Category

Pasta

Crunchy Chicken Noodle Salad

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Crunchy Chicken Noodle Salad with juicy oranges, radishes and snow peas makes eating salad your new favorite thing!

By adding some crunchy ramen noodles to this Asian-inspired salad, you get a more filling, fun meal. There are a few recipes for ramen noodle salads out there, using different dressings and flavors. I love fresh veggies and cabbage with sesame dressings. That Asian flavor isn’t overpowering like an Italian vinaigrette, and I usually have the ingredients for it in my pantry. I used my Ginger Sesame Dressing on this version.

Crunchy Chicken Noodle Salad

I saved us all about ten steps by calling for coleslaw mix! You’re welcome. This Crunchy Chicken Noodle Salad comes together in a flash with pantry staples like ramen and salad mix. I added chopped cashews for extra yum.

Crunchy Chicken Noodle SaladI call for letting the salad rest in the fridge for a bit. This allows the dressing to soften the noodles a little. They are just a little too crunchy without resting. I used a mandolin to slice my radishes so thin. You can just slice with a knife if you like, or even just cut them into slivers.

To cut the orange I supremed it. That means I cut the fruit away from the membrane. Simply cut the rind off of the entire orange and cut on either side of each slice of orange, slipping it right out. I then just cut the slices into bite-sized pieces.

Crunchy Chicken Noodle Salad

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

Calories per serving: 410

Fat per serving: 17.5 g

Crunchy Chicken Noodle Salad

You can substitute a can of mandarin oranges for the orange and try any kind of nut in place of cashews.

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg ramen noodles (discard flavor packet)
  • 1½ cups diced cooked chicken
  • 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 orange, peeled and diced
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 5 oz (1 cup) snow peas, chopped
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped unsalted cashews
  • 1 16-oz pkg coleslaw mix
  • ¾ cup sesame ginger dressing Ginger Sesame Dressing

Instructions

  1. Break uncooked ramen into small pieces in a large bowl. Combine with chicken, radishes, orange, scallion, snow peas, cashews and coleslaw.
  2. Toss salad with dressing, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 25 min or up to 1 hr. Noodles will get softer the longer they sit.
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Right now I’m on a salad diet! I went on a trip and ate too too much! So…salad for me. But I have lots of great recipes, so if you’re in the same boat, or just love fresh dinners for summer, try The New Wedge Salad, with iceberg lettuce, beets, pancetta, hazelnuts and of course blue cheese. Chicken and Rice Lettuce Wraps are kind of a salad you can eat in your hand! I made a flavorful rice salad and you wrap your own portion in soft butter lettuce leaves. Enjoy!

Recipe by Tara Bench
Photography by Antonis Achilleos
Food Styling by Paul Grimes
Prom Styling by Paige Hicks
Originally published in Ladies’ Home Journal May 2011

Surprise! This savory herb sauce isn't your standard fare. Sun Dried Tomato Pesto combines classic basil pesto flavors with tangy sun-dried tomatoes.

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

By | Appetizers + Nibbles, Dips + Spreads + Salsas, Easy Dinners, Pasta, Side Dishes, Uncategorized | No Comments

Surprise! This savory herb sauce isn’t your standard fare. Sun Dried Tomato Pesto combines classic basil pesto flavors with tangy tomatoes.

Pesto, packed with basil and Parmesan, is summer’s generous gift to my belly. Of course I eat it on pasta, sometimes with a splash of cream or ricotta–but I also spread it on my sandwiches, use it as a veggie dip and dollop it on my grilled meats. It’s so versatile.

Pesto

It’s also easy to change up and mix up! I swap the Parmesan for other cheeses like Pecorino or Feta, replace the pine nuts with almonds or hazelnuts and even add olives, or in this case sun dried tomatoes!

You can use this pesto like you do the plain Jane kind, but the tangy tomatoes make it really tasty on grilled sausage or brushed onto fish.

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Look at that gorgeous sauce. The best part is pesto lasts and lasts in the fridge, even the freezer. Cover tightly and freeze for up to a month, or keep in the fridge, covered, for a week. If you are storing it in the fridge, keep it from oxidizing by pressing plastic wrap right on the top surface. This will keep air from getting in and prevent it from taking on odors from the fridge.

I kept the sun dried tomato pesto pretty close to my Classic Pesto, and just added tomatoes. I added a lot because I wanted the flavor to stand out from the strong garlic, Parmesan and basil. 1 cup did the trick. I like the tomatoes packed in oil (I use the oil in vinaigrette later!) because they are soft and easy to blend and chop. Some brands come vacuum-sealed and are very soft. Those would be great as well.

