Posts in TDY Cooks
Creamy One-Pot Pasta and Peas

I know I’ve said it before, but sometimes the best (BEST) meals come from having to rummage through the “nothing” in the fridge and turn it into “something”. Last night was especially challenging because the ol’ ice box was pretty bare, and fresh ingredients were in scarce supply. I thought to make some kind of curry, because I can always count on having frozen chicken breasts, peas, and potatoes on hand. Alas, last night Bernie was looking for anything but Indian.

In all honesty, Bern and I having different dinner cravings makes playing “Chopped” with fridge ingredients that much more fun - I like the challenge of running through my brain to see what else I can come up with, and the satisfaction of seeing his face get a little excited when I land on something good is like slipping the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle into position.

I turned my plan Italian (always a safe play) and bounced through a few iterations with Bernie before reaching something that jived. I admit, he got a little nervous when I landed on milk as a key ingredient, but hey - marriage is all about trust. The end result was a a one-pan chicken and pasta dish with a creamy tomato sauce that hit all the spots.

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Creamy Chicken & Peas

4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1/2 lb linguini, cooked al dente
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 tbsp  tomato paste
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Serve with grated parmesan and crushed red pepper

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.

1. Slice the chicken breasts so that you reduce the thickness of the chicken breast by half.

2. Mix the salt, pepper. and garlic powder together and sprinkle half generously over the chicken.

3. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium heat.

4. Sear the chicken spice-side down in the skillet. While one side is cooking, use the other half of the spice mix to season the other side. Flip when the first side is golden brown. Brown the other side and then remove from the skillet and cut into 1-inch slices. The middle should still be pink(ish). Reduce the pan heat to medium-low.

5. Add two more tablespoons of olive oil to the pan along with the sliced garlic clove. Once the garlic begins to caramelize, return the chicken to the pan along with the dried oregano. Stir so that everything is coated into tomato paste and let cook for 2-3 minutes so the tomato paste begins to caramelize.

6. Add wine (or chicken broth) to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottoms. Add the peas and cooked linguini, stirring to fully incorporate all of the ingredients. Remove from heat and add the milk/cream and parsley, again stirring until all of the ingredients are incorporated.

7. Sprinkle the top with shredded mozzarella and bake until bubbly.

8. Serve with heaps of grated parmesan, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.

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Zesty Tortilla Soup

I’ve gotten every. single. germy. bug that has come into our home this season. Between lingering illness and irritatingly chilly weather I have been doubling down on sauces and soups. Because, you know, when it’s a little damp, too warm for snow, but too cold to want to go outside and play, something bubbly on the stove makes everything feel a little warmer.

Spicy, warm, and filling, this tortilla soup is guaranteed to take the chill off. Give it more or less heat by moderating how much jalapeño you use. I also think this soup would be great if you swapped in rice for the tortillas. Bonus: Most of the soups I make are a snap. One pot, big flavor, low maintenance.

Tortilla Soup

2 tbsp coconut oil
6 green onions, chopped and separated into whites and greens
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 jalapeños*, seeds removed and finely chopped
2 tsp chile powder
1.5 tsp ancho chile powder
28 oz can of canned peeled tomatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine or pale beer (like Modelo or Corona)
4 cups chicken broth
1 boneless skinless chicken breast
1 cup sweet corn
1/2 diced sweet potato, uncooked
1-2 cups vegetable oil
2-3 flour or corn tortillas, cut into strips
Salt & Pepper to taste
Crumbled Cojita Cheese
Chopped Cilantro
Lime Slices
Fried Tortilla Strips

1. In a heavy dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the green onion whites, garlic and jalapeños* until the onions and peppers begin to soften. Add chile powders and sauté until fragrant.

2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the tomatoes to the pot. Stir only occasionally, letting them caramelize.

3. Deglaze the pot with the wine or beer, scraping any bits off the bottom of the pot. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.

4. Reduce to a low simmer and add the chicken breast. Place a lid on the pot and let it cook until the chicken is fully cooked and tender. Remove the chicken and shred with two forks.

5. Place the shredded chicken back into the pot along with the corn and sweet potatoes, and simmer until the sweet potatoes are soft. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile…

In a cast iron skillet, add 1-2 cups of vegetable oil. Heat until the oil is shimmering and a drop of water spits when introduced to the pan. Add the tortillas and fry until lightly browned. Remove to a paper towel to drain the oil, salt lightly.

OR

Brush tortillas with vegetable oil and bake at 375* until browned.

Put it all together.

Spoon soup into a bowl and top with crumbled cojita cheese, lime, cilantro, chopped onion greens, and fried tortilla.

*You can moderate the spice by reducing or removing the peppers.

The original recipe came from Alison Roman and NY Times Cooking.