Orzo “Greek” Pasta Salad

I don’t eat many sides from the grocery store deli but I will always be up for the various Greek pasta salads.

I make this pretty often but my produce usually just reflects what I have on hand. It comes together fairly easily and quickly. It also tastes better the longer everything marries.

Ingredients

Half a box of orzo

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1/2 cucumber, finely chopped

1/4 tomato, finely chopped

1/3-1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped

Dressing

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp lemon zest (optional)

1/2 tbsp chopped parsley

1 tsp chopped cilantro (optional)

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried mint

Salt and pepper, to taste

Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)

Chop your veggies

Boil and drain your orzo, rinse under cold water.

Combine dressing ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Combine all ingredients plus dressing. Toss with a wooden spoon or a spatula.

© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Peach Pico

This isn’t a precise recipe. It can easily be scaled up for a larger amount. This yielded me about two cups which was more than enough for our dinner tonight.

Taste as you go and adjust to suit your preference. If you have a good peach, your pico should be plenty sweet.

You can easily substitute in other fruits like mango or pineapple!

Combine gently in a large mixing bowl:

1/2 large tomato

1 ripe peach chopped

1/4 chopped medium red onion

1/8 c chopped cilantro

1/2 small jalapeño chopped (seeded if you don’t want it too spicy)

1/4 habenero chopped (ditto)

Zest of half of a lime

Juice of a lime

S&P

Sugar/honey/agave as needed if it isn’t sweet enough

Use as dip or on top of some tacos 🐷

© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Kitchen Dump Thin Crust Pizza

Again, not a precise recipe. I just used what I had in my fridge and freezer. It’s an easily adaptable recipe. Just follow the pizza dough recipe and the crust-cooking-procedure. Easy peasy.

 

I had a ball of my simple pizza dough in the freezer. I had enough to roll out a thin crust. I played it a little fast and loose with the oven so my edges are kinda cajun lol. Be more careful than me. I was hungry.

 

Simple pizza dough

Seasoned ricotta cheese (herbs, garlic, parm, s&p)

Shredded cheese

Parm

Fresh mozzarella

Olive oil with italian herbs and garlic powder (for crust)

Whatever toppings you want (mine are as pictured)

 

Prepare the pizza dough ahead of time so you are ready to go.

Quickest way of attacking this is preheating your cast iron skillet, cast iron griddle, pizza stone, heavy bottomed pan. Whatever. Get it super hot. 475+ hot.

While that is preheating, slice and chop your toppings. You want thin slices, small dices. We want things to heat through evenly.

Prepare all of your cheeses.

Roll out your dough to suit your vehicle

Carefully place your dough in the pan or skillet or stone

Poke fork holes all over save for the ‘crust area’

Brush the ‘crust area’ with some of the seasoned up olive oil

Bake for a few minutes, just consider the thickness of your dough and its edges.

Remove and quickly paint dough with the ricotta.

Shredded cheeses

Spinach.

Parm.

Zucchini and squash slices

Fresh mozzarella dotted around

Sliced onions and peppers

Chicken

Chopped tomatoes

Whatever toppings you’re using

Baked at 475+ until the cheese is bubbling

Broil until there’s a little color on your cheese, mind your crust

Remove

Drizzle with remaining olive oil

Top with chopped herbs, crushed pepper

 

 

As always, use what you got. Any questions you know you can comment or hit me on IG (@nibblesandnom).

 

NOM!

 

 

 

© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Cauliflower Chicken Alfredo with Penne

1lb Penne Rigate

1 chicken breast (your preferred cooking method or rotisserie)

2 cup fresh spinach

1 small shallot (of ½ small red onion) finely diced

1 zucchini

1 squash

1 head of garlic

4 tbsp unsalted butter

½ head of cauliflower (cut into florets)

Buttermilk

Heavy Cream*

½ – 1C parmesan

1-2 C shredded Italian cheese

 

Salt

Pepper

Paprika

Garlic powder

Onion powder

Nutmeg (small dash)

 

Olive oil

Worcestershire sauce

 

 

Prepare your chicken. I chose to sous vide mine and began working on the other components.

Cut your garlic head at the top 1/3. Place in foil and cover in olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Roast at 350 degrees for about a half hour. It will become very fragrant.

