Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Garlicky Meatball Pasta

Every once in awhile, Jason amuses me by throwing out a dinner suggestion when I ask my weekly question of 'is there anything you're craving?' while making my menu plans. This time, he tossed out spaghetti.

Now, I could go and just make your basic spaghetti with meat sauce and he'd be a happy camper but I can never leave a good thing alone!

In this case, my determination to change it up totally paid off. Anything pasta based is typically a dieters downfall so I scoped out recipes on Cooking Light, read the reviews and suggestions of others, and came up with this.

It's super flavorful and finished in 30 minutes - with homemade meatballs!

Be sure and use your favorite jarred marinara, or make your own. The sauce really shines in this dish so you don't want anything bland.

Garlicky Meatball Pasta
9 ounces refrigerated fettuccine
1 lb ground sirloin
1/2 cup panko
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
6 garlic cloves, minced
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups marinara sauce
Parmesan cheese, grated

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/3 cup of the pasta water.

While the pasta cooks, make the meatballs. In a large mixing bowl, combine the beef, panko, basil, oregano, garlic, salt, pepper, and egg. Shape the mixture in 1.5 inch meatballs.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook for about 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the marinara sauce. Add the reserved pasta sauce if it seems too thick (or if you prefer a thinner sauce). Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.

Ladle meatballs and sauce over the hot cooked pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Source: adapted from Cooking Light

Friday, October 25, 2013

(Skinny) Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli-Rice Casserole

Rice is sorta my jam.

When I menu plan, I try to stick with no more than 2 meals that involve rice. Not for my sake (I'd be thrilled to eat it daily) but for Jason. He doesn't love it like I do. Er, he doesn't love it at all. He tolerates it.

However, cheesy broccoli rice casserole is one thing that he has no issue tolerating. In fact, it's a rice based dish he LOVES.

When I spotted this recipe, I knew it'd be a winner. Low calorie, one dish, and similar to the standard broccoli rice casserole we all know and love.

This dish is pure comfort food that the whole family will love - and it's guilt free!

{Skinny} Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Rice Casserole
2 cup long grain brown rice
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups broccoli florets (about 1 head)
2 green onions, finely diced
1 teaspoon extra virgin oilive oil
1 pound boneless/skinless chicken breasts, chopped into bite sized pieces
salt and pepper
garlic powder
5 teaspoons flour
2 cups milk, divided 
1/3 cup light sour cream 
8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided

In a large pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil and then add the rice. Cover, turn heat down to medium-low, and cook according to package directions. When the rice has 5 minutes left, add the broccoli and green onions to the pot.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, seasoning it on all sides with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Saute until no longer pink. Remove to a plate and carefully wipe out the skillet with a dry paper towel.

Turn the heat down to medium. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and 1/2 cup milk. Pour into the skillet and add the remaining 1-1/2 cups milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat and add 3/4 of the shredded cheese, sour cream, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder. Stir until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Preheat the broiler and lightly spray a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray. Combine the cooked rice/broccoli/green onions, cooked chicken, and cheese sauce in the pot you used for the rice. Pour into the prepared pan and top with remaining cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pumpkin Dog Treats

Pumpkin is like a wonder drug for dogs. Did y'all know that? It helps so much with upset tummies and digestive issues. We always keep a can in the pantry just in case. And, the upside is that most dogs go nuts for pumpkin! They love the taste so it's a win-win to feed it.

Since pumpkin is the hot food item of the season, I thought I'd whip up some treats for my pups using leftover canned pumpkin.

Have I introduced my pups before? They're quite adorable, if I might say so myself. And all three are my kitchen buddies - hoping to catch a scrap of whatever is cookin'!

This is Lucy (left) and Harley (right):

And this is Winston:

Wouldn't you want to bake treats for those sweet faces?

Thankfully, these treats are super easy to whip up in just minutes with one bowl and 4 ingredients! The dough is super sticky to just be sure and flour the heck out of everything before rolling.

To say they were hit a hit is a HUGE understatement. Mine flipped for these - even the picky one (that would be Winston!).

Pumpkin Dog Treats
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting) - you could use another type of flour if needed
2 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter
3 large eggs
3/4 to 1 cup canned pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 300 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. My mixture was very dry so I added a bit more pumpkin - start with 3/4 cup and increase slowly if needed.

