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Chicken Fajitas

26 Feb

chicken fajitas I remember, growing up, that chicken fajitas were a big deal.  Not only were they a welcome break from the Hamburger Helper lasagna, meatloaf, and grilled chicken (all of which I love, by the way), but when mom made chicken fajitas, we felt like royalty.  Now that I’m (sort of) all grown up, I enjoy this sizzling entree at restaurants from time to time, but every once in a while you gotta MAKE something that just says, “WOW!  We are special.”

Serve with spicy cheesy refried beans and a garden salad.

Ingredients

    • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
    • Salt
    • 2 T canola, safflower, peanut or grapeseed oil (a high smoke point oil)
    • 1 large onion, sliced lengthwise (root to tip) into 1/4-inch strips
    • 3 bell peppers of various colors, sliced into 1/4-inch strips

Marinade

    • 2 T lime juice
    • 3 T olive oil
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
    • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Extras

    • 8-12 flour tortillas
    • Taco sauce
    • Sliced avocado
    • Sour cream
    • Shredded cheese
    • Thinly sliced iceberg lettuce dressed lightly with salt and cider vinegar

Combine the marinade ingredients in a Ziploc bag.  Add the chicken, shake well to cover, and let marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.  This can be prepared in advance and marinated in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours, but allow to sit at room temperature for an hour before cooking.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and wipe off excess marinade.  Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt.

Heat a large cast iron frying pan on high heat for 1 to 2 minutes.  Add a tablespoon of canola oil to the pan and, once the oil begins to smoke, carefully add the chicken breast pieces.  Work in batches, if necessary.  Allow the chicken to sear for 2-3 minutes then turn the pieces over and allow the second side to sear for another 2-3 minutes.

Stack seared chicken on a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil to retain heat and finish cooking as you saute the peppers and onions.

Add another tablespoon of canola oil to the pan and, once the oil begins to smoke, carefully add the onions and peppers to the pan.  Using a metal spatula scrape up the leftover browned bits from the chicken and stir to coat the onions and peppers with the oil and brown bits.  Evenly spread the onions and peppers in the pan.  Leave them to sear undisturbed for 2 minutes, allowing them to blacken a bit.  Stir and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.

chicken fajitas02

If chicken is not quite cooked through, place it back in the pan for a minute or two.  Slice the chicken against the grain into strips and serve at once with the peppers and onions, some warm tortillas, and your favorite toppings.  I opt for diced tomatoes or a good pico de gallo, guacamole and shredded cheese.

Recipe inspired by simplyrecipes.com

Photos by me, My Little Food Spot

Spicy Sausage Sauce

23 Feb
spicy sausage sauce01I’ve made this one a number of times.  An easy and tasty twist on the classic spaghetti sauce.  For some reason though, we generally eat it over hot, cooked rice.  Pasta.  Rice.  You choose.  It’s great either way.  And if you prefer your food heat-less, use sweet Italian sausage and nix the jalapenos.
Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage links, removed from casings
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced garlic
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced or finely diced
  • 1 cup lightly packed, torn fresh basil leaves
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, pureed with their juices
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the sausages and cook until done, breaking them up into chunks with a wooden spoon.  Remove the sausages from the saucepan and drain them on paper towels. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the saucepan. Add the sliced garlic and chiles and cook until the garlic begins to brown, about 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add the basil and cook for 15 seconds, then add the tomato puree. Simmer the mixture for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Return the sausages to the saucepan and heat through.  Serve over your favorite pasta or hot, cooked rice.

