Garlic Alfredo Pasta

Garlic Alfredo Pasta

 

Every night’s a good night for pasta, right?  When a meeting got thrown into the mix at the last minute, the meal I had planned wouldn’t work.  I was stumped – I had a beautiful, cook-and-serve-immediately dinner on the brain, and now we needed something that could be prepped ahead of time.

That’s where this Garlic Alfredo Pasta dish comes in. 

I’ve been hungry for some pasta fettuccini Alfredo, anyway, and this dish has all of those flavors.  Instead of serving it as individual dishes, though, as I normally would, I combined it into a casserole that contained all the food groups – and lest that sound ‘weird,’ trust me – these are delicious combinations.

It’s not exactly a one-dish dinner, of course, since each component needs to be prepared individually, but it’s definitely a cut above your typical casserole.  It would be a great dish to double and stick the second into the freezer or to gift one to a friend or neighbor. 

So what is Garlic Alfredo Pasta, anyway?

It’s marinated chicken with steamed broccoli and pasta smothered in a light, garlicky Alfredo sauce and topped with gooey mozzarella cheese.

Yum.

Garlic Alfredo Pasta
Serves 4
A decadently creamy take on Fettuccini Alfredo
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646 calories
77 g
83 g
19 g
42 g
10 g
465 g
725 g
9 g
0 g
7 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
465g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 646
Calories from Fat 163
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 19g
28%
Saturated Fat 10g
50%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 83mg
28%
Sodium 725mg
30%
Total Carbohydrates 77g
26%
Dietary Fiber 6g
25%
Sugars 9g
Protein 42g
Vitamin A
34%
Vitamin C
108%
Calcium
48%
Iron
17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 12 oz pasta
  2. 2 chicken breasts, cleaned, cut in 1-inch pieces
  3. Italian marinade
  4. 1 lb frozen broccoli
  5. 4 T. butter
  6. 4 T. flour
  7. 2 T. minced garlic
  8. 1 1/2 c. chicken broth
  9. 1 1/2 c. whole milk
  10. 3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  11. 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  12. salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Saute the chicken in the Italian dressing in a hot skillet. Toss frequently for 4-6 minutes until browned and cooked through. Remove from heat.
  2. Cook pasta. Add the broccoli to the pasta pot for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
  3. Drain pasta and set aside.
  4. In the empty pasta pot, melt the butter.
  5. Stir in the garlic and simmer for 2 minutes.
  6. Stir in the flour.
  7. Slowly add the chicken stock, stirring constantly.
  8. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly. Simmer for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens.
  9. Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese.
  10. In a buttered casserole dish, layer the chicken, the pasta, and the broccoli.
  11. Pour the sauce over the top.
  12. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the top.
  13. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees until hot and bubbly.
  14. Serve immediately.
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calories
646
fat
19g
protein
42g
carbs
77g
more
A Nest in the Rocks http://anestintherocks.com/
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Home to 4 Kiddos

Slow Cooker Mongolian Chicken

Slow Cooker Mongolian Chicken @ A Nest in the Rocks

 

That’s why I was excited to find this recipe.  It sounded so good to me – and yet we didn’t have all of the original ingredients, so we played around a little bit.

We ended up with something that takes a few minutes to throw together and then cooks on its own.  There are no last minute items to do, which makes it especially great for those days when you have little time at home before dinner.

If you’re a fan of Asian food, this is definitely a recipe to try because it’s just as tasty as it is simple.

What’s your favorite busy-night dish?

Also shared at:

Home to 4 Kiddos

Slow Cooker Mongolian Chicken
Serves 4
A tasty and healthy Oriental-style dish
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Total Time
4 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Total Time
4 hr 10 min
318 calories
31 g
96 g
4 g
38 g
1 g
203 g
1908 g
20 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
203g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 318
Calories from Fat 37
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
6%
Saturated Fat 1g
6%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 96mg
32%
Sodium 1908mg
79%
Total Carbohydrates 31g
10%
Dietary Fiber 1g
5%
Sugars 20g
Protein 38g
Vitamin A
102%
Vitamin C
3%
Calcium
5%
Iron
11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces
  2. 1/2 c. soy sauce
  3. 1/4 c. cornstarch
  4. 1 clove of garlic, minced
  5. 1/3 c. brown sugar
  6. 2 grated carrots
Instructions
  1. Toss chicken with cornstarch. Set aside.
  2. Whisk sugar, water, soy sauce, and garlic together.
  3. Add liquid mixture to slow cooker.
  4. Add grated carrots and stir to combine.
  5. Stir chicken into slow cooker.
  6. Cook for 4 hours.
  7. Serve over rice with veggies.
Adapted from The Recipe Critic
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calories
318
fat
4g
protein
38g
carbs
31g
more
Adapted from The Recipe Critic
A Nest in the Rocks http://anestintherocks.com/

