Chicken Carbonara — As Good As Ever!

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5 NIV

I haven’t been cooking lately … but I have been eating a bunch! This weekend we ate in a fabulous Italian restaurant and I ordered Chicken Carbonara which is one of my favorite dishes.  Last August I posted the recipe that will sweep you off your feet when it comes to carbonara sauce! I have to say that my carbonara recipe is every bit as good as the 5 star restaurant (for much less $$)  Start here …

Looking at this list of ingredients  — what’s not too like?  You can retrieve all the details and the recipe here.

  • 1 lb. spaghetti, plain or whole wheat
  • 4 oz. bacon, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and chunked or shredded (can use leftovers from roasted chicken)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon basil
  • ½ teaspoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 4 egg yokes
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Go here:

And I promise you will end up here:

When we finished our Chicken Carbonara at the restaurant I didn’t have any spare room for dessert.  However, if I had been home we might have enjoyed some homemade banana pudding that would look something like this!

So, while I am not cooking right now I hope you will enjoy some of my favorite recipes I have previously posted.  These both are keeper recipes.  Bookmark for later and let me know how you like it!

Many Blessings and Happy Cooking!

Week End Round Up #3

Verse of the Day

“[Trials and Temptations] Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3  NIV

Happy Friday! I hope you have had a blessed week and are looking forward to a great weekend!  I know I am.  Yesterday I posted some information about cooking with basil.  I received this comment/question from a reader.
“Maybe a little off topic, however, This year I planted two basil plants but the seeds from last season’s plants popped up on their own so now I have six plants. I have been cooking with fresh leaves like crazy and have given tons of it to friends and family, but I still have a huge amount of good basil. I want to know the best way to dry it so that I can cook with it in the future and not waste all of those leaves. Hubby is getting sick of pesto right now. I’ll be back to read more next time.”

I love hearing from readers and this is such a great question.  For drying a dehydrator can be used or the basil leaves can simply be hung over a string and left to dry and then crumbled for use.  However, when herbs are dried they loose some of their potency.  I prefer to freeze them.  Pesto sauce can be frozen in small quantities (such as in an ice cube tray) and then used later.  Basil can also be combined in a food processor and a little olive oil and then frozen for later use.  One of my favorite websites for everything frozen, dried, or canned is “Pick Your Own.org”.  I the summer time especially I use this site weekly.  For more information on drying and freezing basil, check it out here.  Thanks for the comment!
To read more about cooking with basil, check out yesterday’s post and recipe.

Looking back at the week in pictures we started out with this absolutely gorgeous roasted red pepper quiche.  I encourage you to consider this recipe as it is delicious the first time around and even better as a leftover!

And just in case you didn’t have a chance to smell this terrific soup simmering on your stove top this week here is another look at White Chicken Chili.  Last year my mom actually won first place at a Chili Cook-off at my brother’s church in Kansas City with this recipe.  Awarding winning, it is a keeper!!!
And we did share her secret flavoring ingredients:

No matter where your cooking and eating adventures take you this weekend, I wish you well.  Many blessings and happy cooking!

Cooking With Basil

Verse of the Day

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV

Today Renee Swope wrote the “Encouragement For Today Devotions” titled listening to God.  As I was reading what she wrote, I thought, “I wonder about that too!”.  She writes, I want to be a woman who listens to God. But, sometimes I’m not sure if it’s God talking or just me thinking.  And if I’m really honest, when I do sense Him whispering to my heart, I’m not always crazy about what I sense He’s telling me to do. Click here to read more.
I am a member of the Town and Country Garden Club where I live. Today our county Extension Agent, Whitney, presented a really informative and fun program on cooking with herbs. It reminded me of why I like to cook with fresh herbs and why I love to have herbs growing in my yard. I decided to start sharing some of the herbal information with you! Now, I realize that it is the dead of winter and that I don’t have any basil in my garden at the moment — and you probably don’t either.  However, this is exactly the right time to start thinking about our spring planting!  In the meantime, we are lucky to have fresh basil available at the grocers!  The recipe link is from Simply Recipes.com.

Herbs are plants whose leave, stems, flowers, roots, or seeds are valued for their culinary, aromatic, medicinal, pesticidal, or coloring (dye) properties.  GROWING HERBS:  Most herbs need at least a half day (6 hours) of sunlight for optimal growth and flavor. Herbs need well-drained ordinary garden soil. Herbs have a stronger flavor and fragrance if not fertilized (I didn’t know this!)  Allow at least 1 to 2 feet between plants when planting herbs and avoid insecticides, as you will be eating some of these leaves.

