Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Another Quickie

Get your minds out of the gutter, it's not that kind of quickie! Ha ha! Since starting my new job, I've had a few really long days and it appears that my normal day is going to be around 10 hours. Very good scheduling plus some quick and easy dinners are going to become a necessity so that I'm able to maintain a somewhat normal existence. On a brighter note, I got another great suit from Goodwill today (well shopgoodwill.com to be exact).

Tonight's dinner is one of the best that I've made in a very long time. I have to thank my go to cookbook, Reader's Digest Quick and Thrifty Cooking, for the inspiration for this dish. Not only was it delicious but it was simple and just a little bit different. As an added note this is a great one to make with the special someone else in your life as both dishes take about the same time to make. I also love the title to this dish in the cookbook--Chicken Scallops in Marsala--what a retro title!

Modern Chicken Scallops in Marsala
1 package chicken tenders
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of the following: salt, pepper, granulated garlic, Emeril's Essence (or Adobo seasoning)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion minced
1 clove garlic minced
1/3 cup Marsala wine (or vermouth)
1-2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons each: salt, pepper + more to taste
2 sprigs fresh basil rolled and chopped into ribbons
handful of frozen peas
splash of milk or cream (optional)
Preheat large nonstick skillet or braiser over med. low heat. Mix flour, 1 tsp. salt, pepper, granulated garlic and essence. Pound out chicken until about 1/2 thick. Dredge chicken in the flour mixture. Add olive oil to skillet and increase heat to medium. Add the chicken cooking 2 minutes on one side then turn and cook 2 minutes on other side. Remove from pan.
Reduce heat of skillet. Add the onion and garlic. Season with 2 tsp. salt and pepper. Add the Marsala. Stir well and bring to rapid boil. Add the butter. Allow to melt. Bring back to a boil and reduce heat. Add a splash of milk if you'd like. Return the chicken to the pan. Turn chicken to make sure it is coated in the sauce. Add the frozen peas and basil. Stir.
Serve with garlic mashed potatoes (see my previous post for recipe).
P.S. If making this with your special someone, have him make the mashed potatoes.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easy Weeknight Dinner

I have to admit this is one of my favorite more recent recipes so I'm very excited to post it. It literally took 20 minutes to make and there were tons of leftovers for lunch the next day. Also, I am completely in love with the refrigerated tortellini from Costco which inspired this menu.

Tortellini with Tomato Cream Sauce:
1 package refrigerated tortellini
1 can tomato paste
1 onion minced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 can evaporated milk
1 tablespoon each: pepper, Italian Seasoning, granulated garlic
1 teaspoon each: Emeril's Essence, salt
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour

Bring a medium size pot of water to a boil. Add the tortellini.

While waiting for the water to boil in a large dutch oven or nonstick skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and soften. Then add the tomato paste, granulated garlic, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, Emeril's Essence. Mix well and let the tomato paste melt. Add the butter and the flour. Stir well. Reduce heat to medium low. Add the evaporated milk. Stir well. Add the cheese. Reduce heat to low.

Once the tortellini has finished cooking (it will float to the top of the pot when it is ready) drain reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta water to the cream sauce to loosen it a little bit. Stir well.

Add the tortellini to the sauce and toss well. If you've got some on hand, add some frozen peas or shredded rotisserie chicken. Top with additional Parmesan cheese serve and enjoy!

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New job = New clothes

Since my new job's dress code is business professional, I've definitely had to do a bit of shopping in order to round out my big girl wardrobe. I've actually had to pick up more stuff that I originally anticipated because my wardrobe is certainly more business casual than business professional because every office I've ever worked in has been more relaxed.

Of course I thought I'd share some of my recent purchases with all of you since true to form, they are all thrifty purchases.

Upon getting the offer my first stop, shopping wise was to my tailor in order to have two thrift store suits altered to fit me perfectly. One of these suits was the aforementioned Armani suit which I purchased at the thrift store near my gym.

As usual, my second stop was at the Salvation Army. While I didn't find any good suiting on this trip (will go back this week to see if they have anything new) I did find some great layering pieces! I got another Armani jacket, a cute Ann Taylor button down, 2 Banana Republic blouses, and a Michael Kors trench coat. All for $23. Exciting I know.

I also made use of my discount at the retail store that I'm currently working at and purchased some great dressy t-shirts in jewel tones and a great black cotton pencil skirt to pair with a black blazer that I already own.

Finally, I'm a little obsessed with Target's work pieces right now. Last night when I went to pick up cat food I ended up picking up one of their layering shells and the cutest orange and white pencil skirt. I'm definitely going back to pick up some more basics once I get my first big girl paycheck.

Monday, April 5, 2010

It's been a long long time

I owe all of you a huge I'm sorry for being away for so long! My absence, while inexcusable, was for a reason. You see my fellow readers, March was a very rough month for me -- the job search finally got the best of me and to be completely frank, I was not in a great place mentally. Because of my foul disposition, I decided to take a break from the blogging world so as not to bore all of you with my woes.

Anyway, now that spring is officially here my mood has lifted and I have great news -- I am now gainfully employed (which had A LOT to do with the lifting of my mood).

I am still planning on finding time to post yummy yet cheap and fast recipes so do keep reading! In the meantime, happy spring/baseball season all!