Orecchiette with Chorizo and Chickpeas

Orecchiette with Chorizo and ChickpeasThe first time we used pasta Orecchiette was around 2009. We had seen a recipe in a food magazine using the pasta, so to the store we went. We had a hard time finding it, but our local co-op (sell’s all natural – organic foods) had the pasta. When we described the pasta (as we had forgotten the name) the sales lady new right away what we wanted. She referred to the pasta as little pope hats. Ever since Orechiette has become a staple in our pantry.

About.com talks on Italian food and describes Orechiette as a distinctive Puglian type of pasta shaped roughly like small ears, as orecchio in Italian means eat, and Orecchiette means little ears. The pasta is roughly 3/4 of an inch across, slightly domed, and the centers are thinner than the rim of the pasta. The pastas texture is soft in the middle and more chewy along the rim or outside of the pasta.

Barilla (store brand that sells Italian products) says that Orecchiette is the signature pasta of Puglia, describing Puglia as a humble farming land situated along the southeastern coast of Italy.

Here is a video posted to You-Tube of Italian women in Italy making fresh Orechiette pasta.
Now for our featured recipe: Orecchiette with Chorizo and Chickpeas, and here is what you will need.

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 small shallots, chopped

3/4 pound fresh Mexican chorizo, casings removed

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 cups chicken broth

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed

12 ounces Orecchiette

Garnishes:

Fresh chopped cilantro or parsley

Finely grated Parmesan and lemon zest

cooking Mexican chorizoHeat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and saute, stirring often, until beginning to brown and smell fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add chorizo to pan and break up with a spoon, and cook meat until browned and cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.

adding chickpeas to meat sauceNext add tomato paste and red pepper flakes to meat mixture and mix in. Next add the broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened a bit, about 15-20 minutes. Next add the can of chickpeas, and mix in, cooking 2 minutes more to heat the chickpeas through.

adding orechiette to meat sauceMeanwhile, cook pasta according to packaged instructions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.

Next add the pasta and 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid to meat sauce. Continue to cook until sauce thickens and coats pasta, about 3 minutes. Add the pasta liquid as needed. You might use the whole cup, and possibly less.

Orecchiette with Chorizo and Chickpeas in the panServe pasta topped with cilantro or parsley (your choice), Parmesan, and lemon zest.

Orecchiette with Chorizo and ChickpeasWe have had this for left overs a few times, and each time we add cilantro, cheese, and lemon zest. The zest adds great flavor to this dish. Be sure to use it.

For the side salad using candy cane beets, see our recipe here: Shredded Candy Cane and Green Apple Slaw with Pecans.

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This soup is quick to prepare, very flavorful, and fills the tummy! It’s served with warm toasted yellow corn tortillas. Mexican Tortilla Soup is spicy and will warm you on a cold winter day or any time of the year.

This is a basic chicken soup dish, but taken to the next level here at Splendid Recipes and More. Just go light on the jalapenos, making sure to remove the seeds and ribs, and mince them very fine.

Jalapeño peppers have capsaicin, which is a great compound for making a healthy body.  Of the many health benefits the peppers provide, we thought you would enjoy this one: Studies have shown that jalapeños can provide pain relief for migraine headaches. The compound found in the peppers, capsaicin which is what makes the peppers hot, is known to inhibit a key neuropeptide, Substance P, which is the key brain pain transmitter.

Just mince the pepper with the ribs, excluding the seeds and eat down. Your palate will catch fire, so have a swig of milk to put it out.

Other benefits of the peppers include congestion relief, cardiovascular benefits, weight-loss, cancer prevention, and acts as an anti-inflammatory.

Here is what you will need:

Ingredients for - Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 medium yellow onions, chopped

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 jalapeños, seeded and de-vained (ribs removed for less heat), and minced

1 28-ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes, cut into chunks

3 tablespoons tomato paste

4 cups chicken stock

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2-3 tablespoons avocado oil

8 yellow corn tortilla, cut into strips 1/8 inch wide

1 1/2 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast ( you can also use breast meat of a rotisserie cooked chicken).