Steam your cauliflower, remove.

Boil and drain your pasta, set aside.

 

I used an immersion blender in a large mixing bowl. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use your food processor or quality blender. You want this as smooth as possible.

 

Add in the butter, the buttermilk (I used both heavy cream and buttermilk because I needed to use up the cream. Feel free to use which ever you like but no lower than whole milk).

Add in the Worcestershire sauce, the spices and roasted garlic.  Blend until very smooth.

Taste and adjust your seasonings as necessary.

In a sauce pan, add olive oil and soften your onion or shallots. Add the spinach, salt and pepper. Add the zucchini and the squash. Cook until fork tender. Remove and set aside.

 

(At this point I had to sear off my chicken for some good ol’ Maillard)

I removed the chicken, add the sauce to the pan and stirred up on the brown bits. I added the cheese at this point. I added the chicken juices to this too.

 

I added the vegetables and the sliced chicken back to the sauce. Heat through.

 

Toss with pasta.

 

Listen.

This is the truth.

 

 

© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Gorgonzola Chicken Pizza with Shaved Brussel Sprouts and Sun-dried Tomatoes

I was craving pizza and I knew it was an activity that my kid would enjoy. So, I grabbed a bunch of ingredients and surprised him after his summer program. He made a pepperoni pizza. I made a pizza topped with chopped chicken, shredded Brussel sprouts, gorgonzola, sun-dried tomatoes and a balsamic reduction. It is SO good.

piz15piz14

I contemplated buying pizza dough but I wound up making the dough as I usually do. I amped it up by seasoning the dough with garlic and herbs. A nice béchamel serves as the perfect anchor for the cheese and toppings.

 

Pizza Dough:

 

  • 4 cups of flour
  • 2 packets of yeast (I use Hodgson Mill Fast Rise Yeast)
  • 1 ½ c warm water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp Italian herbs
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ olive oil

Pizza:

For a medium (thick) white sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • Season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic and Italian herbs

 

Toppings:

  • 2-4 shaved Brussel sprouts (I use a mandolin slicer)
  • 4-6 sliced grape tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp of sundried tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 chicken thighs, sautéed and chopped
  • Generous handful (to taste) mozzarella
  • Handful (to taste) italian blend cheese
  • 1/4c to 1/2c of gorgonzola
  • Balsamic
  • Olive oil to coat the crust

 

Directions:

  1. Prepare your dough
  2. Proof your yeast with the warm water
  3. Add the seasonings and oilpiz
  4. Slowly add the flour
  5. The dough will be a little sticky but your fingers should be mostly clean to the touch
  6. Knead once or twice then add to a greased bowl and top with a greased plastic wrappiz2
  7. Allow to rise for about an hourpiz4
  8. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees F
  9. Punch it down and knead once or twice
  10. You can use it all or divide, the recipe yields about 2lbs of dough (I used half for my pizza and half for my son’s)
  11. Roll out your dough and spread it in an ungreased cast iron skillet, pizza stone or cast iron griddle
  12. Use a fork to puncture the center of the dough, leave at least ½” space for your “crust”piz3
  13. Bake for about 5 minutes, or until the crust starts to rise then remove

 

For pizza:

  1. Slice your chicken and cook it on high heat, season with salt and pepper
  2. Remove from heat to rest
  3. Slice your Brussel sprouts, tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoespizz
  4. In a small pot, melt your butter and add flour
  5. Add milk and whisk to remove lumps
  6. Season to your preference

 

  1. Spread the white sauce on your doughpiz5
  2. Top with some cheese
  3. Top with tomatoes and Brussel sprouts
  4. Top with chicken and sundried tomatoes
  5. Top with cheese
  6. Brush crust with olive oilpiz6piz7
  7. Put back into oven until its bubbling and the crust is brown

 

  1. In a small pot, bring a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar to a boil
  2. Add a half tsp of sugar and stir
  3. Bring to a simmer until it coats the back of a spoon
  4. Remove from heat! (Overdone balsamic reduction is no good. Trust me!)
  5. Remove your pizza from the oven
  6. Drizzle with the balsamic reduction

piz8piz9piz10piz11piz20piz12piz13piz15

 

 

 

© 2018 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Spiced Chicken and Cilantro-Lime Rice

Garlic. Cumin. Smoked paprika. Sazon. Can you really go wrong here? I think not.