For this first post I want to highlight BASIL (Ocimum basilicum).  I love using fresh basil in so many dishes.  I also love just rubbing it between my fingers and taking in the fragrance when in the garden!  Basil is an attractive 2 foot tender annual.  Sweet Genovese is the best variety for cooking.  It has a smooth, bright green leaves.  It can be started from seed or a cutting.  Be sure not to plant outdoors before all danger of frost has passed.  Basil requires full sun and prefers moist, well drained soil. For the first few weeks, pinch off the top two pair of leaves to make it branch out. Harvest up to 1/3 of the plant often throughout the growing season. Then when it starts to set flowers, cut the plant back by 1/2 or 2/3 or it won’t continue to make leaves.  Don’t allow them to bloom and to seed.  leaves have a sharp spicy flavor. Use fresh for the best flavor.  Preserve by freezing.  Basil is especially good with tomatoes and Italian or Thai dishes.  Don’t store basil below 45 degrees F. or it will blacken.  It also bruises easily so use a sharp knife to cut the leaves.  Stir in at the end of the cooking time for best results.

STORING TIP:  Classic Basil Pesto can be placed in ice cube trays, and frozen for use later. After they are frozen, place cubes in a Ziploc bag for storage.

Many Blessings and Happy Cooking!

Classic Basil Pesto
 
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Fresh basil combines with the nuts and garlic to make a beautiful classic pesto.
Ingredients
  • 2 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
  • ½ cup Parmesan-Reggiano, grated
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ cup Pine nuts or walnuts
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Combine olive oil and minced garlic. Warm in microwave for 30 to 45 seconds to infuse garlic flavoring into the oil.
  2. Combine the basil with the pine nuts or walnuts. Pulse a few times in a food processor.
  3. Slowly add the olive oil/garlic mixture in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. The mixture should be ground to a paste-like consistency but a little bit of the leaves' texture should remain.
  4. Add the grated cheese, salt and pepper. Pulse again until blended.
  5. Serve over pasta, baked potatoes, or spread over toasted baguette slices.
Notes
(1) Sweet Genovese basil works best, giving the most flavorful pesto.
(2) When making bread, flatten out the dough, spread with pesto sauce and roll up tight. Bake as you normally would. Pesto gives a lovely taste and presentation within the bread.
(3) Makes 1 cup

White Chicken Chili January’s Warm Up!


Psalm 101:1-3

1 I will sing of your love and justice;
   to you, LORD, I will sing praise.
2 I will be careful to lead a blameless life—
   when will you come to me?

   I will conduct the affairs of my house
   with a blameless heart.
3 I will not look with approval
   on anything that is vile.

It was such a busy weekend at our house.  I fulfilled a Christmas gift to my mother and I am so thankful to have it done.  My mom didn’t like the wallpaper in her bathroom.  She shared with me last fall that the wallpaper was just too over-powering.  I remained totally silent because my mind starting whirling that I would be stripping wallpaper and painting that bathroom.  Since those two activities are on my “least favorite to do list” I decided in order to maintain a good attitude while stripping (the wallpaper!) I would gift it to her!  So for Christmas I gave her an empty paint can covered with paint samples.  She picks the color, I do the work.  What was I thinking?  Whew, it seemed like a good idea about 4 months ago!  But now the project is finished and I can think about one of my favorite things to do — cooking!  While involved in my “project” mom made some awesome White Chicken Chili soup which she shared with her bible study group and then we got the left overs!  Yum!

I love white chicken chili because it is packed with stuff that is really good for us!  Chicken breast, white beans, green chilies …. and a little cream and sour cream to make it the best.

We use McCormick’s White Chicken Chili for the seasoning.  They have it mixed together perfectly and you won’t have to second guess whether you have too much or too little seasoning.  You will find the recipe at the bottom of this post!
In the meantime, I still can’t find the sugar bowl and continue to bake vicariously through some of my favorite foodies.  It seems The Brown Eyed Baker is full speed ahead with this fabulous looking Peanut Butter Blondies.  Oh how I would like to eat one right now!
And in the kitchen of Tracey’s Culinary Adventures she has been busy also making something sweet in the name of Pumpkin Streusel Coffeecake.  This coffeecake looks densely delicious and packed with goodies!

Until next time, sweet blessings and happy cooking!

White Chicken Chili
 
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Easy, delicious chili, chocked full of healthy chicken and a little bit of spice!
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Canola Oil
  • 2 can Great Northern White Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 14.5 oz Chicken broth
  • ¼ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 - 4 ounce can Diced Green chilies
  • ½ cup Whipping Cream
  • 1 cup Sour cream
  • 1 packet McCormick White Chicken Chili Seasoning
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, saute chicken and McCormick White Chicken Chili Seasoning Packet, until the chicken is no longer pink.
  2. Add beans, chilies, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer (uncovered) for at least 30 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in sour cream and whipping cream.
  4. Serve immediately.
Notes
If you have more time, cook soup (without adding cream and sour cream) for an hour or so.  Add cream and sour cream just before serving.

 

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