May 13, 2011

Swappin' Suppers

A friend of mine is pregnant, and has a current aversion to all things meat. This got my wheels turning back to the time when I too, felt the same passionate hatred for chicken, etc. One pregnancy I could only eat chicken, another no meat at all. Funny how those things happen. Anyway, in this sequence of random thoughts, I remembered a pasta dish I made and told her about it. So since I am typing out the recipe anyway, I thought I'd share it here on the blog. Of course, it actually does contain chicken, but for anyone with a current gag reflex at the mere thought, omit whatever makes ya green. I'm not in the baby growin' phase around here, so bring it on.

Chicken and Spring Vegetables Pasta tossed in a Light Lemon Sauce

No, the honey isn't part of the recipe. Just where my hubby left it from his oats this morning and I forgot to remove it from the picture.

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 yellow onion
3-4 carrots
2 medium sized zucchini
3-5 yellow squash 
1/2 head of broccoli, cut in to florets
1 1/2 cups green peas
2 lemons 
Grill Seasoning
Salt, Pepper, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Chicken broth
Pasta (I use 1 box, any shape)
WARNING: I tried to be as precise as possible, but I'm more of a method cook rather than a recipe cook. Like your grandmother-a little of this and a pinch of that.

Start by cutting the chicken into cutlets. You can waste money buy them already cut this way, but I prefer to buy in bulk at Costco so for those of you on board with me, here's how I do it:

Forgive the handless demonstration. :) I was flying solo in the kitchen, and hey, I never claimed to be Rachael Ray. Anyway, I slice the chicken into about 3 pieces per breast, trying to keep all the pieces about the same thickness. Doesn't always work, but I'm okay with that. If I find one piece to be extremely thicker than the rest, I will pound it out between wax paper with a meat mallet or a heavy skillet. Sometimes I do that anyway with all the pieces. On this night, notsomuch. 

Next, I season the chicken with Grill Seasoning. Use whatever brand you like, I'm a McCormick girl myself:                                          
I then transfer the chicken to a preheated skillet coated with EVOO (extra virgin olive oil-I know ya'll watch Rachael.)
  Let the chicken cook until golden brown on both sides and the juices run clear. Then transfer to a plate and cover in foil.
While the chicken is still in the skillet, I usually chop or finish chopping my veggies.  This particular night I was on the ball and actually had most of them already chopped (which is why I had time to take a million pics before dinner was ready!) so I didn't have much prep. I did, however take that time to zest my lemons and then juice them. Whenever you prep (even the day before is fine) keep your "hard veggies" separate from the softer ones. I usually start with the carrots and onions, since they take a few extra minutes to get tender.(I didn't know the skillet looked so burnt already in this picture. Oh well.)
 Once those have started working a few minutes I add everything else to the skillet. (If you are including quick-to-soften items like the green peas, don't put them in just yet.)


Let the veggies saute for a minute or two and then add the chicken broth to the pan. This will usually give you one big sizzle-don't worry! Just rub a wooden spoon along the bottom under those veggies. It will loosen up those bits of flavor-yum! This is also a good time to throw in the zest and any other seasoning you want to flavor the dish with. I use salt and pepper, and sometimes a little garlic. Meanwhile, throw the pasta in some boiling, salted water. Add the peas (if you are using them) for the last minute or so of boiling. Remember not to overcook your pasta, you want it to still have a "bite" to it.         

 Drain the pasta and peas, then add them to the skillet with the veggies. TURN OFF THE HEAT. (This will keep the lemon juice from cooking and tasting bitter.)Pour the lemon juice over the pasta/veggie mixture.
 Remove the foil from your plate of reserved chicken and cut it into bite sized pieces. Toss it in the pasta and veggie mixture. 
  Toss once more to fully incorporate everything, then serve. I top mine with some freshly grated parmesan cheese. Or, in a pinch (like this occasion) I use the already grated stuff. ;)

Of course, if you didn't already know this about me, I rarely make the same recipe twice. I just don't like to follow directions very well, so I usually wind up experimenting or just using what I have on hand when a craving strikes. This particular day was the first time I included broccoli, and I usually make this dish with mini-farfalle pasta (tiny bowties!). Oh, and I have been known to make this a slightly thicker sauce by using a little a/p flour and butter. But this was a pretty guilt-free version. I hope you enjoy!



No comments:

Post a Comment

Now its your turn....what are your thoughts?