Bruschetta with Chicken Salad & Cheddar Cheese

In the United States, the word Bruschetta is used to refer to a prepared topping, which is typically sold in jars at local markets and are usually tomato-based.

An example of viewing Bruschetta in the U.S as a topping, is – Healthy Canning – a website that aims to direct people towards information on canning that is safe and healthy.

One of their posts is – Bruschetta in a jar: tomatoes in dry white wine with basil and oregano.

The article goes on to say, “Open a jar, drain, and serve on toasted Italian bread with a good Italian cheese and a drizzle of fruity olive oil.”

Here is a photo of Healthy Canning’s Bruschetta in a jar. It’s a delicious looking canned tomatoes with wine, and herbs.

Check Out Healthy Canning For Healthy Recipes and How To Safely Can Them

What Is A Bruschetta

Actually though, a tomato based Bruschetta is unheard of in Italy.

As this image shows, a product of Italy jarred sweet peppers offered as a Bruschetta topping.

In Italy, a Bruschetta is an antipasto dish starter that is prepared with toasting or grilling bread (typically Italian bread) and rubbing it with garlic and topped with olive oil and salt.

In other words, a Bruschetta is a fancy way of saying, “put it on toast”.

Toppings for a Bruschetta can include, Healthy Canning’s canned tomatoes, wine and herbs or vegetables, fruit, beans, cured meats and cheese.

Or try this Sweet Tomato Chutney as a Bruschetta topping. It is made with Roma and heritage orange tomatoes, garlic, sweet onion and spices.

The recipe featured is sliced whole wheat French bread Bruschetta topped with a chicken salad and cheddar cheese.

Bruschetta can be served hot or cold, and is always a quick and easy appetizer to any casual meal.

History of Bruschetta

Bruschetta originated in Italy during 15th century.

The dish though, can be traced back to Ancient Rome when olive growers would bring their olives to a local olive press and taste a sample of their freshly pressed oil using a slice of bread.

Typically, bruschetta is served as a snack or appetizer.

It can also be made for brunch, or prepared and taken to parties, dinner gatherings and potlucks.

Bruschetta with Chicken Salad & Cheddar Cheese

For the Bruschetta

1 loaf whole wheat Italian or French bread, sliced thick, about 1 1/2 inch slice

1/2 – 1 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon Harissa seasoning, optional

Salt and black pepper to taste

Brush olive oil onto bread slices, one side only.

Next sprinkle some Harissa seasoning over olive oil brushed bread slices.

Place bread into a large iron skillet and place skillet under broiler and broil bread until lightly toasted.

Remove skillet from heat and set toasted bread aside.

The Cheese

1 slice mild cheddar cheese per bread slice

The Salad

2 cups cooked shredded chopped chicken breast or shredded chopped rotisserie chicken

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons sweet pickled relish

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup chopped white onion

salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl place all prepared salad ingredients and mix until well combined.

Spoon 2 or 3 heaping tablespoons of salad on to bruschetta.

Next top bruschetta and chicken salad with a slice of cheese.

Place and arrange bruschetta slices with toppings into a large cast iron skillet.

Put skillet under high heat broiler until cheese is melted and bubbling a little but not burnt.

Plate bruschetta and eat alone or with a side dish of your choice. Here bruschetta is plated with a broccoli slaw.

Want a fruity chicken salad to top your Bruschetta? Then you love preparing this Mango Guacamole Chicken Salad.


Eggs Rancheros

Traditionally known as ‘Huevos Rancheros’ or ranch-style eggs, this Mexican breakfast or brunch recipe is served over fried corn tortillas and topped with a ranchero sauce or salsa.

Then top that with goat cheese or a Mexican queso fresco cheese and cilantro.

It makes for a deliciously yummy dish.

When you cut into them, the egg yolks mix in with everything, the salsa and tortillas.

This dish is to good to miss out on. If you don’t prefer fried eggs – you can make the eggs scrambled instead.

Who Invented Huevos Rancheros

This dish is a breakfast served in the style of the traditional large mid-morning fare on rural Mexican farms.

