Lemon Chicken Linguine

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I absolutely adore Pinterest. It doesn’t matter if half of the projects I try don’t work. I made my own modge podge. Just because it turned out to be only slightly sticky goo that was useless is beyond the point. I made something unique. I have two unfinished Pinterest projects sitting around the house. Mostly, because the advertised simplicity has turned into several weekends of sheer dedication. Needless to say, it’ll be a while before I finish. That’s the main reason that I look to Pinterest for inspiration, but don’t alwasy give into the temptation. I never know what I’m getting myself into.

Last night I made an exception. I found a recipe for Lemon Chicken Fettuccine, had all of the ingredients and gave into the drool worthy picture. My main reason for sharing this recipe with you today is simple – it was delicious! My husband wholeheartedly agreed and have already had to discuss who is getting the leftovers. I would make it again in a heartbeat.

For those of you who know me, I like to play with recipes. I’ll make substitutions based on what I have in the fridge and adjust here or there. I made no exception last night. The original recipe calls for chicken, mushrooms and fresh tomatoes. I didn’t have any fresh tomatoes, so I used canned. (The recipe cooks the tomatoes so you don’t notice the difference.) I also had some fresh spinach and artichokes in the fridge that I decided to add. The flavors blended together perfectly. I also substituted lemon pepper for pepper at every opportunity. I wanted the chicken, veggies and the sauce to have a nice balance of lemon. Obviously, if I’m sharing the recipe with you then it turned out just right. My favorite bit of happiness to announce: I wouldn’t make anymore alterations. What was created last night was perfect. Paired with the right white wine it’s heavenly.

Lemon Chicken Linguine

8 oz linguine
1 lb. Chicken, diced
8 oz mushrooms
Handful of fresh spinach
1/4 cup diced tomatoes
4-6 artichoke hearts, diced
Lemon pepper
Salt
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 lemon, squeezed
1/8 tsp garlic powder
Parmesan cheese, to garnish

1.) Boil pasta while you make the sauce. Ideally, you want the pasta and the sauce to finish at the same time to avoid overcooking.
2.) In a large saute pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and warm to medium heat. Saute the diced chicken seasoned generously with lemon pepper and a dash of salt until brown. Add mushrooms. Cook 3-5 minutes and add diced tomatoes, artichoke hearts and fresh spinach. When spinach has wilted, reduce heat and add 1 tablespoon of parsley, a dash of lemon pepper and a dash of salt.
3.) Create the sauce in a separate bowl or cup. Add two tablespoons olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon, to taste. (Because you are using a lot of lemon pepper, you may not need as much lemon juice. Adjust accordingly.) Add a dash of salt, 1/4 tsp of lemon pepper and the garlic powder. Taste and perfect to your preference.
4.) When the pasta is done, add it to the saute pan of veggies and pour in lemon oil sauce. Toss to combine. Serve with a small sprinkle of parmesan cheese and enjoy!

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Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

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Fall is the ultimate excuse for comfort food. Everything about the season calls for you to have something delicious roasting or baking in the oven. It’s time to break out your sweet potatoes, apple pies, pumpkin bread and cranberries!

I’m always on the lookout for different recipes to try. Normally, this starts with my random cravings, but this delicious find came from the magazine Everyday with Rachel Ray. I have no idea how I got a subscription, but I always glance at it when it arrives. I enjoy the Food Network, but rarely make their recipes because they normally call for several ingredients that I don’t keep in my pantry.

I was intrigued when there was a section dedicated to budget meals that actually looked really good. It was a fall dedicated magazine so one recipe used applesauce and the other used mashed sweet potatoes. Needless to say, I was game. I collected my recipes for the week and got to cooking.

Here’s my intriguing tidbit for the day – I made four Rachel Ray recipes: three budget meals and one 30 Minute Meal. I picked the 30 Minute Meal because I wanted to make something special. My husband and I loved two of the budget meals, liked the third and didn’t care for the 30 Minute Meal. It just proves that you don’t need fancy ingredients to make an amazing meal.

We have made this recipe twice already – the magazine only came out in September – and I keep telling myself that I’m going to set aside half and freeze it. Sadly, it hasn’t made it there yet. The only changes that we made is to use ground turkey instead of ground pork. Because turkey is so bland, we had used more seasonings than the original recipe called for. My husband, who seasons like a pro, made this the first time and we devoured the pot. I made it the second time and was hesitant with the seasonings. It was good, but was so much better when I added a bit more cumin, garlic, salt and pepper. Don’t be afraid to give this a little kick.


Sweet potato

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Recipe by Rachel Ray with Creative Campbell additions

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. sweet potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 3 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1-2 tsp. cayenne powder, depending on preference
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 bag frozen corn kernels, thawed

Cook sweet potatoes in oven or in the microwave if you are pressed for time. Remove orange innards and place in a mixing bowl. Add butter, salt and pepper and maple syrup. Mash together and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a Dutch oven, toast the paprika and cumin over medium-high heat, stirring 1 minute. Add the turkey, garlic and cayenne powder. Cook 6-7 minutes breaking turkey apart with a spoon. Add wine and cook 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer turkey to a separate bowl and discard all but 2 Tbsp. of the liquid. Set turkey aside.

