It’s no secret I’m not much in the kitchen. I can cook a few essentials. I know how to make all the basics and I have about half a dozen real recipes in my repertoire. I’m pretty useless at baking because it’s too precise, but cooking I can manage if I’m pointed in the right direction.
But, with a baby on the way, Rob and I are reconsidering the way we grocery shop and eat, which means it’s time I MOM up and learn some new recipes.
I dug around a bit and found a new way to make cream sauce. So simple too, just two ingredients. So I went to my default favorite and used it to whip up some pasta. In an attempt to be healthy I typically use Wegmans Super Pasta instead of regular white or whole wheat pasta. I like all the extra fiber, omega-3’s, and protein it packs in. I also used fat free half and half and part skim mozzarella instead of using the real stuff. It still comes out plenty creamy with wayyyyyy less fat in it.
Yes that is a Wegman Pizza Cheese container, which is made from whole milk. There was a pinch left in there and then I refilled it with the part skin stuff. Ignore it.
Pop open the jar of sundried tomatoes and pour about half the EVOO that they’re packed in into a deep sauce pan. Finely dice two to three cloves of garlic and toss them in for a minute or two. After that, pull out all the sundried tomatoes and toss them in with the garlic. I bought my tomatoes packed in EVOO with Italian seasoning. If you got unseasoned ones throw some basil in there too (pictured above) to add in some flavor. While those cook together, cut up about half an onion to a whole onion depending on your preference. Add that in and stir it all together. Cut up your two or three red peppers then toss those in as well. You’ll want to cook everything together for about ten minutes until the red peppers are soft.
While all that yumminess cooks together, put your pasta in water in a pot and get that going.
Then you’ll want to start cutting up your chicken and throw a few dashes of paprika on it. I bought chicken breast strips that were pounded thin already.
Once that’s seasoned throw it in with the veggie mix and stir occasionally until chicken is cooked through. If you go with pounded thin chicken it cooks up a lot faster.
Now for the yummiest part; the sauce! I made mine using one and a half cups of half and half as well as a cup of mozzarella. Pour your half and half over the chicken and veggies, stir for a second, then add in the cheese, stir well and let simmer for about 3-4 minutes. Give it a good stir and make sure all the cheese is melting and add in crushed red pepper. I add this by taste. If you like it spicy you might want a good tablespoon or two. I personally just take the shake control plastic piece off my container and dump in what I think looks good and taste test it until I get it where I like it. You might be more into measuring though, because many people are better cooks than I. Simmer and stir for about 7-8 minutes until cheese is melted and sauce begins to thicken.
By now your pasta should be done. Save about one cup of the pasta water then drain the rest. Add pasta to the sauce pan with everything else in it and fold everything together well. If the sauce is too think or not covering enough to your liking, slowly add in the pasta water and fold it in as you do. Give it a minute to cook, reassess, and add more a needed. I used about half a cup or so.
Let everything sort of cook and meld together for a couple of minutes then serve. You can sprinkle on more basil and crushed red pepper, or a little Parmesan cheese. Whatever makes you happy. I served mine with more spices.
The dish is pretty darn good and pretty easy to make too. It also make a lot of food, enough to serve a whole family with left overs. Or if you’re like me, it’ll be a weeks worth of dinners for yourself.
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 1 medium onion
- 2-3 red peppers
- 1 jar seasoned sun dried tomatoes
- 1lbs thin pounded chicken breast
- 1 cup part skim mozzarella cheese
- 1-1/2 cup fat free half and half
- 1 box of enriched whole grain pasta
- 1 cup pasta water reserve
- 1-2 teaspoons peprika
- 1-2 tablespoons crushed red pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons basil (optional)
- Pour half the EVOO our of the jar of sun dried tomatoes and heat. Add finely diced garlic to EVOO and cook 1-2 minutes. Add in the full jar of sun dried tomatoes. Start water boiling in separate pot and add pasta to cook.
- Dice onion and add to pan. Cup red pepper into strips and add to pan. Cook about 10 minutes or until red peppers are soft. Add basil if tomatoes were not seasoned.
- Cut chicken into bite sizes and sprinkle with paprika. Add to pan and stir everything together. Cook until chicken is cooked all the way through.
- Add half and half and mozzarella cheese. Stir well then let simmer until cheese melts all the way through. Add in crushed red pepper, stir and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
- Reserve one cup of the pasta water then drain the rest. Add cooked pasta to pan and stir everything together. Add pasta water as need to create more sauce. Stir together well and let cook for about 4-5 more minutes.
- Serve onto plate and garnish with either more basil and crushed red pepper or Parmesan cheese.