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.

Spinach and Feta Shakshuka

Spinach and Feta Shakshuka

Spinach and Feta Shakshuka ready to serve from a shallow braiser.

Spinach and Feta Shakshuka

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Meatless meals can be so darn good! Spinach and Feta Shakshuka is a quick and easy vegetarian meal that has a crazy amount of nutrition packed into it. Eggs on their own are very nutritious, add in spinach, leeks and legumes and you’ve got a healthy dose of vitamins A, C, K and D, not to mention loads of protein and fibre. This lovely dish packs a lot of flavour too, plus it’s prime for serving for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

The preparation of ingredients for Spinach and Feta Shakshuka.
Spinach and Feta Shakshuka in a shallow braiser ready to cook the eggs.

There are plenty of green shakshuka variations out there, but I love the classic feta and dill combination of this one. It’s bursting with fresh flavours of dill and lemon, and the spinach is a great pairing with the eggs. I’ve opted to use cannellini beans, however, other legumes such as chickpeas would be great as well. I find the beans round out the dish and make it rustic and very satisfying. I also suggest serving this dish with crusty, toasted bread. You’ll need it to dunk into the perfectly soft eggs and scoop up the saucy greens. Enjoy!

Spinach and Feta Shakshuka ready to serve from a shallow braiser.

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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Spinach and Feta Shakshuka ready to serve from a shallow braiser.
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Spinach and Feta Shakshuka

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks, well cleaned
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 7 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 3/4 cup cooked cannellini beans, see note
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/2 each lemon
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 each green onions

Instructions

  • Thinly slice the leeks and green onions. Heat oil in a large shallow skillet or braiser. Add leeks and garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until starting to soften. Stir in broth, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Simmer for 4-5 until leels are tender and most of the broth has cooked out.
  • Add spinach and toss gently with leeks until wilted. Stir in beans, dill and squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. Make 6 large indentations and crack an egg into each. Sprinkle evenly with feta cheese. Cover and cook on medium heat until egg whites are just set and the centers still jiggle, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with sliced green onions and the remaining tbsp of fresh dill. Serve with toasted bread.

Notes

-I used cannellini beans for this recipe and enjoyed them in the dish.   Chickpeas would be another great choice.

Beef and Black Bean Quesadillas

Beef and Black Bean Quesadillas

Beef and Black Bean Quesadillas

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Beef and Black Bean Quesadillas are on regular rotation in my house. They’re not only quick and easy but tasty, family-approved and customizable. I like to use cheddar cheese and load mine up with fresh cilantro. But Monterey jack, spicy Mexican blend, or mozzarella cheese are also great options. Go ahead and be adventurous with the toppings too. Sour cream and salsa are always family favourites but also try diced avocado, taco sauce, pickled jalapeños, green onion…and the list goes on. But that’s what makes it fun and perfect for the whole family.

There’s a huge variety of tortillas available too. I like the flour and corn blend while my husband prefers plain flour. These are the basic options, you may want to try a multigrain, garden vegetable or sun-dried tomato tortilla. Again, there are lots of options to please everyone.

Sauteed beef, onions and green peppers in a cast iron skillet in preparation for Beef and Black Bean Quesadillas.
Beef and Black Bean Quesadillas ready to be folded in a skillet.

The black beans extend the ground beef, making these budget-friendly too. You can easily cut back on the ground beef further and sub in a few more black beans. I like just enough to give a little texture, fibre and added nutrition. I use drained and rinsed canned black beans out of convenience but you can certainly cook your own dried beans, which will reduce the cost further. Beef and Black Bean Quesadillas are a great weeknight meal for the whole family no matter how you stack them up. You’ll want them on regular rotation, enjoy!

Beef and Black Bean Quesadillas cut and stacked three high on a wooden plate, garnished with cilantro and lime.

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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Beef and Black Bean Quesadillas cut and stacked three high on a wooden plate, garnished with cilantro and lime.
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Beef and Black Bean Quesadillas

Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp canola oil plus more for tortillas
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup diced green pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tbsp taco seasoning or 35g pkg
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup canned black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1/2 cup corn niblets
  • 4 10" tortillas
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese about 8 ounces
  • as needed chopped fresh cilantro optional
  • as needed salsa optional
  • as needed sour cream optional

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a medium skillet, add beef and cook until just starting to brown, breaking up larger pieces as it cooks. Drain or dab out any excess fat.
  • Add green pepper, onion and garlic. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes until vegetables start to soften and beef is fully browned and cooked through.
  • Stir in water, taco season, and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium until liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes.
  • Stir in black beans and corn and heat until warm. Adjust salt to taste.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat and drizzle in 1/2 tsp of oil. Add one tortilla and sprinkle the entire tortilla with 1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese (about 2 ounces). Spread approximately 1 cup of beef mixture evenly over half of the cheese-covered tortilla.
  • Allow to cook until the bottom of the tortilla is golden and the cheese is melted. Fold the tortilla in half and press gently to hold it together. Remove to a cutting board and cut into 3 wedges. Repeat with remaining tortillas and serve immediately with your favourite garnishes like sour cream and salsa.

Notes

-

Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops

Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops

A shallow bowl filled with Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops and pieces of crusty bread.

Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops

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Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops is a wonderful homemade dinner ready in about 40 minutes when using jarred roasted red peppers. Roasted red peppers are widely available at most grocery stores and they make wonderful sauces and dips. For this recipe, the roasted red peppers are pureed with onion, garlic, herbs, and cream for a luscious sauce that hugs the spaghetti nicely and makes an easy yet delicious dinner.

