Summer Chicken Pasta with Corn and Asparagus

It is summer time. Fresh herbs, corn on the cob, tomatoes mean lots of flavor. However, sometimes you have someone wanting a bit more than just grilled veggies and grilled chicken. Something that stay with you. I bring you my Summer Chicken Pasta with Corn and Asparagus.summer chicken pasta with corn and asparagusThe first thing to do is get your tomatoes roasted. I used vine ripe tomatoes. Use cherry tomatoes or romas or whatever you have on hand. Roast them in the oven or the grill after you have drizzled them with olive oil and sea salt. 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

oven roasted tomatoesWhile your tomatoes are roasting, get your back frying. Go for a pound. A pound of bacon is a nice round amount.

frying bacon crumblesOnce the bacon is fried up, remove it and all but about two tablespoons of grease. Then gather your veggies. I used onions and garlic in the bacon grease left in the Dutch Oven to start the base. Once they were soft, I added corn and asparagus a continued to saute for a few minutes.

summer veggiesAnd then it is time to start the good part. The MEAT and SAUCE!!! I used leftover grilled BBQ chicken for this dish. Makes it quick and uses up leftovers in a different method. I love the crispness of a good unoaked white wine with grated Parmesan cheese. Stir in a cooked spaghetti noodles and bacon. It is pure perfection.

Pasta wine parmesan Chicken and Bacon added to veggies

I mean, who could resist this?

 bacon and summer veggiesAdd some basil, salt, pepper and a little turmeric and dig in.

Summer Chicken Bacon Pasta with Corn and Asparagus
A light and flavorful summer chicken pasta dish that is easy to make and perfect with for all the summer veggies and herbs you have at your fingertips.
  • 1 pound bacon
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ pound thin spaghetti noodles
  • 1 diced white onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 ears of corn, kernels cut off
  • ½ lb asparagus cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 sweet banana pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked, cubed or shredded chicken
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Basil leaves
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place tomatoes onto a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until skin splits.
  3. Cut bacon into ½ inch pieces and cook bacon in large Dutch oven or pot until crisped and brown. Transfer cooked bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain oil. Reserve bacon drippings.
  4. Prep veggies and set aside while bacon is frying.
  5. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and run under cold water to stop cooking. Set aside.
  6. Place 2 tablespoons bacon drippings into the same pan you fried bacon. Add onions and garlic and saute stirring until tender. Add corn, asparagus and peppers, cooking and stirring for 5 minutes.
  7. Add wine and cheese, stirring to combine. Stir pasta, bacon, and tomatoes. Toss gently. Drizzle in 2 additional tablespoons of bacon drippings. Season with turmeric and salt and pepper according to your liking and garnish with basil.

Hunk of Meat Monday: Cheeseburger Macaroni

You may have noticed this little giveaway going on thanks to Gooseberry Patch. Well, this might be my favorite cookbook yet from the gals over at Gooseberry Patch. This cheeseburger macaroni recipe is one of the reasons.

cheeseburger macaroniFor any of you hamburger helper lovers, this is a great knock-off without the box. Start by browning up a pound of hamburger. Then grab your three main ingredients.

cheeseburger macaroni ingredientsAdd 2 1/4 cup of water, 1/2 cup of ketchup, and 1 t. mustard to the cooked ground beef.

ground beef, ketchup, mustardBring to a boil and add 2 cups

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of uncooked macaroni.

uncooked macaroni to ground beef mixtureReduce heat, cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes until macaroni is tender.

cooked ground beef with pasta and cheeseOnce the macaroni is tender, add 12 ounces of Velveeta, cubed to the mixture. Stir until the cheese is melted.

cheeseburger macaroni skilletI love pickles on my cheeseburgers, so I of course added a pickle to the top of this dish.

cheeseburger macaroni

Hunk of Meat Monday: Cheeseburger Macaroni
This recipe is a quick and easy hamburger helper knock-off without the box that is sure to please cheeseburger and macaroni and cheese lovers.
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 2-1/4 c. water
  • ½ c. ketchup
  • 1 t. mustard
  • 2 c. elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 12 ounces of Velveeta
  1. Brown beef in a large skillet.
  2. Drain any grease and then add water, ketchup and mustard.
  3. Bring to a boil and then stir in uncooked macaroni. Reduce heat to medium-low heat, cover and cook 8-10 minutes till macaroni is tender.
  4. Add cheese in cubes. Stir until melted.

What do you have cooking this week? Any good valentine’s day dinners? Be sure to share your inspirational dishes.

The cookbook was supplied by Gooseberry Patch. Affiliate links were used.