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: about 2 cups

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Serve this over grilled sausage; it's also delicious on fish and pasta.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups packed basil leaves
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup (3 1/2 oz) pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients except the oil, in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly pour the oil into the feed tube. Use immediately or freeze for up to a month.
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Recipe by Tara Bench
Originally published in Ladies’ Home Journal Aug 2010
Photography Antonis Achilleos
Food Styling Cyd Raftus McDowell
Prop Styling Paige Hicks

 

Hey Basil, you don't own pesto! This arugula hazelnut pesto variation is out of this world, and may be your go-to summer sensation.

Arugula Hazelnut Pesto

By | Appetizers + Nibbles, Easy Dinners, Pasta, Pork, Side Dishes | No Comments

Hey Basil, you don’t own pesto! This arugula hazelnut pesto variation is out of this world, and may be your go-to summer sensation.

 

I’m not starting an argument here, but really, Basil, take a break. You are fantastic in my Classic Pesto, you’re tasty with tomatoes, and you do pizza a great service – but I know I can mix things up with arugula hazelnut pesto and be just as happy!
PESTO_OPENER_16
You know I like playing around with different flavors and combinations. I wanted to make a pesto with a little kick. Arugula has that green, peppery taste I love and hazelnuts are sweet and strong. Strong enough to stand up to arugula and shine through.

I used skinned hazelnuts to avoid too much of the bitter skin. Blend them up with the arugula, cheese and olive oil just as you would in classic pesto. I swapped Parmesan for Pecorino and added some lemon juice to brighten all of the flavors.

The biggest change, addition, variation, whatever you want to call it, that I made was adding dried figs. Yes! Sweet black mission figs, roughly chopped, get blended into the pesto. I actually replaced the garlic with the sweet fruit to balance the strong flavors of the greens and nuts. Hazelnuts and figs are a match made in heaven to begin with, but mixed into an herby sauce, they are quite heavenly.ARUGULA_HAZELNUT_PESTO

Use this fun sauce as you would regular pesto, on pasta, or serve it as a dip for veggies. It’s also great with pork. The sweet fig flavor comes through just enough and it works so well as a spread to melt on grilled pork chops or tenderloin.

Storing Tip: I love to make things ahead and have them at the ready. To store arugula hazelnut pesto, or any of your herb sauces up to 4 days in the fridge, press plastic wrap onto the surface, smoothing out the air bubbles. The wrap will keep it from oxidizing and turning brown.

Arugula Hazelnut Pesto

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: About 2 cups

Arugula Hazelnut Pesto

Perfect with pork chops and roast beef or as a vegetable dip.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups packed arugula leaves
  • 6 to 7 dried black mission figs, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz) skinned hazelnuts, lightly toasted
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients, except the oil, in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly pour the oil into the feed tube. Use immediately or freeze for up to a month.
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Recipe by Tara Bench
Originally published in Ladies’ Home Journal Aug 2010
Photography Antonis Achilleos
Food Styling Cyd Raftus McDowell
Prop Styling Paige Hicks

 

Mushroom Ravioli Soup

By | Easy Dinners, Main Dish, One Dish Meals, Pasta, Soups + Stews + Chili, Uncategorized, Vegetables | No Comments

The broth for this rich Mushroom Ravioli Soup is steeped with dried porcini’s and shallots, served with mushroom, ricotta and Parmesan dumplings. The entire dish is impressive and completely comforting.

Here in New York City we have had a little snow. 26.8 inches to be exact. That’s just under the 2006 record of 26.9 inches! Incredible. We may still be digging out.
The mayor cancelled alternate side parking for an entire week! That doesn’t mean much to most of you, but for those in the city who own cars, it’s a welcome relief. The snow plows push the snow onto the parked cars so it’s piled higher than the car. I’m very glad I don’t have to dig one out.

Also, there are giant slush lakes and 4-foot glaciers of plowed snow on every street corner. I’m still emotionally getting over being fully splashed by a car with heavy, wet, grayish-brown road-snow yesterday while trying to maneuver the slush lakes.

Mushroom Ravioli Soup
Let’s just make soup. It’s emotionally healing. Haha.

The beef broth for this soup is steeped with shallots and dried porcini mushrooms. Dried porcinis are not hard to find in larger markets. Sometimes they are in the produce section hanging on an end panel.

