Tag Archives: 30 minutes or less

Recipe for My Creamy Spinach Pasta with Grilled Chicken

A couple of weeks ago I got a craving for some pasta with a creamy, spinach sauce and some grilled chicken on top.  Yesterday, I finally decided to make it for myself for lunch and it was delicious!  I usually make creamed spinach from scratch, but I didn’t have any fresh spinach in the house so I improvised.

1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tbsp of minced shallot
9 oz box of frozen, creamed spinach
Milk
Pepper and nutmeg to taste
Butter
Asiago cheese, freshly grated
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
You favorite pasta, cooked

I fired up my countertop grill/griddle with the grill plates, rubbed a little Wegmans Basting Oil onto the chicken breasts and grilled them for 4 minutes with the grill top down.  I put the frozen, creamed spinach in the microwave to thaw.

I heated 1/2 tbsp of butter into a small saucepan (you can use any kind of oil, instead, if you like) and sautéed the shallot for 5 minutes until very soft.  Then I tossed in the garlic and sautéed for another minute or two until the garlic was cooked (you can smell the difference) but didn’t brown.

Then I added in the thawed, creamed spinach and heated it up.  I added some 1% milk (you could also use heavy cream), probably about 1/2 cup, but you can add more or less to get the thin or thick consistency you want. Once the milk was heated through and I had the consistency I wanted, I turned off the heat and grated a palmful of Asiago cheese into the pan, stirring until it melted.  I just happened to have received a hunk of asiago cheese for Christmas, but you can use Parmesan, Romano, whatever you have.

Then I added pepper and nutmeg to taste.  I have the actual “nuts” and love grating some fresh nutmeg into spinach dishes and broccoli soups.  Mmmmm!  I have heard many TV chefs say that if you don’t have fresh nutmeg to grate into a dish, don’t bother putting any in, like the nutmeg in spice jars won’t add any benefit to a dish or will ruin it.  However, I am sure many generations of pie bakers out there would disagree!  ;o)

This made enough sauce for 3 servings of pasta.  I removed 2/3 of the sauce from the pan to a tupperware bowl to save for later, and added 1 portion of spaghetti (my pasta of choice) into the saucepan and mixed it in with the sauce.

I put the pasta with creamy spinach sauce in a bowl, topped it with half a chicken breast, sliced up, and then grated some more Asiago on top of the chicken.  Man, was it good!  And everything, including cooking the pasta, took less than 30 minutes; a perfectly doable lunch.

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think!

Grilled Bruschetta Chicken

Here’s another great recipe that my friend, Julia, shared with me – Grilled Bruschetta Chicken from Kraft Foods.  I declared it International Night in our house and made Grilled Bruschetta Chicken, guacamole and fried rice for dinner.  :o)  This chicken dish is easy and fast, a great last minute entree you can throw together in 30 minutes or less.  It’s so easy, that I don’t even follow the recipe measurements; I just eyeball and dump things together, depending on how many I’m cooking for.  So here we go…

You only need 5 ingredients: chicken, sun-dried tomato vinaigrette (or just Italian dressing if that’s what you’ve got), basil, fresh tomato and mozzarella cheese.  First, pour some dressing over the chicken.

While the chicken is marinating, wash and chop a tomato and fresh basil.
Combine chopped tomato, basil, mozzarella cheese and a squirt or two of dressing.

Heat an indoor or outdoor grill and place chicken on grill.  Now, the recipe says to cook the chicken breasts for 6 min on the 1st side and 8 min on the 2nd.  I buy the 10# bag of Perdue Perfect Portions Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts form Costco.  Each piece of chicken is fairly thin and weighs approx. 5 oz.  So I only need to cook them 3-4 minutes a side.

Flip the chicken breasts over, cover with your tomato/basil/cheese/dressing mixture and finish cooking. If you are cooking on an outdoor grill, flip the chicken over onto a piece of foil and then top with your mixture.  The foil will catch any topping from running off the chicken and going down into your grill.

TA-DA!  That’s it!

Leftover Wednesday – Salad!