The general understanding is that Huevos Ranchers or Eggs Rancheros evolved around hundreds of years ago among the peasant or farmer population of rural Mexico.

While there is no real sources to prove this, it does though seem it could be a recipe of Mexico as this dish world wide is most popular among Mexican farm owners and workers.

The ingredients used are readily available to Mexican farmers. Which is masa, tomatoes, onions, chilies, and eggs. These food stuffs are considered typical staples of any Mexican kitchen.

Another thought is, as with many Mexican inspired recipes, Huevos Rancheros became popular in America for the Mexican immigrants who crossed the US board at the state of Texas to work on American farms in the 1950’s.

Read More Here About Mexican vs. Tex-Mex: What is the Difference?


And these immigrants ate the same food stuffs they did on the farms they worked in Mexico. And it is possible that Huevos Rancheros was one such dish.

In most restaurants today in America that serve Eggs Rancheros, it is served with a side of ham and potatoes rather than the traditional avocado slices and pinto beans.


If eggs are your thing for breakfast than you’ll like this deliciously yummy dish – Mexican Huevos Divorciados


Eggs Rancheros

Per person or serving you will need the following –

Avocado oil – refined oil for high heat frying

2 corn tortillas

2 large eggs

1/2 cup Mexican salsa – Find Recipe Here

2 tablespoons of goat cheese or Queso fresco, a Mexican cheese

2 teaspoons cilantro, chopped

In a medium sized skillet over medium high heat, add avocado oil to fill pan 1/4 to 1/2 inch up the sides.

When oil starts to shimmer, using a pair of kitchen tongs, place one tortilla into hot oil and fry on both sides, about 1-2 minutes.

Remove tortilla from pan with kitchen tongs and place onto a plate. Do the same with the other tortilla.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat add butter. When melted crack in both eggs.

Add one tablespoon of water and place a lid over eggs for exactly 1 minute.

Remove lid and slide perfectly cooked sunny side up eggs onto tortillas.

In the same skillet you cooked eggs, place skillet over medium heat and add salsa. Let salsa hit pan till bubbles start to form.

Remove skillet from heat and move pan back and forth or gently twirl pan until all of the salsa has been warmed, but not burnt.

You will smell the aroma of the chili in the salad as it warms. Pour warmed salsa over eggs.

Now top with cheese and cilantro , if you desire.

Serve and enjoy!!

Here’s more Mexican inspired recipes –

BBQ Chicken Omelet with Salsa & Goat Cheese

Mexican Chicken Tortilla Pie

Traditional Mexican Sopes

How about dessert – Gluten Free Mexican Chocolate Pumpkin Pie


Shrimp Ceviche

Shrimp Ceviche

Ceviche originated in Peru and is considered a national dish.

The first documentation of the word ceviche is from 1820, in the song “La Chicha,” sung by Peruvian soldiers.

According to some historic sources from Peru, ceviche originated among the Moche, a coastal civilization that began to flourish in the area of current-day northern Peru nearly 2000 years ago.

The Moche apparently used the fermented juice from the local banana passionfruit.

Recent investigations further show that during the Inca Empire, fish was marinated with chicha, an Andean fermented beverage made from purple corn.

Chicha – a Peruvian BeverageMade From Purple Corn

Different chronicles also report that along the Peruvian coast prior to the arrival of Spaniards, fish was consumed with salt and ají.

Nevertheless, most historians agree that ceviche originated during colonial times in the area of present-day Peru.

The preparation and consumption of ceviche is practically a religion in parts of Mexico, Central, and South America, and it seems as though there are as many varieties of ceviche as people who eat it.

Ceviche is easy to make and can be prepared as a meal or as a fabulous appetizer for your next dinner party.

How To Cook Ceviche

The freshest ingredients make all the difference in this classic dish of Peru.

Ceviche is made with raw fish, and yes you can use shrimp.

The normal process of cooking food is by heating it which involves denaturing, which is a culinary term referring to the changing of the structure of the proteins in the food.


