cold pesto pasta with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes

cold pesto pasta with chicken and sundried tomatoes_

cold pesto pasta with chicken and sundried tomatoes_So I have this friend who is as obsessed with sun-dried tomatoes as I am with kale, and we all know how obsessed I am with kale, so you can only imagine. He puts sun-dried tomatoes in anything and everything, scrambled eggs, pasta, chicken dishes, cookies and brownies, you name it (just kidding on the last two, but I wouldn’t be surprised)!  Sun-dried tomatoes haven’t been in my pantry for the past couple of years, not because I’m not a fan, but I guess I sort of forgot about them.  Since I’ve been reintroduced to them, I’ve fallen in love with them once again.  They really add that extra punch of flavor to any dish, and I love their chewy texture.  I especially love them packed in olive oil, they’re so good that I could literally eat them out of the jar (and I have).  I think I’m becoming as obsessed with them as my friend, and who knows, I may be adding them to my next kale salad or topping them on my next pizza.

My friend’s obsession reminded me of one my favorite cold summer pastas, which yes, include sun-dried tomatoes.  I’ve seriously been making this pasta since 1994, and it’s still a pasta that I look forward to each summer.  The combination of pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and kalamata olives is amazing!  It’s the perfect pasta to bring to a picnic or potluck, and an easy weeknight dinner as it can be made ahead of time. I love it when I can come home after a busy day, open the fridge and have dinner all ready to go. All you have to do is pair this pasta with a salad and a baguette, and you have yourself the perfect meal for a hot summer night.

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farro and chicken salad with dates and cranberries

farro and chicken salad with dates and cranberries

farro and chicken salad with dates and cranberriesIt’s official, Marin mama has been slacking on the blog.  I promised this recipe to you all last week and I never posted it, so I’m sorry!  I’m still trying to manage working full-time, making quality time for the kids and friends, as well as making sure I have some time to play and enjoy life in general, because at the end you have to enjoy all the fruits of your labor, right?  Life is a balancing act that I’m trying to figure out.  What I’ve learned lately is to let go of certain things that really don’t matter at the end of the day, and to try and not control life too much.  My big lesson this spring has been to let go, go with the flow, be open to new paths and opportunities and just play more. So, I will post when I can, and there might be months where I post weekly, and months where I only post twice. I know you’re all super chill with it all, and I totally appreciate it!  I’ve been meeting a bunch of you lately as I roam out and about Marin, and I have to say that I have some of the friendliest and supportive readers ever, so THANK YOU!  You all keep me motivated to get back on this blog!

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rosemary skillet chicken

rosemary skillet chicken

rosemary skillet chickenOk, here’s a recipe for all of my chicken loving readers out there, and I know there are quite a few of you.  You guys have been so patient with my quinoa craziness lately, so I found this recipe just for you, and I guess selfishly for me, because my family and I do love chicken.  This is the perfect weeknight chicken recipe folks.  The marinade comes together in a flash and can be made ahead in the morning, so when you get home from work or just from a long busy day, all you have to do is roast up the chicken.  The chicken takes under 30 minutes to roast up to perfection, but tastes like a chicken that has been cooking for hours.  The chicken is moist and full of flavor from the rosemary and garlic marinade. Oh, and let’s not forget about the amazing sauce, or should I say gravy, because it tastes like gravy everyone. It’s the perfect sauce for dipping a popover in.  The sauce is made up of chicken broth, fresh thyme, shallots and garlic, and just adds that extra yummy factor to the chicken. I’ve made this recipe twice in the past week, and I have to tell you that I’ve had some pretty happy campers in the house.   

I paired this with some traditional popovers one night and my rosemary and sea salt popovers another night, as well as some broccoli rabe that I sautéed in shallots and a bit of olive oil.  This chicken dish is definitely ranking up there as one of our favorite weeknight meals. The kids love it because it tastes great, and I love it because it’s easy.

