Just Another Manic Monday – Recipe: Cajun Chicken Pasta Primavera

My sister told me something today that I will remember.  Each Monday takes us one week closer to the summer break…well, my niece actually decided that we should take one step at a time and count down to Thanksgiving break first.  Works for me.  So, I will think of that on Mondays now.  Each Monday brings us one week closer to Thanksgiving break.  Not that I am trying to rush time, because I am definitely not.  I just really, really, really love having my littles at home with me.

And, another great thing about this Monday…Hexbugs Nano.  Until Ethan got one for his birthday yesterday, I had never even heard of them.  Let me tell you…they are just about the cutest things ever.  All three of the littles love them.  They loved Ethan’s so much that I had to break my “no presents until Christmas” rule and go buy one for each of them today, in their colors (blue, green, and pink), so that they could all play with them together.  I just could not help it.  And, it was so worth it.  Watching them play with them after school just made my day.

If it is possible for two things to make my day, the other one was Ethan’s visit to the pediatrician.  We go to a big practice, where we can see any of the doctors.  Summer had a great experience last spring with a wonderful, kind doctor, so I decided to have her see Ethan today.  She was so incredibly great with him.  I told her when she walked in that he was primarily non-verbal.  So, he proceeded to “talk” to her, interact with her, and answer all of her questions.  She was quite amused with him…more of that charming magic that he has.  Before we left, she said, “To be non-verbal, he communicates quite well.”  Oh, how that made me smile.  I had been so worried about taking him to a doctor who did not know him…because….trust me, we have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly.  This one was good and beautiful in every way, just like my Ethan.

To top off this Monday…this Monday that puts us one week closer to Thanksgiving…we had pasta for dinner.  Since Ethan chose spaghetti for his birthday dinner last night, my Monday pasta meal was thrown off a bit.  But, as soon as I saw Pioneer Woman’s post on her Cajun Chicken Pasta, I knew that we would have a variation of that for dinner.  I have made her Cajun Chicken Pasta before, and it was a hit. So, I adapted it according to what we had in the refrigerator and pantry, and I made it gluten and dairy free.  It did not fail to disappoint a hungry family on this Monday.

Cajun Chicken Pasta Primavera

Cajun Chicken Pasta Primavera

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced

1 cup broccoli, fresh or frozen

1 cup corn, fresh or frozen

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup soy milk

2 tablespoons corn starch

2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

Pasta

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook for about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Once the chicken is almost cooked through, add the bell peppers, broccoli, and corn. Cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  2. As the chicken and vegetable mixture is cooking, prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with hot water.
  3. Mix together the chicken broth, soy milk, Old Bay Seasoning, and corn starch.
  4. Add the milk mixture to the chicken mixture, and cook until it starts to thicken, about 2 minutes.
  5. Pour the chicken mixture over the pasta and toss together. Add more salt, pepper, and Old Bay Seasoning, according to taste.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/09/19/just-another-manic-monday-recipe-cajun-chicken-pasta-primavera/

Adapted from Pioneer Woman’s Cajun Chicken Pasta

Enjoy your week!

Indoor Picnic – Recipe: Boneless Buffalo Chicken Tenders

We play our first game of the college football season tonight.  So, of course, I planned a celebration meal.

We started with pico de gallo, chips, salsa, celery, carrots, and ranch.

Then, we moved to boneless buffalo chicken tenders, regular chicken tenders, baked French fries, and more carrots, celery, ranch, and goat cheese dressing (instead of blue cheese).

It was a feast.  And, to make it even more fun for everyone, we had a picnic in the living room floor while we watched Scooby, our little pre-game entertainment.

Oh, how I love the simple things that create family bonding time. More pictures, more memories for the scrapbook in my head.  I will go to sleep smiling as I flip through the internal videos, pictures, and memories tonight.