Adapted from Michael Chiarello’s recipe

Photo by me, My Little Food Spot

Skillet Chicken Ole

17 Jan

skillet chicken ole 2I broke out my favorite cookbook recently, Southern Living’s Easy Weeknight Favorites.  We tried some new recipes and relived some old favorites.  This one is a definite tried and true treasure.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into small pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 10 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 4 oz. can green chiles, undrained
  • 10 oz. frozen whole kernel corn
  • 2 1/4 oz. can sliced black olives
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup shredded colby jack cheese
  • Hot cooked rice
Cook chicken, garlic, and onion in hot oil in a large skillet over medium heat for five minutes, stirring frequently.  Add tomatoes, green chiles, corn, olives, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.  Uncover and simmer 10 more minutes.
skillet chicken ole 1
Sprinkle with cheese and serve over rice.
Photos by me, My Little Food Spot

Creamy Ham Casserole

17 Jan

creamy ham casserole 1

It’s certainly not low-fat (lots of “cream” ingredients), nor is it a true favorite of Derek’s or mine, but it’s pretty good and is great for serving to little ones.  It is an especially good beginning finger food for eight month old Henry, just learning to feed himself.

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces kluski noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • 2 cups chopped, cooked ham
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup sliced celery
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 10 oz. can cream of mushroom soup
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz.) shredded colby jack cheese

Cook ham, pepper, onion and celery in oil in a large skillet over medium heat for five minutes, stirring often.  Remove from heat; stir in soup, sour cream, and cooked pasta.  Spoon into a lightly greased 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.

Cover and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.  Sprinkle with cheese and bake, uncovered for five more minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

creamy ham casserole 2

Recipe by Southern Living: Easy Weeknight Favorites

Photos by me, My Little Food Spot

Sloppy Joe Loaf

17 Jan

sloppy joe loaf 1

Easy and tasty.  I like to drain the mixture before topping the loaf.  Nobody likes a soggy sandwich.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 T white vinegar
  • 1 pound loaf Italian bread
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded nacho-and-taco cheese blend

Brown ground beef and onion in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring until beef crumbles; drain and return to skillet.  Add tomatoes, brown sugar, and vinegar; cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes.

Slice bread in half lengthwise; place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 425 for 5 minutes or until toasted.  Spread bread halves with meat mixture, and top with cheese.  Bake at 425 for 12 minutes or until cheese melts and loaf is thoroughly heated.  Cut each half into 3 pieces.

sloppy joe loaf 2

Recipe from Southern Living: Easy Weeknight Favorites

Photos by me, My Little Food Spot

Creamy Spinach Mushroom Orzo

10 Dec
creamy spinach mushroom orzo 4
I buy huge tubs of spinach at Sam’s and can never get through it fresh before it starts to get oh so slimy.  I’m always looking for ways, other than a basic sautee, to serve it, and found a winner here.  But don’t take my word for it.    IMG_8693-001
IMG_8695-001
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces orzo
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 4 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, rinsed well & chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese
Cook orzo according to package directions.  In a large skillet over med-high heat, cook garlic, onion & thyme in oil for about a minute.
Add mushrooms, cook about 8 minutes, stirring often, until the mushrooms begin to brown& their juices begin to run.
creamy spinach mushroom orzo
Sprinkle with flour& stir about one minute, then slowly begin to add the milk, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.  Stir in the spinach, basil, salt& pepper& cook until the spinach begins to wilt.
creamy spinach mushroom orzo 2
Serve sauce over pasta & grate fresh parmesan cheese over individual servings.
creamy spinach mushroom orzo 3
Recipe inspired by Moody on food.com
Photos by me, My Little Food Spot

Fried Potato and Hamburger Skillet

16 Nov

About as basic as they come.  I almost hate to admit I had to find a recipe for this.  Be sure to cook the beef in the same skillet with the potatoes as it does improve the overall flavor of the dish.

Ingredients

  • 2 T butter
  • 2-3 medium russet potatoes, diced
  • 1/4 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp or more salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper

Heat butter in a cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat.  Add diced potatoes and cook for twenty minutes or more, stirring once or twice, until potatoes are cooked through and golden brown.

Add ground beef, onion, and salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until juices run clear; drain off excess fat.  Serve hot.

 

Recipe inspired by Emily Elizabeth on food.com

Photos by me, My Little Food Spot