Chicken and Broccoli Shells

Chicken and Broccoli Shells | marissabaker.wordpress.comThis recipe is one of the answers to the question, “What do you do with broccoli heads the size of bowling balls?” Seriously, that’s how big these things are. I’ve never seen broccoli grow this large. We weren’t able to use it all before they started to bloom, but the plants we cut are already producing side-shoot broccoli heads. If you’ve grown broccoli, you know the second heads are significantly smaller than the first ones. For these plants, that means they are size of broccoli you see in the grocery store.

Chicken and Broccoli Shells

2 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut in 1″ cubes

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 1⁄2 cups chopped broccoli, fresh or frozen

2 cups chicken broth

1 can (10.5 ounces) cream of chicken soup

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups small shell pasta, uncooked

1 cup (4 ounces) cheddar cheese, shredded

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Add broccoli, broth, soup, pepper, garlic and pasta. Bring to a boil.

Chicken and Broccoli Shells |

Reduce heat to lowest setting, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Check near the end of cooking and add a small amount of water, if needed. Stir in cheese during last two minutes of cooking.

Chicken and Broccoli Shells |

Creamy Pesto Chicken

Creamy Pesto Chicken |

I made pesto a little while ago to go with some bread. Now we’re out of bread and I’m left with almost a full batch of pesto. Whatever should I do with it all? Here’s one answer (also yet another way to use the monster heads of broccoli out in the garden).

I’m sure it would taste even better with fresh pesto but, alas, I didn’t get my herb garden planted and I have no basil. Instead, I used a recipe I pulled off the Internet some years ago for dried basil pesto. It’s not as good, but it works in a pinch. If you haven’t any other pesto you like to use, scroll down to the end for that recipe.

Creamy Pesto Chicken

Creamy Pesto Chicken | marissabaker.wordpress.com1 pound chicken breast, thinly sliced

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 to 3 cups rotini or bow-tie pasta

2 cups broccoli florets

1 can cream of chicken soup or substitute

1/3 cup pesto

1/2 cup milk

Cook pasta with broccoli until al dente according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in skillet. Cook chicken until no pink remains.

Creamy Pesto Chicken |

Add cream of chicken soup, pesto, and milk to the skillet with the chicken. Bring to a boil and cook on low for 5 minutes. Add cooked pasta and heat through before serving.

Creamy Pesto Chicken |

Dried Basil Pesto

Homemade pesto from dried basil |
up close with the pesto

1/2 cup dried basil

1/4 cup walnuts

3 cloves garlic

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1/2 – 3/4 cups olive oil

Pulse first four ingredients in food processor until walnuts are chopped. Add olive oil and run blender for about 30 seconds. Chill until ready to use.

Teriyaki Chicken-Rice Bake

Teriyaki Chicken-Rice Bake | marissabaker.wordpress.comThis recipe was originally the Teriyaki Chicken Casserole from She starts with the fried-rice already made according to another recipe on her site, but I’ve formatted the recipe presented here so you can make it all at once (I’ve also changed some ingredients for everything except the sauce). You don’t even need to use day-old rice, like for most fried rice recipes.

Teriyaki Chicken-Rice Bake

print this recipe

Teriyaki Chicken-Rice Bake |
finished sauce with chicken

Teriyaki sauce

3/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon honey

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 small garlic clove, minced fine

2 tablespoons tapioca starch

2 tablespoons cold water

In a medium saucepan, stir together the soy sauce, water, brown sugar, honey, ground ginger, sesame oil, and garlic. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute.

In a small bowl, stir together the water and cornstarch. Add 1 teaspoon of the hot soy mixture to the cornstarch mixture and then slowly pour everything into the boiling soy mixture, whisking until it begins to thicken. Set aside.

Teriyaki Chicken-Rice Bake |


2 Tablespoons soy sauce

1 Tablespoon rice wine

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon white sugar

1/8 teaspoon ginger

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 eggs

3 cups cooked jasmine rice

1 Tablespoon sesame oil

Olive Oil cooking spray

In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sugar, ginger and crushed red pepper. Set aside. Spray wok with olive oil and bring to medium heat. Lightly whisk together the eggs and add to the pan. Let it cook until set, flipping or stirring as needed to keep from burning. Removed eggs form the wok and cut them up.

Add sesame oil to wok. Add the rice, cooking until hot and the rice is beginning to pop. Add the sauce mixture, stirring to combine. Add the eggs, and stir until heated through.