First prepare the tortilla strips. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Toss the strips in a large bowl with oil, salt and pepper to taste. Grease a rimmed baking sheet with unsalted butter, or use a line of parchment paper, and spread the strips of yellow corn tortillas on the sheet.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Shake the pan once after 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

saute the onions for - Chicken Tortilla SoupIn a large saucepan, saute the onions in oil over medium-high heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until you can smell the aroma of garlic, about 2 minutes.

add tomato, broth, and chillies - Chicken Tortilla SoupNext add the peppers, tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth, salt, and cumin. Add some black pepper to taste if you wish.

Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (2)Serve by ladling the soup into bowls, and topping a half of cup of the shredded cooked chicken and a handful of tortilla strips. Serve and enjoy!!

 

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Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Croutons

Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Brown Sugar Cinnamon CruotonsA very healthy soup to help you through the winter. Pumpkin is packed with immune boosting vitamin-C and the sweet potatoes in the soup are great for cancer, particularly mole cancer. There is also cinnamon and fresh ginger, both good for digestion, and the cinnamon is great for glucose control in the blood stream.

Before starting the soup, make the croutons first. Here is what you will need:

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Cruotons4 slices of 100% whole wheat bread. We used Crazy Dave’s Bread with 21 whole grains. We like this bread as it is not make with any oil, just water and yeast, all organic non-gmo grains. Heat your oven to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl mix together 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, and 3 tablespoons of soft butter. On each slice of bread, spread cinnamon mixture evenly over one side only. Place bread butter side up on a baking sheet, and place into the heated oven for 8 to 10 minutes. When done, remove from the oven, cut crust off and cut bread into crouton size pieces and set aside.

Now here is what you will need for the feature recipe – Creamy Pumpkin Soup -.

1 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt 

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger (or 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger)

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup heavy whipping cream

steps to preparing Creramy Pumpkin SoupSaute onion with 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium saucepan until tender. Next add 1 can chicken broth, and stir well. Bring the broth to a boil, and  cover, reduce heat, and simmer about 15 minutes. Transfer broth mixture into the container of a blender or processor, and process until smooth. Return to sauce pan over heat.

Next add remaining can of broth, along with the pumpkin, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and ground pepper. Stir until well combined. Bring to a boil, and cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

After 10 minutes, stir in heavy cream and heat through. Do not boil.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup topped with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Cruotons or a bowl soup with olive breadLadle into individual soup bowls. Top each serving with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Croutons, or have with a slice of your favorite bread. Like a slice of sourdough, or as the cook did a slice of olive bread. Enjoy!!

 

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Oriental Chicken Wraps

Oriental Chicken Wraps

Do you want a slow, steady energy supply?  Would you like to prevent chronic disease? Eating the recommended three servings per day of this food has been shown to reduce heart disease by 28 percent, stroke by 36 percent and type II diabetes by 30 percent.

Substituting this food 3 times a day for its processed counterpart will help you manage hunger, eat less and ultimately maintain your weight.

You eat to derive energy from protein and carbohydrates you eat, right? You need to eat this food with its fiber intact as it has Manganese, and it plays a key role in the synthesis of fatty acids to receive that energy you’re looking for when you eat.

What is it, you ask with enthusiasm? It’s 100% whole wheat, and brown rice, and here is a recipe from Splendid Recipes and More that will provide you with 1 of those 3 servings per day, plus your Manganese for energy: Oriental Chicken Wraps.

Here is what you will need.

ingredients-for-Oriental-Chicken-Wraps

 

8 (7-8 inches) whole wheat tortillas

1 cup frozen string green beans

1 cup frozen mix peas and carrots

1 cup brown rice, cooked

1 lg. chicken breast, cooked and cut into small chunks

2 green onions, diced

2 cups chicken broth, no salt added

1/2 cup peanut sauce

diced-cut-chicken-breast-and-diced-green-onions-and-heating-tortillas

Dice two green onions and chop chicken breast into 1 inch pieces and set aside.  Heat oven to 300 degrees. Wrap tortillas in foil and warm for 10 minutes. Shown here in the image, we are using our counter top Nuwave oven. Cook rice according to package instructions with 1 cup of chicken broth and 1 cup water.

 

with-slotted-spoon-spoon-chicken-and-vegetables-to-large-bowl

In a small sauce pan bring 1 cup chicken broth to boiling. Add frozen vegetables and turn heat to low. Simmer 2 to 3 minutes. Just allowing vegetables to thaw out and warm up. Turn off heat and set aside. Next add chopped chicken breast to a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook chicken until no longer pink and cooked through.