Hunk of Meat Monday: Chicken Milano Casserole

I have nights, that I literally open the fridge and curse as I see chicken juice running everywhere. And it is running everywhere because of the frozen chicken I put in the fridge three days ago is fully thawed now. And obviously the packaging has a hole in it that I was unaware of three days ago. So, once the fridge is disinfected, it is time to get creative. I knew I had to add some red meat somehow to the meal, so took some inspiration from one of my favorite dishes at Johnny Carino’s, Chicken Milano, to make a casserole version.

Chicken Milano CasseroleI started with boneless, skinless chicken thighs. If you have chicken breasts, you can use those. I put some butter down in a large skillet.

buttering cast iron skilletThen season the chicken with salt and pepper. I also used a little of one of my new favorites from Penzeys.

Toasted granulated onionsSaute chicken on both sides for 8-10 minutes or until juices run clear. Once I flipped the chicken over, I also added mushrooms and garlic to begin sauteing.

Chicken with mushrooms and garlicThen pulled the chicken out to rest while I kept the mushrooms and garlic in the pan.

cooked chicken thighsLet it rest while you start boiling water for the pasta. My pasta of choice for spaghetti type casseroles is cut spaghetti.

cut spaghettiBack to your mushrooms…add chopped tomatoes and diced ham to the pan and continue to saute for a minute or two.

mushrooms, tomatoes, ham sauteWhile it is working, chop up the chicken.

chopped chicken for milano casseroleBegin mixing the casserole together by pouring a jar of alfredo sauce into the ham and mushroom saute.

Alfredo sauce mixtureStir the chicken into the mixture.

Chicken and alfredo sauceStir together and combine in cooked pasta.

Cut spaghetti for milano casseroleThen I realized I didn’t estimate how much sauce I needed accurately. It was too dry. I didn’t have another jar of Alfredo sauce. So, I grabbed some can of cream of something soups.

cream of soupsNow, this was a good improvise, but I think the casserole would be better with just Alfredo sauce. Now, the other key to this recipe is basil. I went to the Penzeys Pasta Sprinkle…

Pasta SprinkleAdded a tablespoon to the casserole along with salt and pepper.

Seasonings for casseroleI also didn’t realize just how much food this would be when it all got mixed together. So, BONUS!!! One meal tonight and one meal in the freezer.

Chicken Milano CasseroleCover the casserole with shredded cheese. I used Italian blend cheese, but good, old mozzarella will work too.

Chicken Milano CasseroleBake for 20-25 minutes on 350. The cheese will be melted and golden brown when you pull it out of the oven. The casserole will be bubbly around the edge as well.

Chicken and Ham Milano CasseroleServe with a salad and call it good! My kids loved this casserole.

Chicken Milano Casserole

Chicken Milano Casserole
A creamy chicken and ham casserole that is a great one to freeze as well!
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onions
  • ½ tablespoon of butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 8 ounces of mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 8 ounces of diced ham
  • 2 jars of Alfredo sauce
  • 1 pound cut spaghetti, cooked al dente
  • 1 tablespoon Pasta Sprinkle or dried basil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 cups shredded Italian Cheese blend
  1. Season chicken with salt, pepper and granulated onion and cook over medium heat in a buttered skillet. Cook chicken for 8-10 minutes on each side. When you have flipped the chicken, add mushrooms and garlic. Continue to cook until the chicken juices run clear.
  2. Remove chicken to let it rest for several minutes, leaving mushrooms and garlic in the pan. Add tomatoes and ham into the pan and saute for several minutes.
  3. Chop chicken into cubes. Pour one jar of alfredo sauce into pan with ham, mushrooms and tomatoes. Add chicken and cooked cut spaghetti. Add additional jar of Alfredo, pasta sprinkle and a teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper.
  4. Pour into two 2½ qt casserole dishes. Put one cup of shredded cheese on each casserole. Cook one at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes and freeze the other for later.

And I have a feeling this week might be the week I need to use that freezer meal. Off to the races…link up your favorites!

Hunk of Meat Monday: Pork Ragu

Anybody sick of turkey yet? I am sure you have had turkey casseroles and turkey sandwiches and turkey salad. How about some pork? This may be a new favorite dish for me. Not sure if the rest of the family was as excited as I was, but maybe it because I braised this pork in apples and wine and honey and smokey goodness.