Healthy Burrito Bowls

Healhty Burrito Bowls @ A Nest in the Rocks

I planned to make something new last week – a new kind of healthy Mexican recipe that the Big Helper and I were excited about.

Until one ingredient didn’t behave as expected.

At the very last minute, I needed to change things up, and these burrito bowls were the result.  We really liked them.  The veggies are spicy, and they’re easily customizable to suit everyone in your family.

Healthy Burrito Bowls
Serves 4
These burrito bowls are easy to customize and are full of flavor.
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753 calories
148 g
7 g
9 g
24 g
3 g
473 g
354 g
7 g
0 g
5 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
473g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 753
Calories from Fat 73
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
13%
Saturated Fat 3g
14%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 7mg
2%
Sodium 354mg
15%
Total Carbohydrates 148g
49%
Dietary Fiber 16g
65%
Sugars 7g
Protein 24g
Vitamin A
18%
Vitamin C
84%
Calcium
16%
Iron
30%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups rice, white or brown
  2. 3 small zucchini
  3. 1 onion
  4. 1 green pepper
  5. 1 T. olive oil
  6. 2 cloves of minced garlic
  7. 1 t. cumin
  8. 1/2 t. crushed red pepper
  9. salt and pepper to taste
  10. 2 cups black beans, cooked
  11. 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  12. diced tomatoes (opt)
  13. shredded cheese (opt)
  14. salsa (opt)
Instructions
  1. Cook the rice according to package directions.
  2. Slice the onion and the bell pepper.
  3. Preheat a large saucepan and add olive oil.
  4. Add chopped zucchini, onion, green pepper, and garlic.
  5. Cook through.
  6. Add cumin, red pepper, salt, and ground black pepper.
  7. Mix to combine.
  8. Push the veggies to one side of the pan and add the corn and beans to the clear side to heat through.
  9. Spoon rice into the bottom of each bowl.
  10. Top with beans, veggies, and then corn. Add additional toppings as desired.
  11. Serve hot.
Notes
  1. We enjoyed these bowls with the above ingredients. If meat is desired, add your cooked meat directly to the bowl above the rice and enjoy!
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calories
753
fat
9g
protein
24g
carbs
148g
more
A Nest in the Rocks http://anestintherocks.com/

Quick & Easy Taco Soup

Today I’m sharing a new favorite recipe – for a Quick & Easy Taco Soup that’s both healthy and yummy – over at Marriage, Motherhood, and Missions.  I hope you’ll hop over and check it out!

Parmesan Potato Soup

Parmesan Potato SoupA few months ago my family had one of those really awful, horrible, no-good very bad days.  We had to put our puppy to sleep, and with my husband working out of town that day, the task of taking her to the vet and the subsequent burial was all mine (although my very sweet MIL helped tremendously with the digging).

For the next few days I had an awful time finding the energy to plan and prepare dinner.  Finally deciding I wanted the comfort of a hot bowl of potato soup but lacking the incentive to just make it – from scratch, no recipe involved – the way I usually did held no appeal.  I sent out a FB appeal for a simple recipe, and a friend sent a recipe that sounded great, with one problem:  it had absolutely no veggies in it, and I couldn’t imagine having to make two things for dinner that night.

That recipe turned into this one, and my whole family really likes it – even my soup-disliking three-year-old.  It has that traditional potato comfort feel but is chock full of veggies.  The delicate parmesan flavor comes through, eliminating the need for the heavy cheddar-laden versions often gracing my hips before.  It’s good just as a meatless main dish, but adding ham or bacon gives it a yummy richness.  I hope you like it as much as we do!

So, to make Parmesan Potato Veggie Soup …

First, wash your potatoes.  I use 4-6 medium sized potatoes.  Red or russet work well.  Bake them until done, usually about 45-60 minutes at 350 degrees.  Cool.  Peel if desired (the peel does add lots of fiber and nutrients, though, so if the skin is thin it’s great to leave it on).  You can bake these the day before if you’ll be short on time when it’s time to cook – the rest of this soup comes together in a hurry.

