Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Yutica Classic

 My dear fellow music therapy intern Erica introduced me and Michael to a Yutica, New York classic the other night before Michael moved back to Utah. She had described it to us for quite some time so we were so happy to finally try it. Apparently all the restaurants out there have their own version of Chicken "Riggies" and you have to know which ones to go to get the BEST.

So where does the term "riggies" come from? It's a nickname for rigatoni, the pasta that this dish is predominately made with. As you can see in the pictures, I made the recipe with bowtie pasta. A fair substitute as I was unable to locate rigatoni in the brand of pasta that was on AMAZING sale recently. So, bowtie it was...and I think it turned out splendidly!

 This is a very simple pasta with hints of sweetness and heat from the varying pepper flavors. It's quite refreshing actually, all that pepper flavor. I used pimento peppers because that was all I could locate, but I hear that roasted red peppers and cherry peppers are good also. 

If you want a healthier version, use milk instead of cream or remove the butter. Otherwise, I believe you will love this incredibly easy and quick recipe to add to your arsenal of weeknight meals. It's what I like to call a "pantry meal" and I need to come up with a good excuse to make it again in the very near future. Any ideas?

Chicken "Riggies"
(adapted from All Recipes)

1 (16 ounce) package rigatoni pasta (I used bowtie)
3 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut in bite-sized pieces
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 can mushrooms, sliced
1 can sweet peppers (pimento or roasted red)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Parsley, chopped

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta, and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes; drain and keep warm.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and chicken into the pan. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Cook until chicken is lightly browned on all sides, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms, canned peppers, tomato sauce, and butter. Bring to a simmer, then stir in the heavy cream. Simmer 2 or 3 minutes, then stir in the pasta and parmesan cheese. Top with chopped parsley and enjoy!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

St. George Island, FL

Last weekend, Michael and I headed down to St. George Island, FL to spend time at the beach. It was our last weekend together before Michael moved back to Utah to start his new job with Intermountain Healthcare. Yay for new awesome job, but sad that we're apart from each other for a month. I know, it's actually less than a month, but I'm going to miss my man!

Isn't he cute standing on the white sandy beaches? I can't tell you how long it's been since I've been to the beach. I missed the sounds, scenery (and yes, Michael is most definitely included in that), and the smell!

Please disregard my tan line starting at the knees. I need to start wearing higher running shorts.

The superb sandcastle we built with a mote that could withstand the waves. Took a a good 30 minutes to dig it out and sculpt the magnificence. 

See how that mote is perfectly designed against the waves? much fun!

I collected quite a few seashells, which I have grand plans for this Christmas. Let's just say they will be a little keepsake of our time here in Florida!

On our drive, we passed the BBH office in Carabelle. I had no idea that it was a mere 5 minutes from the beach. Man, if I worked down there, I know that I would spend my lunch breaks basking in the sun and sand. Sounds pretty great to me!

To finish off our evening, we found a local restaurant called Captain Snook's, where we filled ourselves with fried gator (Michael's first time), fish and chips, and the amazing pasta you see before you.

It was filled with shrimp, scallops, roasted and fresh red peppers in a basil cream sauce. Pretty good, but I have a mind to make this recipe at home and give it a little "Rebecca" flair. A few tweaks and this pasta will be amazing!

All in all a great weekend and time at the beach to get a little sun. Us pasty kids needed it. And now Michael is on a plane headed back to start his new job on Monday. He'll fly back for my last and final Friday, then we'll pack up on Saturday, and hopefully begin our trek back to Utah that Sunday. It's all planned, now all we have to do is just count the days down to when our new phase of life begins. Happy Sunday, everyone!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Double Chocolate Loaf Cake

Well, this is one amazing recipe. We brought this cake to our friends the Jackson's house the other night. And they loved it so much that they just "had" to have seconds. And these "seconds" just happened to occur while we were absorbed in Suze Orman, Til Debt To Us Part, and Princess (our favorite debt and money related shows). We enjoy spending our Saturday nights laughing and staring in disbelief at the true stories that these shows behold. It's pretty much a great friendship we have.

This cake is seriously chocolate-y. Course, that's why it's called "Double Chocolate Loaf Cake". Um, duh! Topped with some fresh whipped cream slightly sweetened with a little vanilla and strawberries, you have a perfect spring dessert on your hands.

I'm thinking I should make this again, and soon! Maybe next time I will bring some fresh blackberries, raspberries, or peaches into the mix. And a little drizzle of honey?
Yep, that sounds sublime. :)

Double Chocolate Loaf Cake
(adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod)

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
Whipped cream and strawberries

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position the rack in the center. Butter a 9X5 inch loaf pan, dust it with flour, and knock out the excess flour.
  2. Place the brown sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Press out any lumps with the back of a large spoon. Add the cocoa, flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolk until blended, then add the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla; whisk until combined. Turn the mixer to low and slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones, mixing just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Slice the cake and serve with whipped cream and strawberries, if desired.