August 23, 2008
One of my favorite favorite cooking blogs is Ree’s. The recipes simple and easy-to-follow, and actually include ingredients that I’ve HEARD OF and can FIND AT THE STORE, both steps that are very important, obviously. (Nothing like reading a recipe and going ‘What the heck is that? What aisle would that be in? Do they even SELL that at my Giant Eagle?’) And I can’t tell you how many times I have found myself laughing at her posts- anytime you can blend humor with cooking? You become my hero.
And the pictures she takes of the food while she’s cooking are just amazing. I love how it tells a story of the cooking process, rather than just listing the ingredients and listing the steps. So while I was cooking dinner the other night, I was inspired and thought ‘Hey! I’m gonna give that a shot!’ Now, my pictures aren’t nearly as awesome as Ree’s, and I don’t claim to be Expert In The Kitchen. But I can tell you one thing: I don’t know HOW she does this a few times a week. It was hard to take pictures of every step! I kept getting all wrapped up in the cooking process (and also taking breaks to wrangle a certain 16-month-old who kept wandering into the kitchen while I was working- didn’t she know Sesame Street was on TV?? GO WATCH ELMO, YOU LOVE ELMO!) But, it was fun. And yummy.
The dinner I made was actually a combination of a recipe from Ree’s blog with another recipe I had for Sun-dried Tomato Cream sauce with Chicken. The sun-dried tomato recipe was less pasta-y and more just bake the chicken breasts in the sauce and serve over pasta if desired. But I thought I’d mix it up and combine the 2 recipes to include the sun-dried tomatoes in the other sauce and see how it worked. Verdict? OH MY LORD, SO GOOD.
Sun-dried Tomato Cream Sauce Pasta with Chicken
Makes: A CRAPLOAD. Seriously- Dan and I each had some for dinner, plus Maggie, and I had some for lunch yesterday and today, and there’s still probably 3 good helpings left. So it easily feeds 6 people.
1 box of short pasta (penne, rotini, etc)
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 small onion
minced garlic (as much as you like!)
butter (just a little bit)
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz tomato sauce
1 bay leaf
1-2 cups sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 cup chopped basil
salt & pepper to taste
Okay, here we go!
Chop an onion and throw it in a saucepan with some olive oil and butter. (I don’t know how much, just ‘some’. heh.) Also- don’t forget the garlic! (I used minced jarred stuff because Me = Lazy Cheater.)
Cook until soft, and then add the tomato sauce.
Oops. I’m a very messy cook.
Add the heavy cream- mix well. MMM, look how yummy!
Throw in a bay leaf too (not sure the point of this, but it was in the other recipe so I added it.) Next up, the sun-dried tomatoes.
I just got a small jar of them and then chopped them up a bit. I forgot to take a picture of how small I chopped them (see above, 16-month-old Wrangling.) so I tried to demonstrate here:
After it was all over, I decided that I should have made them a bit smaller. Note for next time.
You’re going to want to let the sauce simmer for a good 20-30 minutes. So while that’s going, get some water boiling for the pasta. I usually add some salt to the water (just a little bit though, don’t go crazy!)
Next up, the chicken. You could always leave this out and use some sort of veggies instead, or use shrimp (as in Ree’s recipe) But I’m not a seafood eater, so I use chicken. Slice the chicken into strips.
Then throw them into a skillet with some olive oil. Oh- AND GARLIC. You can add a bit of black pepper here too.
Whoops! Water’s boiling! Better get the pasta in!
I used rotini pasta because, well, that’s just what was in the cupboard. Someone wasn’t paying attention when she made the grocery list last week. Usually I would use penne, but really I guess it’s just a personal preference.
Okay while that’s all going, we can chop the basil. Question: Is there anything that smells better than fresh basil? MMMM.
Now, here is where I will admit something: I have no idea if I chop my basil correctly. The term is ‘chiffonade’ and I have yet to determine if that’s just a fancy term for ‘chop it up into long strip-like pieces’ or if there’s a reason for it having a fancy French name. Basically, I just roll them up and chop away.
Sure smells good though.
Let’s check on that chicken.
And the sauce? Looks good- give it a stir every once in a while.
While I was waiting, I thought I’d chop some veggies and lettuce for a salad. I chopped and chopped and chopped lettuce for like AN HOUR, I swear.
Or not. heh.
Oooh the pasta’s done! Time to drain it.
Let’s add some pepper and the basil to the sauce now.
Warning- don’t move to fast here or you’ll drop the spoon and get sauce all over your shirt and the floor. I’m just sayin’.
New spoon! Stirring the sauce!
Let’s take out that bay leaf now. (Seriously, does this actually do anything or is it just another reason for me to spend $3 at the grocery store?)
Okay, so the pasta is ready, sauce is done, chicken is cooked. Let’s mix it all together!
mmmmmm… excuse me while I drool.
Top it with some grated parmesan cheese and a salad and you’ve got a yummy dinner.
That phone there? That was from The Husband calling to say he was going to be late getting home from work. Again. After I slaved ALL DAY (or 40 minutes) making him this delicious meal. Bah.
At least Maggie and I enjoyed it.