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Chicken Veggie Rotini

Hey Friends,

I had a dinner brainstorm a bit ago that I wanted to share with you. I was in the mood for a casserole style dish but nothing heavy or super creamy. And I wanted chicken and pasta. To be honest, I really wanted the Carmela’s Chicken Rigatoni from Macaroni Grill (a previous employer of mine), but was too lazy/cheap to drive and spend $14 on one meal at 9 o’clock at night. Hey, at least I’m being honest! 😉

Beth’s Chicken Veggie Rotini!

So the basics of what I wanted were a very light cream sauce, with lots of flavor, and a bunch of diced vegetables mixed in with diced chicken over pasta. Able to be taken in to work easily for lunch as well.

I came up with this (partly due to the specials on produce at the grocery store):

Ingredients
1 box Rotini Pasta
1 bunch fresh asparagus, ends discarded, stalks then chopped into thirds
1 vidalia onion, sliced length-wise into 3″ x 1/4″ pieces
1 apple, cored and diced (thicker chunks)
selection of olive oils and vinegars
1/4 cup mixed shredded cheese
1/8 cup low-fat milk
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced

Cook your pasta until Al Dente (just a little hard still), and then drain and put in a PAM-Sprayed 13×9 pan. You’ll need every inch of this, I promise!

In your same saucepan, over medium heat, bring 2 tspn Blood Orange Olive Oil, 1 tspn Serrano Honey Vinegar, and 1 tspn Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar to a simmer.

Cook your chicken until just barely done (don’t over cook it since you’re going to bake it). Add to your pan of pasta and mix together. Reserve the liquid in the saucepan!

Cook your apple and onion in your reserved sauce, and bring to a simmer (~5 minutes).

Add asparagus and cook an additional 5 minutes, until crisp. Do not drain your veggies, instead scoop with a slotted spoon and add the veggies to the pasta-chicken dish.

In the saucepan with the reserved sauce, add your milk and cheese and heat on low until just blended to make a slightly creamy sauce.

Pour this sauce over the pasta dish. If you want, sprinkle additional cheese over top the pasta dish. Bake for 10 minutes at 350. Serve and enjoy!

Craft You Later,
Beth

To Olive or to Vinegar…

Hey everyone!

I am taking a break from beer today to discuss a new cooking shop find, courtesy of my friend Mary. We went a long period of time without seeing each other so, as friends, decided to remedy that last night. We also decided to get productive for her pre-wedding craft preparations.

 

Please Note: Mary has 2 cats who are adorable but insane (as cats are prone to being). 😉 Love you Dom & Bob!!!! So she needed someone there who they are timid around so we could actually get the crafts done without them becoming cat toys!

So I agree to bring a bottle of wine and Mary says she’ll feed me for helping her out. Because I really need incentive to a) see my friend, or b) be crafty. Hah! Again, I say HA! 😉

So without spoiling the craft ideas that she came up with for her centerpieces, which we put together, let me just say that the stuff she found at Hobby Lobby is freaking perfect for her. They are doing a Rockabilly/Rocker style wedding, and not so surprisingly Hobby Lobby had a slew of great stuff for this color and pattern wise. So we had fun doing that. But no pictures or more details until later… 😛 Nice try, though friends.

No, this entry is about food. Yummy delicious food. And a new take-all-my-money-and-give-me-yummies website that I found. In her travels, Mary found this GREAT shop in Santa Cruz, California, called The True Olive Connection. I. Am. In. Love. And so is my tummy.

So Mary made a delicious chicken, melt-on-your-tongue delicious chicken. To accompany this chicken, she steamed cauliflower and topped it with a bit of Brummel & Brown’s Yogurt Spread. Delicious again.

Then she poured some Serrano Honey Vinegar into a saucepan and sautéed some spinach. This added a bit of a zing to the spinach that was tempered by the sweet. It wasn’t too sweet, and it wasn’t too spicy – it was a perfect subtle balance of flavor. And delicious again.

Then we had the toasted bread and dipping sauce. You’ve seen many Italian restaurants (large and small) doing this – you combine olive oil with spices and sometimes balsamic vinegar, swirl it all together, and voilà – a dipping sauce that is heart healthy. This is even better. This is a dipping sauce to write home about. Truly. I did, twice, today.

Combine the following in a dish that has a lip around the edge – or a bowl: a few spoon-fulls of Blood Orange Olive Oil and half that amount of Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar. Taste this and make sure you are sitting down. You will have a moment, I promise you. It’s like dessert but not. It’s bread with all the flavors of dessert and none of the calories of adding it in. It is heart healthy ambrosia. It is delicious. Oh, and I dipped my chicken in this wondrous concoction also – heaven! I love my dessert, but I didn’t need any after this. Just a nap. 🙂

To go with this awesomeness, I brought a 2009 3 Muses California Merlot (we had an accidental theme going here for Cali!), which was very yummy, slightly fruity with undertones of chocolate.

So yes this is Mary, not me, who is creating this wonderfulness, however we both love to cook. So when Mary saw my face, she had to show me the store name, and add in that they ship. So there goes part of a pay check, haha!

I am placing this order this week, and I plan to experiment weekly with these wonders – and have no fear, I will keep you in the loop on them! 😉
Medium Bottle Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar
Medium Bottle Blood Orange Olive Oil
Medium Bottle Serrano Honey Vinegar
Sample Bottle Cranberry Pear Balsamic Vinegar (1/6)
Sample Bottle Blackberry Ginger Balsamic Vinegar (2/6)
Sample Bottle Black Cherry Balsamic Vinegar (3/6)
Sample Bottle Chipotle Olive Oil (4/6)
Sample Bottle Cilantro & Roasted Onion Olive Oil (5/6)
Sample Bottle Wild Mushroom & Sage Olive Oil (6/6)

I am already imagining different pairings for chicken, pork, turkey and ham for these delicious options. So keep watching to see what I come up with. But in the meantime, check out this little shop in Santa Cruz and see what you can think of to try. Let me know if you come up with any good concoctions!

Craft you later,
Beth

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