Flour your workspace, rolling pin, and hands. Transfer the dough to your workspace and roll to a 1/4 inch thickness. Cut using cookie cutters of choice (you can tell I went Texas themed!) and transfer to prepared baking sheet. They won't spread so feel free to put them close together. Reroll and cut as needed until all dough is ready to be baked.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool on wire rack before transferring to an airtight container. 

They will keep for 2 weeks.

Source: adapted from A Cozy Kitchen

Monday, October 21, 2013


Friends, I present to you the easiest recipe EVAH.

We're talking 4 ingredients and a couple of steps resulting in piles of tender shredded pork that is so flavorful and delicious that you'll find yourself eating bites of it straight out of the fridge at 1am when you get up for a glass of water.

Not that I'd know...

Carnitas are a staple to Tex Mex cuisine. It's simply pork that is slow roasted or braised. You can find it served up in tacos, enchiladas, burritos, taco salads, burrito bowls, you name it!

This recipe has been fail-proof for me. I've blogged about it before and have made it several times since. It's super easy and yields fantastic results.

You take a relatively cheap and fatty piece of pork and simmer it in water and orange juice until all the liquid cooks off. Then you raise the heat and let the fat render itself. You end up with lean, tender, and slightly crispy and caramelized pieces of pork just begging to be stuffed into a flour tortilla.

This is the perfect Sunday afternoon meal! Throw it on your stove and just let it do it's thing until dinner time.

3 pounds of pork butt, with plenty of fat
1 cup of orange juice
3 cups of water
2 teaspoons of salt

Cut pork into strips (three inches by one inch) and add it to a large pot with the liquids and salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered on low for 2 hours. Do not touch the meat.

After two hours, turn heat up to medium high, and continue to cook until all the liquid has evaporated and the pork fat has rendered (about 45 minutes). Stir a few times, to keep it from sticking to the bottom of pan.

When the pork has browned on both sides, it’s ready (there will be liquid fat in the pan). Serve either cubed or shredded (pork will be tender enough that just touching it will cause it to fall apart).
Source: Homesick Texan

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Chili's Copycat Queso Dip

Chili's queso is my favorite of all restaurants. There was a time when I'd order just that for a meal, even! Unfortunately my metabolism doesn't allow me to do that anymore so it's quite a treat when we order it.

Over the weekend, Jason decided he "needed" some queso to snack on while watching football so he whipped up this recipe. It tastes just like the real deal! And it couldn't be easier - just throw it in the pot, stir, and serve.

You can make it in the crockpot instead but it'll take longer to melt. It's easier to melt it on the stove top (takes just a few minutes) and then transfer it to the crockpot to keep warm.

This makes a large portion - perfect for a party!

Check out the recipe over at The Best Blog Recipes where I'm guest posting today!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodle Bars

Photographers always say that it's not the camera you use, it's the way you use it.

I disagree.

It's my completely uneducated opinion that a camera makes a huge difference. The proof will be my photos in the coming days because the lens on my SLR died and I've been forced to use a cheap point and shoot.

I kept thinking that my lens would miraculously heal itself so I put off taking food pictures for a few days before finally coming to grips with the fact that it's broken. Here's hoping the camera store I stop at tomorrow has an easy fix! In the meantime, you'll have to forgive my photos...

It's the middle of October and despite the 252 (and quickly growing!) pins on my fall themed Pinterest board, I've yet to make a pumpkin flavored anything.

The horror!

If this was Survivor, the other food bloggers would have surely voted me off the island for this pumpkin related travesty.

But here it is! A pumpkin recipe! And it's a good one, y'all. I actually bookmarked this back in 2009 - 4 years ago! - and I finally got around to making it, though I'm wondering why it took me so long?

The bottom layer is pressed into the pan like a thick cookie dough batter and bakes turns into a caramely sugar cookie. The top layer has the consistency of a thick pumpkin pie - it holds up well when sliced into bars. Then, you sprinkle on cinnamon sugar before baking. All together, this makes up one AWESOME bar cookie ~ and so easy!

My favorite pieces were the ones on the inside - the edges were too "set" for me. This makes a large amount (a full 9x13 pan) so I cut the firmer edges off and tossed them. Taste and see what your preference is!

