Italian Chicken Breast with Cheese Tortellini and Tomatoes

Once again my wife and I bought too many little cherry tomatoes and I was really tired of eating them on salad so this is how I finished them up in dinner a couple nights ago.

First off cook the tortellini according to the package minus one minute, drain in a colander, and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.  Set them aside, we will heat them up after cooking the chicken.

For the chicken, season with salt & pepper and sprinkle some Italian seasoning over the breasts. Just a quick note these were very large chicken breasts. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of good quality olive oil, then put the chicken breasts in and cook for about five minutes then flip over for another four or five, until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 165 degrees. Take them out and set aside on a plate to rest for a minute while you make the sauce for the tortellini.

Turn the pan up to medium high and add one shallot sliced thinly to the oil left in the pan, cook it  until it becomes soft then add one tablespoon of chopped garlic, cook for a minute. Add ½ cup of extra dry vermouth to deglaze the pan. Toss in the tomatoes and the tortellini and stir around for a minute then turn heat off and add two tablespoons of butter. Let the butter melt and stir the sauce coat the tortellini. Make sure to check for seasoning. Serve right away next to the chicken breast. A salad and a glass of white wine goes nicely with dinner. Enjoy ~

baked chicken with tortellini

Honey BBQ Chicken Thighs with Mac-n-Cheese

As you might have figured out by now I just can’t cook for the two of us. So we had some chicken thighs left over from earlier in the week. They were just the thing I needed to make a quick dinner. My wife and I both had hard days and I knew this meal would make anyone in her family happy.

So here we go – turn the oven on to 275 degrees and let it preheat. Take a pan out and place some aluminum foil on it, this step will help greatly with clean up. Put the chicken on the pan and let them hang out for a minute. In a small bowl mix the following ingredients: tomato sauce, molasses, brown sugar, mustard, honey, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, salt and pepper. Play with the flavors that work best for you. You could even use premade honey BBQ sauce, if you do, I’d recommend adding extra honey. Carefully pour the mixture on the top of the chicken making sure to keep on the chicken. Put the pan in the middle of the oven and forget about it for about 30-45 minutes.

During the week sometimes you need some comfort food quickly. This time I reached up into the pantry and grabbed a couple of boxes of elbow noodles. I made a rue with butter and flour, then added about 2 cups of milk along with pepper and some chili powder. Stir on low heat for a couple minutes, then add in 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese. We make mac-n-cheese often and will experiment with different spices and cheeses.

Carefully take the chicken off the pan, try not to pull up any of the aluminum foil, because it is going to be sticky. Give yourself a couple of big scoops of mac-n-cheese and take a few minutes to savor the flavor of your childhood and let the day’s troubles melt away.  Make a quick salad to round out the meal and for something healthy. Enjoy ~

bbq chix and mac n cheese

Chicken with Red Onion, Thyme, Lemon and Pasta

Since my wife and I are still a little sick and our throats still hurt, I threw this together one evening knowing that it would taste good, be good for us and it would be soft on our throats going down.

I took 3 large chicken breasts and poached them in the water I was going to cook the pasta in. Took the chicken out and let them cool a little while I cut a red onion into large dice.

I then sautéed the onions in a tablespoon of oil until they became soft, then added a tablespoon of diced garlic and 6 to 8 sprigs of thyme to the pan.  Cooked that together for a few minutes and then added ½ cup of lemon juice and a ½ cup of the pasta water to the pan. Let that simmer for a minute or two.

onions with thyme

Adjust the salt and pepper to your liking and serve it over the pasta. It is quick, easy, delicious, and good for you too.

chicken, red onion on pasta

Enjoy ~

Chicken and Ravioli

After a great vacation away in the mountains, it is time to get back to reality.  A quick dinner this week that is filling, healthy and quick.

  • Cut a 5oz chicken breast diagonally into 1oz portions.

Raw Chicken Breast

  • Salt & pepper both sides add a sprinkle of Italian seasoning then dredge in flour
  • Heat 4 Tbsp. oil in a heavy bottomed pot – cook chicken about 1.5 minutes per side, put aside to drain
  • To the little remaining oil in the pot, cook 3 smashed garlic cloves until brown then remove. Heat up your favorite tomato based sauce. (I always keep extra in the fridge or freezer for quick meals.) Place the chicken on the sauce to cook the chicken fully.
  • In another pot cook your Ravioli to al dente when done drain and place in the pot with the sauce and the chicken.

Chicken and Ravioli

Chicken and Ravioli 2

Plate them up and enjoy!

Checca with linguini

4 24 2013 035

A wonderfully light and refreshing sauce for pasta is Checca. My wife and I love to make this often, especially since most of the ingredients come right from our own garden.

Checca is another one of those great recipes where you can make it ahead of time and have available on one of those long work days.

  • 1/2 lb cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup basil chiffonade
  • 1/2 olive oil
  • vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pepper
4 24 2013 001

Chopped tomatoes and basil

  • Mix the tomatoes, garlic and basil together.
4 24 2013 002

Tomatoes, Basil and Garlic

  •   Mix into the dried ingredients the oils, salt and pepper.

4 24 2013 003

  • Place in a pot and simmer on med-low heat for 3-5 minutes.

4 24 2013 029

4 24 2013 030

  • Serve over your favorite pasta.

4 24 2013 036

  • Or store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.