You may think of cooking as purely functional – When in fact there are several reasons Why We Cook.


Another way of denaturing a protein is to apply citric acid. Citrus juice can essentially denature the protein of raw fish.

Historically it was prepared using the citrus of bitter orange. Though most recipes use lime and lemon juices.

Firm-fleshed fish can be used to make ceviche. Such as cod, halibut, flounder, sole, scallops, lobster and shrimp.


If you eat fish regularly than you love making this Oven-Baked Pecan Crusted Salmon


Typically the fish is mixed with diced onion, tomato, cucumber, jalapeños, and cilantro.

Most Latin American countries though, have given ceviche their own touch of individuality by adding their own particular garnishes.

Though you can add whatever you like. Other cooks making this dish have added diced fruits such as pineapple, mango, and avocado.


If you like mangoes , you’ll love Peach and Mango Salsa – Which you could also add some shrimp too.


Serve with tortilla chips – corn on the cob – wrapped in warm corn tortillas or lettuce wraps.

Shrimp Ceviche

2 pounds raw shrimp

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1 jalapeño (ribs and seeds removed, then minced)

3/4 cup cucumber, diced

1 cup tomatoes, seeded and diced

3/4 cup cilantro, chopped

3/4 cup lime juice

1/2 cup lemon juice

Tortilla Chips (for serving)

• Place the raw shrimp in a bowl and pour the lime and lemon juices over the shrimp. Add salt to taste. Gently toss to coat.

• Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes – up to 2 hours.

• Next, remove the shrimp from juice to a dry salad bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the juice (can add more as needed)

• Next add the onion, jalapeno, cucumber, tomatoes, and cilantro to shrimp and juice. Stir to combine (add more juice if needed).

• Serve chilled with tortilla chips. Or wrap in a warm tortilla with avocado slices.


Traditional Indian Curry Sauce

In the culinary world, a sauce is a liquid, cream, or semi-solid food, served on or used in preparing other foods.

Most sauces are not normally consumed by themselves, but rather served over meat, vegetables or noodles. Sauces add flavor, moisture, and visual appeal to a dish.

Some examples of sauces include among many are:

Hollandaise Sauce

Sweet rujak sauce

Tomato sauce

Alfredo sauce

Pesto sauce

Butter sauce

Meat sauce

Tartar sauce

Enchilada sauce

Curry sauce


Read More Here About The Difference Between Condiments – Sauces – and Dips


Curry Sauce

The word “curry” translates from Tamil, India’s southern state, as “sauce.”

Curry is prepared with three different colors. Red, yellow and green.

Red Curry

A red curry paste has a medium-hot flavor profile. This curry paste lends itself to a wider variety of uses.

It has red chilies, lemongrass, shallots, garlic, shrimp paste, and coriander leaves.

Follow the link to a red curry dish: Thai Red Curry With Chicken and Vegetables

Yellow Curry

A yellow curry paste has a mild, sweet flavor. This color of curry is typically made with cinnamon, cumin, lemongrass, garlic, and galangal.

Galangal is rhizome root similar to ginger. Though ginger has more spice flavor and galangal has a sweeter flavor.

Top Image: Galangal root – Lower Image: Ginger root

Galangal can be found in many Asian grocery stores, but it is not as common as ginger.

Many cooks would say that galangal is as essential as lemongrass or coconut milk. Its flavors are crucial to preparing a curry dish.

If you can’t find galangal at your local market you can replace with ginger according to Spiceography.

They write that ginger and galangal are related to each other and are very similar in both appearance and flavor. While their flavors are not exactly the same, they are close enough to be good substitutes for each other.

Follow the link for a yellow curry dish: Coconut Basil Chicken Curry with Vegetables

Green Curry

Green curry paste gets its color from the green peppers used. Which are jalapeños and small green Thai chilies.

Follow the link for a green curry dish: Coconut Green Curry with Chicken and Vegetables

Making A Classic Curry Paste

Here is what you will need.