In the Dutch oven, cook the onion over medium heat, stirring until softened about 3 minutes. Add the corn and cook 1-2 minutes. Add the turkey and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Flatten turkey mixture to create a layer. Add mashed sweet potatoes on top and smooth to create a second layer. Bake for 15 minutes, then broil 3-5 minutes to brown the top.

Homemade Pumpkin Soup

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Everyone has their Halloween traditions. Some people fill their evenings with candy, scary tales or simply sit by candlelight sipping apple cider. I prefer to be somewhere in the middle. I like to watch a scary movie by candlelight and eat something that reminds me of Fall. In the past, my recipes have been limited to a creepy crawly dessert. This year I wanted to try something I little different.

I am a sucker for Pinterest. I know, the reality of what you can create vs. what is advertised are always two separate things. But, they had this adorable image of homemade pumpkin soup that I couldn’t resist. (As seen above) I managed to find baking pumpkins in South Florida, which is a miracle unto itself, and took it as a sign that this pumpkin soup was meant to be.

I stayed true to my bad habits and didn’t read through the recipe before starting. I had baked my beautiful pumpkins and then realized I was supposed to fill them with the apple, onion and chicken broth so the ingredients could cook at the same time. Whoops! I adjusted the recipe a little bit and combined everything on the stove top. It tasted good, but it had the consistency of custard, not soup. I thought about adding some more chicken broth, but was afraid it would take away from the flavor.

My husband and I tried the pumpkin soup the first night. It was ok. Definitely not worth the hassle and precious goat cheese. The only problem, we had a lot of leftovers with very little desire to consume any of it. I looked online for recipes to salvage the soup. The best I could find was pumpkin mac and cheese. My only problem, I’d have to use even more cheese and precious ingredients with only a slight hope of improvement. My husband, being the brilliant man that he is, had another solution. He recommended that we mix the soup with Campbell’s tomato soup. This way it stops being a custard and blends with the tomato flavors. It was delicious! The pumpkin was a nice subtle flavor that made the soup very filling and healthy. From my leftovers, I had enough to make three cans worth of tomato soup.

If I had to make it again, I’d cut the recipe in half and serve it with the tomato soup. It’s a great way to hide the healthy ingredients from your little ones and add a hint of fall to a classic meal. So here’s my take on pumpkin soup with my many adjustments.

Pumpkin tomato soup

Pumpkin Soup with a Creative Campbell Spin

  • 1 small sugar pie pumpkin
  • 1/4 small yellow onion diced
  • 1 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/2 small green apple chopped
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tb olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cans Campbell’s tomato soup
  • Milk

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice pumpkin in half. Using a large spoon or ice cream scoop, scrape out the seeds. Brush the pumpkin innards with 1 Tbs of oil. Place on a baking dish in the oven for 30-45 hour. Test pumpkin by poking with a fork or knife. If it’s soft, then set your pumpkin aside and let cool.

Fill a medium pot with the onion, garlic, apple, butter, chicken broth, half and half, salt and pepper and turn heat to medium low. Don’t let it boil. Once onions are soft, turn on low.

Remove pumpkin from shell with a spoon. Scrape into the pot and add the goat cheese and thyme. Use an immersion blender or food processor to combine the ingredients and make it the same consistency. Set aside.

In a separate pan make Campbell’s tomato soup with milk instead of water. Once the soup is ready, add a ladle full of the pumpkin soup. Taste. Add more and adjust as needed.

Enjoy!

Homemade Dragon Eggs

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Fall is in the air and I couldn’t be more thrilled! There’s something about the season’s sights, sounds and smells that make me feel warm and cozy.  Even though we’re in Florida, we still enjoy a variety of fall themed fun each year. We have to have some comfort foods and soups, cold apple cider, hot spiced cider or caramel apple spice, pumpkin flavored baked goods like pie or bread, a scary movie or creepy autumn tale like Sleepy Hollow, a special spooky treat and fall scented candles to tie it all together. Yes, in our home, fall is an experience!

For the next couple of weeks, I’m going to share some of my favorite magical fall treats. Earlier this year I threw a Harry Potter party weekend extravaganza for my husband. It was a ton of fun to plan and come up with all kinds of magically inspired recipes. All of these can be used for Halloween or anytime you get a craving for chocolate frogs.

Now, if you do your research for Harry Potter themed parties you’re going to find some cute decorations, games and lots of chocolate and sugary treats. However, no one ever created a magical meal. Being the Creative Campbell that I am, I had a lot of great ideas. My main priority was to make something special, but healthy. Yes, there would be chocolate and treats, but we couldn’t eat that all day.