The hubs was really in the mood for a salad and I caught the fever.  Except for a BBQ, what says “Summer” more than a fresh salad?!  So, I pulled all of these ingredients out of the fridge and off the window sill to make dinner tonight:
I threw all seen above, including some shredded cheddar not pictured, into the fabulous, wooden salad bowl my MIL gave me for Christmas several years ago.  It was so delicious! Unfortunately, the avocados I wanted to include expired yesterday and did not make it in the salad.  :o(  There were leftovers for the hubs to take to work with him tomorrow for lunch, as well as for me to eat for lunch.  :oD

California Club Sandwiches

Doesn’t that look delicious?  I didn’t feel like cooking anything for dinner last night so I made sammies. This was the hubs sandwich, a California Club.  I toasted my new favorite sandwich bread, Arnold’s Oatnut, followed by:

  • Mayo
  • Cheese
  • Lettuce
  • Locally grown heirloom tomatoes (makes all the difference in the world!)
  • Thick-cut applewood smoked bacon
  • Wegman’s honey smoked turkey
  • Avocado
When I dress up a plain ole turkey and cheese sandwich into a gourmet one that you can get in a restaurant, you have something dinner-worthy, delicious and filling.  Enjoy!

Leftover Wednesday – Trial & Error Chicken

Saturday through Tuesday we were out of town, visiting my in-laws at their Summer home in the mountains of western North Carolina.  The hubs and I thought we had emptied the fridge of all potentially lethal-foods-if-left-unattended-in-the-fridge before we left, but we were mistaken.  ;o)  We came home to a smelly fridge and it took me a bit to identify the culprits – decaying cilantro and an avocado past its prime.
I awoke this morning with the intent to go mega-grocery shopping since there was not much in the house, but the hubs had other plans.  I am so impressed with the progress this man has made during our 17 years together!  He declared that since tomorrow, Thursday, was our BIG shopping day, we should “make do” with what we had today.  So, after taking B to see the movie, Brave, this afternoon, the hubs and B went off to the range, and I was left to figure out what to make for dinner (popcorn at the theater was lunch).  As you know, I always have chicken breasts on hand and usually chicken wings, pork chops and ground beef.  Before leaving for the range, the hubs said we can do “something” with chicken breasts.
I opened the fridge, stared and tried to receive inspiration.  I saw Brussels sprouts (thank you, Robin D., for correcting me on my reference of this vegetable!) and grape tomatoes, both of which were on the cusp of being thrown out.  Finally, inspiration hit me – Grilled Bruschetta Chicken!  I love this recipe!  It’s one of the recipes my friend, Julia, passed onto me.  Although I did not have Kraft’s Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette Dressing on hand, I had over a pint of grape tomatoes, and I figured I could make something close to that.  I was patting myself on the back for such brilliance (waaaaay too early, it turns out).

 

I looked online for recipes of Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette and decided I could substitute the “sun-dried tomatoes” with oven-roasting the grape tomatoes I had on hand.  @@ (That mean “eye rolling” in type.  You may already know that, but Idid not always know that, so I am sharing in case you did not know that).  Then I looked online for a recipe to slow-roast tomatoes.  I found 2 that I liked.  One called for roasted grape tomatoes (which I had) for 3 hours at 225 degrees and one called for roasting plum tomatoes (which I did not have) at 450 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  Since it was already 4:20pm and I did not have 3 hours to roast said tomatoes, I opted for the higher temp/shorter time recipe.  Unfortunately, I didnot allot for the fact that I had grape tomatoes and the recipe called for plum tomatoes.  So, I cut all the viable grape tomatoes in half, sprayed them with grape seed oil (I am allergic to olive oil), grinded fresh pepper corns over them and sprinkled them with Kosher salt.
Don’ they look nice?!
I put them in an oven set on Convection Roast for 30 minutes and they came out looking like this…
OK.  So my attempt at Grilled Bruschetta Chicken! did not go as planned.  You know what?!  My “vacation” away with the in-laws did not go “as planned” either, but I was not going to be defeated.  By now, it was after 5pm, so I made myself a drink, and knew the hubs would help me figure out dinner when he and B came home from the range.  And he did!  He went out back and snipped some of our fresh herbs:
He snipped Rosemary and Thyme and mixed them with Panko bread crumbs, salt, pepper and I added Parmesan cheese and did the traditional flour, egg wash, seasoned bread crumb mixture into a pan with oil.  And that’s all we had for dinner – chicken.  No Veg.  No starch.  Just chicken.  And it was so wonderful and flavorful that we did not need anything else!  We went/are going to bed as happy campers with full bellies!  Woohoo for Leftover Wednesday!
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