Mushroom Ravioli Soup

To strain all the bits from the broth I used cheesecloth. If you’ve never used it, cheesecloth might sound intimidating. It’s not! You can find it here so you have it on hand. One key is to get the cheesecloth wet before using it. It can be very absorbent dry, so by getting it wet with water you prevent it from soaking up all the delicious broth you just made. It simply acts as a very fine mesh to catch any little bits your strainer won’t.

The dumplings are easy to make with wonton wrappers. They are filled with the porcinis, other wild mushrooms, Parmesan, ricotta and herbs. Oh dear! They are tasty. The entire soup takes some time and love. But the dumplings and broth can be frozen separately so it can be two meals! Enjoy and stay warm.

Mushroom Ravioli Soup

Prep Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Yield: Makes 12 cups

1 cup

Calories per serving: 140

Fat per serving: 4 g

Mushroom Ravioli Soup

Ingredients

  • 4 cans (14 oz each) beef broth
  • 2 medium shallots, 1 coarsely chopped, 1 finely chopped
  • 1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
  • 6 oz assorted mushrooms (such as cremini, shiitake or oyster)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ cup part-skim ricotta
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 pkg (12 oz) square wonton wrappers

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, combine 5 cups water, the broth, coarsely chopped shallot and porcini mushrooms; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat, cover and let stand 30 minutes. Lightly moisten cheesecloth with water, fold into a double layer and place in a fine mesh sieve set over a large bowl. Pour mushroom stock through cheesecloth; remove and slice porcini mushrooms (discard shallot). Rinse pot and return strained stock to pot; set aside. Finely chop porcini mushrooms.
  2. While stock is standing, trim and clean assorted mushrooms, slice and reserve 1 cup. Finely chop remaining mushrooms.
  3. For ravioli filling: In a medium nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add porcini and chopped mushrooms, remaining shallot and the garlic. Sauce, stirring occasionally, until shallots are translucent and mushrooms are softened, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Stir in cheeses, parsley and thyme, salt and pepper to taste.
  4. For ravioli: Place 1 tbsp filling on one side of each wonton wrapper. Brush two opposite edges with water and fold over to form a triangle. Press firmly to seal.
  5. For soup: Bring stock to a boil; add reserved mushrooms and the ravioli. Cover and cook until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley, if desired. (Freeze soup and uncooked ravioli separately in airtight containers up to 1 month. Save ravioli in single layers separated by waxed paper.)
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I love soup during winter months. If you do to, try one of my most popular recipes, Chicken Tomato Bisque, or Sausage and Greens Soup. Happy cooking.

Recipe and Food Styling Tara Bench
Originally published in Ladies” Home Journal February 2008
Photography Blaine Moats

Mushroom Chicken Cream Pasta

By | Chicken, Easy Dinners, Main Dish, Meat + Poultry, Pasta, Uncategorized, Vegetables | No Comments

I usually don’t call out “30-minute” recipes. Those weeknight meals so many publications and sites advertise. Most recipes take more than 30 minutes because there is prep time; chopping, assembling, and reading the recipe several times over!

But, I’ll call this one out. It can almost be done in the time you bring water to a boil and cook the pasta!

As perfect as this is for a family weeknight meal, it’s understood that some kids are picky. I was! No mushrooms for me! (I was well into adulthood before I’d even politely eat them when socially necessary, lol!) So make this recipe your own. Leave something out and add something else. Zucchini would be great, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, or spinach would all be delicious.

Thirty minutes everyone!!!!!

Mushroom Chicken Cream Pasta

Make this tasty pasta dish in minutes for a great weeknight meal. Packed with roasted chicken, mushrooms and sweet peas.

 

Mushroom Chicken Cream Pasta

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Calories per serving: 900

Fat per serving: 41.5 g

Mushroom Chicken Cream Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 package (14 oz) whole-wheat pasta
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb white button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1½ cups shredded, cooked rotisserie chicken
  • 1 box (10 oz) frozen peas, thawed
  • ½ cup (2 oz) shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
  • 4 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, melt butter with oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, reduce heat to medium and sauté until softened and just starting to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add cream and simmer over high heat until reduced slightly, about 1 minute. Stir in chicken, peas and cheese. Remove from heat; salt and pepper to taste. Toss with pasta and 2 tablespoons parsley. Transfer to a large serving bowl and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons parsley. Serve with additional cheese on the side.
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Recipe and Food Styling by Tara Bench
Original published in Ladies’ Home Journal January 2008
Photography Amy Kaylyn Sims
Prop Styling Barb Fritz