 
Steam or otherwise prepare about 5 cups of veggies.  For this batch, I used 3 cups of broccoli and two cups of a California blend that included cauliflower, baby carrots, and yellow carrot slices.  I cooked mine in the bottom of my large dutch oven in just a bit of water.  This takes 3-5 minutes over boiling water.  Drain and set aside.
 
 

While the veggies are working, finely chop one onion and two stalks of celery.  I don’t mean the whole plant, just two pieces.  You get the idea.

Add this to the now-empty dutch oven with 1/2 c. of butter and cook over medium heat until the onions are transparent.  Stir occasionally.

While the onions are taking their butter bath, rough chop your potatoes.  Peel them first if you want to, of course.  We like our soup pretty chunky so I let some of the pieces be larger.  Because this soup comes together so fast, the potatoes will not break down much in the soup, so make your pieces the size that you want to eat them.

Go back to your onions, all buttery and clear and ready to go.  Add 1/2 cup of flour and stir it well.  It will completely absorb all the moisture left in the pot, but that’s okay – this is what will thicken your soup when the time comes.  Add the seasoning now, too.  Mix in 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil,  and 1/2 teaspoon of seasoning salt.  A bit of freshly ground pepper is good, too, but I couldn’t measure that – I just ground away straight into the pot.  Add the chopped potatoes and veggies back in, too.  I like to give the veggies a rough chop before tossing them in, as well.

Now, with the heat on low and stirring slowly, add 4 1/2 c. of chicken stock.  Let it come to a bubble – not a hard rolling boil, but a happy bubble – and let it go for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  It will look super thick at this point and should smell amazing.  Just hang on.  It gets better!

Now add 6 cups of milk and stir until combined and heated through.  Do this on low heat so that the milk doesn’t scorch.  If you like your soup REALLY thick, you may just want to add 5 cups.  Also, if you want to add ham to your soup, this is the time.  Add 1 cup of finely chopped, baked ham.

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Chicken Pot Pie Soup
I used to make chicken pot pie on Fridays during the winter.  The kids would watch a movie if they’d had a good week, and since my husband worked late, I could spend a bit more time on dinner.  After a while, though, although we all liked the dish, I wanted to make it faster.  I wanted it to be thicker, and I wanted to watch the movie with my kids instead of missing the cuddle time with them.

I’m also a big fan of soup.  That probably had something to do with it.

So my chicken pot pie morphed into this soup.  It has all the same elements, is still full of veggies, and has a great creamy, cheesy flavor.  Instead of a topping, we eat it over Grandma’s Biscuits.  I don’t make them often, so it makes this soup an extra special treat!

Chicken Pot Pie Soup
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4104 calories
147 g
1022 g
259 g
305 g
160 g
2907 g
6372 g
49 g
1 g
84 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
2907g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 4104
Calories from Fat 2280
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 259g
398%
Saturated Fat 160g
798%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 11g
Monounsaturated Fat 73g
Cholesterol 1022mg
341%
Sodium 6372mg
265%
Total Carbohydrates 147g
49%
Dietary Fiber 30g
118%
Sugars 49g
Protein 305g
Vitamin A
1332%
Vitamin C
131%
Calcium
595%
Iron
84%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 c. shredded, cooked chicken
  2. 3 carrots, chopped
  3. 2 c. chicken broth
  4. 2-3 c. milk
  5. 1 onion, diced
  6. 3 c. veggies - I use frozen corn, peas, and green beans (red peppers are fun, too)
  7. 3 handfuls of Sharp Cheddar, shredded
  8. 2 T. butter
  9. 2 T. flour
  10. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook your carrots in water. If you are using other dense veggies, throw them in now, too.
  2. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a Dutch oven, saute the onions in butter until transparent.
  4. Stir in the flour to make a paste.
  5. Pour in the chicken stock, stirring constantly.
  6. Add in the quick-cooking veggies and stir.
  7. Add the milk and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Do not let it boil!
  8. When the sauce begins to thicken, add the cheese, stirring constantly. This will thicken the soup considerably!
  9. Simmer over low heat until ready to serve.
  10. Split open one of Grandma's Biscuits in a wide bowl and spoon soup over the top. Yum!
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calories
4104
fat
259g
protein
305g
carbs
147g
more
A Nest in the Rocks http://anestintherocks.com/
What’s your favorite comfort soup?

