Christmas Fettuccine

Woof. This past month has FLOWN by. I absolutely meant to share details from my Friendsgiving celebration and my favorite recipe for turkey and wild rice soup to use up your leftovers, but time got away from me. I’ve been super busy between both jobs and preparing for Christmas, I’ve been sick for a couple of weeks and by the time I was finally able to even think about writing up those posts….

It was last week. So, onward.

It’s literally three days before Christmas and I still have a ton to do, but I wanted to share this recipe because it’s part of my favorite tradition on my favorite day of the year, plus it’s a super quick meal. In less than twenty minutes you’ll be sitting down in front of your favorite Christmas movie and waiting for Santa to squeeze his big butt down your chimney.

As much as I love the Christmas holiday and spending time with my family on Christmas Day, the time I have to myself on Christmas Eve is just as precious to me. The past few years I’ve spent Christmas Eve day finishing up everything I need for the next day; making dessert to take to mom’s and wrapping the last of the gifts and putting them under the tree (for the cats, you know). But when the evening comes, it’s my time to relax, enjoy a glass of wine by light of the Christmas tree, watch a few of my favorite holiday classics, and dig in to this pasta.

As a matter of fact, the idea for this dish came directly from one of the movies I watch every year – The Holiday. It’s a (slightly cheesy) Nancy Meyers movie with Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jack Black, and Jude Law (😍). In it, Kate Winslet’s character offers to make “Christmas Fettuccine” for Jack Black, and honestly, what could be better on Christmas Eve than a bowl of creamy, decadent pasta?

Nothing. Nothing is the answer. So let’s jump in.

What you’ll need: Fettuccine noodles (I bought fresh to cut down on time, but regular dried is fine), pancetta, heavy cream, butter, grated parmesan, garlic, shallot, and fresh parsley didn’t make it in the photo. Side note: the only pancetta I could find on this day was sliced, but if you can find a packaged of diced pancetta use that, or you can get a thick slice from the deli counter and dice it yourself.

While waiting for a large pot of water to boil, dice a large shallot and finely mince two cloves of garlic. Dice pancetta if necessary. Melt a couple tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and sauté until translucent. Add pancetta to the pan and allow to brown slightly. Add the minced garlic to the pan and sauté for a minute or two, until fragrant, but avoid letting it burn. (Remove the pan from the heat as necessary to avoid burning)

Salt water and boil pasta – if using fresh, it should only take about three to four minutes. If you’re using dry pasta, you might want to wait to make your sauce until the pasta is almost done cooking.

Seriously, this goes quickly.

Drain pasta and rest. Add the cream to the pan with the shallots and pancetta. Stir and allow to thicken for a few seconds.

Toss the pasta in the sauce, and add in the grated parmesan. Season (lightly) with salt and (heavily) with fresh cracked pepper.

Top with minced fresh parsley and a little more grated parmesan and serve.

A big bowl full of Christmas Fettuccine, a nice crisp Riesling, accompanied by The Holiday and Love Actually. Now that’s a perfect Christmas Eve.

Oh, I guess these jerks could hang out too.

Christmas Fettuccine 

  • 1 package (9oz) fresh fettuccine pasta (use half a pound of dry pasta)
  • 1 large shallot
  • 2 oz. diced pancetta (depending on availability)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tb unsalted butter
  • Half pint heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 2 Tb fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper

Dice shallot finely, mince garlic and parsley. Dice pancetta if needed. Boil water for pasta, and cook pasta according to package directions.

Melt butter over medium heat in a large pan. Add shallot to pan and sautĂ© for a few minutes until translucent. Add pancetta to pan and allow to brown. Add garlic and sautĂ© for a few seconds until fragrant but don’t brown. Add cream and grated cheese to the pan, and toss in cooked pasta. Toss until entirely coated with the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with fresh parsley and a sprinkle of grated cheese on top.

Enjoy. Merry Christmas everyone!

 

 

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup


It’s fall, y’all! No way to deny it anymore. The days are shorter, the nights cool and crisp, the leaves have started changing, and I’m fighting with every fiber of my being the urge to turn the heat on in my house until November 1st. The arrival of fall brings with it my most favorite “season” of all…soup season!

Don’t get me wrong, I could(and do) eat soup during a heat wave in July, but there’s just something infinitely more comforting about tucking into a bowl of steaming hot goodness while you’re cuddled on the couch on a chilly autumn afternoon; wearing flannel pj pants, fuzzy socks, and a big cozy sweatshirt; wrapped in blankets while your two purring cuddle monsters perch precariously on your lap trying to see what you’ve got there, momma.


These two. Menace to society, they are. Not to mention a threat to my sanity and glassware.

ANYWAY. Back to soup. I could eat soup almost any day of the year, but I always seem to specifically crave it when I’m feeling under the weather. Which I was after returning from vacation the other week. Those damn airplane germs get me every time. So before I fully succumbed to sinus ickiness I dug out my soup pot and got cooking.

Since I was in the mood for something with Mexican flavors (am I ever *not* in the mood for Mexican? No.), I went with a simple chicken tortilla soup – chock full of fresh veggies, beans, a little heat, and served up with a touch of freshness with some cilantro and lime at the end.

Firstly I baked a couple boneless skinless chicken breasts in the oven, 375 for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through. I don’t like to poach my chicken in the broth, I think roasting in the oven gives a better flavor ( it’s even better when the chicken is roasted over some root veggies with the bone in and skin on, but I used what I had on hand here). Dice the chicken up and set aside.

