Sep 21, 2009

Chicken and Rosemary Cream Rigatoni

Rachel Ray does it again.  I think I've grown used to the ingredients she uses (shallots, chicken broth, scallions, lots of cheese) so her recipes are just easier for me than other non-Rach recipes.  My pantry is very Rachel Ray friendly at this point plus our library has every one of her cookbooks which is awesome!

So this I chose because I wanted to imitate one of my favorite dishes from Macaroni Grill.  I don't know that this recipe tasted like the one I wanted it to but it was still DELICIOUS!  So good and actually pretty easy.  I think this could be done in a half hour.  Says it serves 4 to 6 but I would say definitely 6.  (Note:  when you taste the sauce by itself it is very salty but once you toss it with the pasta it evens out.)

This isn't a picture of this actual dish because I forgot to take one and couldn't find one online but it looks just like this except with chunks of chicken.  I figured I just needed to put one on here because I know I like to have a picture.

Chicken and Rosemary Cream Rigatoni

4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot, minced (I used 2)
2 tbsp EVOO
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used white cooking wine)
1 1/2 cups no fat, low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp dried rosemary (or 3 sprigs fresh)
1 tsp ground nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste

1 lb boneless chicken cut into small chunks
balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp EVOO

1/2 lb penne rigate pasta, cooked al dente
grated parmesan cheese for the table

In large skillet cook garlic and shallots in olive oil over medium heat until garlic speaks by sizzling in oil.  Add wine and reduce by half.  Add chicken broth, cream, and seasonings.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes, until sauce thickens.

While sauce simmers, place chicken, a few splashes of balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper into a bowl.  Combine to coat chicken well.  Heat olive oil in a second skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and cook 4 minutes on each side.  Remove from heat.

Add chicken to thickened sauce and cook for 4 or 5 minutes.  Toss with pasta and serve with plenty of grated cheese for topping.


You'll never guess what I'm doing?  Redecorating my bedroom!  Yeah maybe not the biggest surprise since I have redone pretty much every room in this house twice.  The challenge of a super thrifty update is just too much for me.  So the idea for our bedroom was to get out of the teal/brown phase I have been in for like a year.

I have been wanting Euro pillows (the big square ones) for some time but the cheapest I have ever seen them is $15 each and since we have a king size bed we need 3.  Definitely can't justify $45 for pillows when we already have EIGHT on our bed.  Our room is so small that when we take all the pillows off the bed to go to sleep we can hardly walk around the room!   My father's advice before we moved:  don't buy yourself a king bed right before moving because you never know how big your new room will be.  Should have listened to that one because now that we've had the king we can never go back.  Do we really need to be able to walk around our room?  Nah.

Back to the pillows...  I was thinking about the dilemma of how to get the Euro pillows without having to pay for them.  It finally occurred to me to turn my existing king size pillows (that we don't sleep on because they are too big) into Euro pillows.  Voila!!  I made pillow cases out of an old sheet and took the stuffing out of the king pillows to form the Euro pillows.  FREE!  Also we will only have 7 pillows on our bed now.  A minor improvement but an improvement nonetheless.

Then came the search for Euro shams.  HOLY COW!!  Did I know these things retail for $50 each?  No.  The cheapest I could find them on clearance (in an acceptable color) was $12 each.  Again, I need 3.  So after a considerable amount of searching I found a gorgeous curtain at JCPenney on clearance for $15.  I am in the process of turning that fabric into my shams (you can see a little bit of the fabric in the preview below).

I also recovered my toss pillows, found some red accent stuff around the house and relocated it, and am trying to figure out how to get this above the bed (only with a P obviously).

This post is titled preview because I can't bring myself to share a picture of the room in its current uncompleted state.  So you're just going to get one picture.  I learned how to do piping yesterday (the white stuff around the edge of the throw pillow).  Oh the JOY of creating and repurposing!

Sep 18, 2009

Fall has arrived.

Fall arrived at our house today.  A friend of mine blogged about her fall decorating and I thought "what I am waiting for!"  I mean I am going to want to decorate for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving which only leaves me 2 months to have some fall decorations up.  And Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday so I want to enjoy it for as long as possible!

I haven't decorated in 2 years (last year we were in an apartment) so I was prepared to go overboard.  Then I got down the "Fall Decor" bin from the garage.  Yeah, so there were 2 things in it.  What happened to all the fall stuff I thought I had?!  Pretty ridiculous considering there are 11 bins and an assortment of Christmas village boxes full of Christmas decorations.  I bought a few things today but just can't make myself go all out because I know this stuff is going to be crazy cheap in mid-November.  I also redid my wreath with some fall items from Hobby Lobby (oh, how I LOVE Hobby Lobby).  So for this year we'll just make do with our little bit of fall... but watch out 2010!

Sep 1, 2009


Yay!  The chair covers are done!  For anyone out there who has ever wanted to make chair covers this really wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.  So go for it!  Let me know if you want help.

When they were done I realized I was a little scared to sit in them (I know how you feel Karissa!).  I'm sure I will get over it.  They ARE washable!  But I did decide there was no way Carson can sit on them.  He is a MESS.  So tonight I made this out my favorite materal... oilcloth!  Wipes clean and works a lot better than the bath towel we've been using to protect the chair.  I even added a velcro strap to keep it secure under the chair seat.  The first time I have used velcro.  Go me!

I'm a little sad this project is done.  I'm sure it won't take me long to think of a new one though.

Oh, I meant to ask this...  does anyone have any great centerpiece ideas?  I am completely stumped.