Cajun Chicken Shrimp Orzo

I’m always trying to mix it up in the kitchen because we get bored EASILY! So I always think of recipes we love them and remix them in some type of way, whether it’s switching out a vegetable or protein or using a different base. This time I decided to make Cajun Shrimp & Chicken with orzo instead of the usual penne or fettuccine. I also added spinach because sneaking in green veggies never hurts. And to make it even easier I made this a one pot dish!Let’s cook!

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 large chicken breasts cut into cubes
  • 1 pound of raw shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 2-3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil or your oil of choice just make sure it can handle high heat (ex: avocado oil)
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic minced
  • Bell peppers of choice diced (I did a combination of half a red, green & orange pepper)
  • 1-1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream
  • 3-4 cups of chicken broth or 2-3 chicken bouillon cubes with 3-4 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms sliced (optional)
  • 1 bag of spinach
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of orzo
  • Cajun seasoning- I used Tony’s, a New Orleans seasoning from Dollar Tree, garlic and onion powder and black pepper

Directions:

Season chicken and shrimp with spices (remember to go light, you can always add more spices later but it’s harder to take it away. In a heavy pot, add olive oil and butter on medium high heat. Add diced onions & peppers and sauté for 30-60 seconds. Add minced garlic and cubed chicken. Cook for 3-5 minutes or chicken is no longer pink. It may not be done but it will finish cooking throughout the meal. Add mushrooms if using and cook for 1 minute. Add orzo and let cook with mixture for 1-2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth. Let come to a boil stirring frequently for about 3 minutes. Turn heat to low, cover with lid for 10 minutes. Turn heat up to medium, stir in heavy whipping cream. Once incorporated stir in fresh spinach. Once spinach is mostly wilted stir in shrimp. Turn heat back to low and cover with lid for about 5 minutes or until pasta is al dente and shrimp is cooked.

I served this meal with the Artisan bread I made the day before. You can add a salad or steamed veggies (or not since we added spinach lol) and top with Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of fresh basil.

As always I hope you try this recipe and if you do, tag me @severalpeoplesmama on Instagram because I love seeing your version of the recipe!

Love Ricki

Chicken Pesto Ring

Y’all know I love a good ring made with crescent rolls! Y’all seem to love them too and this one will be no different! I mean one of the things I’m most known for is the infamous Taco Ring lol. So I decided to take the Chicken Pesto Ranch recipe we enjoy so much and added to a ring and it was the bomb.com (do people still say that? well I just did). I came about this when I made pepperoni rolls and because my kids are greedy I decided to make a chicken version as well. Sometimes their greed pays off lol. Let’s make this ring!

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 chicken breasts or chicken tenderloins
  • Jarred pesto
  • 1/2 cup to Half and half or heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cans of crescent rolls
  • 1-2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup of grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Dry ranch dressing mix
  • Seasoning- I used Montreal Chicken, garlic powder, garlic salt
  • 1-2 tbsp of lemon juice
  • Bacon bits (optional)
  • 2 tbsp of butter

Directions:

Preheat oven on 375. Season chicken with seasoning, ranch dressing mix, and you can also add a tbsp of pesto. Cook chicken on stove or grill or in the oven until cooked thru. Set aside to cool. Don’t chop until cooled or you will dry it out. Now let’s make a sauce. Melt butter in saucepan on medium high heat, then add half and half or heavy whipping cream. Add garlic salt, 2 tbsp of pesto and bring to a simmer. Whisk in Parmesan cheese until melted. Turn off sauce and it will thicken when it cools. Chop chicken in bite size pieces. Lay out crescent rolls in star pattern in sheet pan. Add thin layer of sauce. Add layer of chicken then bacon bits of using and then cheese. Fold over crescent rolls points. Bake in oven for 15 to 20 minutes until crescent rolls are baked fully.

I paired this with Caprese salad and it was soo good. Easy to make too so it’s perfect for a Saturday meal or lunch. Make sure to tag me if you make this @severalpeoplesmama on IG!

Love Ricki

Shrimp Scampi

This is one of my quick go to meals because I know it is something my whole family loves. We love seafood especially shrimp and the pasta makes the dish filling. I also love this recipe because it doesn’t use a cream sauce which is sometimes to heavy for us particularly in the Spring and Summer seasons. Just a tip if you are making this mean use larger shrimp and use raw shrimp it helps tremendous with the flavor rather than the already cooked shrimp!