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simple weeknight chicken soup

simple weeknight chicken soup

simple weeknight chicken soupSo, I’m back, well sort of. I’ve realized during this brief hiatus that I really missed my blog and I really missed all of you.  This blog is a part of me and a part of me that I don’t want to quit or give up on just yet.  I’m a person who loves to share with people, sharing just makes me happy, so I’m going to keep sharing with you all my recipes as well as my journey. There are a lot of changes going on in my life right now, some changes that are amazing and others that are difficult, so I don’t know the frequency of how often I will post, it may just be two times a month or it could be more, I’m just going to play it day by day.

I also wanted to also say a huge THANK YOU to you all.  I was amazed by all of your supportive comments, emails and for those of you that came up to me in person and shared what you loved about the blog. I didn’t realize how many wonderful and loyal readers I had, and I want to thank you all for reaching out these past few weeks. Each one of your comments and emails really touched my heart, and made me realize that I truly have a real audience of readers who were going through the same life struggles as me.  We’re all on this journey of life together, and we’re here to support and love one another and I truly feel supported and loved by you all, so THANK YOU!   I will slowly share my journey with you all over time, but for now, I’m just wanted to share with you all this simple and easy weeknight chicken soup that has quickly become a family favorite.

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citrus-marinated chicken

citrus-marinated chicken

citrus-marinated chickenOk, I have to say that this is one of my favorite chicken recipes ever, and Zoe and Eli both agree with me. We tried this the other night, gave each other the thumbs up and said that this chicken was totally blog worthy and need to be posted sooner than later. The chicken is just so moist and full of flavor from the citrus marinade and I love how crispy the skin gets from cooking under the broiler. This is going to be one of my new go-to recipes for chicken, and the best part is that it can be made year round because it’s cooked under the broiler. You could also grill it up or even sear it in your cast iron skillet and then bake it off in the oven.  I can see paring this chicken with roasted cauliflower or brussels sprouts in the fall and kale mashed potatoes in the winter. This chicken is total comfort cooking anytime of year…. 

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pesto-yogurt roasted chicken drumsticks

pesto-yogurt roasted chicken drumsticks

pesto-yogurt roasted chicken drumsticksI love chicken recipes like this where all you have to do is throw together a few simple ingredients and then let the chicken sit and marinate all day. This is the perfect weeknight meal because it can be assembled ahead of time and only take 30 minutes to cook up. You have flexibility here, you can either throw together the marinade the night before, early in the morning or late in the afternoon, and then when you get home from work or running the kids around, you just throw it in the oven to roast for 30 minutes. While the chicken is roasting, you can assemble the rest of the meal. Now, how easy is that?

We love chicken drumsticks anytime of year, but for some reason we eat them more in the summer. I think it’s because they make the perfect picnic and backyard fare. You can enjoy them hot out of the oven, warm or better yet cold. I love throwing the cold leftover drumsticks into my kid’s school lunches. They’re a no fuss lunch that my kids happily devour.

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chicken enchiladas with tomatillo salsa

chicken enchiladas with tomatillo salsa

chicken enchiladas with tomatillo salsaI’m so excited to share these enchiladas with you. I made these up last week and my family LOVED them.  I mean John kept exclaiming to me how good they were. These are truly the perfect spring or summer enchilada, because they’re filled with chicken and fresh vegetables and topped with a light tomatillo salsa. The tomatillo salsa is a light and refreshing change from the normal heavy enchilada sauce that you think of when you hear the word enchiladas. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good enchilada sauce, especially the pumpkin sauce I use on our pumpkin enchiladas, but this is a nice change and flavor for spring.  These enchiladias are so light and refreshing that we each ate two!  Yes, we were piggies, but we didn’t feel bad at all. Sometimes you just have to savor the moment and savor the food.

I chose to roast up chicken breasts instead of using a rotisserie chicken because we’re not fans of dark meat, but feel free to use a rotisserie chicken. To make these enchiladas an easy weeknight meal, all you have to do is pre-cook and shred the chicken (or just use a rotisserie chicken) and make the salsa ahead of time. Then come dinner time, all you have to do is sauté a few veggies, assemble the enchiladas, and throw them in the oven for 10 minutes. At that point you truly have a 30 minute meal. Easy peasy, right? You could even substitute the tomatillo salsa with a store bought mild green salsa if you wanted, though I really think this salsa is the bomb!  I actually roast and shred the chicken the night before or earlier that day and then make the salsa while the chicken is roasting.  That way I take care of two components of the meal. Hey, I’m always looking to cut time at dinner as well. Please don’t be intimidated by all the ingredients or instructions below, these are truly a simple enchilada to throw together.