Every great magical adventure should start with breakfast. Our weekend started with homemade Dragon Eggs. This is a spinoff of Scotch Eggs. Traditionally, Scotch Eggs are hard boiled eggs coated with ground beef and deep fried. Delicious, but horrible for you. Years ago I watched an episode of Food Network Star and one of the contestants made healthy Scotch Eggs. I’ve made my own adjustments to the recipe and it tastes amazing! I use ground turkey mixed with homemade pesto and sauté it. Trust me, they are filling and delicious. My favorite part about this recipe is that you can assemble the eggs ahead of time.

To make these eggs truly magical, I kept with my Harry Potter theme. If you’ll remember in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire the contestants had to face four dragons – the Hungarian Horntail, Swedish Short Snout, Common Welsh Green and Chinese Fireball. I used construction paper, printer paper (because my handwriting is horrible) and skewers. I typed the names of the dragons in a fun text, printed it, cut them out and glued them onto the construction paper. I cut and folded the construction paper and glued it onto my skewer to create a flag. After the Dragon Eggs were cooked, I put a flag in each of the eggs and served my dish. They looked amazing and tasted just as good!

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Homemade Dragon Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 4 large eggs (whole), 3 eggs (beaten)
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 8 oz. ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • pinch of garlic salt

Place four whole eggs in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and boil for ten minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water and peel. Set aside on a paper towel to absorb excess water.

In a food processor, combine basil, Parmesan, garlic cloves and 1/2 cup olive oil. Blend until smooth. In a mixing bowl, combine bread crumbs, flour, salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic salt, three beaten eggs, ground turkey, and basil pesto mixture.

Cover each egg with a 1/4 of the turkey mixture. Put in fridge overnight if needed. Saute in olive oil cooking around 3-4 minutes per side. Serve warm.

Worth it or Not – Homemade Pudding

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There are so many ways that people are trying to save money and be healthy. They are making their own jams, sauces and cake mixes. One of the things that perked my interest was homemade pudding. It seemed simple enough – milk, cornstarch, sugar and egg yokes. It’s hard to mess that up. We had some bananas that I wanted to toss in, so why not make some homemade banana pudding?

I’ve always made pudding from a box. It’s easy and reliable, but it has a few chemicals in it that aren’t the greatest for you. This homemade option was supposed to taste better and be better for you.

I definitely went through a slight trial and error with my homemade pudding. I had to cook it twice to get it to set properly. When it did become thick enough, it was too lumpy. This was probably because I wasn’t stirring it often enough. The problem was easily fixed by tossing it in the food processor. Overall, there are some simple changes I would make so I would get it right the first time.

Before deciding which was better, I wanted to compare the cost, time and flavor to the convenience of buying a box.

Cost for ingredients –

The dry ingredients I used cost less than the dollar I would have spent for the box. I did need two egg yokes and more milk which makes the homemade version more expensive, but you end up with a little more pudding. I’d say it’s pretty close, but the homemade version should be cheaper.

Cooking time –

You need more cooking time for the homemade version. If you have to heat up your boxed pudding, you bring it to a boil once and it sets. With the homemade option, you have to keep it on the verge of boiling until it completely thickens. There’s also a chance that it might not set the first time.

The Flavor –

The homemade version tastes so much better than the boxed option. You get the freedom to control your ingredients and know exactly what your family consuming. I also used ingredients I already had at home, which saves me an extra trip to the grocery store.

My conclusion –

Overall, I enjoyed the homemade pudding and it was a great alternative to the boxed option. Cooking it while I was working on something else was very easy. If I’m already going to be in the kitchen, I don’t see any reason I wouldn’t make it. If I have severe time constraints, I would buy the box as my backup. I’m sure the next time I make it I will avoid the same mistakes and it will take less time.

My favorite part about the homemade version: my husband loved it! He normally doesn’t like any of the cooked puddings and he said this homemade version blew all of the other boxed puddings out of the water. He is officially converted.

Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

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Vanilla Pudding
By Tonkcats on Food.com
– Updates to recipe provided by Creative Campbell

Ingredients:
½ cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch + 2 tablespoons
2 ½ cups milk
½ teaspoon salt
2 egg yokes, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.) In a medium double boiler on medium, cook sugar, cornstarch, milk and salt. Stirring often. DO NOT allow to boil.
2.) Temper your egg yokes – add a small amount of your pudding mixture to your egg yokes and stir. Add a little more of the mixture allowing your eggs to slowly warm up. Pour the egg yoke mixture into your pudding. This process keeps your eggs from curdling.
3.) Heat until it thickens to a pudding consistency, stirring often.
4.) Remove from the stove and add vanilla extract. Put through food processor if too lumpy.
5.) Chill for 2-3 hours.

Optional: Add bananas to create homemade banana pudding.

* If you don’t have a double boiler, simply put the pudding in a normal pot but stir it more often and keep a closer eye on it.