Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Chicken

Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Chicken

Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta

with Chicken

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Weeknight cooking may seem daunting at times when trying to juggle feeding your family, appointments and activities.  It doesn’t have to be complicated, some of the best dishes are quick and simply. Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Chicken is a fantastic combination of garlic, sun-dried tomato pesto and cream.   This gloriously creamy pasta dish is a perfect family meal yet delicious enough for company. 

I enjoy boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this recipe but you can easily use boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead if that is your preference.  Shrimp is also a fantastic combination as well. Or skip the protein all together for a great meatless meal option. Using store bought sun-dried tomato pesto helps to make this recipe quick and easy.  There are plenty of brands out there to choose from and I cannot say that one is better than the other is, so find one you like and keep it at the ready.  You’ll want this gorgeous dish on repeat!!

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Chicken

Cook Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces fettuccine
  • 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs 3-4 depending on size
  • as needed salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomato pesto
  • as needed freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Cook pasta according to package directions in well-salted water. Drain well, reserving a cup of pasta water.
  • While the pasta is cooking, season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add chicken and cook until browned on both sides and cooked through. About 5-6 minutes per side.
  • Remove the chicken to a clean dish and cover it with aluminum foil to keep it warm.
  • To the same skillet add the minced garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes over low heat.
  • Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping up the browned bits left in the pan and allow the wine to reduce slightly.
  • Add chicken broth, stir and reduce for 1-2 minutes.
  • Stir in heavy cream and reduce for 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened.
  • Add sun-dried tomato pesto and stir over low heat until combined. Remove from heat.
  • Slice cooked chicken into strips.
  • Add chicken and pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and a generous splash of pasta water. Toss to combine well over low heat.
  • Serve immediately with extra Parmesan cheese if desired.

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Chocolate RumChata Cake

Chocolate RumChata Cake

Chocolate RumChata Cake

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What sets this cake apart is the irresistible fluffy frosting. In all essence, it’s a whipped ganache, however, I add an extra dose of heavy cream to the ganache before it’s whipped to create extra volume. It’s creamy, extra fluffy and let’s not forget it’s punched up with RumChata cream liqueur for a blissful addition to the chocolate cake.

The cake itself is a one-bowl wonder made using hot boiling water. What the hot water does is give the leaveners a little extra push at the beginning by creating a warm environment. Most baking powders these days are double-acting, meaning they activate when in contact with moisture and again when exposed to heat. The cake rises up when baking but once removed from the oven the center will fall slightly to create a “fudgier” texture. The hot water also helps to dissolve the sugar and it brings out the chocolate flavour of the cocoa powder by hydrating it. Other reasons to use hot water include helping keep the cake moist and it creates a nice smooth crumb. This is one of my go-to cakes because of its simplicity, and I have no doubt it will be a favourite of yours as well. Enjoy!

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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Chocolate RumChata Cake

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

Icing

  • 5 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, divided
  • 2 tbsp RumChata Cream Liqueur
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar

Cake

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup RumChata Cream Liqueur
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup boiling hot water

Instructions

Icing

  • Add chocolate chips to a medium bowl.
  • Heat 1/4 cup of the heavy cream until scalding and pour over the chocolate. Gently shake to ensure the cream covers the chocolate.
  • Allow to sit for 5-7 minutes to allow the hot cream to melt the chocolate.
  • Stir gently until smooth and glossy.
  • Add RumChata and stir to combine. Cover and chill until cold and firm.
  • Add the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream and powdered sugar to the chilled ganache.
  • Whip on low until combined and then whip on high until light and fluffy.

Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Add all ingredients except hot water to a large bowl.
  • Beat on low to combine and then increase speed and beat until smooth and paler in colour, about 3 minutes.
  • Pour in hot boiling and mix gently until combined.
  • Spray a 9" x 13" cake pan with non-stick spray.
  • Pour in batter and bake for approximately 35 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
  • The cake will settle a little in the middle as it cools. Once completely cool spread with icing and cut into desired squares.

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Lemon Semifreddo

Lemon Semifreddo

Lemon Semifreddo

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Lemon Semifreddo rivals ice cream, yet requires no ice cream maker. Cool, creamy and bursting with fresh lemon flavour for a wonderful summer treat served with lightly macerated berries. It is simple to make and best of all it is made ahead of time so it’s ready when you are.

Semifreddo means “half frozen” in Italian. Semifreddo is similar to ice cream, yet it does have some differences. Semifreddo contains a little more fat and sugar than ice cream, but that’s what helps to give it an ice cream texture without the churning. It also has more air from the beaten cream, making it less dense than ice cream. It is a lovely dessert that is worthy of company but also nice to have on hand for a family treat. Enjoy!