• 2 tablespoons coriander seeds

• 2 tablespoons cumin seeds

• 1 tablespoon fennel seeds

• 1 teaspoon black peppercorns

• 2 dried red chilies

• 1 shallot, peeled and chopped

• 4 garlic cloves, peeled

• 4-inch piece of fresh ginger

• 2 4-5 inch pieces of lemongrass, chopped

• 1 teaspoon turmeric powder

• 1 teaspoon paprika

• 1 teaspoon red chili powder

• 1 tablespoon tomato paste

• 2 teaspoons white vinegar

• 1 teaspoon salt

Place coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, dried red chilies and peppercorns in a frying pan over low heat.

Cook, stirring constantly, for about 2-3 minutes or until the seeds turn golden and aromatic. Remove from heat.

Allow to cool completely. Transfer cooked spices to a food processor. Grind to a fine powder.

Add shallots, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, turmeric, paprika, red chili powder, tomato paste, vinegar and salt. Grind again to make a smooth paste.

Use immediately to make a curry dish or store the paste in a sterilized jar.

You can store your curry paste in the refrigerator for up to 6 months, as the paste is made to be kept for a long time.

To keep it even fresher, try wiping the inside of the jar clean at the top after each use.

Then, pour in just enough olive oil to cover the top of the paste, which will form a barrier to help keep it fresh.

Try these curry dishes.

Mango Chicken Curry

Chicken Curry Soup

Thai Red Curry With Chicken and Vegetables

Thai Red Curry With Chicken and Vegetables

Curry dishes from Thailand have a deliciously different flavor because of the use of the local ingredients, like kafir lime leaves and lemongrass.

Coconut milk is frequently used in Thai curries, though not always.

Depending on the type of chilies used, the strength of a red curry can range from mild to fiery hot.

The secret to making a successful curry is to allow it to simmer for a long period, bringing out the full flavor of the spices.


Read More Here About How To Prepare Thai Food With These Key Ingredients


Thai Red Curry With Chicken and Vegetables

1 can 13.5 oz. Coconut milk

2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemongrass, minced

1 shallot, sliced

1-2 inch piece ginger, grated

4 to 5 cloves garlic

1 to 2 fresh red chilies, sliced, or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons tomato puree

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder, or more, depending on how spicy you want it

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon fish sauce

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Meat and Vegetables

1 cup peas and diced carrots

1 pound boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite sized cubes

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Place all curry sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process well. Set aside.

Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and heat. Next add chicken pieces and cook until chicken is oblique in color.

Chick thigh pieces in a skillet

Next, add red curry sauce and mix well.

Next add peas and carrots and mix in. Lower heat to simmer curry for another 5 minutes.

Simmer skillet of red curry with chicken pieces

Serve over rice.

Thai Red Curry With Chicken and Vegetables

Chorizo Potato Tacos

Chorizo Potato Tacos with Cilantro Tomato  Lime Salsa

The contribution of the taco to the culinary world starts with Mexico and the Aztec corn fields.

Though the Aztecs did not enjoy tacos as we know them today, they did though, invent the corn tortilla.

The Tacos Origin

The taco as we know it today likely came from the Mexican men who mined silver in Mexico in the 19th century. The tacos were referred to as “miner’s tacos.”

Mexican Men Mining Silver

By 1905 Mexican migrants came to the United States to work in the mines and on the railroads. And as they ate tacos working the silver mines of Mexico, so they did as well in the U.S.

According to history, the first recipe for tacos appeared in California cookbooks in 1914.

The Taco Today

The taco gained more fame with Glen Bells – Taco Bell (fast food restaurant) which first opened in 1962.

Today, there’s no one “authentic” take on the Mexican taco.

There are several different ways to prepare a taco.

Such as tacos barbacoa (shredded beef), carne asada (grilled steak), carnitas (diced pork), pescado (fish, usually tilapia) chorizo (Mexican style sausage – usually pork), and al pastor (split-grilled pork).