Dry spaghetti, onion, garlic and salt arranged around a black pot in preparation for Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops.

It’s not always easy being creative in the kitchen and coming up with a wide range of meal options for you and your family, especially if you have picker eaters. Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops has a blended sauce that is smooth, creamy and mild in taste, making it appealing to many.  Not a fan of scallops? Try the recipe with shrimp, cooked chicken chunks or just an extra sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Other kinds of pasta like linguine or fettuccine will work well too, so use up what you have. The creamy sauce can be made up to two days in advance and warmed gently on the stove before adding the scallops. But I find little need to make it ahead of time when it comes together quickly as it is. But if you are all about the meal prep, I would suggest making a double batch of sauce and freezing half for use later. You just can’t beat meals made from scratch and this is a great dinner to have on rotation.  Enjoy!

Red Pepper sauce in a stainless steel sauce pan ready for cooked spaghetti for Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops.
A shallow bowl filled with Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops and pieces of crusty bread.

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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A shallow bowl filled with Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops and pieces of crusty bread.
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Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops

Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 340ml jar roasted red peppers, drained about 8 ounces
  • 12 ounces spaghetti
  • 12 ounces bay scallops, patted dry
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus more for serving
  • as needed chopped fresh basil

Instructions

  • Heat a large pot of well-salted water to a simmer. Add spaghetti and cook according to package directions, about 8-9 minutes. Drain well, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water.
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft but not browned, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the white wine and reduce for 2 minutes. Stir in broth, herbs and spices and continue to cook until the liquid has evaporated.
  • Pour mixture into a blender along with roasted red peppers. Puree until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  • Pour the sauce back into the pan and whisk in cream. Heat to a simmer and reduce for 1-2 minutes. Add the scallops and cook for about 3 minutes (depending on size) stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and adjust salt to taste. Add the cooked spaghetti and Parmesan cheese tossing to coat in sauce, adding a splash of pasta water if needed.
  • Divide among serving dishes and garnish with additional Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

Notes

-

Pork Chops with Hard Cider Sauce

Pork Chops with Hard Cider Sauce

Pork Chops with Hard Cider Sauce on a metal serving tray garnished with fresh parsley.

Pork Chops with Hard Cider Sauce

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Every once in a while I like to remake one of my older recipes and give it a little life on the blog.  Pork Chops with Hard Cider Sauce get the honourable mention today! Not only because they’re tasty but because they’re so quick and easy.  A little hard cider goes a long way in making a quick pan sauce for your juicy pork chops. It adds great flavour along with the Dijon and tomato paste. It only takes a cup of hard cider so I guess the  bonus here is that you get to drink the rest.

A tray of three seared pork chops ready for sauce for Pork Chops with Hard Cider Sauce.

A tasty rub is smeared over the pork chops which are then pan fried golden. While they rest, a quick pan sauce with everyday ingredients and a little hard cider transpires. The key here is not to overcook the pork chops, 6 minutes per side is about all you need. If in doubt, you want a minimum of 145℉ on an instant read thermometer.

I love this recipe because you get good delicious value for the time spent. The spice rub adds additional flavour and a gorgeous colour to the pork chops. It’s a weeknight winner for sure! Enjoy!

Pork Chops with Hard Cider Sauce on a metal serving tray garnished with fresh parsley.
Pork Chops with Hard Cider Sauce on a metal serving tray garnished with fresh parsley.

Author: Compelled to Cook, Adapted slightly from: Williams-Sonoma Pork Chops with Hard Cider Pan Sauce.

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Pork Chops with Hard Cider Sauce on a metal serving tray garnished with fresh parsley.
Pork Chops with Hard Cider Sauce
Print Recipe
Juicy spiced pork chops adorned with a creamy hard cider pan sauce.
    Servings Prep Time
    4 people 10 minutes
    Cook Time
    20 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    4 people 10 minutes
    Cook Time
    20 minutes
    Pork Chops with Hard Cider Sauce on a metal serving tray garnished with fresh parsley.
    Pork Chops with Hard Cider Sauce
    Print Recipe
    Juicy spiced pork chops adorned with a creamy hard cider pan sauce.
      Servings Prep Time
      4 people 10 minutes
      Cook Time
      20 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      4 people 10 minutes
      Cook Time
      20 minutes
      Ingredients
      Pork Chops
      Hard Cider Sauce
      Servings: people
      Instructions
      Pork Chops
      1. In a small bowl stir together all ingredients except pork chops. Pat pork chops dry with a paper towel. Rub pork chops with spice mixture, covering all sides. Add oil to a large stainless steel pan over medium heat. When oil is hot add pork chops and cook until golden, approximately 6 minutes per side or an internal temperature of 145℉ is reached. Remove from pan and tent with foil.
      Hard Cider Sauce
      1. Dab out excess oil from the same pan. Over medium heat, add hard cider scraping up any browned bits from the pan. Bring hard cider to a boil and reduce for 5 minutes. Whisk in Worcestershire sauce, mustard, sirracha, and tomato paste. Stir in heavy cream, allow to return to a simmer and reduce for 2-3 minutes or until sauce coats the back of a spoon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately over pork chops.
      Recipe Notes

      -Medium heat is recommended so the spice rub doesn't burn or get too dark. The trick for a good sear with medium heat is to not move the pork chops while they cook, allowing a good crust to form.

      -The time needed to cook the pork chops will vary depending on their thickness.  The 6 minutes per side is based on an approximate 1" thick pork chop.  If your chops are thinner, adjust accordingly and use a thermometer if needed.