Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta

Bacon Ranch Chicken pasta

I am always looking for ways to improve recipes I find.  Usually I avoid any recipe that says it’s “Lite” or “Skinny” or the notorious “Low Fat”.  I’m sorry but they always are lacking in taste.  If you watch your portion size you don’t have to trade taste for calories.  Just my opinion, but we only live once and everyone needs to live a little.  This is one “Skinny” recipe that I saw on Carlsbad Cravings.  Really like their site, they have some really good recipes.  I looked it over and liked the general way they were going, so had to get in the kitchen and make it mine.  For those of you not afraid of a little extra, I think you will like the changes.

1 pound chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces

1/4 cup ranch dressing (use the regular, it much tastier)

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

zest from the lemon – should give you about 1 tablespoon

1/2 tsp coarse grain Dijon mustard

Mix everything together and place in zip lock bag, add chicken and place in refrigerator overnight.  The longer you marinade it , the better the flavor.

 

2 stalks broccoli, cut off florets and break down into small pieces

1 pound penne pasta

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 shallot, diced

1 red bell pepper, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup flour

1 1/2 cup chicken broth (I use home made, but any really good brand would do)

1 1/2 cups half and half

1 tsp. coarse grain Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons dry ranch dressing seasoning mix

2 tsp. minced fresh basil

1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated

8 slices thick applewood bacon, fried and chopped

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the broccoli and cook 3-5 minutes.  Remove broccoli and run cold water over it to stop the cooking process.  Place in a bowl and in the same pot add the penne.  Cook to al dente.  Drain and rinse with water.  In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and over medium heat, sauté the chicken and marinade and shallots.  Season with a little salt and pepper.  Cook until chicken no longer looks pink, then add the bell pepper and garlic.  Cook about 2 minutes more.  Add to the bowl with the broccoli.  In the same skillet melt the butter and the other tablespoon of olive oil.  When butter is melted, whisk in the flour, cook the rue stirring the whole time for about 2-3 minutes, then reduce the heat to low.  Whisk in the chicken broth, the half and half, stirring till smooth.  Reduce heat to low and simmer.  Add mustard, ranch seasoning, basil and salt and pepper to taste.  Allow sauce to simmer until thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in the cheese.  Add broccoli, chicken and penne and stir to coat.  Sprinkle the chopped bacon over the top and if desired, sprinkle with additional shredded cheese (it makes it even better)

Lime Scones

lime scones

As I said earlier, in the summer, I love to make everything I can with limes.  I have been making a lot of different types of scones lately.  I love the not to sweet, tender, melt in your mouth quality of scones.  If they are done right, they are the perfect light breakfast.  I’m not a big breakfast type of girl.  I like things that are simple.  Something warms and tasty to have with my morning coffee.  These scones are just the thing, though I like them much better with a cup of tea.  Easy to make and so light and tender.  I know they will become a favorite.

 

3/4 cup milk

1 large egg, room temperature

1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp vanilla

2 tablespoons lime juice, fresh

1 tablespoon grated lime zest, fresh

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3 tablespoons butter, very cold, cut into small cubes

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  In a medium bowl, mix together the milk, egg, sugar, vanilla, lime juice and lime zest.  In your food processor mix flour, baking powder and salt, turn on and add butter.  Process until butter is the size of small peas.  Take processor bowl off and gently mix in wet ingredients.  Do not over mix.  Pour out onto a lightly floured surface and lightly pull it into a round, do not over knead it or it will become tough.  Dough will be slightly sticky so you can sprinkle a little flour as needed. Place on a parchment covered baking sheet and  form into a round disk about 8 to 9 inch round, about 3/4 inch thick.  Use a knife to cut in half and then cut each half into 5 wedges. Slightly separate them and then sprinkle with sanding sugar.  Bake for about 18-20 minutes.  You want them lightly golden brown, no darker.  Remove scones and place on a rack over a baking sheet.  Make glaze – 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 tablespoon lime juice, 1 tsp. lime zest.  If not thin enough, add a little water.  Drizzle over warm scones.  Allow to cool slightly.  Serve warm.

Lime Pound Cake

lime pound cake

In the summer I have a thing for limes. Any lime recipe I see, I have to try it and of course tweak it to make it my own. I always have an abundance of limes in my fridge and thought that I needed to play with a couple of recipes and see how limes would change them up. The first one I tried was making my pound cake recipe into a lime pound cake. Turned out pretty good. Hope you like it as much as I did.

1 1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs, room temperature
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp lime zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (I don’t use bottled, but you can if you want)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Beat the butter at med speed until creamy. Gradually add the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until just blended. Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture, alternately with the milk. Stir in the vanilla, lime zest and lime juice. Pour into a grease and floured tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 minutes, then remove from pan to the rack. Allow to cool while mixing the glaze.

Glaze – mix 1 cup powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons lime juice and 1 tsp grated lime zest. Drizzle over warm cake. Allow to cool for about 1 hour before cutting.