There are a couple of things that are important when making Semifreddo. The first is to whisk the eggs constantly over a double boiler until the temperature reaches 170°F. This ensures the eggs won’t start to overcook before they reach the desired temperature. The second is to not overbeat the cream. Soft peaks are what you’re after, so they fold into the egg mixture evenly. Stiff cream is harder to incorporate without over-mixing the final product. It is really quite a simple and delicious dessert.

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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Lemon Semifreddo

Ingredients

  • 500 ml Whipping cream/Heavy cream
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 125 ml fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Whip cream until soft peaks, cover and chill.
  • Add egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt to a sauce pot fitted to a double boiler.
  • Whisk until combined and cook, stirring constantly until thick, coats a spoon and reaches 170°F.
  • Remove from the double boiler and set in an ice bath. Beat with an electric mixer until cool, thick and pale.
  • Pour into prepared whipped cream and fold until combined well.
  • Pour into a sealable container and freeze for 8-24 hours.
  • Scoop and serve with macerated berries.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Danish

Strawberry Rhubarb Danish

Strawberry Rhubarb Danish is sweet strawberry and rhubarb fruit filling, layered on a cream cheese filling and nestled in flaky puff pastry.

Strawberry Rhubarb Danish

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Sweet strawberries and Rhubarb nestled within puff pastry.

Strawberry Rhubarb Danish is a “perfect for summer” treat. I think rhubarb is a love or hate it kinda food. It is quite tart and fibrous, but this perennial vegetable is wonderful in baked goods. Often cooked with sugar and/or other fruits such as strawberries for pies, tarts and jams. It can also be pickled, used in chutney, cake, sauces and drinks. Often a large plant and when it grows, it really grows, so you’ll want many different uses if you think you’re gonna use all the stalks. Of course you can freeze the stalks too!! It will not be as crisp when thawed, but if cooking it anyway, you’re not impacting too much.

Strawberry Rhubarb Danish is sweet strawberry and rhubarb fruit filling, layered on a cream cheese filling and nestled in flaky puff pastry.

Today’s “perfect for summer” Strawberry Rhubarb Danish uses the classic combination of rhubarb and strawberries. The rhubarb and strawberries are first cooked with sugar to help sweeten and break down the fibrous texture into a jammy mixture. This gorgeous fruit combo is added to a layer of sweetened cream cheese and nestled within flaky, golden puff pastry. The final touch is a generous drizzle of vanilla glaze. It is lovely for brunch, dessert or enjoyed with coffee or tea.

Strawberry Rhubarb Danish is sweet strawberry and rhubarb fruit filling, layered on a cream cheese filling and nestled in flaky puff pastry.

The rhubarb and strawberries can be cooked ahead of time and using pre-made puff pastry makes it a snap to assemble and bake. This tart is best eaten the day it is made as the rhubarb has the tendency to weep after it sits for too long. Much like it would if made in pie form. If you do have left overs, allow to cool completely before covering and refrigerating.

As an added note rhubarb leaves are toxic, causes mild symptoms such as stomach upset to more serious issues like kidney failure, yikes!!

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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Strawberry Rhubarb Danish

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

Fruit Filling

  • 1 cup diced strawberries
  • 1 cup diced rhubarb
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Layer

  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pastry

  • 1 sheet thawed frozen puff pastry
  • 1 large room temperature egg
  • 1 tbsp milk

Glaze

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2-1 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

Fruit Filling

  • In a medium pot combine fruit and sugar.
  • Cook over medium for 5-7 minutes until fruit is soft and jammy.
  • Whisk together cornstarch and water and stir into fruit mixture. Allow mixture to come to a full boil, stirring often.
  • Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature.

Cream Cheese Filling

  • In a small bowl combine cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.

Pastry

  • Preheat oven to 425°F
  • Lay the puff pastry sheet on a large sheet of parchment paper.
  • Sprinkle lightly with flour and roll to a 12"x12" square.
  • Cut approximate 4" fingers on parallel sides of the pastry, leaving an uncut 4-5" center.
  • Move cut pastry to your baking tray.
  • Spread Cream cheese filling over the center uncut portion of the pastry, leaving a 1/4" border at each end to crimp the pastry together. Top with fruit filling.
  • Alternate the cut pastry fingers over the filling, tucking in the ends if needed.
  • Whisk together egg and milk. Brush liberally and evenly on the pastry.
  • Bake in pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes until golden.
  • Remove from oven onto a cooling rack and allow to cool to slightly warm/room temperature before proceeding.