Pork Ragu

Start with a pork loin. I had one that was around four pound. If you pulled it out of the freezer, make sure it is thawed out completely.

pork loinThen get it seasoned with some Adobo seasoning and salt. I had some pinot noir salt. So, of course I used it.

salt and adobo seasoningSeason the loin liberally on all sides and brown over a medium heat in a cast iron skillet with olive oil coating the entire skillet.

browning pork loinBrown on all sides for 2-3 minutes per side till the the entire surface has been browned. While it is cooking, dice up onions, apples, carrots, celery and garlic. Then pour over top of the meat to saute. Sprinkle with Spanish Thyme and salt.

vegetables sauting with pork loinWhen the veggies have just begun to brown and soften, pull the meat out of the pan and place into a dutch oven to cook in the oven. Set aside and began making your roasting sauce. Start with adding a 6 ounce can of tomato paste.

Red Gold tomato pasteMix the tomato paste into the apples and veggies and then begin adding liquids. The normal kinds of liquids can be used: wine, broth, balsamic vinegar, honey. Make it worth it…

liquids for pork raguStir to combine and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.

simmering apples and veggies for pork ragu braise

Then it occurred to me, it needs smoke. And my oven isn’t a smoker. So, I used some of the artificial kind.

liquid smokeLet it simmer a minute or two longer and then pour over the pork loin that you put in the dutch oven.

pork apple braiseNow it is time to braise. Put the lid on and put it in a 300 degree oven for 3 hours. That is right, 3 hours. Go to swim practice, ballet, the store, get a pedicure. Do whatever, but give it three hours. And then start boiling pasta.

campanelle pastaRemove the pork from the juices and veggies. And let it rest.

braised pork loinPour the juices through a strainer, reserving the juices in a bowl. Then smash what veggies and apples you can through the strainer. Then go back to the pork and shred it up.

shredding pork loin I love using my salad chopper to shred meat. I know, sounds crazy, but do not knock it till you try it. Trust me.

shredded porkCombined the pork with the pasta that is cooked and drained. Then pour the reserved juices over top of the pork and pasta. If you want a slightly creamier sauce, add some cream cheese. Stir to combine completely.

Pork RaguPure pork bliss. You will love it.

Pork Ragu
  • One 2-4 pound boneless pork loin or shoulder
  • 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Adobo seasoning
  • 1 apple, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 carrot or 4-5 baby carrots, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 celery rib, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces of tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • ⅓ cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 5 dashes of liquid smoke
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound pasta
  1. Preheat the oven to 300°. Season the pork with 1 tablespoon of salt and Adobo seasoning. In a large skillet or dutch oven, heat the oil until shiny. Add the pork and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until browned on all sides, 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer the pork to a dutch over or plate if you are using a dutch oven on the stove top.
  2. Add the apple, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, teaspoon of salt and thyme to the casserole and cook over moderate heat until beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until it deepens in color, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the chicken stock, vinegar and honey and bring to a simmer. Add liquid smoke to the sauce. Pour over the pork, cover and transfer the dutch oven to the oven. Braise the pork for about 3 hours, turning once halfway through, until very tender.
  3. Transfer the pork to a plate. Strain the sauce into a large bowl, gently pressing on the solids. Pour the sauce back into the pot. Using 2 forks, shred the pork; discard any large pieces of fat. Transfer the shredded pork to the sauce and stir in the cream cheese. Cover and keep warm.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta and transfer to the casserole with the sauce. Toss the pasta with the sauce and pork.

What do you have cooking this week? Link up your goodies from Thanksgiving!

Affiliate links were used in this post.

Hunk of Meat Monday: Cajun Chicken Pasta with Smoked Sausage

Anyone else noticing a good deals on pork sausages and hot dogs. I have stocked up on grillers, polish sausages and hot dogs. Now figuring out what to make with all these sausages. I decided to change up a recipe I saw in couple of different places like The Pioneer Woman and Plain Chicken. Score. Loving this Cajun chicken pasta with smoked sausage recipe and could easily make this with all polish or smoked sausage.

Cajun chicken and polish sausage pasta

Start by dicing up a half a pound of chicken tenderloins or breasts into bite sized pieces. Sprinkle with your favorite Cajun or creole seasoning.

Tony Chaceres Creole SeasoningI used 2 teaspoons to cover the chicken.

Chicken covered in seasoningI then sauted the chicken in one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and one tablespoon of butter till the chicken was completely cooked.

cooked chickenWhile the chicken is cooking, slice up a red onion, bell pepper and one polish sausage link that is approximately a half of a pound.I personally like using the skinless smoked sausage.

smoked sausageSlice the sausage up and set aside.


sliced smoked sausageHave the veggies along with two finely diced cloves of garlic set aside as well.

diced veggiesdiced garlicOnce the chicken is cooked, remove chicken from the pan and add the veggies, garlic and smoked sausage to the pan.

veggies and smoked sausage in skilletStart cooking y0ur pasta now too. Any shape will do. I used a 12 ounce box of bowties for this dish.