If You Like Tacos – Then You Love The Deliciousness Of

Tacos al Pastor

Chorizo Potato Tacos

2 medium red-skinned potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Freshly ground pepper

8 ounces fresh Mexican chorizo

2 medium tomatoes, diced

1 scallion (green onion), minced

1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and vain removed, minced

1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 teaspoon lime juice

salt

8 corn tortillas

1/4 cup crumbled cotija or Queso fresco

Sour cream and/or guacamole, for serving (optional)

Combine the tomatoes, scallion, jalapeno and cilantro and lime juice in a bowl and season with salt. Set aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over high heat, then add the diced potatoes and cook until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Next add the sausage to the skillet and cook, 5 to 6 minutes. While cooking mix meat with potatoes.

Remove cooked chorizo and potatoes from heat and set aside.

Warm the tortillas in a dry skillet or wrap in a damp towel and warm in the microwave, about 1 minute.

Fill the warmed tortillas with chorizo mixture and top with the salsa and cheese.

Top with sour cream and/or guacamole, if desired.

If you like chorizo then you’ll enjoy the deliciousness of these recipes.

Spicy Chorizo and Bean Soup

Orecchiette with Chorizo and Chickpeas

Mexican Squash Pasta with Chorizo Meat Sauce

Crockpot Creamy Tuscan Chicken Thighs

Crock Pot  Creamy Tuscan Chicken Thighs

Crockpot Creamy Tuscan Chicken Thighs are rich and creamy that you will not believe how easy it is to prepare.

Let your slow cooker or crockpot do all the cooking to have a delicious dinner ready and waiting.

Italian Cuisine

Italian cuisine is much like their spoken language. How so?

Well, there is a national language that every region speaks but every region has their own dialect that they speak between one another.

And you can see this same phenomenon in Italian cooking.

Each region has their own style of preparing food – specific dishes and ingredients that they are best known for, yet there are basic ingredients such as pasta, cheese and olive oil that all of Italy uses.

Tucson Region Cooking

The Tuscan Region prepares typical dishes that are based upon what Tuscans find fresh and local at the farmers market that week, making them often very easy to prepare and involving few ingredients.

Tuscan cuisine is famous and appreciated all over the world because of its use of fresh, natural and genuine ingredients.

And that’s what you’ll find here with our Crockpot Creamy Tuscan Chicken Thighs.

Get Your Crockpot Ready

Pan butter seared chicken thighs in a garlic parmesan cream sauce or Alfredo sauce mixed with sun dried tomatoes and spinach.

This dish is made in a crock pot or slow cooker in under 4 hours on low. It’s full of Flavor, flavor, flavor!

Unlike the usual Tuscan chicken recipes, there’s no need to coat chicken thighs in flour.

Creamy Tuscan Chicken Thighs

Instead, you’ll season them with Italian seasoning. A mix of oregano, marjoram, basil, thyme, rosemary and sage.

You could add some smoky, sweet, mild or spicy paprika. Or a pinch of cayenne for some heat if you like.

Crockpot Creamy Tucson Chicken Thighs

2 Tablespoon butter

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1/2 cup sun dried tomato strips, cut into thin strips

1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

2 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning, divided

1 cup fresh spinach, chopped

Homemade Alfredo Sauce

1 stick butter

2 cups Parmesan Cheese, grated

1 cup heavy cream

Trim any fat from thighs. Season on both sides with 1 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning.

Place a 12 inch skillet over medium heat. Add the butter to the skillet and let it melt.

Next add the seasoned chicken thighs. Cook each side about 3 – 5 minutes until browned, turning only once during cooking time. Place the thighs in a 4 quart crockpot.

Make the Alfredo sauce in a medium sauce pan. Melt the butter in the saucepan.

Next add the cream and simmer about 5 minutes until it begins to thicken. 

Add the Parmesan Cheese, stir until it’s melted, remove from the heat and set aside.


To the Alfredo Sauce, add the sun dried tomatoes, Parmesan Cheese and 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning until thoroughly combined.

Pour the mixture over the chicken thighs in the crockpot. Cover and cook on low heat 4 hours or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle.

Stir in the fresh chopped spinach, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and cook another five more minutes.

Remove from the crockpot and serve with a dish of orzo pasta or Italian style vegetables.

