Pasta Fagioli

They say April showers bring May flowers, right? This hearty Italian soup will help get you through the last few months of rainy days before the sun returns. If freezes really well. Just leave out the pasta before freezing, then add in before serving. This is also an excellent meal to bring to families in need, as it is loaded with protein and carbs; a little goes a long way!

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Pasta Fagioli

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled & chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 lb mild Italian chicken sausage*
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed
1 cup ditalini pasta
Parmesan cheese for serving

Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium high heat. Add the diced onion and cook until it just begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add celery and carrots; cook, stirring frequently, for another 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the sausage to the pot, crumbling as it cooks (remove from casings, if necessary). Cook until the sausage is no longer pink. Stir in herbs. Stir in tomatoes and stock.
Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
Stir in the beans and pasta. Simmer for 6- 8 minutes or until pasta is tender.
Serve piping hot with Parmesan cheese.

* My favorite mild Italian chicken sausage to use is a one-pound roll made by Isernio’s.

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Chicken Marsala

It’s a classic recipe for a reason and definitely a favorite around here!

To lighten it up, skip dredging the chicken in flour and thicken the sauce before serving with a slurry of one tablespoon of cornstarch and water.

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Chicken Marsala
(Original recipe: Sweet Savory Life)

2 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts
½ cup all-purpose flour
Olive oil
8 ounces of mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Sprinkle of dried parsley
Salt and pepper

Split and tenderize each chicken breast until they are about a quarter inch thick. Season with salt and pepper. Dredge lightly in flour. Fry in the oil over medium-high heat until they are golden brown. Remove chicken from skillet.
Reduce the heat to medium. Sauté mushrooms in butter until soft.
Add wine; simmer a couple minutes until alcohol cooks off.
Add chicken stock and cream, simmer to reduce until desired consistency. Add parsley, season with salt and pepper. Pour over chicken and serve.

Chicken and broccolini in lemon white wine sauce

This recipe is adapted from a friend’s killer lemon chicken orecchiette recipe. I wanted to come up with a pasta-free option for health reasons. It’s delicious both ways, however. When poured over pasta, this is one of my husband’s favorite dinners.

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Chicken and broccolini in a lemon white wine sauce

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1-2 TBS olive oil
1 can chicken broth
1 lemon, juiced
1 cup dry white wine
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bunch broccolini spears, steamed until al dente
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, julienned
2 TBS cornstarch
1/4 cup of water
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, saute chicken breasts in olive oil until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken and deglaze pan with white wine. Once wine has reduced, add chicken broth, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
As the broth mixture heats up, mix cornstarch and water in a separate bowl. Add to the skillet when combined, stirring to thicken when sauce returns to a boil.
Add garlic and sundried tomatoes. Let simmer together on low for 10 minutes.
Return chicken breasts to the skillet to reheat. Gently fold in broccolini. Serve as is or spooned over your choice of pasta.