I'm home. It was a great vacation full of reunions with family and old friends, parties, birthdays and a lot of quality time with my sweet niece and nephew. As much fun as it is to travel though, it was also very nice to come home. We just today got everything unpacked and got the house all cleaned up and now I am looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend. When we left everything was in bloom and it looked very Springy. Now all of the trees are fully leafed out and the light in the house has totally changed. It feels like summer. This menu reflects that I think.
We came home to a surprisingly small stack of mail but it had a few goodies in it. One was my June/July issue of Fine Cooking. I flipped though it immediately and found this recipe in the back. We spent most of our vacation eating New Mexican food (my favorite, I requested green chili for my birthday and my mom delivered, it was delicious!). It is really a style all its own and something that is hard to produce anywhere that you don't have access to good green chiles. So now that we are back we had to a resort to a little Tex-mex. Not a bad alternative.
1. Tex-mex Chicken with Chiles and Cheese
modified from Fine Cooking
makes 4 servings
1 1/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and slices 1/4" thick
1 t chili powder
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t cayenne pepper
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 T unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen thawed) corn kernels
1 medium jalapeno, seeded and thinly sliced
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 T lime juice (from 1-2 limes)
1 lime, cut into wedges
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar
Position rack about 4" from broiler and heat broiler on high. Toss the chicken with the chili powder, cumin, cayenne, 3/4 t salt and 1/2 t pepper. Lightly dredge the chicken in the flour and shake off any excess. Melt 2 1/2 T of the butter in a large, ovenproof skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the remaining 1 T butter, the corn, jalapeno, garlic and 1/2t salt. Cook, stirring, until the corn begins to brown lightly, 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken, lime juice and 1/2 cup water. Cook, stirring, until the chicken is just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the Cheddar and transfer to the broiler. Broil until the cheese melts and browns on top, about 3 minuted. Serve with warm tortillas and lime wedges.
I made the full recipe of this dish intending on having leftovers for lunches. The leftovers were pretty good but as I have found with most pastas that have creamy sauces, it was much better fresh.
2. Pasta with Leeks, Peas and Parmesan
modified from Real Simple
make 4-6 servings
1 lb short pasta (shells work especially well because they hold all of the goodies inside)
2 T olive oil
4 leeks (white and light green parts only), thinly sliced (the leeks at my market this week were HUGE so I only used two)
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t black pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1o oz. fresh or frozen (thawed) peas
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmesan
2 t lemon zest
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks, season with the salt and 1/4 t of the pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and peas and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in the cream and 3/4 cup of the Parmesan. Simmer until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 4 minutes. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce along with the lemon zest. Toss and top with the remaining Parmesan and pepper.
This meal randomly popped into my head as I was planning the menu this week. It is not something I have made very often but I do like it and remembered Jer ordering it when we went out for Lebanese food one night. I used the Far East brand mix and wrapped it in tortillas (you could also use pita bread but I didn't feel like spending the extra money when I was already getting tortillas for the chicken dish) with tomatoes, cucumber and lettuce. The box had a recipe on it for a cucumber yogurt sauce that looked good but, again, I was feeling very frugal and didn't want to buy the extra ingredients. I put a little mayo and spicy mustard on mine and it was very good.
3. Falafel Wraps
one box mix makes 3-4 servings