Oven Roasted Gnocchi with Sausage and Peppers

The first known use of gnocchi was in 1891.

Gnocchi is an Italian dumpling. With simple ingredients, like potato flour, water, and eggs.

This dish originates from the Northern part of Italy. Due to the colder Northern Italian climate, potatoes are easier to grow than wheat grain.

Culinary Inventors of the Dumpling

The Chinese are the culinary inventors of the dumpling. Just as long noodles represent longevity, and dumplings represent wealth and prosperity.

At family dumpling-making gatherings on the eve of the new year, a coin may be slipped into a dumpling for good luck.

The little dough balls are usually stuffed with various ingredients from chives and shrimp to pork and cabbage.

Gnocchi verses Dumplings

What is the difference between gnocchi and dumplings?

First of all, the word gnocchi in Italian means “little dumpling.”

A gnocchi is a dumpling. The difference though, is that gnocchi is not stuffed or filled with anything as other types of dumplings are.

Instead of putting a filling inside of the dough, the “filling” ingredients are mixed with the dough, and a ball is formed afterward.

Gnocchi like dumplings can either be steamed, boiled, deep-fried, pan-fried, or roasted in the oven.

Oven Roasted Gnocchi Sausage and Peppers

1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed, crumbled

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 small yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 small orange bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces fresh cherry tomatoes (different colors), sliced in half

One 17.5-ounce package potato gnocchi

1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped

1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed, crumbled

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 small yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 small orange bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces fresh cherry tomatoes (different colors), sliced in half

One 17.5-ounce package potato gnocchi

1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Toss together the oregano, red pepper flakes, garlic, bell peppers, onion, tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper on a sheet pan.

Top with sausage and gently shake the pan a few times to evenly distribute.

Roast in preheated oven until the sausage is cooked through and the vegetables are soft, 18 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss the gnocchi with the Parmesan, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. 

When sausage is cooked, remove sheet pan and turn the oven to broil.

Sprinkle the gnocchi over the sausage and vegetables and place under broiler until dark golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Divide among 4 plates and if you wish, sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley or fresh oregano leaves and Parmesan cheese.

Chicken and Pumpkin Orzotto

Chicken and Pumpkin Orzotto

Orzo pasta takes the place of Arborio rice in this quick and creamy chicken and pumpkin orzotto.

If your looking for a Risotto recipe, try our tasty Pumpkin Pecan Risotto with Dried Cranberries and Goat Cheese or the Bacon and Sweet Pea Risotto.

What Is Orzo

Orzo, also known as risoni, is a short-cut pasta, shaped like a large grain of rice. It is traditionally made from white flour, but it can also be made of whole grain.

Whole Grain Orzo Pasta

In Italy, where orzo originates, is classified as pastina or “little pasta,” which is a category of small, shaped pastas.

Orzo is typically used in many Italian dishes, including soups, pasta salads, grain bowls, and other dishes where a petite pasta is needed.

Orzo can be made like rice with a two-to-one ratio of water to dried pasta and will offer a creamier texture. The best part? Your cooking time will be about half of what it takes to make a pot of white rice.

Chicken and Pumpkin Orzotto

Orzo is a fun, versatile pasta that can not only be served as a side dish in place of rice, but can also be prepared as a risotto dish.

Risotto is a dish that requires a specific type of rice — arborio — as well as plenty of patience and continual stirring to get the texture just right.

However, using orzo can be more forgiving and takes less time. Plus, the starch from the pasta will give a nice creamy texture to your meal.

1 pound chicken thighs, skinless, boneless, diced, seasoned with salt and pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

6 tbsp butter unsalted, divided

1 small onion chopped

4 cloves garlic minced

2 cups orzo dry

4 cups chicken broth

2 cups cream

1 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped

Stir 4 cups of the chicken broth with pumpkin puree in large sauce pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a bowl. Turn heat to low.

In a large skillet over medium heat add 2 tablespoons of butter and melt. Next add diced chicken and cook until chicken is oblique. Remove chicken from pan and set aside in a small bowl.