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 lbs of peeled and deveined large shrimp – can be frozen but make sure you thaw them out in cold water
  • 2 sticks of butter (yes there is lots of butter)
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 4-5 cloves of minced garlic (can use the jarred but fresh does taste better as this is a light dish and every flavor counts)
  • Seasonings – Italian seasoning, garlic salt, garlic powder, pepper, dried basil or fresh (fresh is better)
  • 1 -2 lemons or ¼ cup of lemon juice
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 package of angel hair pasta

Directions:

Prepare pasta according to package. I add oil and salt to water so pasta doesn’t stick. Also reserve about a cup of the pasta water after cooking. Season shrimp with seasonings except fresh basil if using. Melt olive oil and butter on medium heat in saucepan. Add fresh garlic to the pan and then shrimp a few seconds after. Toss shrimp in butter and garlic and add juice from one lemon. Continue to sauté shrimp until cooked. Taste sauce to see if more seasoning is needed. Add pasta and toss with shrimp. If more liquid is needed add pasta water slowly until satisfied. Top with fresh basil and grated parmesan cheese.

Pair this with a salad and a good garlic bread to soak up the sauce and you have a really delicious meal!

I hope you try this and if so make sure to tag me on Instagram @severalpeoplesmama. I will be back with some new recipes I’ve been trying soon!

Love Ricki

Faux Margaritas and Mexican Pizza

It’s going UP ON A TUESDAY!!! Since we can celebrate as we normally do I decided to host a Cinco de Mayo VIRTUAL Fiesta and I’ve invited everyone I know to join and cook along with me on Tuesday at 7 pm CST on my Instagram live (@severalpeoplesmama) In order for everyone to be on the same page I have posted a menu and grocery list on my Instagram page and below. I’ve linked my White Queso recipe here and the rest is below. I am excited to see y’all tomorrow night!

Recipes:

Faux Margaritas- you can make these Margaritas according to your preference. If you like a sweeter margarita add more lime sherbet. If you like a tangier one, add less and more ice. This recipe is adapted from Scissors and Spatulas.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of ice
  • 1 quart of lime sherbet- use less for a tangier version
  • 1 can of frozen lime concentrate or frozen margarita mix. This can be found in the frozen juice section of your grocery store.
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1-2 cups of ice
  • 2-4 shots of tequila (optional)
  • 1 lime cut in slices for garnish

Directions:

Add ingredients to a blender and blend! This makes a pitcher of margaritas to enjoy. Leave out the tequila for the kids and just add a shot to yours as a topper. See family friendly lol!

Mexican Pizza:

  • 2- 2 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 packet of ranch dressing mix
  • 2 packet taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • Garlic and onion powder

Side note: Since we are making nachos I included larger quantities of the ingredients above so you can cook enough meat for the pizza and nachos. You will use half for the Mexican pizza

  • 1 can (15 oz) refried beans
  • 1 can (10 oz) enchilada sauce
  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes or pico de Gallo
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 8 flour tortillas, taco size
  • 1 Tbls vegetable oil or cooking spray
  • Green onions, black olives, sour cream, salsa and guacamole for toppings

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet brown ground beef, breaking up into small pieces. Once cooked, add taco seasoning, ranch seasoning, garlic and onion powder and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed. Taste to see if you need salt. This ground beef mixture should be thick just like Taco Bell’s.

In a large skillet or griddle pour half of the oil or spray with oil spray generously into the pan. Heat over medium high heat. Add tortillas and cook for 4-5 minutes, flipping frequently, until crisp. Repeat with remaining tortillas and add more oil or spray if needed.

Spread about 1/4 cup of beans evenly over the bottom of each tortilla. Top with taco meat. Place another tortilla over the top of the meat. Spread about 2 Tbls of enchilada sauce evenly over the tortilla. Sprinkle the cheese in an even layer over the top. You can add green onions, tomatoes or pico and black olives now or you can add directly after the pizzas are out of the oven while cheese is still hot. Place each pizza on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes until the cheese is melted and everything is hot. Slice and serve. Feel free to add toppings of choice.

Hope to see y’all Tuesday night on IG love at 7 pm and if not you can still have a fiesta whenever at your home by trying these recipes.