 

This is my quick way of whipping up some super yummy, spiced chicken thighs. You can toss these in a salad, make tacos, make burritos or burrito bowls, etc. Great for meal prep and an easy go to when you’re running out of ideas.

 

As a side, I made some lightly scented lime and cilantro rice. It’s mostly hands off and pairs very well with the chicken. Top this with a corn salad and you’ve got a bright and flavorful dinner!

IMG_E5939

 

 

Ingredients

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, sliced

Oil

Salt and pepper

1-2 tbsp of cumin

1 tbsp of chili powder

Tsp (each) garlic powder, onion powder and smoked paprika

½ packet of sazon

½ tsp of cayenne (optional)

1-2 chipotles in adobo, chopped (optional- more smoke and heat)

Chicken broth

 

Rice:

Rice

Water

Oil

Lime juice and zest

3-4 garilc cloves, chopped

 

  1. Heat your pan over medium- high heat
  2. Slice your chickenIMG_5928
  3. Add oil
  4. Add chicken
  5. Add salt and pepper
  6. Cook until browning and mostly cooked through
  7. Add spices
  8. Stir, toasting the spicesIMG_5930
  9. Add a few splashes of chicken broth to deglaze the pan
  10. StirIMG_5934
  11. Remove from heat

 

Lime and Cilantro Rice:

  1. I cook my rice like pasta so bring water to a boil and pour in however much rice you need
  2. Allow it to boil
  3. Check for doneness and drain
  4. Chop the garlic and cilantro
  5. In the now empty pot, sweat the garlic in a little bit of oil
  6. Turn off heat
  7. Add the rice back to the pot
  8. Add the cilantro, lime zest and juice and salt and pepperIMG_5915
  9. Stir to combine

 

Pile up that rice, top with chicken and this yummy corn salad. Look at what you did. Look at it. It’s good, isn’t it?

IMG_5954IMG_5961IMG_E5937IMG_E5957

 

© 2018 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Cajun Sausage and Shrimp

cajun16

Ingredients:

 

2 lbs shrimp

½-1lb smoked sausage or andouille

1-2 green peppers

4-5 ribs of celery

1 large onion

4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 28oz can of diced tomatoes

 

1 bundle of fresh thyme

2-3 bay leaves

Generous pinch of crushed red pepper

1-2 tsp of cayenne

Kosher salt

Pepper

(all of these to your preference)

Scallions to garnish

 

 

 

To begin, devein and shell your shrimp. Put your shrimp shells in a pot and cover with water. Bring to boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes.

 

  1. Chop your vegcajun
  2. Brown your sausage in some oil.
  3. Add your holy trinity and cook until softened.cajun2cajun3cajun5
  4. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.cajun6
  5. Add your tomatoes.cajun7
  6. Strain 4-6 cups of the shrimp stock and add to the pot.cajun8cajun9
  7. Add your bay leaves and thyme bundle.cajun10
  8. Add salt and pepper and taste.
  9. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  10. Add your shrimp. Cover and simmer for about 6-7 minutes.
  11. Taste and adjust your seasoning.
  12. Serve over rice and garnish with scallions.cajun11cajun12cajun13cajun14cajun15cajun17

 

Adapted from Anne Burrell’s Jambalaya.

Mason’s Dragon Noodles

Tonight my kiddo said he wanted spicy, saucy noodles so Mason’s Dragon Noodles became a thing and I will absolutely be duplicating this in the future.

A super easy recipe. Bold flavors make it difficult to mess this up. It’s also easily adjustable to suit your tastes. My family likes food spicy (hello “dragon” noodles), so feel free to tinker with the spice level.

I was gifted a wok for Christmas. Mommy’s first wok. Seasoning it was an adventure but it was successful! So, this was my first time breaking it in.

