Family Celebrations – Recipe: Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

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As I mentioned, Sean and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary yesterday.  So, we celebrated it all weekend.

Sean and I celebrated together Saturday by going to dinner and a movie at one of our favorite places.  Thank you, Mother and Daddy, for making it possible.

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Our actual anniversary was Sunday, and Sean cooked dinner for me.

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We toasted our anniversary as a family with 7-up and root beer

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It is important to us that something as huge as a wedding anniversary is celebrated together as a family.  Sean and I started our family 12 years ago by being united together as one.  Then, we started the process of creating a bigger family with the birth of our first, second, and then third and final baby.  Our family blesses us each and every day, and we want our children to know how important our marriage, our family is to us.

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In typical Summer fashion, she performed a post dinner song and dance for us.  As I was videoing it, I thought, “I could not re-create these moments if I tried.”  They are precious and priceless.

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Since Sean prepared an amazingly awesome dinner, I made him a Sweetheart Milkshake.

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We ended the night by Sean being an amazing papa and husband.  He watched Scooby Doo with the littles while I retreated to another room to watch the Golden Globes.  Thank you, Sean!

It was a wonderful anniversary weekend.  We had a date night and a family celebration.  It was truly good and perfect in every way.

Just like this Cajun Chicken Pasta that I found on The Pioneer Woman’s blog.  I have made it several times over the past couple of years.  But, I must admit that Sean’s was the best one yet.  He is an amazing chef, and I love that he prepares delicious meals for me on special occasions.

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

This recipe is slightly adapted from Pioneer Woman's Cajun Chicken Pasta.

Ingredients

4 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes

2 teaspoons season salt

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 pound linguini pasta

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons butter

1 whole red bell pepper, seeded and sliced

1/2 whole yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup white cooking wine

1 cup whipping cream

1 tablespoon corn starch

Cayenne pepper, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
  2. Sprinkle 1 season salt and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper over chicken breasts. Toss around to coat.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet over high heat. Add half the chicken in a single layer; do not stir.
  4. Allow chicken to brown on one side, about 1 minute. Flip to the other side and cook an additional minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a clean plate.
  5. Repeat with remaining chicken. Remove chicken, leaving pan on high heat.
  6. Add remaining olive oil and butter. When heated, add peppers, onions, and garlic. Sprinkle on remaining 1 teaspoon season salt and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
  7. Cook over very high heat for 1 minute, stirring gently and trying to get the vegetables as dark/black as possible.
  8. Remove all vegetables from the pan.
  9. With the pan over high heat, pour in the cooking wine and chicken broth. Cook on high for 3 to 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze.
  10. Reduce heat to medium-low and pour in cream and whisk in corn starch, stirring/whisking constantly.
  11. Cook sauce over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until cream starts to thicken the mixture. Taste and add freshly ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, and/or salt to taste. Adjust taste/spiciness according to your family's preference.
  12. Add chicken and vegetables to sauce, making sure to include all the juices that have drained onto the plate.
  13. Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until mixture is bubbly and hot.
  14. Add drained fettuccine and toss to combine.
http://cookingformykids.com/2012/01/16/family-celebrations-recipe-creamy-cajun-chicken-pasta/

Enjoy!

I shared this recipe at Delightfully Dowling, Homemaking Haven, Cooking with Karyn, Make Ahead Meals, Skip to My Lou, Frugal Antics, A Southern Fairytale and Add a Pinch.

Park Days – Recipe: Dijon Chicken Pasta

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One of the great things about living in Texas in the winter, fall, and spring weather.  The summer is a little intense, but the other seasons make up for it.

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It is really nice to be able to take the littles to the park to run around and play on a December afternoon without bundling up from head to toe.

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Do not get me wrong.  We do love snow days, and we wish that we had a few more of them each year.  To my children, the snow is filled with magic.  Likely, though, much of that has to do with the fact that when it does come, it is special.  It is like Christmas and birthdays.  As much as I love them, I know that it would not be as amazing if we celebrated them every day.  The magic comes in the fact that it is a build-up that lasts for months and then all comes together on a beautiful, perfect day.