Shrimp Stuffed Shells with Easy Garlic Bread

This recipe right here!!! If you know us you know we absolutely LOVE seafood and almost any recipe that uses it is a winner in our book. This dinner did not disappoint! We used shrimp but you could add crab meat or crawfish or switch it out completely and use chicken. And the garlic bread is so easy to prep and make and tastes so much better than store bought. We truly enjoyed this meal and we hope you try it and enjoy it as well. Let’s cook!

Ingredients (For Shells)

  • 1 box of jumbo shells
  • 1/2 to 1 lb of shrimp (you can use precooked but I prefer raw so the shrimp are not overcooked)
  • 4 tbsp of butter, divided
  • 2-3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 3 tbsp of minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 bag of fresh spinach (can use frozen just pre cook in microwave and make sure to squeeze out as much liquid as you can)
  • 1 block of cream cheese (softened)
  • 1-2 cups of shredded cheese, Italian mix
  • 1-2 cups of shredded cheese, Mozzarella
  • 1-2 cups of Parmesan cheese (you can use grated but I prefer the fresh for this recipe. You can find it in the refrigerated section of your grocery store)
  • 2 cups of half and half or heavy whipping cream or combo of both
  • 1/2 cup of white wine (optional or you can use chicken broth or water and a bouillon cube)
  • 1 cup of sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • Seasonings: I used garlic salt & powder, onion powder, ranch dressing mix, Cajun seasoning and Italian seasoning

Directions:

Cook shells was directed. I add oil and salt to my water. Drain and set aside to cool. Reserve a cup of pasta water. Spray with cooking spray so your shells won’t stick together. Melt 1-2 tbsp of butter with the olive oil in a skillet on medium. Add onions and 2 tbsp of garlic and sauté. Add mushrooms if using. Cook til soft. Add spinach and sauté til wilted. Finally add shrimp. I did preseason my shrimp with garlic powder and Cajun seasoning. Cook shrimp til almost thru. Do not overcook. Drain shrimp and veggie mixture and add to a bowl with softened cream cheese. Keep the liquid and place back in the pan after draining as this is the base for our sauce. Combine shrimp mixture with cream cheese and add Italian mix cheese and Parmesan cheese if using. Lightly season mixture with garlic powder, ranch dressing mix and onion powder.

Now let’s make the sauce. With liquid in pan turn on high heat. Add white wine and let alcohol cook off which should be 3-5 minutes. Turn heat to medium high and add another tablespoon butter and the remaining tbsp of minced garlic. Stir til melted. Whisk in half and half or heavy whipping cream. Once it starts simmering add Parmesan cheese by whisking in slowly and add seasonings. Turn heat to medium low and let simmer for about 3-5 minutes. Don’t walk away because you don’t want to burn your sauce. Make sure to taste sauce to see if you need additional seasoning. Turn off and cover. While sauce is sitting it will thicken. If you need to thin it out add pasta water while on low heat. Add 1/4 cup of sauce to bottom of 9×13 baking dish. Go ahead and stuff your shells with the shrimp mixture and add to dish. Once dish is full cover the shells with sauce. Spread layer of Italian cheese mix and Mozzarella on top. I also sprinkled Parmesan cheese and a shake of Italian seasoning. Bake on 350 for about 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted thru. I also placed my dish under the broiler for 2-3 minutes because I love those brown bits of cheese. Enjoy with Easy Garlic Bread and a side salad.

Easy Garlic Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of softened butter (not melted) just let it sit out on the counter that morning
  • 1 tbsp of minced garlic
  • 1 tsp of garlic salt
  • 1 tsp of Italian seasoning
  • Fresh basil (optional)
  • 1 squeeze of fresh lemon (optional)
  • 1 loaf of French or Italian bread cut in half lengthwise
  • Italian cheese (optional)

Directions:

Turn on broiler. Mix butter and seasonings & lemon juice together. Spread on bread. I add cheese to one half of the loaf and leave the other half with just the butter. Put under broiler for 2-3 minutes. Watch closely and don’t walk away or you will burn the bread (ask me how I know lol). Serve with your favorite pasta dish.

I can’t tell y’all again how delicious this meal was! We will be adding this to our dinner rotation. I added video from when I made this in my highlights on my IG page so go there if you need a little help and I am always available in the DMs! Also tag me if you make this!

Love Ricki