2022 Distribution has been moved to 9/12/2022 due to the holiday.
As a reminder, these are drive-thru-style events, so you don’t have to leave your vehicles. The events start at 10:00am, but I suggest that you arrive about 20 minutes early to get in line.
The types of food vary each month, but it’s usually a selection of shelf-stable, frozen, and fresh foods. It is a great variety and plenty of food to help with your family’s food budget.

The Address:

Faith Chapel
9400 Campo Rd.
Spring Valley, CA 91977

 

Two Chances to Celebrate National Shrimp Day at Rubio’s (5/9 & 5/10)!

Are you craving Shrimp? Rubio’s has you covered!

Celebrate National Shrimp Day at Rubio’s on two days this year, Monday, May 9, and Tuesday, May 10, when all Rubio’s shrimp entrées are just $6.99 with the purchase of any drink. Simply enter the coupon code TASTY with your order through the Rubio’s app, or online at Rubios.com. Or, scan the coupon when ordering at any Rubio’s.

Rubio’s guests can visit locations across California, Arizona, and Nevada and enjoy any shrimp entrée on the menu, including seasonal favorites, the Chipotle Honey Argentinian Shrimp bowl, burrito, or two taco plate.

Available for a limited time, the wild-caught, grilled Red Argentinian Shrimp features a sweet-spicy kick of honey and chipotle peppers. With its large size, bright color, and exceptional flavor, wild Red Argentinian Shrimp is a Rubio’s fan favorite. Guests can also choose other popular shrimp entrees including the Salsa Verde Shrimp two taco plate, the Shrimp and Bacon burrito, or the Mexican Street Corn bowl with grilled shrimp.

Guests are encouraged to order ahead through the Rubio’s app or Rubios.com. For more information about Rubio’s Coastal Grill and to view the menu, visit Rubio’sFacebook and Instagram.

 

4/7/2022: Celebrate National Burrito Day with Rubio’s!

Burritos are the best.

They are handheld and full of comforting food, and they are good for any meal (or snack). Tomorrow celebrate National Burrito Day with Rubio’s!

Tomorrow, Thursday, April 7, is National Burrito Day and Rubio’s Coastal Grill is celebrating by offering every burrito on the menu for $6.99. Guests receive a once-a-year deal on all the popular burritos today, including the California Burrito, Shrimp and Bacon Burrito, and the Chicken Burrito Especial.

$6.99 for a burrito is an amazing deal!

Simply order online at Rubios.com, or through the app, and enter coupon code BURRITO at checkout, or scan the QR code on the coupon in restaurants. Guests are encouraged to order ahead through the Rubio’s app or Rubios.com. For more information about Rubio’s Coastal Grill and to view the menu, visit Rubio’sFacebook, and Instagram.

I love the Burrito Especial with Grilled Veggies, but you can’t go wrong with any burrito. I know we’ll be enjoying ours from the comfort of our burrito blankies, watching a cooking show.

Talk Back: What kind of Burrito will you be getting tomorrow?

Free Food Distribution Monday April 4th, 2022

Per my email from Pastor Josiah- Food Distribution is going down, this Monday, April 4th at Faith Chapel.  Thank you for registering ahead of time to help the line move faster.

And as a reminder:

Faith Chapel will be having free food distributions on the 1st & 3rd Mondays throughout 2022 at 10:00am.

Faith Chapel
9400 Campo Rd.
Spring Valley, CA 91977

This is a drive-thru-style event, so you don’t have to leave your vehicles. The types of food vary, but in the past, there has been milk, cheese, eggs, canned goods, seasonal fresh produce, shelf-stable dry goods (beans, pasta, etc.).

In addition to free food, there is also a boutique open to be shopped at during these distribution times. Everything in our boutique is FREE and available to any guests that come through. You can find everything from clothes to household furnishings, kitchenware, toys, etc.

Recipe: Honey Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

This recipe is super easy. I used the Brussels Sprouts from my CSA box.

There is no need to use expensive balsamic vinegar or honey, whatever you have on hand is fine. BUT_ Make sure your honey is 100% honey and not honey flavored syrup.

Honey Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts 

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Brussel sprouts
  • Two bell peppers
  • 2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil (your choice)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey

Directions

  1. To prepare the brussels sprouts for roasting, sliced each Brussel sprout in half and discard any loose outer leaves.
  2. Destem and deseed the bell peppers, dice or cut into long strips.
  3. Preheat oven to 450°. Place a foil-lined baking sheet into the cold oven and allow the pan to heat.
  4. In a mixing bowl combine brussels sprouts, bell peppers, salt and pepper, and oil. Toss veggies to coat in oil.
  5. Once the oven and baking sheet has come up to temperature, evenly spread veggies on the hot baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes, stir, and roast for up to an additional 10 minutes.
  6. While veggies are roasting, in a small pot combine honey and balsamic vinegar, cook on medium until the mixture reduces by half.
  7. Once veggies are cooked and removed from the oven toss in honey balsamic glaze. Serve immediately. If you desire, top with a little shaved Parmesan or pecorino.

Serves 4 to 6.

If there are any leftovers, they can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days and reheated as you see fit.