Each Monday night in 2016, I have made a special effort to encourage family time around the dinner table. I love to cook for my family, and we always eat dinner together, but it is usually served at the bar and the kids sit at the snack bar while David and I eat at the dining room table. On Mondays, I've been making a special effort to make a nicer-than-normal meal, and we take the time to set the table and gather together to enjoy dinner while talking about our day. I have been sharing the photos each week on Instagram, and so many people have asked for recipes, that I am going to start posting them here on my blog. I'll start with tonight's meal, and hopefully start working my way through the previous weeks to catch up. Happy cooking!
Garlic, Chicken, & Bacon Pasta
Place the following in a crock pot:
-3-4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
-1 bottle of Lawry's Mesquite Lime marinade
Cook on low 4-6 hours, or until chicken breasts are completely cooked. Remove chicken and shred, return to marinade in crock pot and toss. Remove coated chicken with tongs and sit on a plate. Dispose of remaining marinade.
Place a large pot of water on stove. Bring to a boil. Add the following:
-1 box mini Farfalle (bowtie) pasta or any pasta of your choice
-1 tsp. salt
Boil pasta until tender. Drain and Rinse.
-1 stick of butter
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1/4 cup of flour
-1 cup heavy cream
-1/4 cup milk
-1/4-1/2 lb. cooked and crumbled bacon
-1/2 Tbs. pepper
-1/8 tsp. salt
-1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and add garlic. Lightly saute and add in flour. Whisk until smooth. Add cream and milk and slowly whisk while bringing to a light boil. Add in remaining and ingredients and stir well. Add chicken to sauce, and lightly toss. Toss finished sauce with pasta, or serve separately.
Homemade French Bread & Garlic Herb Spread (from It's Always Autumn)
This bread has become a staple at our house! I usually make it once a week. I double the recipe and make four loaves. Two savory loaves topped with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and peppercorn herb mix; and two loaves that are plain. I like to slice up one of the plain loaves the next morning for french toast. It makes the perfect french toast that everyone loves. The Herb spread is seriously so addicting, and our whole family devours it! I also like to make sandwiches for my kids to take to school using the bread, and it tastes delicious to add the spread to the sandwiches too!
-1 1/2 Tbs. instant yeast
-1/2 cup very warm water
-1 1/2 Tbs. sugar
-2 cups water
-1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
-2 tsp. salt
-6 cups flour
Combine yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, and sugar, and let proof for ten minutes. Add remaining 2 cups water, oil, salt, and 3 cups of flour. Mix until flour is incorporated, then add remaining 3 cups flour gradually. Knead about five minutes, then turn out onto generously floured surface. Every ten minutes for the next hour knead two or three times. Grease a large baking sheet, and divide dough in half. Roll each portion of dough into a long skinny loaf, and place side by side on the baking sheet. Raise until double or about 30 minutes. Mix one egg with about 1 Tbs. water and beat well. Using a baking brush, spread egg mixture over top of loaves (this will give them a nice brown crispy texture on top). Use a large sharp knife to make three diagonal slashes on the top of loaves. Sprinkle on desired herbs and seeds. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, then at 375 for 15-20 minutes.
Garlic Herb Spread
-1 stick butter, softened
-1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1/2 tsp. basil
-1/2 tsp. oregano
-1/8 tsp. dill, thyme, rosemary or any other herbs you like
Mix well until smooth. Store in refrigerator.