Chicken with Paprika Cream Sauce

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So, remember a couple of weeks ago when I said I was going to be posting some healthier recipes for us? Well, this is not one of them. It is absolutely delicious though, and worth every calorie. The chicken is tender and delicious, but the sauce makes this dish! It’s hard to go wrong with heavy cream.

Me + bowl of paprika cream sauce + stretch pants = happy girl

Chicken with Paprika Cream Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter, divided
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2/3 cup minced onions
1 tablespoons paprika
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream

Heat the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with a bit of salt and pepper. Add two chicken breasts to the skillet, or as many as will fit without touching. Cook until the chicken is golden-brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes, then flip and cook the other side for another 3 minutes or so. Reduce the heat to medium, if needed, to prevent burning. Your chicken most likely won’t be cooked through at this point (if the chicken feels soft when you press on the top, then it’s still pink in the middle), so cover the skillet with a lid and cook for 3-5 more minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through (it should feel firm and the juices should run clear). (Note: the lid creates steam inside the skillet which cooks the inside of the chicken much faster.)

Safety warning: Keep the lid level (don’t tilt it) when you take the lid off the skillet; otherwise the condensation on the lid will drip down into the hot oil in the skillet and cause the hot oil to splatter.

Remove the cooked chicken from the skillet, keep warm, and repeat the above process for the remaining chicken breasts. Once all of the chicken is cooked, remove it to a plate and keep warm.

Turn the heat down to low and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to the skillet. Add the onions, paprika, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Cook over low heat, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes or until the onions soften, being careful not to burn the paprika.

Add the chicken broth to the skillet and turn the heat up to high. Be sure to scrape up all of the yummy brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Boil over high heat until the liquid has thickened and reduced by at least half. Add the heavy cream and boil until thickened slightly. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the cooked chicken back to the skillet and turn to coat. Serve the chicken over rice with a generous spoonful of sauce. Enjoy!

*adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking

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Dad’s Easy Mediterranean Chicken

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My dad recently sent me this chicken recipe, which he says received rave-reviews from his dinner guests. Of course I had to try it, and I have to agree – this is one tasty dish! It is full of flavor . . . actually, I’ll let my dad describe it to you . . .

“This recipe offers an exotic blend of flavors, orchestrated by the turmeric, that will appeal to adults, but probably not children. It assumes a Dutch oven but will work just as well in a crock pot or other lidded vessel. In that case, do the initial sauteing in a frying pan and transfer to the final cook pot.”

I altered his recipe slightly to work with the ingredients on hand, but the essential ingredients and flavors are the same.

3/4 cup chopped onion
8 oz package mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic minced
4-5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2/3 cup red wine
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped tomatoes (or whole cherry tomatoes)
1 14oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/2 cup artichoke hearts, cut into bite-size pieces (canned or marinated)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
Olive oil, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste

In a Dutch oven, sauté the onions and mushrooms in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, until the onions begin to soften. Add the garlic and sauté for about 1-2 minutes. Remove the contents from the pan and set aside. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and brown the chicken thighs for about 2-3 minutes per side. Add salt and pepper as desired. Remove browned thighs from the pan if you need more room for the un-browned ones, and add more oil as needed.

Once all the thighs are brown, add them back to the pan along with onion and mushroom mixture and all other ingredients. Lightly stir to combine. Bring to a gentle boil, and then reduce heat to simmer (uncovered).

My dad likes to simmer the mixture for 2-3 hours until the mixture has a meat sauce consistency with all the ingredients well ‘blended’. He also suggested serving it after 40-60 minutes of simmering, at which point the thighs will still be intact (which is what I did). Serve over rice.

Thanks for the recipe Dad!

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Burrito Bowl

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Happy Friday everyone! On Fridays I get a bit lazy and slack off on my domestic duties a bit. After a busy week, the last thing I feel like doing is preparing a big dinner. I usually have some extra homemade meals in the freezer, but I also like “re-purposing” leftovers into a delicious new meal like this one.

The beauty of a burrito bowl is that you don’t even need a recipe. My basic burrito bowls consists of leftover carnitas meat (if you haven’t tried my carnitas recipe, you are missing out!), rice, and beans. Then you can toss in whatever else sounds good. Chopped bell peppers, tomatoes, avocado, shredded lettuce, fire roasted chiles, sauteed onions – the possibilities are endless.