Bow tie pastaWhen the veggies and sausage are cooked, remove from pan and get your liquids ready.

Heavy Cream and white winePour a half a cup of the white wine into the skillet to work up the brown pieces from cooking the chicken, sausage and veggies.

white wine deglazing the panWhen the pan is deglazed, pour in two cups of heavy whipping cream, half and half, or milk. Stir to combine and heat through.

cream and white wine sauceThen pour chicken, sausage and veggies back into the pan.

mixing together cajun chicken pastaOnce the meat and veggies are stirred into the sauce, add the pasta.

pasta stirred into the cajun chicken sauceI added paprika, a dash of cayenne pepper, and salt at this point.

cajun seasoning on pastaStir to coat all the pasta completely.

cajun chicken sausage pastaSince I had an open bottle of wine, I of course drank wine with this dish.

Cajun chicken and smoked sausage pasta

New favorite of the kids too. But, remember my kids like heat in their food. And my kid eats green peppers like apples.

Cajun Chicken and smoked sausage skillet

Cajun Chicken and Smoked Sausage Pasta

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

A quick and easy weeknight meal that can be made in under 30 minutes that is full of flavor. Add a little extra cayenne to kick it up a notch.
  • ½ lb chicken tenderloins or breasts, cut into bite size chunks
  • ½ pound of smoked sausage, cut into slices
  • 12 ounces pasta, cooked al dente (bow ties, rotini, fettuccine)
  • 2 teaspoons cajun or creole seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 bell peppers sliced
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup dry white wine (chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio)
  • 2 cup heavy whipping cream (I used half 1% milk and half whipping cream)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Fresh Basil, optional
  • Parmesan Cheese, optional
  1. Place chicken and Cajun seasoning in a bowl and toss to coat. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté chicken in butter and oil combination until chicken is tender and cooked, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from pan.
  2. Reduce heat and add onion, peppers, garlic, and smoked sausage, cook until veggies are tender. Remove from pan.
  3. Pour wine into skillet to deglaze, and slowly add heavy cream, heat till just bubbling.
  4. Add meat and veggies to sauce. Mix together and then stir in pasta.
  5. Add seasonings and stir to combine. Garnish with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.
  6. Pour over hot linguine and toss with Parmesan cheese.

Easy Spasagna

It is Crazy Cooking Challenge time again. And this month it is spaghetti!! Which you all know is one of my favorite go-to working mom meals.

So when I went looking for a new spaghetti recipe to try, I wasn’t finding much inspiration. That was until one of my favorite blogs to stalk, Plain Chicken, posted “Easy” Spasagna. I knew I had to make it for this challenge because it was of course a perfect week night meal.

Now, I split this recipe in half for my family using just one pound of spaghetti and one jar of Alfredo sauce. I had extra meat sauce, so I tossed the leftovers in the freezer for another quick weeknight meal.

First things first, get your spaghetti cooking.

While the spaghetti is cooking mike your Alfredo sauce, cheese, milk and seasonings together.

When the spaghetti is cooked, stir into the sauce mixture and pour into a grease 9 x 9 pan or similar casserole dish.

Bake on 350 for 30 minutes. While it is baking, I got my meat sauce ready. I used ground pork for this dish but feel free to use beef, chicken or turkey.

I also used my Pampered Chef large micro cooker. If you are not using this yet to make your 7-minute ground meat, you are crazy. When the meat was completely browned, I drained the excess grease off and poured in a jar of spaghetti sauce.

Stirred it together, put the lid back on and heated it up for about a minute and a half in the microwave. When the baked spaghetti noodles were ready, I pulled them out of the oven and added about half the meat sauce to the top.

Delicious creaminess. YUMMO!

And filling. I can’t wait for the leftovers.

Be sure to checkout the other great recipes and vote for  your favorite one!

Easy Spasagna
Baked Spaghetti, deconstructed. Easy to make. Kid Approved. Perfect for a busy weeknight
  • 12 oz. spaghetti
  • 1 (15 oz.) jar Alfredo sauce
  • 1 c. mozzarella cheese, grated
  • ¼ c. milk
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • ¼ c. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 (12-15 oz.) jar spaghetti sauce
  • ½ lb. sausage, ground beef or turkey
  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions and drain.
  2. While spaghetti is cooking, mix the Alfredo sauce, cheese, milk and seasonings together.
  3. After draining the spaghetti, stir it into the sauce mixture and pour into a greased 9 x 9 pan or similar casserole dish.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
  5. While this is baking, brown the meat and drain off excess grease.
  6. Mix the spaghetti sauce into the browned meat and stir.
  7. Heat meat sauce and spoon over baked spaghetti.


Associate links were used in this post.

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