Recipe: Boneless Buffalo Chicken Tenders

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp season salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • favorite wing sauce
  • canola oil
  • kosher salt

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the corn starch, egg, red wine vinegar, season salt, and pepper.
  2. Add the chicken, and mix until well coated.
  3. Add canola oil to pan (I like to use just enough to cover the chicken once I drop it in).  Heat over medium high heat.
  4. Once heated, add the chicken tenders, one at a time, until the bottom of the pan is covered with chicken tenders.
  5. While the chicken is frying, heat wing sauce over medium low heat.
  6. Fry for about 4 minutes on each side.  Remove from the pan and drain on a paper-towel covered plate.
  7. Sprinkle the chicken with kosher salt.
  8. Dip half (or all, depending on what your family likes) of the tenders into the wing sauce.
  9. Serve with ranch or goat cheese (blue cheese) dressing.

Enjoy!

And, a very special shout-out to my daddy – Happy Birthday, Daddy – and my sister and brother-in-law – Happy Anniversary!  I love you all!!

School Lunches – Recipe: Chicken, Corn, and Black Bean Pasta

Summer and I had a different kind of mommy/daughter day today.  We ran errands, which is not her favorite thing to do.  So, we started out by getting her a few things that just made her day – hair accessories and jewelry.

         

From there, we went to The Container Store.  Seriously, where has that store been all my life?  I am more of a Target kind of girl.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Target, and I have bought wonderful containers there.  But, The Container Store took my breath away a little.  It was just what I needed today.  Summer was in love, too.  She totally forgot that she wanted to be home because she was so impressed with the aisles and aisles of containers…even pink ones.

What I really wanted was some snack and lunch containers for the littles.  I do not like packing everything in a zillion different containers.  I wanted one container, with dividers, that would hold everything.  And, I found exactly what I wanted.

Not only that, but I found some that will be perfect for snacks, too.  They hold something cold on top and something else on bottom – yogurt and granola, apples and peanut butter, hummus and carrots.  I am so excited about all of the possibilities.

With Ethan’s food sensitivities, I have been packing snacks and lunches a bit differently this year.  Last year, it was almost always sandwiches, chips, yogurt, and fruit.  This year, I am trying to mix it up and try different things.  So, when I am making my dinner menu, I often think about how that can be turned into a lunch.  I found…and then adapted…a recipe that would do just that.

With these fun little containers, I can put a pasta salad on one side and then nuts and a fruit on the other divided side.  I can pack it up easily.  One container….and a simple, healthy lunch.  That makes me one happy momma!

Chicken, Corn, and Black Bean Pasta

Chicken, Corn, and Black Bean Pasta

I did not list precise amounts in the ingredients because this salad can be made according to your liking. Gabriel loves the corn, so I add more of it. You can also add tomatoes, bell pepper, or onions, again, according to what you prefer in your salad. Adapted from Our Best Bites Southwest Pasta Salad.

Ingredients

Pasta

Grilled chicken, sliced

Corn, fresh or frozen

Black beans, dried (and cooked) or canned

1 package of pasta (we used gluten free)

Goat cheese

Salt and pepper, to taste

Dressing

6 Tbs fresh lime juice (about 3 juicy limes)

1/4 C white wine

4-5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 1/2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt

2 tablespoons of sugar

3/4 C canola oil

1/2 C roughly chopped cilantro

Instructions

    Pasta
  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and rinse.
  2. Slice up the chicken.
  3. Cook and drain the black beans.
  4. Cook and drain the corn.
  5. Add the chicken, corn, and black beans to the pasta.
  6. Sprinkle on some salt and pepper, and add the goat cheese.
  7. Dressing
  8. Mix together the dressing ingredients.
  9. Drizzle onto the salad, according to how much or little you like on your pasta salad.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/08/24/school-lunches/

This pasta salad is a perfect school lunch food because it tastes great at room temperature.  I am so excited to come up with even more fun, tasty school lunches to pack in these awesome new containers.