Friday, October 25, 2013

Chicken Bacon Yes Please

So, really... this love affair with posting recipes on my blog has got to stop!
HAW! Ok, just kidding.
I don't know why but I've been cooking delicious things lately. And when I'm cooking delicious things, I happen to take pictures, and then I review the pictures and HAVE to post them.

So here we are: Chicken Bacon Yes Please (pasta).
I made it up one night, I'm not even sure how or why, but it came to be, and it is. It just.. IS. Something!
Um, yeah. I didn't write down the complete recipe but, people! You know how to make a bechamel, don't you? Come on, be adventurous! I'll give you the guidelines and you can scrounge around from there!

So. Start with bacon.
And then realize that I started the last three paragraphs with "so".
Be sure to use the tiniest frying pan known to mankind. Fry as many pieces as you want! I used 8 strips, I think, half a pound.

This is why we use skillets. This is why we eat bacon. DRIPPINGS!!!!!

Now. Fry 2 chicken breasts in the-- I say IN THE grease.

Season with salt, pepper (FRESHLY CRACKED, I'll slap you!) and parsley. Add a little butter for added caloric content. I mean flavor! Extra flavor!

Boil and cook 1 box of medium-sized shells. SHELLS, no other pasta will do!

Dice the chicken, chop the bacon, ribbon some spinach and mince some artichoke hearts! (You can tell by this picture what my favorite item is. 9 in 10 Americans will say there isn't enough bacon in this picture).

Make a roux out of flour. This gets the drippings. (probably about 1/3 to 1/2 cup flour)

Add that roux to your now-empty pasta pot full of extra roux, about half a stick of butter and a small sprinkling of flour.

This is what people with tiny cast iron skillets have to do. If you have a larger skillet, just imagine your pure bliss in realizing you get to keep the roux in the same pot! I know. Someone buy me a skillet! :p

Then, once the roux is deliciously golden, add milk. You're making about four or five cups of sauce, total. If you have cream sitting around, left over from the last time you cooked, and if you didn't happen to use it all in your Summertime Spaghetti... go ahead and add a spill, it'll make you feel rich or something.

Add more pepper and parsley and awesomeness. Then stir. Oh, the awesomeness is a hefty handful of mozzarella cheese (half a cup or so) and two hearty dashes of nutmeg.

This is how much cheese you want in the sauce. Not a ton that it's pouring off the spoon.
This is also how you tell that your cheese sauce is NOT done.

This is a proper cheese sauce. And did I mention it's delicious??

Finally. Oh wait. First, add the pasta and a bit of tomato sauce that you had frozen in the freezer for such occasions as this. You just want the tomato sauce to troll the pasta, it's not REALLY there, but it's THERE.

NOW, finally!!!
Add the chicken, bacon, spinach and artichoke!!!! OOOH look at it.

Start stirring until your stirrer stops! Then add a handful of cheese. And stir again!

And this.. Is .. so delicious T.T

And then stuff your face. Five times. And make it again and eat it again.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Summertime Spaghetti

So rather than updating you on my life and all that's happened in it...
I decided to channel my inner Pioneer Woman and talk about food instead.
This dish was created one day, out of the blue, I have no idea how or why, but it exists and it is DELICIOUS.

It's called Sumertime Spaghetti and what better dish to make in Fall than something for Summer? It's called this because of it's lightness. It doesn't have a heavy sauce and the addition of artichokes, spinach and tomatoes make it seem a little Summery.

It has quickly become one of my favorite dishes. Evar.

And since I'm the nicest lady this side of the Mississippi, I'm going to give you the recipe.

So you'll need:
1 can of stewed tomatoes
1 package of spaghetti
2 chicken breasts
Artichoke hearts (as many as your artichoke-loving heart desires!)
Spinach (like that stuff that you should be juicing but it really just sits in your fridge)
Parmesan cheese
Olive oil
White wine (optional)

So. Chop up the chicken and saute it in oil and butter, season it with S and P and basil, like so.
I usually boil the chicken first because it's frozen and never thawed out. This usually controls how much water goes into the pan.

I also do it in batches to ensure an even crisping for all chicken. Browning chicken to perfection can only be achieved while wearing an awesome flannel shirt.

Now don't forget to start the pasta water to boil. At this point remember to check the stove to be sure you didn't put it on medium like a moron and make the appropriate changes in temperature so that you can actually BOIL your pasta.

Once the chicken is all done, add it all back into the pan and add tomatoes.

And spinach and your little tiny bit of artichokes (hey, I just like them to have them, I'm not a giant fan. April, however, would probably put a whole costco-sized jar in hers, if her husband let her)

Add a splash of milk. Except, in my case, I had to use whipping cream because we didn't have milk. BAH! Don't use too much, it's only supposed to be a suggestion of dairy!
At this point, also, I would recommend a good turn of white wine. MMM. But I didn't have white, only red! So merr!

Then sprinkle a generous teaspoon of sugar! *trussst mee*

 Add garlic (granulated, but I only had powder! T.T), basil, more pepper, salt and some parsley, just because. Also, don't forget to start your spaghetti to cook!

Cook the pasta until it's nearly done! There should be a tiny bit of crunch to it!

Add it directly to the sauce, do not drain!

Finish cooking the spaghetti in the sauce, gently stirring to incorporate the chicken and sauce. I also added two ladles of pasta water to help the pasta cook and to thin out the sauce a little.

Finally, add parmesan to the top and stir. Do this twice.

Now serve it in the bowl you painted at a pottery party and voila! Mmmmmmm.

This is my favorite. Some of you may not appreciate the lack of sauce. If you want, you can add an extra can of crushed tomato in puree or even another can of stewed tomatoes. But I do love the simplicity of this dish. I usually like pasta with my sauce but this is definitely a sauce with your pasta dish. Enjoy!!