Chicken Pasta with Buttery Lemon Sauce

I tend to like slightly tart food more than really spicy food (although I will NEVER turn down good Mexican food...) but I wasn't sure about this recipe at first. I was wrong. This is really good, and better than that, really fast. Original recipe here, but I've made several changes.

1 chicken breast
1 cup whole wheat rotini pasta
1/3-1/2 lb asparagus, 1.5" lengths
1 cup frozen peas
1 Tlbs butter
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
1.25 cups chicken broth
2 tsp cornstarch
3/4 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
juice of half a lemon (1-2 Tlbs)
dash of salt
1/4-1/2 tsp ground pepper
dash of red pepper flakes

Saute the chicken in a skillet (or grill it if you are lucky enough to have one of those), then set it aside. Meanwhile, boil the pasta. During the last two minutes, toss in the asparagus and the peas, then drain and set it aside. When the chicken is done, put the butter in the pan and saute the garlic for a minute or so. Mix the chicken broth and cornstarch together, then add it to the pan. Bring it to a boil, then let it thicken, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes. Take the mixture off the heat, and mix the yogurt, lemon, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes together. Add the yogurt mixture to the garlic/broth mixture, and stir to combine. Pour the sauce over the pasta, peas and asparagus. Top with grated parmesan and serve with chicken (this makes two servings).

This was really good and definitely kicky. Also, it is ridiculously fast. Including grilling the chicken, it took me about 20 minutes from prep to serve....just the kind of meal I like after a day of school and meetings. Changes I made were to change the heavy cream to Greek yogurt, increase the amount of sauce and decrease the amount of pasta, increased the amount of pepper and decreased the amount of lemon and salt, and dramatically increased the amount of garlic (although I did have small cloves...there was probably 1 Tlbs chopped).

Rating - 4.5/5
Why? Despite all the changes (I made this on Saturday night with a friend too), I still think it is a little too lemony (I reduced the amount of lemon above). However I do love that it is sooooo fast and easy, relatively healthy, and very filling.


Decadent Chocolate& Peanut Butter Cupcakes

This is is no way a healthy recipe, in any way, shape or form, but oh well. I started with this recipe from pinterest, but did make some changes to it, and will probably continue to modify it.

Cupcake Ingredients:
1 package Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
2 Tlbs powdered cocoa
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/3 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups dark chocolate chips
1 package Reese's peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients but the chocolate chips and peanut butter cups together until there are no lumps. Fold in the chocolate chips. In a muffin tin, put in the cupcake liners, then spray the liners with evoo. Put one of the peanut butter cups in the bottom of each cupcake liner, then top with the chocolate mix. Fill the cupcakes liners completely to the top and bake for 20 minutes*. Let cupcakes cool for 5 minutes in pan before removing, and let them cool completely before frosting. I was able to make 24 cupcakes with this recipe.

* Original recipe says 15-17 minutes, but mine were raw in the middle with that time.

1/2 cup of butter - room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk (more or less)*
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup Nutella**

Put all ingredients into a bowl and whip on high speed until smooth, then ice cupcakes.

* I used closer to 3/4-1 cup of milk....the frosting needs to be smooth
** I used dark chocolate hazelnut spread I got at World Market. It was excellent. Regular Nutella would also be quite good, I am thinking. The original recipe called for peanut butter, which I'm sure would also be very good.

These were really good, but very sweet. I think I would make the following changes the next time I made these:
1. I would NOT use cake mix. I did not grow up on cake mix, so I don't care for the texture of it. I would probably use this recipe, modified to include peanut butter. It is more moist and less crumbly and not as sweet....and I recognize all the ingredients.
2. I would put a 1/4" layer of batter down before putting in the peanut butter cup. These turned out a little crunchy on the bottom.

Rating - 3.5/5
Why? The reasons above.