Teriyaki Chicken-Rice Bake |
finished rice


Teriyaki Chicken-Rice Bake |
shredding the chicken

2 chicken breasts

2-3 carrots

1 head broccoli

10 snow peas

Place the chicken in an 8×8-in. baking dish and pour 1 cup of the teriyaki sauce over the chicken. Bake for 30 minutes at 350°F. Remove from the oven and shred.

Cut up and steam the vegetables. Place rice, chicken, and vegetables in a 9×13-in. baking dish. Add 3 tablespoons of the leftover teriyaki sauce and stir to combine. Place the dish back in the oven for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and drizzle with a little more sauce. Serve immediately.

Teriyaki Chicken-Rice Bake |
before baking

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Mushroom-Herb Chicken

Mushroom-Herb Chicken receipe marissabaker.wordpress.comThis is the first of two recipes I make that begins with lightly seasoned chicken breasts and a cast-iron skillet. Here’s a link to the original recipe: Mushroom-Herb Chicken at I’ll post the other one, a Thai-inspired recipe, next week. For now, though, enjoy what might very well be the first thing I’ve posted here that goes well with potatoes.

Mushroom-Herb Chicken

print this recipeMushroom-Herb Chicken receipe

4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon olive oil

Place each chicken breast in a zip-lock back or between two sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap. Pound to 1/3-inch thickness. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper.

Mushroom-Herb Chicken receipe marissabaker.wordpress.comHeat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan and cook 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until browned with no pink in the center.

Mushroom-Herb Chicken receipe marissabaker.wordpress.com1 (8-ounce) package mushrooms

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/3 cup rice wine or dry sherry

1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves

3 green onions

While chicken cooks, thinly slice mushrooms and green onions. Remove chicken from pan and add more oil. Add mushrooms to pan and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Add sherry and marjoram, then return chicken to pan. Cover and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and chicken is done.

Serve immediately, over herbed mashed potatoes

Mushroom-Herb Chicken receipe marissabaker.wordpress.comMushroom-Herb Chicken receipe

Steak Marinade

Steak marinade made without Worcestershire sauce.

This recipe came about because I didn’t have any Worcestershire sauce in the house and wanted to marinade a steak.  Apparently most people who marinade steaks consider it an essential ingredient, so I had to come up with something of my own. This is such a big hit at our house, we haven’t tried any other recipe since.

Steak Marinade

Steak marinade made without Worcestershire sauce. marissabaker.wordpress.com1/2 cup pineapple juice

1/2 cup soy sauce

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

1 Tablespoon honey

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1/8 teaspoon onion powder

1/8 teaspoon chili powder

Steak marinade made without Worcestershire sauce.

Add all ingredients to a container large enough to hold 4 to 6 steaks. Whisk ingredients until thoroughly combined. Add steaks and marinade in the refrigerator for 2 to 6 hours. If not all the steaks are covered with marinade, turn them in the container several times while marinading.

Steak marinade made without Worcestershire sauce. marissabaker.wordpress.comRemove steaks from marinade. Broil or grill steaks until they’re cooked how you like them. Bush with the left-over marinade once or twice while cooking.

Italian Tuna Melt

Italian Tuna Melt recipe by marissabaker.wordpress.comThis is an Italian version of the Tuna and Pasta Cheddar Melt that I posted several weeks ago. These are quick and easy meals that take me about 20 minutes from start to finish, so they are a popular choice for lunch around here.

Italian Tuna Melt recipe by
tastes great with chicken, too

I had a bit more time a couple days ago and tried this with chicken, which had an excellent flavor. It’s not as fast of a meal option, but if you want to try that variation all you have to to is cook about 1 pound of cubed chicken in olive oil and then remove it from the skillet before cooking the pasta. Add the cooked chicken at the same time as you would the tuna.

Oh, one more thing. The recipe says to crush croutons over the pasta, but I was out so I just seasoned some breadcrumbs like I did for the Cottage Cheese Chicken Bake.

Italian Tuna Melt

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

3 cups uncooked rotini pasta

Italian Tuna Melt recipe by marissabaker.wordpress.com1 can cream of chicken soup or substitute

1 cup milk

2, 5-ounce cans of tuna

1 teaspoon parsley flakes

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon basil

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

3/4 cup mozzarella cheese

6 garlic and cheese croutons

Heat the broth and water in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat to a boil. Stir in the pasta. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the pasta is tender, stirring often. Do not drain. Stir the thickened soup, 1 cup milk and tuna into the skillet with the pasta.

Italian Tuna Melt recipe by marissabaker.wordpress.comStir in spices and Parmesan cheese, then sprinkle the mozzarella over the top. Crush croutons. Sprinkle over the tuna mixture and cook until the cheese has melted and mixture is hot and bubbling.

Italian Tuna Melt recipe by