Be sure and check doneness with a toothpick before pulling from the oven. These are thick and take awhile to bake! 

Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodle Bars
For the snickerdoodle layer:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 sticks salted butter, at room temp (if using unsalted, add 1 teaspoon salt)
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs, at room temp
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the pumpkin pie layer:
1 cup white sugar
1 stick salted butter, at room temp (if using unsalted, add 1 teaspoon salt)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs, at room temp
1 1/2 cups canned pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

For the topping:
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch pan and line it with parchment paper, allowing it to extend the pan slightly for easier handling later.

To make the snickerdoodle layer, sift together the flour and baking power and set aside. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture until well blended. Spread evenly in the prepared pan (it'll be thick and cookie dough like - use your palm to press it down evenly).

To make the pumpkin pie layer, beat together the butter and sugar. Add the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, eggs, and pumpkin. Mix until well combined. Pour over the snickerdoodle layer, smoothing out the top with a rubber spatula.

In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon and sugar for topping. Sprinkle it evenly over the bars. 

Bake for 33-40 minutes (or more, depending upon your oven) until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the bars cool completely before using the parchment paper to lift them out of the pan. Place on a cutting board and cut into bars. Store in an airtight container. 

Source: Plain Chicken

Friday, October 11, 2013

WDW Reviews: Epcot Food & Wine Fest, Olivia's Cafe, and the new Starbucks

Disney, food and wine fest, epcot, olivia's cafe, starbucks

I've mentioned before that I'm a huge Disney World fan. It's definitely my happy place, and my love for it has resulted in lots of close friendships with other WDW addicts like myself. We've gone just about every year for the past 11 years and never tire of it. When at all possible, I try to time it around Epcot's annual Food and Wine Fest!

{is that surprising to anyone?}

Y'all will have to forgive the photography - I opted to not carry my large SLR and instead shot exclusively with my iPhone. 

If you're not familiar with Food and Wine Fest, here's a brief overview: you eat your weight in food and then go home, 20 pounds heavier. Kidding. Sorta. World Showcase (a large portion of Epcot, which features 11 countries) is turned into a food fest. Booths are set up around the lagoon and each booth features large sample sizes of various cuisines from that country/region. The sample sizes range from $3-$7, with various beers, wines, and cocktails also offered for $3-$12. In addition, there are lots of ticketed events you can attend including demos, dinners, and desserts. Plus free demos and seminars!

It's like a foodie dream, y'all.

Parisian Breakfast

We started our weekend by attending an event that's new this year - the Parisian Breakfast, hosted at Chefs de France in France. The breakfast is on Saturdays from 9:00 am-10:30 am.

When we arrived, the heat was already cranked up outside and there was a long line already formed. In the full sun.

They didn't start seating until right at 9am so it took a bit of time to get inside. As you walked in, you were handed a mimosa (or just OJ, if you preferred) and shown your table. Most parties were seated with others - they really filled the tables up. We were a party of 3 so we were seated at a 6 topped with 3 others. They were super nice!

Four buffets were set up and all had exactly the same items so you didn't have to wander the restaurant. Since this was the first year, no one was quite sure what the menu would look like. In short? It was CARB CITY!

I quickly snapped pics as I went through the buffet:

(this was later stocked with sliced ham as well)

My plate:

The waiters came around with refills for the mimosas plus anything else you'd like (coffee, hot tea, soda, etc). You were welcome to get more of anything, but strangely were given just one plate.

At some point, the manager came out and spoke for just a minute.

The good? All the food was delicious and fresh, the service was great, and we didn't eat another bite until 7pm that night! It was sorta like having breakfast in the French Bakery next door but getting to take one of everything.

The bad? It was too many carbs, even for this carb loving girl. A quiche and some fruit would have been a great addition to round it out. Our table also thought the portions were very large - we would have loved for the sandwiches and croissants to be cut in half so much of it wouldn't have been wasted.

As you left, you were handed a gift bag with a small jar of jam and some coupons. Nice touch!

Culinary Demo

On Sunday, I bought tickets for one of the culinary demos. These demos are held in the Festival Center which is located in Future World, between Mission Space and Ellen's Energy Adventure. The Festival Center has free demos, the large festival shop, Ghirardelli Chocolate Experience, a film about wine, large selection of wines for sale, book signings, and an area for the ticketed demos.

When you arrive, you check in at the information desk and get your tickets before joining the line going through the middle of the building. Once they opened, you could take a seat at any of the long tables that were already set.

I chose to attend a beef demo, taught by Chef Tim Hockett from Nacional 27 in Chicago, IL. A wine was also paired with the dish and a representative from the winery was on hand as well. The wine featured was Coyam Red Reserve Blend from Emiliana Winery in Colchagua, Chile.

The demo started with the host introducing the winery representative. He gave a 5 minute or so talk about their winery, how they grow their grapes, and more about the specific wine he brought. Everyone was brought a generous sample of the wine to enjoy. 

When the chef came out, the host and wine person both stayed on the stage so they dialogued some together. 

The dish prepared was Chimichurri Skirt Steak with Pappas Bravas. Not only did we get to watch him make it (and get tips along the way!), but also got a generous sample and the recipe! It was delicious, and we'll definitely be having it for dinner sometime soon. 

The demo lasted less than 45 minutes but was fun to attend. Now that they are in the Festival Center and not in the much more convenient Odyssey building like in the past, I'm not sure I'd go for just one again. 

Food and Wine Fest Booths

After we finished at the demo, we went back to World Showcase to start our sampling. Our plan was to try anything that looked good, share as needed, and pretend the prices were Monopoly money :) 

Singapore: Lemongrass Chicken Curry with Coconut and Jasmine Rice - $4.25
This is really a dish that I'd choose to make at home so I knew already I'd love the flavors, and I did. It had some heat but was very flavorful. My only complaint is that some of the chicken quality was questionable, but I'm admittedly very picky with my chicken.

China: Mongolian Beef in a Steamed Bun - $5.00
This was really good! The meat was tender and flavorful and the sauce had a bit of a kick. Jason didn't care for the crispy noodles on top but I loved the texture. The bun was the coolest part - I'd don't remember ever having a bun exactly like it and it is hard to explain. This was a decent sized portion, too, for the price.

China: Chicken Potstickers - $4.00
These were your average pan fried potstickers. Flavorful, good, but nothing special. They were served with a sweet sauce for dipping. We would not spend $4 on them again.

Cheese: Almond Crusted Blue Souffle with Fig Jam - $3.25
"Cheese" isn't really a country or region but it has it's own booth and for that I am grateful. When I first saw this souffle on the list of offerings I was stoked to try it - and thank goodness it lived up to my expectations! The blue cheese, mixed with the crunch of the almonds and sweetness of the fig, was unbelievable. I wish I could have brought home a cooler full. At around $3, this was a great value in my opinion.

Cheese: Artisan Cheese Selection: Flagship Reserve Cheddar served with Honey, La Bonne Vie Triple Creme Brie served with Apricot Jam, Wijngaard Goats Gouda served with Craisin Bread - $4.75
My mom ordered this and just raved about it. It was a generous serving of all three cheeses and at less than $5, we thought it was a good value as well. 

Germany: Roast Bratwurst in a Pretzel Roll - $5.00
When I read the menu's to Jason weeks prior to our trip, he proclaimed that he would be stationed in Germany with this item. He LOVES brats and I refuse to eat them. He thought the brat was a bit weird, since it was so long and thin, but happily ate it. The bread was soft and, well, pretzely. Overall, he liked it but said it was "nothing special"

Germany: Apple Strudel with Werther's Original Karamel and Vanilla Sauce - $3.50
This was Jason's, again, but he let me try a bite and it was very good! 

Hops and Barley: Craisin Bread Pudding with Grand Marnier Anglaise - $3.25
Jason's a huge bread pudding fan so he was all over this one. It tasted fresh, warm, and tasty! No complaints here.

Florida Local: Florida Shrimp Ceviche wtih Fire Roasted Vegetables and Micro Cilantro - $4.25
My mom has ordered the ceviche in the past and made a bee line for the booth once we got close. She said it was delicious, with a bit of a spicy kick. Full disclosure: she's super sensitive to spice so I'm not sure how hot it really was.

Japan: Teriyaki Chicken Hand Roll - $4.50
I really loved this dish - and those who love sticky rice will, too. It's a lot of rice with some good quality teriyaki chicken strips inside. Good portion size, too!

Belgium: Potato and Leek Waffle with Braised Beef - $4.00
This was probably one of my favorite items we tasted! Our table mates at the Parisian Breakfast the day before had recommended it so I gave it a shot. Y'all, so good. The flavors were amazing together, the portion was good, and the beef was incredibly tender! I love savory waffles.

Belgium: Belgium Waffle with Warm Chocolate Ganache and Whipped Cream - $3.25
My mom chose this and was a happy camper. How can you go wrong, really? Decent portion for $3!

Canada: Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup - $4.25
This soup is always delicious, in my opinion, and we were not disappointed again this time. Jason ordered it, even though I've made it at home, and he nearly licked the cup clean. I think it's a pitiful amount for the price but people (like us!) seem to buy it regardless. If you've never had it before you should try it!

Greece: Griddled Greek Cheese with Pistachios and Honey - $3.50
Once again, Aimee went straight for the cheese - and am better for it! This was SO good, even though my after dark picture doesn't make it look appealing at all! This was also a large portion and could be shareable... if you're nicer than me :) If I wasn't already stuffed, I would have gone back for more.

Refreshment Port (Dole): Dole Pineapple Fritters - $1.99
Yeah, I know, the picture is pitiful but I thought something was better than nothing! New this year is a Dole booth with the famous Dole Whip and other pineappley items. These pineapple rings are breaded and fried then sprinkled with powdered sugar. I think there were 3 rings per order but it may have just been 2. I was too busy savoring my Greek cheese to notice... my mom ordered these and loved them!

Hawai'i: Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour Dole Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise - $3.50
Yeah, this was a total winner for us. The portion is a good size and it's SO flavorful. Even the bun was delicious! It was the savory, sweet, and spicy thing going on and the meat was flavorful, tender, and good quality.

Scotland: Seared Scottish Salmon with Cauliflower Puree, Watercress, and Malt Vinaigrette - $4.50
Another delicious item! The puree was so good, and the salmon was perfectly cooked. The malt vinaigrette wasn't noticeable at all (unfortunately) but the other pieces worked well together. The booth is also selling something with mashed rutabagas and mom said she found herself wishing they had paired some of that alongside the cauliflower, too. Would have been a nice addition!

China: Joy of Tea Stand
This stand is a permanent fixture in World Showcase but I had to give it a shout out. Y'all know I LOVE flavored iced teas and this stand is one of my favorites to hit when I'm touring the lagoon. It was hot, humid, and yucky outside so I stopped for a Mango Green Iced Tea. It's $4.25 and SO GOOD. 
If you're a fan of flavored teas, stop by and try one!

My top 3 items: blue cheese souffle at the cheese booth, griddled Greek cheese in Greece, and savory waffle with beef in Belgium

Jason's top 3 items: Canadian cheese soup in Canada, apple strudel in Germany, and bread pudding at Hops and Barley

New Starbucks in Future World
The whole Starbucks in Disney World has been a sore spot for many but I just about did a victory lap when I heard they were coming. Y'all, that Nescafe they have served for years is gross! Before they opened, I'd hit up a Starbucks on my way to the park and just carry it in. 

I stopped by the new location in Future World at the Fountainview location. 

They are like a well oiled machine! You walk in and are asked if you'd like bakery items or just a beverage. Since I just needed my iced coffee fix, I was directed to an open register. There were 6 or 8 open and they are split in half with two completely identical coffee stations.

As I was ordering, someone else was writing it on my cup and handing it immediately over to a barista (many on hand!). Practically before I got to the end of the bar, my drink was ready to go. And in a cute Starbucks/Disney cup!

I think my local Starbucks could learn something from the Disney version, to be honest. I stopped by around lunch time and didn't have any wait at all. 

The menu is a typical Starbucks menu and my coffee was actually the same price as any other Starbucks. I used my gold card app without any issues. 

I did walk past the Main Street location (in the Magic Kingdom) as well and it's set up the same - hopefully just as well done! 

Olivia's Cafe at Old Key West
We arrived on Friday night, with plans to hit a park, but decided it wasn't worth wasting admission for a few hours. Instead, we decided to have a nice dinner and then visit Downtown Disney. Friday night in Orlando means all the restaurants being crammed. Thankfully, Olivia's Cafe is a hidden gem! It's located at Old Key West resort, a Disney Vacation Club resort. I'd not been there before but my mom and her boyfriend had. 

They were busy but taking walk-ups so we had no wait at all for a party of 4. We came around 7pm on Friday night. Their menu is reasonably priced and has something for everyone (see menu here). 

At our table, we ordered Conch Chowder (no picture, but a favorite of mom's boyfriend), Shrimp and Grits (no picture, but delicious!), Cuban Sandwich, and Duval Street Burger.

This was the Cuban Sandwich that Jason ordered:

Cuban sandwiches are fairly commonplace on Orlando area menus and Jason has a hard time passing one up! This was very traditional: pork loin, ham, swiss cheese, and pickles pressed and served hot. He had the choice of housemade chips, marinated cole slaw, or fries. He said it was good!

I ordered the Duval Street Burger:

This is a ground beef patty topped with grilled shrimp, pepperjack cheese, sliced avocado, and pico de gallo. Y'all, this will be recreated at home soon - it was so good! I, too, had the option of chips, fries, or cole slaw and went with the chips; they are very tasty and a generous portion.

Our service at Olivia's was great, the atmosphere is very family friendly and casual, and it's a pretty resort to check out. It's not worth going out of your way to visit but if you're looking for a hidden gem that's easy to get into on a busy evening, you should give it a try. 

(psst - you can take a boat from Old Key West to Downtown Disney West Side! It's a lovely, relaxing ride)

We had a GREAT quick trip to The World and (as you can see!) ate well! Hopefully this will help someone else plan their upcoming trip, too. Let me know if you have any questions - I'd love to answer them!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Chicken Bellagio (Cheesecake Factory Copycat)

We just returned from a whirlwind vacation with my mom, with stops in Savannah and Orlando (for Epcot's Food & Wine Fest). Of course anytime I travel, I hit up food related spots so I'll be sharing highlights from both locations soon! In the meantime, I'm sharing this AMAZING pasta dish.

This recipe is inspired by the Cheesecake Factory version, but I'd argue it's better. Y'all, this is totally restaurant quality food - made at home! The chicken is marinated in a pesto mixture then lightly breaded and pan fried. A cream sauce full of shallots, Proscuitto, pine nuts, parsley, garlic, pesto, and Parmesan is whipped together and the chicken is added to it. After all that deliciousness, you toss it with hot linguine and top with fresh arugula.

I know, right?!

To say we LOVED this dish would be the understatement of the century. It's like a party in your mouth, y'all.

chicken, chicken bellagio, cheesecake factory, copycat, recipe

Chicken Bellagio
1/2 to 3/4 cup pesto, divided
1 pound boneless/skinless chicken breasts
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2-3 tablespoons butter
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
16 ounces linguini pasta
1/4 cup minced shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 shaved slices Prosciutto, diced
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano, divided
1 cup arugula

Cut the chicken into 1 inch pieces and add them to a large Ziplock. Mix together the egg whites, lemon juice, oregano, and 2 tablespoons pesto. Add to the bag with the chicken and let marinate for 30 minutes. 

Mix together the flour, salt, and pepper. Dip the marinated chicken pieces in the flour and coat on all sides. In a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until hot and frothy. Add the floured chicken and cook on both sides for 2-3 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove cooked pieces to platter and set aside.

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, then add 2-3 tablespoons of pesto and mix together. Set aside.

In the same pan that you've cooked the chicken, turn the heat to medium and saute the shallots until soft and translucent; about 1-2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chopped Prosciutto, parsley, and toasted pine nuts and cook for one more minute. Add the cream and 3 tablespoons of the pesto, plus salt and pepper if needed, and stir to combine. Stir in 1/3 cup Parmesan until melted. 

Add the cooked chicken to the sauce and stir gently to combine.

To serve: Ladle the chicken and cream mixture over hot linguini. Top with some of the remaining Parmesan and arugula. 

See Aimee Cook

Designed by:

Munchkin Land Designs Elements by Amy Teets
Designed by Munchkin Land Designs • Copyright 2012 • All Rights Reserved