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But, the park?  Well, the park is something that can be fun on any given day.  There is always something new to do, something to explore, something to imagine or pretend.  It is easy unicorns and rainbows.

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Pasta is much the same.  It is something that is perfect in any weather, and it often does create its own magic.  I love how a different sauce, a seasonal vegetable, or even a new type of noodle can transform something that should be plain into something unique and delightful.

I found this pasta on Pinterest, and I knew that we would be trying it very soon.  Actually, I did not even wait two days before trying it.  And, it did not disappoint.   This Dijon Chicken Linguine is definitely a keeper.  Pasta and Texas weather go together well – often unpredictable but almost always magical and fun.

Dijon Chicken Pasta

Dijon Chicken Pasta

I adapted this recipe from Rock Recipes' Dijon Chicken Linguine.

Ingredients

16 ounce package of pasta, cooked (any pasta will work - linguine, spaghetti, etc.)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 cup chanterelle mushrooms

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves minced garlic

Salt and pepper to season

4 oz white wine

2 cups whipping cream

3 tbsp Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to season.

Instructions

  1. Slice chicken into strips.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large heavy bottomed frying pan over medium low heat.
  3. Add chicken strips, garlic, season with salt and pepper and continue to fry the chicken until completely cooked.
  4. Remove chicken from pan and hold in a warm oven.
  5. Add the white wine to the pan that you used to cook the chicken.
  6. Simmer until volume is reduced by half.
  7. Then add 2 cups whipping cream, 3 tbsp Dijon mustard, salt and pepper to season.
  8. Simmer until sauce thickens enough to coat a metal spoon.
  9. Return chicken to the sauce, add the chanterelle mushrooms and simmer for an additional 2 minutes. Mix with cooked pasta.
  10. Sprinkle parsley flakes and cayenne pepper on the top for extra flavor.
  11. Serve with a salad and bread sticks.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/12/20/park-days-recipe-dijon-chicken-pasta/

Three Day Weekend – Recipe: Fall Pasta

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The littles are at home today because we have a three-day weekend.  How I love it when the weekend is lengthened, which, in turn, makes the school week shortened.  It then leaves me thinking that every weekend should be three days….hence every school/work week should be four.

We had planned to go to the Pumpkin Patch to soak in the fun of the season.

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But, it rained.  And, we are not complaining.  We had not received real, substantial, ground-soaking rain since the first week of June. We had received a couple of showers the past couple of weeks, but nothing like this – thunder, lightning, rain.  Rain so hard that it sent the middle little straight into bed with us.  And, it was good, very good.

So, we are spending the day in our pajamas, baking, watching movies, playing games.  Just enjoying being at home.

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And, it is pasta night, which is always a family favorite.  I created this fall pasta with cream sauce, and it was a hit.  I love how we can still keep our theme nights, while mixing in the flavors of the season.  It is truly one of the joys of cooking – always finding new ways to enjoy old favorites.

Fall Pasta

Fall Pasta

Ingredients

16 ounces vermicelli

1 sweet potato, diced

1 butternut squash, diced

4 gloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

cooking spray

1 cup heavy whipping cream

3 ounces cream cheese

3 ounces creamy goat cheese

Seasoned salt, to sprinkle on vegetables

Ground black pepper, to taste

Kosher salt, to taste

8 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

Parsley flakes, to sprinkle

Paprika, to sprinkle

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking pan with foil, and spray with cooking spray. Add the chopped vegetables. Drizzle on the olive oil and minced garlic, and sprinkle with the seasoned salt. Bake for 30 minutes, until tender.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with hot water.
  3. Add the whipping cream, cream cheese, and goat cheese to a medium sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, whisking together while the cheese melts. Reduce heat slightly. Allow to simmer for about 5-7 minutes, while the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the pasta to a pasta bowl. Add the cream mixture, and toss together. Add the vegetables, and gently toss together. Sprinkle the bacon, parsley flakes, and paprika on the top.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/10/10/three-day-weekend-recipe-fall-pasta/

 

Enjoy!

Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Exchange sponsored by Le Creuset.

I have shared this recipe over at Skip to My Lou, Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker, A Southern Fairytale, Eat at Home, and Mrs. Happy Homemaker.