bcmom's kitchen

bcmom's kitchen

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Chicken, Spinach and Mushroom Pasta

I know there's a site that lets you enter the ingredients you have in your fridge/pantry to come up with recipes that use those ingredients.  In fact, I think I might have even posted something about it on this blog.   Somewhere.  But I don't use that site - or any site like it.  I just type the ingredients I have, plus the word 'recipe' into search in my browser, and I end up with a whole list of recipes to choose from.

Yesterday I typed in 'chicken spinach mushroom recipe' - because I had cooked chicken, spinach, and mushrooms in the fridge that needed used, of course -  and found this one from the Betty Crocker website.  So, of course I pinned it to Pinterest!  And made it for dinner tonight.  Except that I forgot to add the chicken - didn't even think about it until I was eating!  But, you know what?  It was really good even without the chicken.

Here's the recipe:

Chicken, Spinach and Mushroom Pasta

  • 8 oz spaghetti, cooked, reserving 1/3 cup pasta water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 5 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups loosely packed spinach
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup cubed, cooked chicken (rotisserie chicken works great)
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper 
  • 1/3 cup reserved pasta water
  1. In large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Cook mushrooms, onions and spinach in butter until vegetables are softened and spinach is wilted, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in garlic. Add the flour and stir for 1 minute until the pasty taste cooks off. Add the half-and-half and stir slowly as sauce thickens. Add the chicken to skillet; cook until hot, stirring occasionally. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add cooked spaghetti and reserved pasta water. Stir to combine.

I used Angel Hair pasta, because that's what I had.  I didn't measure the mushrooms or spinach, just used a little more than half an 8-oz. package of mushrooms - that would be 5 ounces, right? -  and washed a bunch of spinach.  It looked like more than the 1-1/2 cups the recipe called for.  I think I could have used more - spinach cooks way down, so I think it would be hard to use too much. 

And, I forgot the chicken.  But, like I said, it was good even without the chicken.  I did not measure the pasta water that I added, but it was definitely more than 1/3 cup, so do not drain the pasta and pour the water down the drain until you're sure the sauce and pasta are the right consistency - and then save some more because it will thicken up.  I think it's better with a little extra liquid and not too thick, at least that's my preference.

We had some leftovers, so I'm planning to add the chicken then, or at least some chicken.  I'm also thinking of adding a can of diced tomatoes to change it up a bit.  I got some diced tomatoes with rosemary and oregano that ought to be just the thing.
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Saturday, July 14, 2012

When to Buy Organic

I admit - I think I should be buying organic fruits and vegetables, but I just can't bring myself to pay the cost difference.  Is it important to only buy organic?  Or are there certain fruits and vegetables that don't matter so much if they're organic or not?  I really don't know, so when I saw this on Facebook this evening, I thought it would be worth holding onto.  It's a list of the fruits and vegetables that you really should buy organic, along with a list of 15 fruits and vegetables that are lowest in pesticides and safest to purchase conventionally.

The list is designed to be printed out so you can carry it with you to the grocery store and have a handy reference.  It doesn't list everything, but it's a good start.  I can tell by looking at the list that I am buying some of the worst ones and should definitely look into switching to organic, but it's nice to see some of my favorites on the other side, too - so I can just concentrate on fixing the bad ones first.

Here's a list of 45 popular fruits and veggies, ranked from highest to lowest amounts of pesticide residue, if you'd like some more information.
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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Beef Jerky

One of my friends posted this picture on facebook and said that she's starting a batch of beef jerky.  Why have I not tried this before?  We love beef jerky.  So, of course I asked what she marinates it in and how long it takes. (I've pretty much only used the dehydrator to dry apples so far - which are really good, and I need to do some more)

Here's her recipe:

Beef Jerky

  • Marinate 1 lb. thin sliced ribeye in 1/2 C soy sauce, 1 tsp liquid smoke, 1 tsp onion juice,1 tsp chopped garlic, 1 tsp salt. 
  • Shake on cayenne pepper when you put it in the dehydrator. 

It can take anywhere between 4 -12 hours to dry depending on your dehydrator and how many layers you put it in. Drying it overnight works well.

And some other recipes to look at and try:

Dehydrator Beef Jerky - recipes and instructions.
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