Now get to chopping all those veggies. Onion, garlic, celery, and bell peppers. Maybe some carrots if you’re so inclined (I was carrot-less this time around). Dice everything up fine and sautĂ© in olive oil over medium high heat until the onions are nicely translucent, the celery has softened, and the peppers have slightly browned.

Seasoning time. Add salt, pepper, onion powder, cumin, coriander, chili powder, and chipotle powder to vegetables. Stir in tomato paste. Cook for a couple of minutes to toast spices and paste in the oil.

Onto the canned goods. I love canned beans for soups and chilis, they’re such a big time saver. Be sure to drain and rinse that liquid off though, it’s a bit salty. Drain and rinse two cans of black beans and add to the pan. Add two cans of diced tomatoes with chilis (Ro-Tel), including liquid and stir. Bring to a low simmer.

Add six cups of chicken stock and the diced chicken and bring the soup to a simmer over medium heat. Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed. Chop cilantro finely and add to soup (if desired, I know some people aren’t cilantro fans). Serve with desired additions — wedge of lime, shredded cheese, tortilla chips, even a touch of sour cream or guacamole.

Note: This makes a lot of soup. You can absolutely store some of this in the freezer.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Makes approximately 12-14 cups

  • 12-16 oz boneless skinless chicken breast, baked and diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, any color, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with chiles, with liquid
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 can tomato paste
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 2 TBS fresh cilantro, chopped fine
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • Tortilla chips, shredded cheese, sour cream, fresh lime wedges, and some additional cilantro, for serving.

Saute onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic in olive oil until onion is translucent and vegetables are slightly browned. Add all seasonings and tomato paste, stir to combine, and cook for a couple of minutes to allow spices to toast up a bit. Add drained and rinsed beans and tomatoes and chilis with liquid. Add cooked diced chicken, chicken stock, and bring to a simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add chopped fresh cilantro and serve with desired toppings.

It’s good for what ails ya.

You can also check out some of my other fall soup recipes — they’re all ridiculously delicious and super simple to make.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Creamy Cauliflower Soup (my personal favorite!)

Easiest Butternut Squash Soup Ever

Enjoy! And happy fall!

Chicken, Stuffing, Broccoli and Cheese Casserole: My Favorite Comfort Food

My mom used to make this casserole a lot when I was growing up. Matter of fact, I remember specifically requesting it for my birthday on more than one occasion. And we’re talking, like, into my 20’s. She found the recipe on the back of one of those cans of french fried onions — you know, the kind people use to make that awful green bean casserole at Thanksgiving? (Cream of Mushroom soup? No.)

The first time she made it, it blew my tweenage mind. It was some of my favorite things in one dish! I was never a picky eater growing up (quite the opposite, in fact), but I especially loved anything with or involving box mix stuffing.

I know, it’s terrible. I should feel dirty just saying it.

But I don’t. Stuffing mix is awesome, especially when you’re short on time or don’t have the room to bake a pan of home made stuffing or you just need something quick to serve alongside your main course.

Or if you want to make this casserole. It’s the most delicious mess you’ll ever put in your oven (and your mouth). It takes a little bit of work to put together, but you can easily make it a day or two ahead of time. You can take a couple of short cuts with it, too – use rotisserie chicken, or pre-made cheese sauce (WHY, precious?); but I would refrain from using frozen broccoli — it might get too watery.

First step is to cook your chicken. I used boneless/skinless breasts because that’s my go-to protein, but you can do a mixture of white and dark meat if you prefer. Even roast it with the skin on, just remove it before dicing up and adding to the casserole.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the rest of the ingredients – cut and steam the broccoli and set aside, make the stuffing according to package directions (stir in half of the can of the french fried onions at the end), make the cheese sauce and let it thicken a little bit.

Once your chicken is cooked through, dice it up, assemble the whole glorious mess, top with the remaining onions, and bake, covered, at 375 degrees for about 40-45 minutes.

Remove the cover and return to the oven for a few more minutes for those onions to get brown and crispy. Let cool and serve.

Oh heck yeah. Tastes like 1991. (What does 1991 taste like, you ask? AMAZING.)

Chicken, Broccoli, and Cheese Casserole with Stuffing

Serves: 8

  • 1 box stuffing mix
  • 1-11/2 lb boneless skinless chicken, roasted and diced into cubes
  • 2 cups fresh broccoli florets, steamed until fork tender
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups milk (stick with 2% or full fat)
  • 1 can french fried onions, divided
  • 2 TB unsalted butter (plus more for stuffing)
  • 2 TB flour
  • 1 TB dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

Prepare stuffing mix according to package directions. Stir in 1/2 can of french fried onions. Set aside.

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat, stir in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, until slightly brown and the flour is cooked out. Add paprika and stir together. Add milk slowly, 1/2 cup at a time, whisking constantly until thoroughly combined. Stir for 2-3 minutes until it starts to thicken. Add shredded cheese and continue to whisk until completely melted. Stir in dijon mustard. Cook cheese sauce for 3-5 minutes longer, stirring constantly, until it thickens slightly. Add salt and fresh ground pepper as needed. Set aside.

Assemble the casserole:

Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick spray. Spread the stuffing mix in the bottom of the dish. Top with steamed broccoli florets (you can absolutely chop your broccoli smaller than I did, hide it for those kiddos if you need to!). Spread roasted and chopped chicken over the broccoli. Pour cheese sauce over the entire casserole. Top with remaining french fried onions. Cover casserole with lid or foil and bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes. Remove lid and return to oven for 5-10 more minutes, until onions have crisped and browned slightly.

Remove from oven, allow to cool for 5-10 minutes (or longer, this stuff’s like molten lava), and serve.

Yes.