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Thai style chicken burgers

Thai style chicken burgers

Thai style chicken burgersBurgers are a staple in our house come spring and summer. To me, burgers say spring is here, and summer is around the corner. They make such an easy weeknight meal because all you have to do is pair them up with a side salad or vegetable, and voila, dinner is served. We love all types of burgers from turkey, chicken, to buffalo and veggie. I’m always on the hunt for a new burger recipe to add to our recipe box. I’m currently in the process of testing some new veggie burgers, so for you vegetarians, stay tuned.

I saw this chicken burger in Gwyneth’s new cookbook and decided to give it a try. I thought if Gwyneth likes this burger, then I’m sure I will as well. I became a fan of turkey burgers last year and figured why not try a chicken burger. I mean there really isn’t that much difference between the two meats, right? Turkey and chicken burgers get a bad rap for being dry, but I find that when you mix the turkey or chicken with some spices, onions or cheeses, then you get a nice flavorful and juicy burger. This chicken burger is a lighter and leaner burger for those nights where you don’t want a heavy cheesy burger. This burger is chock full of flavor from the garlic, red chili and shallots. We of course love it paired with our favorite burger condiment, cilantro lime mayonnaise. This mayonnaise really brings out the flavor of the cilantro in the burger.

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buttermilk roasted chicken

buttermilk roasted chicken

buttermilk roasted chickenIt’s so nice to have an arsenal of quick and easy weeknight meals that don’t taste like they were quick and easy to make. I want to serve my family healthy, real food during the week, but I don’t always have the time to make something elaborate. I have a boatload of easy week-night meals in my repertoire, and this chicken dish is one of those. This is one of those chicken dishes that you will make at least once a month, if not more. It’s one of my favorite chicken recipes because you can throw the marinade together in less than 10 minutes and then let it sit anywhere from 8 to 24 hours. It’s a great make-ahead dish, perfect for a weeknight dinner or fancy enough for a dinner party…. 

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easy skillet chicken parmesan

easy skillet chicken parmesan

easy skillet chicken parmesanHere’s an easy weeknight chicken parmesan recipe that can be made and on your table in under 30 minutes, and the added bonus is that it can all be done in your cast iron skillet, making clean up a cinch! It’s also flour-less and egg-less and gluten-free to boot!  My foodie friend Amanda kept telling me that I needed to try this recipe.  I already had my favorite chicken parmesan recipe that was passed down from my mom, so I was a bit hesitant to try a new one.  I then remembered that I have a recipe blog, and my readers may want some variety, so I gave it a try. I’m so glad that I did because it was fantastic and John and the kids gave it a double thumbs up. I gave it a thumbs up due to taste as well as ease.  I still love my classic chicken parmesan because I love the crunchy bread coating, but I love this one just as much, so bonus!

This is basically another pantry meal. Most of the herbs I either had in my backyard or in the fridge, I had some leftover tomato sauce, and I always have cheese on hand, so all I needed to pick up was the chicken breasts.  I really love easy meals that I can throw together at the last-minute.  It’s just helpful to have an arsenal of those easy pantry recipes on the nights when you’re pulling out your hair wondering what to make.

So, I know you all were anticipating the turkey meatballs recipe today, but ever since I posted this photo on my weekly dinner menu, I’ve had numerous emails asking me to please post this recipe soon. I then decided to be nice and post it today instead of making you wait one more week. I figure the meatballs will be perfect for next week’s Super Bowl as they make a great meatball sub.

easy skillet chicken parmesan

easy skillet chicken parmesan

recipe from Giada De Laurentis
serves 4

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh italian parsley – I used flat leaf parsley
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced in half lengthwise and lightly pounded
  • 1 1/2 cups basic tomato sauce, or your favorite tomato or marina sauce
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese – We like our cheese, so we used 3/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup shredded or grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces – The recipe called for 2 tablespoons but I used about 1 1/2

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Let’s prep the ingredients.  Prep your chicken, measure out your cheeses, measure out your sauce, cut up your butter and rinse and chop up the rosemary, thyme and italian parsley.  In a small bowl add the 3 tablespoons olive oil and then mix in the chopped herbs along with a pinch of salt and pepper.

