Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Alfredo Sauce: OG Style

Nothing says comfort like a big bowl of pasta with alfredo sauce and chicken, except of course, done homemade, Olive Garden style. For years, even since before we were married, my hubby and I would splurge on Olive Garden's warm bread sticks, crisp green salad and their to-die-for chicken fettuccine alfredo. Not one to let a recipe allude me, I got on the case right away to make a copycat version at home. It took a few failures in order to get it right but once I did, I had a hard time going back to plain old bottled alfredo. And my hubby eagerly awaits the days I make it for dinner, literally licking the bowl clean...sad, but true. It's a little time-consuming but once you got it down, it's easy-peasy. The secret?? Cream cheese. At first, I thought it just seemed gross but nothing else will give the sauce that rich and creamy taste and texture. It only takes a couple of ounces mixed in the sauce to make it over the top delicious! You'll not only have an amazing result at home, but you'll save money too!! For the price of one serving at Olive Garden, you'll make four at home!  If you've yet to try this dish homemade, I strongly urge you to. You'll never want to go back to bottled!

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo
1 pound pasta, any kind (preferably fettuccine)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pint heavy whipping cream (NO substitutions!!)
2 oz. cream cheese
1 stick butter
3/4 cup parmesan cheese (fresh or canned..any kind will do..)
salt and pepper to taste
parsley, for garnish

Bring water to boil for pasta. Meanwhile, brown the chicken in the olive oil and garlic in a large saucepan on medium heat until chicken is cooked through, about ten minutes. Put chicken aside and get pasta cooking. In same pan melt butter, cream cheese and heavy whipping cream on low heat until fully melted and creamy. Then, turn the heat up to a low simmer (do not boil!) and add the parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Let simmer about ten minutes or until thick and creamy. Add the chicken back into the sauce to heat and serve immediately over pasta. Garnish with parsley. Enjoy!!

Melting butter/cream cheese...                 The sauce...                             And the finished product!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Homemade Meatballs

Pasta tends to be my go-to for a quick and tasty dinner. Normally, I pair it with a bottled sauce and call it a day but recently, when dinner called for something hearty, I decided to pull out the big guns. Homemade meatballs are so easy and fast to prepare, there's no reason not to make them! Simply mix one pound ground turkey, beef or whatever you prefer, and add about two tablespoons Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and a hearty handful of parmesan cheese. Then, liberally douse with ketchup! Mix together and shape into small balls, about the size of a teaspoon and bake for twenty minutes at 400°. 
The leftovers make delicious meatball sandwiches when placed on my favorite Hawaiian bread, topped with a little sauce and mozzarella. That's what we're having tonight! Yum! 
What's for dinner at your house??

Monday, April 8, 2013

Taco Night

Eager for an easy, Crock-Pot take on tacos, I thought seasoned shredded chicken sounded great! All this recipe requires is three things: a Crock-Pot, a pound of chicken breasts and an Ortega Grande Dinner Kit. This kit is great because it has both flour tortillas and crunchy shells, taco seasoning and sauce...all for about three dollars. It has everything you need to make a quick dinner! 
Simply place the chicken in the Crock-Pot on low for five hours, covering halfway with water and the seasoning. Shred once cooked through and is falling apart and serve with lettuce, tomato, avocado..etc. Give it a try..it doesn't get any easier!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Love Potion

My daughter asked me this afternoon if we could make a love potion. I cringed inside and immediately responded with "ummm, no, I don't think so" It was a knee-jerk reaction, one that was based on pure instinct and self-preservation. I could just imagine my kitchen with juice, sugar, spices and whatever else the kids wanted to add to the potion, spilled all over the floor. "Please, mommy!", my daughter begged, blue eyes sparkling. I decided to suck it up and let them do a love potion after all. So we gathered ingredients into  plastic cups, got everything together and headed to the patio. There they spent a whopping ten minutes mixing up their potions and loving every minute of it. Sure, it was short-lived but my kitchen was spared and I got a teeny bit of peace and quiet. So sometimes you have to be creative and give kids their way while still getting yours!
How do you steal a little peace and quiet??