Monday, September 17, 2012

al fresco Linguine with Roasted Vegetables and Tomato Basil Chicken Meatballs

As an Allrecipes Allstar, this month we received coupons to try and review the al fresco chicken sausage. Tonight I made my first dinner using al fresco Sundried Tomato Sausage and I was surprised at how good it was!  Having never tried it before, my expectations were kind of low but the combination of the roasted veggies, the pasta and the sauteed sausage were really, really good.  The flavors came together really nicely and it was super easy, not to mention quick!  Who couldn't use a quick weeknight meal right?

The actual recipe that al fresco provided called for the Tomato & Basil Chicken Meatballs but I've been unable to find any of their meatballs here in Hagerstown.  I went to 3 different stores looking for the al fresco products and only one store, Martin's, had a variety of their sausages.  I was able to pick up a package of the Sundried Tomato Sausage and I used this as a substitution for the meatballs, just cutting the sausage on a diagonal.

The roasted vegetables called for cherry tomatoes, fresh asparagus and a white onion, but I made some slight tweaks here as well.  I'm not a fan of onions so I eliminated that entirely and a friend of ours has a beautiful garden so we had some nice vine-ripened tomatoes that I diced up and added to the asparagus.  The small portabella mushrooms were on sale this week so I picked up a container of those and included them with the rest of the vegetables.  The smell as the veggies and garlic roasting in the oven was heavenly!

Tonight's dinner was a hit with everyone, the husband and teenage son included!  It was so good that they both asked if there was any left, which hasn't happened lately.

I'm going to be putting this dish on our dinner rotation going forward.  It was quick and easy to put together and during the week when we're working or in school, we need something nutritious and quick that we can throw together without putting a lot of thought into it.  I also like being able to change out the veggies, if you don't have asparagus or you don't like a particular vegetable you can throw whatever you have together into the olive oil and garlic, toss it around, coat the vegetables well and then put them on your cookie sheet and put them in the oven for 15 minutes and your done!  Super easy!

Find al fresco's Linguine with Roasted Vegetables and Tomato Basil Chicken Meatballs at

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Easy Weeknight Chicken Parmesan

I recently became an Allstar for, and part of becomming an Allstar is trying and reviewing new products.

This month I had the opportunity to try Progresso's new Recipe Starters.  I received one of each flavor from AllRecipes and Progresso and my first dish was Progresso's Easy Weeknight Chicken Parmesan, made with the Fire-Roasted Tomato Cooking Sauce.

Of all the Recipe Starters I have tried so far, this one is a favorite.  It was easy to throw together and we had a full meal in just 30 minutes.  I did stray a bit from the recipe, deglazing the pan with a little butter and white wine (it's so good and just adds a little richness to the sauce), but for a quick weeknight meal, this is a nice option!

Chicken Lemon Orzo Soup

What's there to eat around here was inspired by my 17 year-old son, it's something that I hear each and every day tumble out of his mouth.  There is always food in our house, some prepackaged items that he can fix himself as well as plenty of items that are readily available to eat and make. One staple that I do make each week is soup.  We all love soup and although I'll make a large pot full, it usually only lasts about 2 days.  Our favorite lately is Chicken Lemon Orzo, which i decided I had to create at home once Panera Bread decided to stop serving it, and actually I think mine is better!

This soup is easy to make and so good, the lemon adds a nice tartness to the soup and it can be easily adjusted depending on your preferences.  

As far as the chicken, as a shortcut I sometimes will purchase one of those yummy roasted chickens from Sam's Club and just pick the chicken off to use in my soup. It saves time but the last few months I've been roasting my own chickens, seasoning them with a little butter, salt, pepper, minced garlic and slices of lemons under the skin. It adds a nice flavor to the chicken itself but also creates the most amazing chicken broth that I now use to make my soup.

You can find this recipe over at! Enjoy!!!