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Saturday, April 7, 2018

Quick Chicken Pot Pie Pasta

Chicken Pot PIe Pasta_menumusings.com
You know those days where the school lets your kids out almost before you get home good?  You begin to wonder why in the world they didn't just give them the whole dang day off in the first place?  And then they are so conditioned to be starving for lunch no matter the time you pick them up.  Uh huh!  Yep.   And all you've had time to do is maybe put on a load of clothes to wash or something.  So you aren't ... ahem... exactly prepared with a gourmet lunch.  

We recently had one of those days.  So what can I pull together from the pantry, fridge and/or freezer to make a nice, hot, satisfying lunch for everyone.  I'm just going to go on and say it - I can't do the whole "let's just heat up ravioli in the can" thing.  Blechh!  One thing you need to know about my Littles.. they LOVE chicken pot pie.  But you and I both know that chicken pot pie is NOT a quick meal to make.   On this particular day I thought maybe I could just throw together all the basic elements of the pot pie they love but in a pasta format.  Guess what?  They loved it!  And bonus points, everything came together from stuff I had on hand in that magic thirty minute mark!  Yay!!!  


Ingredients:  (6 servings)
  • 1 - 1.25 pound pack of chicken tenderloins
  • Seasoning:  
    • kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, poultry seasoning, dried dill
  • 1 Tbsp EVOO + 2 Tbsp butter 
  • 1 Tbsp butter + 2 Tbsp flour 
  • 1 c half and half
  • 2 c chicken broth + more if needed
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 3 c frozen mixed vegetables:
    • corn, carrots, green pea
  • 1/2 c dry sherry
  • 1/2 bag egg noodles 
  • Optional - fresh dill for garnish

Step-by-Step: 
*You probably need to get a large pot of water going to boil your pasta.  Just FYI.  Don't forget.  And if you are going to throw some biscuits in the oven, get that preheating now as well.

Okay, full disclosure - I didn't measure any of these seasonings.  I had a pack of chicken tenderloins in the fridge. 
1.25 pounds chicken tenderloins
 I chopped the chicken into large bite sized pieces and liberally seasoned them.
kosher salt + black pepper + garlic pwdr + dried dill + paprika + poultry seasoning 
I added a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and two tablespoons of butter to a large heavy 14" skillet and let it get really hot.
1 Tbsp EVOO + 2 Tbsp butter
Add the chicken to the hot oil/butter mixture and sear on all sides until you get a pretty brown color, but not too brown.  *The chicken may not be fully cooked but will cook longer in the sauce.
If your chicken does not start to sizzle immediately when you add it to the skillet, your oil is not hot enough. 
Remove chicken from the pan with a slotted spoon or spatula.
To the hot pan, add the other tablespoon of butter without wiping out the pan.  It will probably start sizzling right away.
1 Tbsp additional butter
Add in the two tablespoons of flour to the butter. 
2 Tbsp flour
Stir together the butter and flour along with the chicken drippings on the bottom of the pan to make a quick little roux.
When the roux gets to be a light peanut butter color, stir or whisk in the half and half to deglaze the bottom of the pan.
1 cup half and half
This should pull up all those yummy flavors from the seasoning on the seared chicken.
Bring the sauce up to a light bubble. 
Add in the chicken broth.  If the sauce gets too thick, feel free to add in more stock/broth as you wish.
2 cups chicken broth.  More if needed to thin sauce.
Add in the cream of chicken soup.  This is optional but it will give your sauce nice body.
can of cream of chicken soup
Feel free at this point to readjust all the seasonings of the sauce.   Please do taste your sauce.  You don't want to end up with a bland sauce.  Yuck.  
adjust to taste

adjust to taste
Add in the three cups of frozen vegetables.  I used corn, carrots and peas.
3 cups frozen vegetables
I added about a half cup of dry sherry to my sauce.  The alcohol cooks out and leaves a nice nuttiness in the background.  This is something I usually add to my normal chicken pot pie, so I thought it would work well here as well.
1/2 more or less of dry cooking sherry
When your vegetables are almost soft, add the chicken back to the sauce.
cooked chicken pieces
Hopefully you've been cooking your egg noodles.  Add the drained noodles into sauce.  
half bag of cooked egg noodles
If you have any on hand, add in some fresh dill to garnish.  If not, no biggie.   Did I mention a comforting dish like this just begs for some big fluffy biscuits to dip into this sauce?  Since we don't really have a crust, per se, that's what I was thinking anyway.  Believe me, my kids did not argue!


 Lunch is served!  30 minutes!

Bonus Recipes
Skinny Mexican Pizza  - your crew won't know it's turkey!  Better than Taco Bell!  
Skinny Mexican Pizza_menumusings.com
Maple Mustard Glazed Chicken - a healthy, low fat entree.  Great sliced on a salad, too!
Maple Mustard Glazed Chicken Chicken_menumusings.com
Fire Roasted Corn Guacamole - don't wait for Cinco de mayo!!  
Fire Roasted Corn Guacamole_menumusings.com
Parmesan Zucchini Gratin  for all the lovely zucchini and squash coming into season!  A beautiful side dish! 
Parmesan Zucchini Gratin_menumusings.com
Shrimp and Grits with Tasso Cream Sauce - a Louisiana favorite! 
Shrimp and Grits with Tasso Cream Sauce_menumusings.com
Written Method:
*You probably need to get a large pot of water going to boil your pasta.  Just FYI.  Don't forget.  And if you are going to throw some biscuits in the oven, get that preheating now as well.
Okay, full disclosure - I didn't measure any of these seasonings.  Chop the chicken into large bite sized pieces and liberally season them.   A 1 Tbsp EVOO and 2 Tbsp butter to a large heavy 14" skillet and let it get really hot.  Add the chicken to the hot oil/butter mixture and sear on all sides until you get a pretty brown color, but not too brown.  *The chicken may not be fully cooked but will cook longer in the sauce.  If your chicken does not start to sizzle immediately when you add it to the skillet, your oil is not hot enough. 

Remove chicken from the pan with a slotted spoon or spatula.  To the hot pan, add the other 1 Tbsp tablespoon butter without wiping out the pan.  It will probably start sizzling right away.  Add in the 2 Tbsp flour to the butter.  Stir together the butter and flour along with the chicken drippings on the bottom of the pan to make a quick little roux.  When the roux gets to be a light peanut butter color, stir or whisk in the half and half to deglaze the bottom of the pan.  This should pull up all those yummy flavors from the seasoning on the seared chicken.  Bring the sauce up to a light bubble. 

Add in the chicken broth.  If the sauce gets too thick, feel free to add in more stock/broth as you wish.
Add in the cream of chicken soup.  This is optional but it will give your sauce nice body.
Feel free at this point to readjust all the seasonings of the sauce.   Please do taste your sauce.  You don't want to end up with a bland sauce.    

Add in the three cups of frozen vegetables.  I used corn, carrots and peas.  I added about a 1/2 cup of dry sherry to my sauce.  The alcohol cooks out and leaves a nice nuttiness in the background.  When your vegetables are almost soft, add the chicken back to the sauce.  Add the drained noodles into sauce.  If you have any on hand, add in some fresh dill to garnish.  If not, no biggie.   

 Lunch is served!  30 minutes!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Easy Garlic Butter Salmon Packets

Easy garlic butter salmon packets_menumusings.com
I get messages all the time from readers who are empty nesters or retirees who need ideas of healthy and delicious meals for only one or two people.  And there are also some of you who are single adults who feel the same way.  To be honest, I could lump myself into this category during the daytime when I'm looking for a healthy lunch and don't want to go out to eat or drive through a line somewhere.  Well this is an expand-to-fit recipe, because I'm using individually portioned salmon filets.  Boom!  That will cover all of my peeps looking to do their healthy lunch prep at the beginning of the week as well as those looking to make a meal for one or two.  

I'm just going to put it right out there that the only salmon I'm a fan of is the wild Alaskan sockeye.  I really don't care for the farm raised Atlantic type.  For one, the wild Alaskan sockeye has a higher omega-3 content which makes it more heart healthy.  Additionally, I just prefer the taste.  But you feel free to use whatever you enjoy.  You are the one cooking.  It's your kitchen!  By the way, this meal is so easy my kids could put it together.  It's also super healthy and very quick, coming in at the 30-minute mark!  My kids told me that we've had this so many times now that it's time to put it on the blog for everyone.  So here it is.

*FYI - To pin any of the photos, hover of them and the PinIt logo will appear in the upper left portion of the photo. 

Print this Recipe!

easy garlic butter salmon packets_menumusings.comIngredients: (for 4 servings)

  • 4 individual wild Alaskan sockeye salmon filets 
  • Juice of 1 large lemon (~ 2 Tbsp)
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced very fine 
  • 4 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 - 2 lemon slices per filet for baking 
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley for garnish
  • Optional fresh dill 
Step-by-Step:
First go ahead and get your oven preheating to 375F.  Grab some pieces of aluminum foil.  Parchment paper won't work for this because of the butter sauce and we'll be putting it under the broiler.  You'll need pieces that are about 12" x 14" or so to make these individual packets.  The foil needs to be large enough to fold over the and seal the fish and veggies.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together the butter, fresh lemon juice and minced garlic.  I just threw it in the microwave for a minute to melt the butter and combine the ingredients.
4 Tbsp melted butter + 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp finely minced garlic
If you have any veggies you need to use up, grab them out of the fridge.  I used some zucchini.  An onion or carrots sliced thinly would work, too.  I didn't want my fish to stick to the aluminum foil.  Turn your foil so that the dull side is facing up and the shiny side is facing down.  Place the veggies on the foil or at least spray it with nonstick cooking spray.  Place the salmon on the veggies.

Pour the melted butter mixture over the salmon.  You may want to bend up the edges so none of your sauce will run out.
Season liberally with salt, pepper, oregano and red pepper flakes.  Add fresh dill if you'd like.  Add thinly sliced lemon slices cut in half.
kosher salt + black pepper + dried oregano + crushed red pepper flakes
thinly sliced lemons
Fold up each side of the foil over the salmon, making a double fold over the top.  Then fold in the ends, making sure each is well sealed and the sauce does not leak.  You also want to leave room on top of each filet to allow the steam to circulate.


Place your filets in the oven and bake until for around 20 - 22 minutes.  
Open the salmon packets carefully.  Turn the oven on broil for about 3 minutes and return the fish to the oven.  
Remove packets from the oven.  The salmon should flake easily with a fork.   You may want to spoon some of the sauce from the bottom of the packet over the top of the salmon and sprinkle some chopped parsley over the top to garnish.
easy garlic butter salmon packets_menumusings.com
Just an FYI:  This is how it looks if you want to make a bunch of it for a whole family.  This is about 2 1/2 pounds of fresh wild Alaskan sockeye salmon.  This is how I do it if I'm making if for all of us.  Just adjust the amounts and basically double everything.  *I actually prefer it with the chopped dill as you see in the family style salmon below, but today I somehow left that item off of my grocery list.  Ughh!
easy garlic butter salmon packets_menumusings.com
Serve your cooked filets with roasted vegetables, rice/quinoa, salad, you name it!
easy garlic butter salmon packets_menumusings.com
Serve to some people you love!

easy garlic butter salmon packets_menumusings.com
I hope you have enjoyed this easy, family friendly, healthy entree recipe.

Here are some bonus recipes!
Indian Chicken Korma - Indian food is one of my favorite guilty pleasures.  The heat is toned down in this one so that even children can enjoy it.  One of my kids' favorites!
Indian chicken korma_menumusings.com
Mozzarella Stuffed 3-Meat Italian Meatballs - delicate, melt in your mouth tender, yet super tender.  Make them with or without the mozzarella.  These freeze SO well!
Mozzarella Stuffed 3-Meat Italian Meatballs_menumusings.com
Lemon Zucchini Muffins - Even my veggiephobe son liked these!  Score!
Lemon Zucchini Muffins_menumusings.com
Korean BBQ Shish Kabobs - You may want to make extra.  My kids demolish these in like 10 minutes!
Korean BBQ Shish Kabobs_menumusings.com
Creole Red Snapper - So moist and flavorful and SUPER easy!  One of my favorite fish recipes!
Creole Red Snapper_menumusings.com
Written Method:
First go ahead and get your oven preheating to 375F.  Grab some pieces of aluminum foil.  Parchment paper won't work for this because of the butter sauce and we'll be putting it under the broiler.  You'll need pieces that are about 12" x 14" or so to make these individual packets.  The foil needs to be large enough to fold over and seal the fish and veggies.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together the butter, fresh lemon juice and minced garlic.  I just threw it in the microwave for a minute to melt the butter and combine the ingredients.  If you have any veggies you need to use up, grab them out of the fridge.  (Zucchini, onions or carrots sliced thinly work great.)  You don't want the fish to stick to the aluminum foil.  Turn your foil so that the dull side is facing up.  Place the veggies on the foil or at least spray it with nonstick cooking spray.  Place the salmon on the veggies.

Pour the melted butter mixture over the salmon.  You may want to bend up the edges so none of your sauce will run out.  Season liberally with salt, pepper, oregano and red pepper flakes.  Add fresh dill if you'd like.  Add thinly sliced lemon slices cut in half.  Fold up each side of the foil over the salmon, making a double fold over the top.  Then fold in the ends, making sure each is well sealed and the sauce does not leak.  You also want to leave room on top of each filet to allow the steam to circulate.

Place your filets in the oven and bake until for around 20 - 22 minutes.  Open the salmon packets carefully.  Turn the oven on broil for about 3 minutes and return the fish to the oven.  Remove packets from the oven.  The salmon should flake easily with a fork.   You may want to spoon some of the sauce from the bottom of the packet over the top of the salmon and sprinkle some chopped parsley over the top to garnish.

FYI: If you are making a bunch of it for a whole family and can purchase the whole fresh filets, I usually use two whole filets.  This is about 2 1/2 - 3 pounds of fresh wild Alaskan sockeye salmon.  Just adjust the amounts and basically double everything.  Serve your cooked filets with roasted vegetables, rice/quinoa, salad, you name it!


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