Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chicken Ragu with Whole Wheat Penne

Whole wheat pasta was on a really good sale at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago. I'd never tried whole wheat pasta before, but had always been a little curious. When figuring out what to do with it, I came across a Rachael Ray recipe that seemed like it had some good concepts. Since I'm always on the lookout for quick, delicious meals, I decided to run with this one.

In the end, we both loved it. I couldn't taste a whole lot of difference between the wheat pasta and regular white pasta, except that the texture was a little bit different. I'd absolutely make this again, and try playing around with the recipe even more next time.

Chicken Ragu with Whole Wheat Penne
Loosely based on this Rachael Ray recipe
Serves 4-6
Cook & Prep time - 30 minutes

1 lb whole wheat penne pasta
1 TBSP butter
1 TBSP olive oil
1 lb chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
salt & pepper
1/2 - 1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf

Cook pasta to al dente. Drain & set aside.

In a large skillet or dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add olive oil. Season the chicken with salt & pepper and brown.

Add onions, garlic and rosemary. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until onions get soft.

Add the chicken stock to deglaze the pan and let reduce for about a minute. Add the tomatoes and stir to combine. Season with salt & pepper and red pepper flakes.

Toss with the pasta and top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Italian Beef

A while back, my husband and I were watching Man v. Food. In the episode we were watching, Adam went to an Italian Beef place in Chicago. Shortly after the episode was over, my husband suggested we try making them at home some day. So, we did. They were delicious. I can't say if they're authentic (though I would guess they're not), but they tasted great.

Italian Beef
Recipe from CDKitchen.com
Serves 2
Prep Time - 5 minutes
Cook Time - 20 minutes

1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 cup water
3 TBSP tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 lb thinly sliced roast beef
1 green pepper, thinly sliced
1 small onion, sliced
2 Italian rolls, sliced in half

Mix together the beef broth, water, tomato paste, bay leaf, pepper flakes, and garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Let cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the peppers, onions, and beef. Cook for about 10-15 minutes.

Build the sandwiches by adding the meat, peppers, and onions to the bun. Dip the buns into the jus and serve.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cabbage & Meatball Soup

When I was growing up, one of my favorite meals was my grandma's cabbage & meatball soup. I could've eaten bowls upon bowls of the stuff in a single sitting. Then, I moved away from home and away from Grandma's cooking. Sadly, I was away from my beloved cabbage & meatball soup for almost 10 years.

Recently, I found myself really craving it and decided to take a crack at figuring out the ingredients and making it on my own. I think Grandma would be proud.

Cabbage & Meatball Soup
Serves 6-8
Prep Time - 20 minutes
Cook Time - about 30 minutes

1 TBSP butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
1-2 carrots, sliced
1 medium head cabbage (somewhere between 1/2 & 1 lb), sliced
salt & pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
2 cups beef broth
1/2 lb (more if you like) ground beef
2 tsp parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
1/4-1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in a large stockpot. Add onion, celery, carrot, and garlic and cook about 5 minutes, or until the onions begin to soften. Season with salt & pepper. While the veggies are cooking, chop up the cabbage.

Add cabbage and stir. Let the cabbage cook for about 3 minutes. Add broth & water. Put a lid on the pot and let simmer.

While the pot is simmering, mix together the ground beef, salt & pepper, garlic, parsley, egg, bread crumbs, and Parmesan cheese. Form into small balls (about 1" - 1 1/2") and add to the pot. Keep the cover on and let cook for about 10-15 minutes. If the pot comes to a heavy boil, turn down the heat. Season with salt & pepper to taste.