Chicken Corn Soup

Chicken Corn Soup

At home in Pennsylvania this soup is really popular, and whenever I’m hungry for home I make Chicken Corn Soup.  There isn’t anything simpler, but it’s sweet and comforting and hearty without being heavy.

As My Little Man moved from being a toddler into the preschool years, I began to make soup again (I unconsciously avoided them before that – maybe because it was just too difficult to feed to young children).   To my dismay, he abhorred soup and complained about each and every variety – except this one.  As a corn addict, he thought this soup was awesome.  I crushed crackers in it to make it easier for him to eat, and he cleaned his bowl each and every time.

Chicken Corn Soup
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619 calories
116 g
73 g
7 g
40 g
2 g
953 g
1624 g
25 g
0 g
4 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
953g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 619
Calories from Fat 62
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
11%
Saturated Fat 2g
8%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 73mg
24%
Sodium 1624mg
68%
Total Carbohydrates 116g
39%
Dietary Fiber 9g
37%
Sugars 25g
Protein 40g
Vitamin A
13%
Vitamin C
53%
Calcium
5%
Iron
21%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. chicken - I like to use split chicken breasts
  2. several cups of corn - I use the corn that we bagged and froze last summer
  3. water
  4. salt and pepper to taste
  5. 1 can of creamed corn (optional)
Instructions
  1. Boil your chicken. I put it in a Dutch oven and bring it to a boil, then turn it down and let it simmer for an hour. This will both cook your chicken and create yummy broth for your soup, all at the same time.
  2. Remove the chieken from the broth.
  3. Cool the chicken, then shred with forks.
  4. Chill the broth. I just put the whole pot in the fridge until the next day.
  5. Skim the fat off the top of the broth. This can be done easily with a slotted spoon or a spider.
  6. Return the pot to the stovetop. Add the chicken back into the broth, adding a cup or two of water if necessary.
  7. Add the corn to the pot. If you'd like it to be a bit thicker and sweeter, add canned creamed corn. (My husband prefers it this way.)
  8. Let your soup simmer for about ten minutes and serve with crackers.
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calories
619
fat
7g
protein
40g
carbs
116g
more
A Nest in the Rocks http://anestintherocks.com/
I love to make this soup as we head into spring.  The sweet corn flavor just promises summer and warm days ahead!
 
What’s your favorite meal for these back-and-forth spring days??

Mom’s Fried Chicken

Mom's Fried Chicken
When I was a kid my mom used to make fried chicken.  It wasn’t like the greasy fried chicken that we saw at picnics every summer, but instead a rich and simple dish that she always served with my favorite foods – mashed potatoes, baked corn, and even simple stuffing.  As I got older, this being my ‘welcome home’ meal after being away at college or work, and it’s still one of my very favorite comfort foods.
 
Now that I’m a mom myself, I love to cook chicken this way because of it’s very simplicity.  It tastes like you’ve bitten into a roasted chicken, but without the hours of basting or the heat of an oven.  It’s faster to prep because there’s no egg or buttermilk wash, no crumbs to season or cereal to crunch, and no slippery parts to dip.  Because this dish is part-simmered and part-fried, it comes together fairly quickly – and while it bubbles away on the stove, you can be assembling your potato salad or husking corn or whatever else you need to do.
 
Mom's Fried Chicken
Comfort food at it's best!
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821 calories
1 g
369 g
38 g
112 g
15 g
634 g
327 g
0 g
1 g
18 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
634g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 821
Calories from Fat 341
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 38g
59%
Saturated Fat 15g
77%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
Monounsaturated Fat 12g
Cholesterol 369mg
123%
Sodium 327mg
14%
Total Carbohydrates 1g
0%
Dietary Fiber 1g
2%
Sugars 0g
Protein 112g
Vitamin A
12%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
8%
Iron
26%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. chicken parts, whatever you like. I'm partial to the white meat of the breasts, myself, but any piece will work, even the boneless variety.
  2. freshly ground pepper
  3. 1+ c. of water
  4. a generous sprinkling of poultry seasoning for each piece of chicken
  5. 3-4 T. butter per 1-2 pounds of chicken
Instructions
  1. Cut the skin off of your chicken pieces.
  2. Place them in a frying pan, bone sides down.
  3. Sprinkle each piece generously with pepper and poultry seasoning.
  4. Add a cup of water.
  5. Cover the chicken and cook over medium heat until the water is nearly gone and the chicken is nearly cooked. The time this takes depends on the size of your chicken pieces.
  6. When the pan is nearly dry, add the butter to the middle and flip the pieces over so that the meatiest sides are down in the butter.
  7. Reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through.
  8. Bonus: If you want to make gravy, when the butter is nearly cooked away, add more water or chicken broth back into the pan and stir to remove the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Slowly stir in your slurry and continue to stir until the desired thickness. This makes a super rich and yummy gravy!
  9. When you first season the chicken, it will look pretty plain - but when it's done, voila! You get this! Who would want to eat some of that? Serve with your favorite fried chicken sides.
Notes
  1. Since this chicken is fried in natural ingredients, there's nothing false about it - and it's pretty healthy, too, because you control the amount of fat inside.
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calories
821
fat
38g
protein
112g
carbs
1g
more
A Nest in the Rocks http://anestintherocks.com/
 