If you don’t have a wok, use a cast iron skillet because they hold heat really well and they get super hot. If you don’t have either of those, use a pan large enough to hold what you’re working with. High heat is important, so be mindful of that.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large chicken breast, or a few boneless skinless chicken thighs, sliced
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • ¼-1/2 bell pepper, sliced
  • 2-3 scallions, whites and greens (reserve some greens)
  • Handful of chopped cilantro, (reserve some)
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • ½-1 tbsp ginger, grated
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1 habanero pepper, chopped
  • 1 lb angel hair or spaghetti (you can use your preferred Asian noodles but we usually have these in the house and they work just fine)
  • Canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/3-1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine
  • 2 tbsp Huy Fong sriracha (the REAL kind with the green cap and rooster)
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sambal oelek
  • 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • ~1/4 c light brown sugar
  • 1/3-1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce

 

  1. Boil and drain your noodles.
  2. Prep your vegdragon3
  3. In a bowl, mix up the garlic, ginger, habanero, sugar, and liquid ingredients and whisk together.dragon4
  4. With your wok or pan on high heat, add some oil and cook your chicken breast. Remove and set to the side.
  5. Working quickly, cook your veggies. You want them to keep some texture so don’t cook them to death. Remove and set to the side.dragon6
  6. Still on high heat, add the liquid to the pan. dragon5Bring to a boil and add your chicken and simmer for a bit then add your veggies. Shortly after, add your drained noodles.
  7. Using tongs, toss your noodles, cilantro and other ingredients. You want to incorporate them all together as well as you can. This can be annoying but toss in different directions to incorporate. Turn off your heat, your noodles will sop up any extra liquid.dragon7
  8. Top with reserved cilantro and scallion.

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This can be served hot, warm or cold.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

© 2018 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Curried Pumpkin Coconut and Shrimp Soup

There are so many layers of flavor here from the mirepoix, to the curry, to the coconut, to the potent shrimp stock and of course, the pumpkin. This is a hearty, homey soup perfect for Autumn!

pumpsoup19

There are quite a few steps but don’t let this intimidate you. Organize your ingredients, your tools and get to work! I always say, work smarter not harder. Tackle one thing at a time in the order that you will be working. If you are roasting your fresh pumpkin, get that out of the way first. While that’s happening, you can get your shrimp stock simmering. Once you have everything lines up, just bang it on out!

 

Ingredients:

8 cup fresh chopped, roasted pumpkin (3-4 C canned pumpkin)

1 large onion

3 celery stalks

2 large carrots, or 3-5 smaller carrots

4-6 garlic cloves

1-2 lbs shrimp, deveined (save shells)

1- 13.5 oz can of coconut milk

6 tbsp preferred curry powder

5 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp black pepper

Worcestershire sauce

kosher salt, to taste

 

  1. If you are using fresh pumpkin, roast this first. You can follow the steps here. pumpsoup7
  2. Peel your shrimp and place the shells in a pot, cover with waterpumpsouppumpsoup2
  3. Prepare your mirepoix
    1. Roughly chop celery, carrot, onionpumpsoup3
  4. Throw any peels, tops, etc. in the pot with the shrimp, stir.
    1. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, this will be your shrimp stock
      pumpsoup4

      Shrimp shells, onion peel, celery stumps, carrot peel and heads

  5. Over medium heat, soften the mirepoix. Season with salt and pepper.pumpsoup8
  6. Add the pumpkin, add your spices plus salt and pepperpumpsoup9pumpsoup10pumpsoup12
  7. Drain the shells and peels from the stockpumpsoup5pumpsoup6
  8. Add 3-4 cups of shrimp stock, stir
  9. Reduce to simmer for 10-15 minutespumpsoup13
  10. Using an immersion blender, food processor or regular blenderpumpsoup14pumpsoup15
  11. Return to your pot, bring to a boil and reduce to simmer
  12. Add the coconut milk and 1-2 splashes of Worcestershire saucepumpsoup16
  13. Taste, taste, taste! Adjust your spices as needed. My family likes bold spice and flavor, you may want a little less or a little more. This is where you taste and adjust.
  14. Add your shrimp, stir and close the lid. Your shrimp will gently poach in the soup liquid.soup102
  15. Allow to simmer for another 20-30 minutes

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Optional:

Top with pepitas, drizzle of coconut milk or chopped mint or cilantro!

 

 

 

© 2017 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved