Creamy Zucchini Mushroom Fettuccine with Toasted Pine Nuts

Zucchini Fettuccine: Cozycakes Cottage

From the recipes I post, you’d think we only eat cake and creamy dishes.  I promise you that we eat well-balanced meals over at Cozycakes Cottage.  But I do enjoy sharing the indulgent dishes and desserts with you.  Because…why not?  Everything in moderation…

This fettuccine dish is not light dinner fare.  So there’s that disclaimer.  I serve this as a luxurious side dish sometimes, but I admit that we had it last week as our main dish with lots of buttery garlic bread.  I did make my husband and Munchie eat a big salad, too, though.  Does that make it better?  😉

Creamy Zucchini Mushroom Fettuccine with Toasted Pine Nuts

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. fettuccine
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced (I use creminis)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into 2-inch strips
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 5 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt + more to taste
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted, optional

Cook the fettuccine according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.  In a large skillet on medium to medium-high heat,  cook mushrooms and garlic in 2 Tbsp. butter and olive oil for about 3 minutes.  Add the zucchini, cream, 5 Tbsp. butter, nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Mix and add pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add cooked fettuccine and 1/4 cup Parmesan.  Toss well with vegetables and sauce.  Add salt to taste if necessary.  Serve topped with remaining Parmesan and pine nuts.

*Cozycakes Note: I toast my pine nuts in a dry skillet on medium heat for a couple of minutes, tossing so they don’t burn.  I like them lightly browned.

Enjoy! ♥

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Kid-Friendly Cooking: Easy Pizza Pie

Easy Pizza Pie: Cozycakes Cottage

Looking for a simple, but filling meal?  How about a kid-friendly one to boot?  My take on the ol’ popular Pizza Pie (or Tebow Pizza Pie) might be the ticket.  The original versions call for a packet of spaghetti sauce mix, but I prefer to use my own spaghetti sauce.  Each month I make a big batch of our favorite sauce and freeze it in 2 cup portions.  Having it on hand helps me out on a busy or lazy day.  Toss in your favorite toppings, top with mozzarella and you’re good to go.  It’s similar to another kid-friendly pizza-inspired dish, Bubble Pizza, but more pie-ish.  🙂

Easy Pizza Pie

  • 1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (1 large clove or 2 small cloves)
  • 1/2  cup bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced and roughly chopped
  •  2.5 cups favorite homemade spaghetti sauce (or your favorite store-bought sauce–if your sauce includes meat, you can eliminate the ground beef/turkey called for in this recipe)
  • 1 tube (12 ounces) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (I like Trader Joe’s biscuits)
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • dried or fresh parsley for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 400°.  Cook beef, onion, garlic, and bell pepper in a large pan until meat is no longer pink.  Drain fat.  Add the mushrooms and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring. Pour in the spaghetti sauce and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil then cut heat to a simmer.  Cook at a simmer for an extra 10 minutes (cover to avoid splattering).

In the meantime, separate biscuits and press on the bottom and up the sides of a greased 9-in. deep-dish pie plate (I’ve used a rectangular dish, but the deep-dish pie plate works best for me).  Doesn’t have to be pretty.  Smash it in there, making sure the middle isn’t too thick to make sure it cooks evenly.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese then fill with meat sauce mixture.  Top with mozzarella cheese and the rest of the parmesan.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese melts. Sprinkle parsley on each serving. 

*Cozycakes Note: If you use a smaller dish to bake the pie, the crust/biscuits might not cook completely in the middle.  Be sure to use a proper size pan and press the dough out evenly in the pan to avoid undercooked crust.  If you like, you can bake the crust for a few minutes at a lower heat (just about 4 to 5 minutes) before adding all other ingredients and returning to the oven.

Enjoy! ♥

Slow Cooker Apricot Ginger Chicken

Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken: Cozycakes Cottage

Life’s been a little hectic lately so I’ve relied often on my handy-dandy slow cooker.  This is another yummy slow cooker recipe that calls for chicken thighs which I like because they don’t get easily dried out like chicken breast can.  My husband and little girl really enjoy this over brown rice with veggies.  The apricot and ginger are not overpowering at all.  They create good flavor and a nice little sauce to pour over your chicken and rice, too.

Apricot Ginger Chicken

Ingredients

  • about 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 1 jar apricot preserves (I use a 12 oz. jar of Smuckers)
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. red chile flakes
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 medium (or half large) red bell pepper, diced

Place chicken thighs in your slow cooker (I rinse my chicken and snip off excess fat).  Salt and pepper them lightly.  In a bowl, mix the preserves, mustard, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and chile flakes together.  Pour over the chicken.  Mix chicken and sauce a bit to coat chicken.  Place diced onions on top of chicken.  Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.  When about 45 minutes of cook time remain, mix the bell pepper in.  Serve with rice.

*Please adjust cook time to suit your slow cooker since they can vary slightly.

Enjoy! ♥

Adapted from Make It Fast, Cook It Slow.

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken

slow cooker whole chicken plated

Sometimes there’s nothing better than a baked chicken dinner.  But then life can get in the way and I get home too late in the afternoon to stick one in the oven.  Or maybe I’m just feeling lazy (likely story).  In any case, once in a while I “bake” it in the slow cooker.  Simple and comforting.  An added bonus?  It releases and cooks in its own juices which means you also get homemade broth without any added effort.  Simply add a bit of water after dinner, add the bones back into the slow cooker and let it do its thing while you sleep.  Pretty snazzy.

slow cooker whole chicken raw 1

You can season it however you like.  I don’t add much beyond some onions, carrots, celery and a few seasonings.  You really can’t mess it up.  However, since all slow cookers differ a bit, adjust the cook time to suit your cooker.  I cook mine 4 hours on high which yields a darn good chicken.  Cook it too long and, like many meat-based slow cooker recipes, you’ll end up with a dry and mealy dish.

slow cooker whole chicken plated meal

Last night we enjoyed it with asparagus, a simple salad, and corn on the cob.  Nothing fancy.  Just a little comfort.

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken

Ingredients

  • 4 lb whole chicken (I prefer organic)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion (or half a large onion), halved and sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tsp. thyme
  • half a lemon (I use Meyer)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Rinse the inside and outside of the chicken.  Place half the carrots, celery and onion slices in the bottom of your slow cooker.  Place chicken in slow cooker.  Salt the inside and outside of chicken.  Grind pepper all over chicken as well (to taste–we like a lot of pepper).  Sprinkle thyme all over chicken.  Place remaining carrots, celery, and onion slice over chicken.  Squeeze lemon over chicken.  Place lid on slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours.  Remove chicken from cooker and let sit for a few minutes before slicing/cutting and serving.  Top servings with some of chicken’s broth.

*Bonus: Since the chicken produces its own broth as it cooks, I add the bones back to the slow cooker after our meal.  I add a bit of water and set the slow cooker on low for 10 hours to create even more broth.  Mm!

Enjoy! ♥

Slow Cooker Back to Basics Beef Stew

The most comforting meals for me are often the simplest ones.  I’ve craved beef stew for over a week, but kept forgetting to pick up chuck roast and my craving was left unfulfilled.  So sad.

But I grabbed some chuck roast this week and beef stew was had last night.  Ah.  Simple and filling.  Just what I needed.  There are days when I don’t want anything foo-foo or layered with 50 flavors.  That’s how I’ve felt lately.  Maybe it’s the change in seasons that’s got me craving the comforts of good old-fashioned home cooking.  And my simple stew hit the spot last night.

This is our favorite basic stew–I even leave out garlic which I cook with daily. 🙂  If you’re looking for a comforting beef stew recipe, this might be the one for you.  I brown the meat before adding it to the slow cooker because I like the extra flavor it gives the meat.  Happy Stewing!  🙂

Slow Cooker Back to Basics Beef Stew

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of chuck roast, chopped in 1 to 1.5 inch pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1.5 to 2 cups beef broth
  • splash of Worcestershire sauce (about a tablespoon)
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced or cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 medium red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons Minute tapioca (If you don’t have the tapioca on hand, no worries–I use it to thicken it up to a nice stew consistency, but it’s still good without it!)

Dry the meat with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat.  Add all meat and brown.  You’re not aiming to cook the meat through, but to get the outside a nice color.  When the meat is browned, place it in the slow cooker.  If needed, add a bit more olive oil to the skillet and cook the onions on medium heat until translucent.  Add the Worcestershire, 1.5 cups broth, and tomato paste to the onions in the skillet.  Mix and cook until it just begins to boil or simmer.  Place the celery, carrots, potatoes, bay leaves, and thyme in the slow cooker.  Pour broth mixture over everything in the slow cooker.  Add Minute tapioca to the slow cooker and mix everything together.   At this point I add a few pinches of salt and freshly ground pepper.  Cover and cook on high for 6 hours.   *At the 5 hour mark, I gently mix the stew and taste test, adding salt, pepper, and more broth as needed ( I usually add at least another half cup of broth at this point).  Continue to cook for one more hour.   Remove bay leaves and enjoy!

Bubble Pizza

I don’t have a clue where bubble pizza originated, but it seems many people have their own version of it.  My little one says this is easy-peasy-pumpkin-squeezy.  In the summer she said it was easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.  🙂

Speaking of kiddies, this is a great recipe for them to take charge of.  It’s a versatile dish that’s actually perfect for a young teen to make…wink wink 😉  My 3-year old was able to do most of the work for the version pictured since she cut the mushrooms with her safety knife and put it all together with mommy only slicing the onions and grating the cheese.  I love meals like this where she feels like she “cooked” it all herself.

Since it calls for canned biscuits, I try to use a brand that has less of the unpronounceable words in the ingredients list.  We use Trader Joe’s biscuits, but other brands work just fine.  Add whatever ingredients you like or have on hand and have fun!

Bubble Pizza

Ingredients

  • 2 cans refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (I use Trader Joe’s biscuits which contain 8 biscuits per can)
  • 1 jar of homemade or store-bought pizza sauce (about 15 oz.)
  • 2-3 cups of mozzarella cheese, shredded/grated
  • Toppings of choice such as:  sliced mushrooms, cooked sausage, pepperoni, thinly sliced red onions, sliced olives, Canadian bacon, etc.
  • Basil, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven according to biscuit instructions (usually about 350°).  Grease/spray a 9×13 pan lightly.  Cut all biscuits into quarters and place in a medium to large size bowl.  Add sauce to biscuits along with 1 to 1.5 cups of cheese and all toppings.  Toss together, coating all biscuits pieces.  Transfer to the greased pan.  Top with remaining cheese (1 cup or as much as you like!) and basil.  Bake for about 25-35 minutes until biscuits are cooked through (check center pieces) and cheese is melted and a bit bubbly.  Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Chicken Caesar Sandwiches

Many of the recipes I share are simple and easy.  Although I generally spend a bit more time in the kitchen than a lot of my shared recipes require, I like to share the ones I think might help you out on a very busy day or when you can’t or don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

This is yet another one of those recipes.  It takes almost no time to prep, requires only a few ingredients, and you don’t do the cooking (ha!).  Add a couple of side dishes and your family can sit down to a home cooked meal with little effort on your part.  Whee!

If you’re a fan of Caesar salads, I think you’ll enjoy this simple sandwich.  I do try to use as few bottled and canned items as I can, but there are days when such items are a great help.  Such is the case with the dressing in this recipe.  Not going to feel guilty about that!

I like to serve it with summery sides like a corn basil salad and our favorite pasta salad.  It’s hot here after all.  Like middle-of-summer hot.  Tomorrow is October, by the way…

Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Chicken Caesar Sandwiches

Adapted from Betty Crocker

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (or boneless skinless chicken thighs)
  • about 1 cup of water
  • about 1/2 to 1 cup your favorite bottled Caesar dressing (you can make your own, but that takes away from the extreme ease of the recipe), adjust amount to your taste
  • 1/3 cup shredded or shaved Parmesan Romano Asiago mix (or shredded Parmesan)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley ( a couple teaspoons of dried parsley works in a pinch)
  • ground pepper
  • romaine lettuce
  • hamburger buns

Place chicken in slow cooker with water.  Cover and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours.  Check on chicken a few hours in as slow cookers vary and you don’t want to dry out the chicken.  When chicken is done, remove from slow cooker and drain the water.  Shred chicken–I do this on a cutting board with two forks or tongs and a fork.  Place chicken back in slow cooker and add dressing (begin with less and add more to taste.  I use only 1/2 a cup), cheese, parsley, and a few turns of freshly ground pepper.  Mix well and cook for another 30 minutes to heat up.  Serve on warmed or toasted hamburger buns with romaine lettuce and additional Parmesan if you like.

One Pan Chicken

I hesitate to share this with you because a) it’s been around the block a time or two and b) it’s not really a recipe.   But then, what the hey, why not share it in case someone hasn’t seen it yet?  Dinner doesn’t get much easier than this (unless you count the root beer float my husband had for dinner the other night) and there might be a frazzled person out there who is in need of a quick-as-a-wink meal.  I’d like to help that person if I can. 🙂  Heaven knows I’m so appreciative of the quick and simple recipes that have saved me from 5 o’clock fridge/dinner panic.

It ended up being h-o-t today.  In a humid and sticky kinda way.  I was a bit rushed in the afternoon and since I already had the a/c on, I decided to bake this up.  I placed two chicken breasts in the middle of a 9×13 pan and then put the veggies on both sides of the breasts.  I usually use more chicken breasts, but I wasn’t very hungry and I knew my kiddo wasn’t either.  You could fit about 1 more breast in the pan or use a larger pan for 4 breasts.

I poured melted butter over everything then sprinkled dry Italian dressing mix over it all, too.  I covered the dish with foil, stuck it in a 350° oven and 45 minutes later dinner was served!

Okay, not the prettiest picture, but it has good flavor.  No really, it does.