Glaze

  • In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. Whisk until smooth and a drizzling consistency.
  • Once the pastry has cooled, drizzle with glaze and cut into 1 1/2" slices and serve.

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Beef & Snow Pea Stir Fry

Beef & Snow Pea Stir Fry

Beef & Snow Pea Stir Fry

Beef & Snow Pea Stir Fry

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Hello everyone!!  It’s been awhile since my last blog post. At times life calls for focus elsewhere, and far away to elsewhere I went. There was a time when I would have exhausted myself to do it all, but to what end I had to ask myself. As I get older, I realize that I am a priority as much as anything and doing something for the sake of just getting it done is not the same as doing it for the joy it brings me.  Sooo, now that I have moved, dealt with the death of my mother, moved again, cleaned up a hoarder’s home, renovated my own home and assisted my father with a broken femur, I am ready to get back to me. And by me, I mean food of course LOL!

I’ve truly missed being part of the foodie community and participating in my passion.  This creative outlet and meaningful pursuit bring me a lot of joy. I’m also very excited to share that I’ve finally stepped into the world of video. It’s been great to learn and challenge myself, and I’m sure that my “being on camera” nerves will calm as it becomes my norm. You can find me on YouTube @compelledtocook and as time goes I will include videos here on the blog for some of my existing posts. My channel is very new and I still have plenty to learn and improve upon, but I hope you’ll join me in my endeavour.  Be sure to subscribe so you never miss a great recipe video. If you’ve been hanging around wondering if I’d ever post again, I thank you for your patience, and if you’re new to my blog, I welcome you.

Beef & Snow Pea Stir Fry is quick, simple and flavourful.  Thinly sliced beef gets fried quickly over high heat to keep it tender, while crisp and healthy snow peas balance the umami “ish” sauce. Let’s talk about the beef for a moment. There are several cuts that work well, and I have a couple of tricks to create tender, silky beef. My cuts of choice are tenderloin, strip loin or flank steak. Regardless of the cut you choose it is imperative that you cut it thinly across the natural grain of the meat to ensure a chewable bite.

The second trick is to add a small amount of baking soda (mixed with soy sauce) to the slices and allow to marinate. The baking soda helps to break down the meat fibres and create a silky texture. If using tenderloin, the need to marinate is less because it’s already a very tender cut of meat, however, I still do. Just marinate it for a shorter length of time, about 30-60 minutes. If using other cuts I recommend marinating for 1-2 hours. Please know that more soda does NOT mean more tender. It only adds a sharp taste to the meat, so resist the urge to do so.  Beef and Snow Pea Stir Fry is wonderful served over rice or your favourite noodle.  Enjoy!

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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Beef & Snow Pea Stir Fry

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Marinating time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

Beef

  • 10 ounces beef, thinly sliced across the grain, see notes
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Stir Fry

  • 10-12 ounces snow peas
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup beef broth, cold
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 3/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • as needed canola oil
  • as needed scallions, thinly sliced
  • as needed sesame seeds

Instructions

Beef

  • Toss beef with ginger and minced garlic.
  • In a small bowl stir together soy sauce and baking soda. Pour over beef and mix well to evenly coat the beef slices (I use my hands to ensure it's mixed well). Set in the fridge to marinate for 30-120 minutes depending on cut used. (see notes)
  • While the beef is marinating whisk together beef broth and cornstarch (see notes). Stir in oyster sauce, sugar and chili flakes.

Stir Fry

  • Prep snow peas by trimming the ends and removing the side string.
  • Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat and add a generous splash of oil. When the oil is hot add the beef, separating the slices with your hands as you add it. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until just cooked through and starting to brown. Remove to a clean bowl and cover.
  • Add the 1/4 cup of water and snow peas to the wok and cook uncovered for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until most of the water has cooked off and the peas are starting to soften but are still slightly crisp (they will continue to cook in the sauce).
  • Add the sauce to the snow peas and cook for about a minute, stirring until the sauce fully thickens. Add the beef and stir to combine and warm.
  • Serve over rice or desired noodles and garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.

Notes

-Several cuts of beef will work.  I enjoy tenderloin or strip loin, however, flank steak will work well too. Be sure to cut the beef into thin strips across the grain.
-If using tenderloin, marinating for 30-60 minutes is enough, it's already a tender cut.  If using strip loin or flank 1-2 hours is best.
-Cornstarch dissolves better in cool liquids, so if your broth is hot, allow it to cool first.  It will also dissolve better in the broth as opposed to the thick oyster sauce.

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I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com