Goodcookbecky's Blog

Letting the juices of life (or food) drip from my chin!


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Skillet American Chop Suey

I remember my mother making “Chop Suey” when I was growing up.  For some of you, this means Chinese food.. no, this is the American version.  A nice way to doctor up a pound of ground beef and other staples you have in your pantry. It is a better alternative to Hamburger Helper. A much tastier one as well!

I just came home from our church’s Ladies Retreat.  What a let down to return to dishes, a broken dishwasher and the dirty laundry that multiplied while I was away, but I was getting hungry and wanted easy and tasty for dinner.  I had not gone to the store since returning, but had ground beef and this has ingredients that I usually have on hand.

http://www.americastestkitchentv.com/

This recipe for “Skillet American Chop Suey” is from America’s Test Kitchen’s book The Best 30-Minute Recipe (page 148)

Skillet American Chop Suey

Serves 4

  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided use
  • 1 lb. 90% lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and chopped medium
  • 1 celery rib, chopped medium (I didn’t have any this time)
  • salt and ground pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 oz elbow macaroni (about 2 cups-dry)

Making the minutes count:  Before cooking, mince the onion. While the beef cooks, chop the bell pepper and celery.  While the vegetables cook mince the garlic.

  1. Cook Beef: Heat 1 Tbsp. of oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add beef and cook, breaking it into pieces with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 3 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Saute Vegetables: add remaining Tbsp oil to skillet and return to medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, bell pepper, celery and 1/2 tsp salt and cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes.  Stir in Garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Simmer Macaroni: Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, macaroni, and browned beef. Cover and cook, stirring often and adjusting heat as needed to maintain a vigorous simmer, until macaroni is tender, 10-15 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

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Cajun Chicken Pasta

This recipe is both easy to prepare and easy to eat! My husband and I love the balance of spices.  I think it is well worth buying the Konriko brand Creole Seasoning to make this dish.  I posted information about it on my previous entry.  It used to be available in the grocery stores, but lately I can only find them online.

The recipe calls for linguine pasta, but any pasta will do.  We find the Penne pasta to be the easiest to pick up and eat and Barrilla’s penne has ridges so the sauce stick to it a bit and it quite good.  I found this recipe in an old Taste of Home Magazine.  They had a column called “I wish I had that Recipe” that featured a recipe of a restaurant.  It truly is a favorite of ours.  I hope you enjoy it too.

Cajun Chicken Pasta – Taste of Home Magazine
Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 large Chicken Breast halves — cut into strips
  • 2 tsp. Cajun or Creole Seasoning (Konriko brand Creole seasoning is wonderful)
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter
  • 8 slices Green Pepper
  • 8 slices Red Bell Pepper
  • 4 large Mushrooms  — sliced
  • 1 green Onion, sliced
  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1/4 tsp. dried Basil
  • 1/4 tsp. Lemon Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/8 tsp. Pepper
  • 4 ounces Linguine — cooked and drained (or other pasta)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions
Place chicken strips and Cajun/Creole seasoning in a bowl or resealable plastic bag; toss or shake to coat.
In a large skillet over medium heat; saute chicken in butter until almost tender about 5-7 minutes.  Add peppers, mushrooms and green onion; cook and stir for 2-3 minutes.  Reduce heat.  Add cream and seasonings; heat through.  Add linguine and toss, heating through.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Enjoy (I usually double the recipe and have left overs).  This recipe serves two, but you may increase it to the size of your family.

I usually prepare a separate batch of chicken without Creole seasoning for my kids who do not like spicy foods too much, but every family is different.

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Greek Orzo Salad

This is a wonderful refreshing dish that I love to serve at our home.  My husband and I seem to always battle for the last bowl when the late night munchies hit.  We end up sharing!

It is an easy dish to put together, chop your veggies and such while the pasta cooks and then cool the orzo under running cold water and it is a flash to assemble.  The beauty of this dish is you can put any veggies in you want.  My mom made this with green beans once and broccoli another time. Both were delicious.  I happen to like this combination the best.  But if you did not like artichokes, or cucumbers – substitute away!

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad
Serves 6-8

  • 3/4 lb Orzo Pasta (I love the Barilla Brand)
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced (I like the hot house or English ones they are most consistently good)
  • 1 can artichoke hearts
  • 1 can black olives (Greek style if you desire, but can be made with just regular olives if you wish)
  • 1 package cherry or grape tomatoes (chopped tomato is fine too)
  • fresh basil, chopped (to taste or 1 tsp of dried basil works in a pinch)
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled or cut in cubes if you like larger pieces of feta
  • 1/2 jar roasted Red Peppers (optional)

For the Dressing:

  • 6 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. mint
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Cook the Pasta according to the directions.  Prepare the vegetables, and put in a large bowl.  When the pasta is cooked, drained and cooled, add to the chopped veggies.  Combine the ingredients of the dressing and pour over the pasta salad.  Combine.  Add the feta cheese last, it seems to hold together better then.  Enjoy.  This really is quite addicting.  I think you will find it is as well.

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