What’s your favorite way to eat fried chicken?

Smoked Sausage Foil Babies

 
A few weeks ago we made our favorite Foil Babies a new way – with smoked sausage – and it was definitely a winner here.  It’s tasty but comes together in just minutes, and then you can hang out with your family while the grill does all the work.  
 
I’m looking forward to serving this when we have company or when there’s a big game on TV.  It’s hearty enough to please hard-working people but fresh enough for even the pickiest eaters.
 
And when dinner’s over?  Throw away your foil packet, and voila! the dishes are done!
 
Smoked Sausage Foil Babies
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Cook Time
45 min
Cook Time
45 min
1758 calories
321 g
72 g
35 g
58 g
15 g
2073 g
1037 g
26 g
1 g
16 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
2073g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1758
Calories from Fat 308
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 35g
53%
Saturated Fat 15g
73%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 5g
Monounsaturated Fat 11g
Cholesterol 72mg
24%
Sodium 1037mg
43%
Total Carbohydrates 321g
107%
Dietary Fiber 40g
161%
Sugars 26g
Protein 58g
Vitamin A
576%
Vitamin C
185%
Calcium
34%
Iron
95%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 package of smoked sausage, cut into thirds
  2. 4-6 potatoes, washed and cubed
  3. 1 onion, roughly chopped
  4. 1 1/2 c. frozen lima beans
  5. 1 c. frozen whole-kernel corn
  6. 1 1/2 c. carrots, washed and chopped
  7. ice
  8. 3 T. butter
  9. salt and pepper to taste
  10. cooking spray or additional butter
Instructions
  1. Tear two long sheets of foil.
  2. Spray foil sheets with cooking spray or coat with butter.
  3. Place half of the above ingredients on each piece of foil. Be sure to add 2-4 ice cubes to each packet.
  4. Slice the butter and put a few pats on top of the veggies in each packet.
  5. Tear two more sheets of foil.
  6. Line up the edges and fold them over twice to create a good seal on all sides.
  7. Grill at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.
  8. Remove from the grill and serve immediately. Yum!
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calories
1758
fat
35g
protein
58g
carbs
321g
more
A Nest in the Rocks http://anestintherocks.com/
 
What’s your favorite grilling meal?

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

BBQ Chicken

This is one of my favorite quick-and-easy meals to throw together.  It smells great, comes together quickly, and it’s fairly healthy.  Everyone in my family likes this dish, and it’s versatile enough for them to customize it on their own plates.  THAT makes me happy!

Ingredients:

  • bone-in chicken breasts, skin removed
  • your favorite BBQ sauce
So to make your own slow cooker BBQ chicken, try this:
  1. Put your chicken in your slow cooker and add just a bit of the sauce.  Doesn’t need to be much – I pour on maybe 1/2 cup or so, just enough to be on the outside of the chicken but not enough to sit in the bottom of the dish.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until chicken is done.
  3. Turn off the slow cooker and allow to cool for 15 minutes or so.
  4. Using forks or a stand-alone mixer, shred the chicken to your preferred texture.
  5. Stir in enough BBQ sauce to flavor the meat.  I also add in some of the juice from the slow cooker.  Stir together.
  6. Add to buns or tortillas with all your favorite toppings – onions, cheese, spinach, lettuce, tomato, etc.
  7. Enjoy!

With some steamed broccoli – or even carrot sticks if you’re in a big rush – this is a complete, hot meal that everyone will love!