DSC_0013-2Get out your chicken and brush each side with the olive oil and herb mixture.

DSC_0119Heat a heavy large oven-proof skillet (I used my 12-inch cast iron) over high heat.  Add the chicken and cook just until brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.  This step may take longer if your breasts are a bit thicker.

DSC_0137Remove the skillet from the heat.  Spoon the tomato sauce over and around the chicken.

DSC_0025Top each breast with a bit of mozzarella.  Then sprinkle each breast with some shredded or grated parmesan cheese. It’s really an individual preference here with how much cheese you want to add.  We like cheese as you know, so we tend to go a bit on the heavier side.

DSC_0027Sprinkle the butter pieces over the chicken breasts.

DSC_0153Pop the skillet into the oven and bake until the cheese melts and the chicken is cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.  The timing will vary on this as well depending on how thick your chicken is.  You really just want to make sure that the chicken is cooked through.  I always use a meat thermometer to test my chicken, as I will not eat undercooked chicken.

easy skillet chicken parmesanIf you want your cheese a bit browned on top, pop it under the broiler for a minute or two until you see the cheese brown up.

DSC_0024Serve this up with some crispy garlic bread and a nice big salad.  We love it served alongside my lacinato kale salad.  Feel free to play with this recipe to suit your dietary needs, add less cheese and butter if you want a healthier or lighter version.

Three cheers for another easy weeknight meal!

easy skillet chicken parmesan

Rating: 51

Serving Size: serves 4 people

easy skillet chicken parmesan

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh italian parsley - I used flat leaf parsley
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced in half lengthwise and lightly pounded
  • 1 1/2 cups basic tomato sauce, or your favorite tomato or marina sauce
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese - We like our cheese, so we used 3/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup shredded or grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces - The recipe called for 2 tablespoons but I used about 1 1/2

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Let's prep the ingredients. Prep your chicken, measure out your cheeses, measure out your sauce, cut up your butter and rinse and chop up the rosemary, thyme and italian parsley. In a small bowl add the 3 tablespoons olive oil and then mix in the chopped herbs along with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Get out your chicken and brush each side with the olive oil and herb mixture.

Heat a heavy large oven-proof skillet (I used my 12-inch cast iron) over high heat. Add the chicken and cook just until brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. This step may take longer if your breasts are a bit thicker.

Remove the skillet from the heat. Spoon the tomato sauce over and around the chicken.

Top each breast with a bit of mozzarella. Then sprinkle each breast with some shredded or grated parmesan cheese. It's really an individual preference here with how much cheese you want to add. We like cheese as you know, so we tend to go a bit on the heavier side.

Sprinkle the butter pieces over the chicken breasts.

Pop the skillet into the oven and bake until the cheese melts and the chicken is cooked through, about 3-5 minutes. The timing will vary on this as well depending on how thick your chicken is. You really just want to make sure that the chicken is cooked through. I always use a meat thermometer to test my chicken, as I will not eat undercooked chicken.

If you want your cheese a bit browned on top, pop it under the broiler for a minute or two until you see the cheese brown up.

Serve this up with some crispy garlic bread and a nice big salad. We love it served alongside my lacinato kale salad.

http://www.marinmamacooks.com/2013/01/easy-skillet-chicken-parmesan/

Italian wedding soup

Italian wedding soup

Italian wedding soupI love this Italian wedding soup and I love Barefoot for supplying me with this recipe. I’ve seriously never had a bad recipe with Barefoot, honestly, every recipe that I’ve tried from her turns out great. Maybe we’re kindred spirits or something, but I get her cooking, and I like it.  I have her new book, Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust, on my Christmas wish list, and I’m hoping that Santa delivers me a copy.  

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