Chicken, Artichoke, and Mushroom Linguini // Strawberry Spinach Salad

My girlfriends and I rarely get together now that we have “big girl jobs” / are in grad school, but rarely are we all three available on the same night.   I was on Pinterest looking at recipes, and it just made me want to cook! So when I suggested I make dinner for us the next day, and we were all available, we jumped on it!  I also made my FAVORITE salad [Strawberry Spinach].  And I hate salad.  The recipe for that is below as well!

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Chicken, Artichoke, and Mushroom Linguini

  • 1 lb. pasta (I used whole wheat linguine)
  • 3 c. chopped, cooked chicken (I cooked a whole chicken in the crock pot)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6-8 oz. fresh mushrooms; sliced
  • 14 oz. artichoke hearts, drained, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c. white wine or chicken broth
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 2 oz. cream cheese (nefchatel for lower fat)
  • milk to thin if needed
  • Herbs to taste – I used Basil and a bit of Parsley
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & Pepper

Cook the pasta according to the pasta directions.

Heat olive oil in a skillet.  Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are tender and very little moisture is in the bottom of your pan. Add artichokes, garlic, and cooked chicken to the mushrooms. Stir to combine and heat through.

Stir in white wine or broth. Cook over medium-high heat until reduced a bit (about 5 minutes or so). Clear a space on part of the pan; stir together cream, cream cheese, and herbs. Reduce heat to medium. If there is not enough liquid, add milk, pasta water, or more chicken broth.  Continue cooking until mixture is thickened; add parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Add mixture to cooked pasta. Fold and stir in gently. If necessary, stir in some of the pasta water. Start with a small amount, stir, and add more if needed.

Serve and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from home cooking memories.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

  • 2 bunches spinach
  • 2 c. sliced strawberries
  • ½ c. roasted sunflower seeds
  • DRESSING:
  • ½ c. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp. poppy seeds
  • 1 ½ tbsp. minced onion
  • ¼ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ c. oil (I use canola)
  • ¼ c. cider vinegar

Combine dressing and toss with spinach, strawberries, and sunflower seeds, just before serving.

This recipe is from my fabulous chef/grandmother.  LOVE it!

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My FAVORITE Chocolate Cake Recipe [and easy to make dairy-free!]

I scoured the web for the best chocolate cake, this one wins hands down.  Almost every recipe I found was a variation of this.  It’s also easy to make dairy-free, so it’s pretty much my go-to recipe!  The recipe is at the bottom.  Here are some of the cupcakes I’ve made with this base recipe! [I substituted the cake recipe for this one and followed the filling and frosting recipes. I linked photos where I could]

Black Forest Cupcakes

Double Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cupcakes

German Chocolate Cupcakes

Football Frosted Cupcakes!

The Best Chocolate Cake

  • 1 ¾ c. flour
  • 2 c. granulated sugar
  • ¾ c. cocoa
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • ½ c. vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. hot, freshly brewed coffee

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, soda, baking powder and salt and set aside.  In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla.  Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and mix until well combined.  Add the coffee and mix until the batter has all come together.  It is supposed to be VERY liquidy. [and yes, I know liquidy is not actually a word.  I make words up…]

CUPCAKES:  Pour into prepared cupcake tins and bake for 14 minutes or until a pick inserted into the middle of the cupcake comes out clean.  Makes approx. 75 mini cupcakes.

MINI CUPCAKES: Pour into prepared cupcake tins, 3/4 full, and bake for 20-22 minutes or until a pick inserted into the middle of the cupcake comes out clean.  Makes 24 cupcakes.

CAKE: 8” round. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Makes 2 – 8″ round cakes.

Cool before frosting.

To make dairy-free: Substitute 1 c. buttermilk –> 1 tbsp. white vinegar or lemon juice + enough DF milk (we use coconut or almond) to have a total of one cup  [This is what I end up doing most of the time, but with regular milk, because I never have buttermilk on hand.]

Make sure to find a dairy-free frosting recipe.  It is hard to find tasty ones.  If you have a favorite, please comment!

Adapted from original recipe; originally found here.

Shea’s Carrot Spice Cupcakes

One Tuesday night, my Home Team was waiting for the leader to show up.  All of a sudden, he walks into the room with this chick on his shoulders.  Shea was in the middle of a bout with cancer, bound to a wheelchair, and God brought us all together.  The next few months were rough on Shea, but she taught us all so much about perseverance, joy, and love.  She began losing her hair again.  The guys in our Home Team decided to shave their heads in support of her.  We all ended up having such a good time with it, and you could feel the love in the room.

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The support for Shea was incredible.  She definitely had some tough times, but she always got back up on her feet (figuratively, of course), and so many members of the team came through for her.

Fast forward about a year.  Shea is now cancer free, hair is growing, and still a vivacious woman.  The Home Team ended up splitting up because it got so massive, so a number of us hadn’t seen each other in a long time.  One of the girls planned a celebration for Shea, so that we could praise God for what He has done in her life.  It was so wonderful to see Shea with barely any traces of the cancer.  She still has her scars and her crutches (temporarily), but she is so full of life!

Shea requested some Carrot Spice cupcakes that were relatively healthy – so I got to searching and found this wonderful bundt cake recipe. However, I just love cupcakes [and I didn’t really have time to wait 55 minutes for the cake to bake].  So, I modified and adjusted the recipe. I have adorable mini-bundt cupcake tins that I don’t get to use very often, so I took full advantage!

Shea’s Carrot Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

CAKE:

  • 1 c. old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats
  • 1 ¼ c. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • 2 c. shredded carrots (about 4 medium)
  • 2 eggs or ½ c. fat-free egg product
  • ⅓ c. canola oil
  • 1 ½ c. white whole wheat flour or whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • OR 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • & 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • & 1 tsp. allspice
  • ½ c. raisins (optional)

FROSTING: (If you just want a dollop on each cupcake, do a half recipe)

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • ½ c. butter, softened
  • 2 c. sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

FOR THE CAKE: Heat oven to 350°F. Spray mini-bundt cupcake pan or standard cupcake pan with cooking spray.  (My favorite is the baking spray – oil and flour).

In large bowl, mix oats, applesauce, brown sugar, carrots, egg product and oil with spoon until well mixed. Stir in remaining cake ingredients just until moistened. Pour into prepared tins, ½ – ⅔ full.

Bake 18-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan briefly. Remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely.

FOR THE FROSTING: In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar.  I piped a dollop on each mini bundt cupcake using a large star tip.  I also made some standard cupcakes and piped it on there like normal.  [see this post for tips]  Store frosted cupcakes in refrigerator; remove about an hour before serving.

Cake recipe adapted from bettycrocker.com; frosting recipe found at allrecipes.com.