Easy, huh?  I served it all with a side of brown and wild rice and my little family gobbled it up.  Then they headed outside to play while I lounged on the couch since I had only 1 pan to wash up.  Nice plan, Danielle.  Nice plan.

I might have indulged in a bit of rainbow sherbert.  I had to because I didn’t make the apple cake I’d planned on.
😉

One Pan Chicken

Note: You could/should replace the green beans, broccoli, mushrooms, etc. for veggies of your choice.  I use whatever I have on hand.  Quartered red potatoes work very well.

Ingredients

  • 2-4 chicken breasts
  • about 2 cups of broccoli
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 white/yellow onion, thinly sliced,
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1.5 cups green beans (I used Trader Joe’s French haricot verts since I had them in the freezer)
  • 1 packet dry Italian dressing mix (I used Good Seasons Italian All Natural Dressing Mix): since I only used 2 chicken breasts tonight, I used about 3/4 of the packet.
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°.  Place 2-4 chicken breasts in a 9×13 or larger pan.  Place broccoli, bell pepper, and half of the sliced onions on one side of the chicken.  Place green beans, mushrooms, and remaining sliced onions on the other side of the chicken.  Distribute melted butter evenly over chicken and vegetables.  Sprinkle dressing packet over chicken and vegetables.  Cover pan with foil and bake for 45 minutes or until chicken is done.  Serve with a side of brown rice or a simple salad.

Roasted Veggie Pasta

I love vegetables.  I can’t recall a vegetable I’ve met and didn’t like.

Brussel sprouts?  Love.

Cabbage?  Adore.

Spinach?  More please.

I could go on, but I’ll spare you. Continue reading

Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches

My husband loves himself a French dip sandwich.  Loves.  I’ve wanted to try making it in the slow cooker and yesterday I finally tested it out.  It was a hit!  I basically winged it, worked with what I had on hand.  Ya gotta do, what ya gotta do.

I started with a nice chuck roast.  Why?  Because chuck roast is my friend.  I get them at Costco where they’re good quality and come 2 in a pack.  One for now, one for later.

I salt and peppered the meat lightly, sprinkled a bit of garlic powder on it, then splashed Worcestershire on it.  I ♥ Worcestershire.  splish.  splash. Continue reading

4 Weeks to Fill Your Freezer: Lasagna Casserole

Happiness is playing computer word games?  This one thinks so.

I’m about four days behind on MSM’s 4 Weeks to Fill Your Freezer challenge.  Eep.  Following through on projects I’ve committed to (such as this one) is a big deal to me in 2012.  It’s all part of my self-discipline and accountability goals and I’m determined to stick with things even if I fall behind.  So today after I set up Munchie to do her 30 minutes of computer word games I booked it into the kitchen to get started on lasagna casserole.

After a few minutes she noticed I was cooking and rushed over to help.  But the call of the computer was louder and she was soon off her stool and back at the computer. 🙂

Continue reading

Easy Chicken Fajitas

Here’s an easy weeknight meal with very little clean up.  Love that.  I used to make fajitas on my grill pan all the time, but I get sick of cleaning up splattered oil and such.  I’m all about easy clean up these days with my cracked dishwater hands.

Slice up a red bell pepper, a green bell pepper, and one onion.  You’ll need lime juice so I went ahead and halved one. Continue reading

Easy Beef Mushroom Stroganoff

Lately I’ve been on a pantry-freezer raid.   Although I love having a well-stocked freezer and pantry, I also feel the need to reorganize and start fresh since it feels like spring around these parts.  Wait, not a totally fresh start–I’d have an anxiety attack if the pantry and freezer were empty. Continue reading

Recipe: Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken & Rice

After church today, we stopped for lunch at our favorite sandwich shop and while I mowed my way through my sub I was thinking, “Is noon too early to put my pajamas back on?”  Apparently not, because that’s precisely what I did when we got home and a minute later I was stretched out on the carpet on the closet floor, ready for a nap.  Whoops.

Needless to say, I knew it was going to be that kind of drag-my-body-around kind of day.  Continue reading

Recipe: Sun-dried Tomato Chicken Spaghetti

I cut back on carbs.  I’m letting that sink in for a minute…because I adore carbs more than I can begin to describe.  I’m taking a wild guess and saying that I probably consume the same amount of carbs per week as a small village. Continue reading

Chicken Enchiladas

I can’t vouch for how authentic this enchilada recipe is, but I can tell you that my husband and daughter love it.  This was originally a Tyler Florence (swoon) recipe that I switched up to suit my family’s tastes.  My Tyler has never steered me wrong.  It’s a simple and basic recipe, but sometimes that’s precisely what I want.  And you can always add ingredients to it to jazz it up–my kinda cooking! Continue reading

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