Leftover carnitas (or any leftover taco meat)
Leftover brown rice
1 can black beans, rinsed
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Sour cream
Green onions, chopped

Heat the carnitas and the rice in the microwave until warm. (Tip: add about a teaspoon of water to the rice and cover, before reheating. This will prevent the rice from being too dry.)

To serve, place a generous scoop of carnitas, rice, and black beans into each serving bowl. Sprinkle with a bit of cilantro, and then add a spoonful of sour cream and salsa. Top it off with a few green onions. Mix it all together and enjoy your delicious no-cook dinner!

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Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya

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Jambalaya! It’s a fun word to say, don’t you think? Say it with me! JAM-BA-LAYA!

Jambalaya is basically a thick rice stew filled with sausage, shrimp, beans, veggies, and lots of flavor. My recipe is on the mild side, so my kids will eat it, but you can make yours spicier by increasing the cayenne pepper and adding some of your favorite hot sauce.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound bulk Italian sausage
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup diced carrots
1 teaspoon paprika
Dash cayenne pepper
1 can red kidney beans, drained, but not rinsed
1 can diced Italian tomatoes, with juice
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups cooked brown rice

Add oil to your largest, heavy skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, onion, bell pepper, celery, and carrots to the skillet. Using a spatula, break the sausage up into bite-sized pieces. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the sausage is browned and the veggies begin to soften. Reduce the heat, if needed to prevent burning.

Add the paprika and cayenne pepper to the skillet and cook for about 1 minute.

Add the beans, tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper to the skillet. Stir to combine, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes.

Stir in the shrimp and rice, then replace the lid and let cook for about 5 minutes, or until the shrimp is thoroughly cooked. Serve hot and enjoy!

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Salmon Tacos

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I am not a big fan of leftovers. No matter how delicious dinner was the night before, I am less enthusiastic about it the next day. So, when I opened my fridge and saw the leftovers from my delicious dinner of sockeye salmon, rice and salad from the night before, I decided they needed a makeover. Since I’m always in the mood for tacos, I decided to give salmon tacos a try. I am so glad I did! The flavor is wonderful, and the tacos have a rich taste without being heavy.

Cooked salmon (try my Grilled Sockeye Salmon recipe)
Cooked rice
Flour tortillas, soft taco size
Sour cream
Dried dill
Salsa (Mrs. Renfro’s Habanero Salsa is one of our favorites)
Lemon wedges
Salad greens

Warm the salmon and rice in the microwave. Warm the tortillas (either in a skillet or in the microwave).

In each tortilla, add about 1 tablespoon of sour cream, about 1/8 teaspoon of dill, 1/2 teaspoon of salsa (or more if you like it spicy), 1/3 cup rice,  and some salmon (as much as you like). Top the salmon with a generous squeeze of lemon and a handful of salad greens.

That’s all there is to it! Quick, healthy, and delicious – my kind of meal!

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Red Beans and Rice

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When the weather starts to cool down, I crave warm meals that are full of flavor, like red beans and rice. The addition of sausage makes this a hearty meal that will warm you up from the inside out. This is a “one-pan” recipe (my favorite kind!), and the most time consuming part of preparing the meal is chopping up the vegetables. If you like spicy food, then increase the amount of cayenne pepper and add your favorite hot sauce to give this recipe some extra kick.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound smoked sausage (I used turkey kielbasa), sliced
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped sweet peppers, or bell pepper
1 rib of celery, chopped
1/2 cup diced carrots
1 small yellow squash, sliced
2 (15 ounce) cans dark red kidney beans, drained, but not rinsed
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, oregano, & garlic, with juice
1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
Dash cayenne pepper (or more if you like it spicy)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Cooked rice

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage, onion, peppers, celery, and carrots and sauté until sausage is browned and the veggies begin to soften (the bottom of the pan should develop some “brown bits”, but make sure it doesn’t burn).

Add yellow squash, kidney beans, canned and fresh tomatoes, garlic, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and ground black pepper. Stir together, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve over hot rice and enjoy!

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