Spoon the warmed vegetables to a medium boil along with the cooked chicken pieces.

 

adding-diced-green-onions

Next add cooked chicken, rice and vegetables to a large bowl.  Add green onions, and mix till well incorporated.

spread-peanut-sauce-on-warm-tortilla

Next, spread peanut sauce on one side of warm tortilla. Fold in half, roll up into a cone shape and fill with chicken mixture.

serving-a-plate-of-Oriental-Chicken-Wraps

 

Plate and serve. Serve with additional peanut sauce, if desired.

 

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Chicken and Goat Cheese Spinach Pasta

Chicken and Goat Cheese Spinach Pasta

All products made from wheat flour will have the same glycemic index, whole grains include the bran component, which contains additional dietary fiber and B-vitamins. Also there is 7 to 12 grams of protein in whole wheat pasta. Protein is a needed daily to live well, making whole wheat pasta a better choice.

Our featured recipes has goat cheese that is about 7.21 g of fat, but it also has 5.88 g of protein. Remember, protein is needed to keep the body active and to make a repair muscle tissue. If you are active you will burn the fat. Also the monocular structure of the fat in goat’s milk is smaller than in cow’s milk, making goat cheese easer to digest. If you are lactose intolerant, goat milk is the way to go.

The recipe also calls for poultry, which is full of iron, zinc and vitamin B12.

So here is what you will need:

ingredients for Chicken and Goat Cheese Spinach Pasta

Also you will need 6 tablespoons of olive oil, divided. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the Penne pasta according to the packaged instructions. Over medium high heat in a large frying pan, heat 3 tbsp. olive oil.  Add garlic and sauté until lightly browned.  Remove from heat.  Stir in flour and salt.  Slowly whisk in milk, chicken broth; whisk constantly so no lumps form.  Return to heat, whisk in parmesan cheese, basil, oregano and black pepper. Set aside.

whisking milk ,chicken broth, cheeses and spices for Chicken and Goat Cheese Spinach Pasta

In a large skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil. Once heated add diced onions and sauté; then add chicken breast chunks, cook until pink is gone.

frying chicken and onions for Chicken and Goat Cheese Spinach Pasta

Next add spinach but do not stir in. Cover pan with lid. Turn heat to low and cook until spinach is wilted. Mix in spinach.

Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.  Spread a third of the cheese mixture in the bottom of the dish.  Top with a third of the pasta, then a third of the chicken/spinach mixture, Repeat twice.

preparing Chicken and Goat Cheese Spinach Pasta first layer

Once you have prepared the pasta dish to bake, sprinkle additional parmesan cheese on top if you wish too.

Chicken and Goat Cheese Spinach Pasta prepared to cook

Place into oven and bake uncovered for 35 minutes. When done let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Plate and serve.

Chicken and Goat Cheese Spinach Pasta

Chicken and Goat Cheese Spinach Pasta

8 oz. penne pasta, whole wheat

6 tbsp. olive oil, divided

2 cloves garlic, minced

5 tbsp. flour

½ tsp. salt

1 ½ cups milk

1 ½ cups chicken broth

¾ cup Parmesan, grated

½ tsp. basil, dried

¼ tsp. oregano, dried

¼ tsp. black pepper

1 medium onion, diced

3 chicken breasts, large; cut into 1-inch chunks

12 oz. baby spinach, fresh

1 ½ cups mozzarella, shredded

12 oz. goat cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees

Cook pasta according to package instructions.

Over medium high heat in a large frying pan, heat 3 tbsp. olive oil.  Add garlic and sauté until lightly browned.  Remove from heat.  Stir in flour and salt.  Slowly whisk in milk, chicken broth; whisk constantly so no lumps form.  Return to heat, whisk in parmesan cheese, basil, oregano and black pepper. Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil. Once heated add onion and sauté; then add chicken breast chunks, cook until pink is gone. Next add spinach but do not stir in. Cover pan with lid. Turn heat to low and cook until spinach is wilted. Mix in spinach.

Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.  Spread a third of the cheese mixture in the bottom of the dish.  Top with a third of the pasta, then a third of the chicken/spinach mixture, Repeat twice.  Sprinkle additional parmesan cheese on top if desired.

Bake uncovered for about 35 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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