In the same large skillet, add the olive oil, 4 tablespoons of butter and allow butter to melt, about 30 seconds.

Next, stir in the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion softens and the garlic becomes aromatic, about 2 minutes.

Add the orzo to the skillet and stir until orzo starts to toast lightly, about 2 minutes. This will give it a nutty flavor.

Add one cup of the broth mixture to orzo and stir until liquid is absorbed. Continue adding a half cup of the mixture at a time, stirring often between additions, until liquid is absorbed.

Cook until orzo is tender and mixture is creamy.

If orzotto is too thick, stir in an additional ½ cup broth until loosened but not soupy. 

Next stir in the Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. Add the chicken and vegetables and mix until combined.

Plate and serve immediately.

Chicken and Pumpkin Orzotto

Shrimp Pad Thai

Shrimp Pad Thai

Pad Thai is a stir-fried rice noodle dish commonly served as a street food and at most restaurants in Thailand.

Street Food Vendor – Thailand

The dish is typically prepared with rice noodles, chicken, beef or tofu, peanuts, a scrambled egg, and bean sprouts, among other vegetables.

The ingredients are sautéed together in a wok, which creates even heat distribution.

Once the dish is completed it is tossed in a pad thai sauce, which gives the dish its signature tangy salty flavor with a hint of sweetness.

The History of Pad Thai

Stir-fried rice noodles were introduced to Thailand from China centuries ago.

The original name of Pad Thai is Gway Teow Pad Thai.

Gway Teow means “rice noodles in Chinese” which suggests that there are some elements of China in the dish.

Rice Noodles

But the present name tells us all about the famous dish. ‘Pad’ means ‘fried’ and ‘Thai’, means Thai style.

It is believed that a similar dish was brought to the Ayutthaya kingdom by Chinese Traders in the 1700s.

The website Expique writes that Pad thai is a relatively recent addition to Thai cuisine, and traces its origins to a period of ultra-nationalism in Thailand in the wake of the 1932 revolution.

Pad thai was listed at number five on a list of “World’s 50 most delicious foods” readers’ poll compiled by CNN TRAVEL in 2017.

Tim Cheung journalist for CCN says of the 2017 poll, “Here’s a food Thai people can’t live without. Similar to Bulgogi, pad thai is packed with nutrients stirred into one glorious fried-noodle dish.

BULGOGI – KOREAN BBQ BEEF – #22 on CNN Travel

Tim says Pad Thai’s secret is in the sauce — tamarind paste. If anyone ever creates a Hall of Food Fame, that should be first on the list.”

Tamarind Paste

Shrimp Pad Thai

10-12 ounces dried flat rice noodles (1/4-inch wide; sometimes called pad Thai or banh pho)

1/2 pound cooked medium shrimp, shelled, deveined, tail on if desired (for looks)

Medium Shrimp

3 tbsp tamarind paste

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 tbsp chili sauce (recommended: Sriracha)

4 medium shallots, minced

4 garlic cloves, minced

4-5 scallions, green and pale green parts, cut into 2-inch pieces

1/2 cup radicchio, chopped (or vegetables of choice, like kale or green and purple cabbage)

1 1/2 cups peanut oil

Lime wedges

In a small bowl add the tamarind paste, soy sauce, brown sugar, and chili sauce, sir until sugar has dissolved, set aside.

Add rice noodles to a large bowl and pour hot water over them, making all noodles are submerged in hot water.

Soak the rice noodles, according to the instructions on your package, until they are tender. Usually 4-5 minutes. When done, drain noodles and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

Next, heat a wok or frying pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil, then swirl to coat side of pan or wok.

Stir-fry scallions, garlic, and shallots until softened, about 1 minute.

Add noodles and stir-fry for about 2 minutes.

Next add crushed peanuts, radicchio, sliced green onions, tamarind sauce and simmer, turning noodles to coat with sauce evenly, about 2 minutes.

Plate noodles and top with cooked shrimp, and chopped cilantro. Serve with lime wedges on the side.