I think I was still a little out-of-it from all of my exercising/stomach-bugging yesterday because I completely forgot to mention that on Monday, I guest-posted for Rachelle of Fingerprints on the Fridge—a more detailed version of my Goodwill Hunting tips that I posted for Lindsey last week at The Pleated Poppy. Make sure you stop by and pay Rachelle a visit!
For today’s Try-it Tuesday, I thought I’d share an original recipe that combines some of my favorite ingredients: chicken, pasta, tomatoes, purple onions, feta cheese, and pesto. As Sid the Sloth would say: “Yum-mo!”
We don’t eat out very often (although lately, we seem to be on a much more prolific restaurant streak than usual), but when we do, my husband and I both prefer locally owned, unique restaurants over chains. The closest town of any significant size has an abundance of restaurants, but most are chains, so we have quickly narrowed down our favorites for specific types of food/times of day.
For lunch, we love a French/American restaurant called Currents. It’s a bit pricey and refined for our chicken-obsessed taste-buds at night, but their classy lunchtime fare is just right for us and fairly reasonably-priced as well.
They have a dish called Mediterranean Pasta that I love the simplicity of so much that I decided to clone it.
Over the past several years, I’ve added my own twists, but it still remains a favorite around our house.
And the best part? It’s super-easy and quick to make, but you could still serve it as the main course for a dinner party because it seems much fancier than it actually is.
Yummy and schmancy with minimal effort? Sign me up.
Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
- 2-3 large chicken breasts. You can sauté yours while you cook your other ingredients, but one huge time-saving technique is to pre-cook/season your chicken and then just cut it up and warm it through with the rest of your dish (if you’re not sure how to pre-cook chicken, check out my bestie Mandy’s quick and easy tutorial for making/freezing batch chicken).
- Jar of pesto sauce. I get mine at Sam’s because it’s cheaper than elsewhere, and we use it in a lot of meals.
- Salt (to taste).
- Dried basil (to taste, but I’d start with 1 TBSP).
- 1 lb. angel hair pasta.
- Feta cheese (again, I buy mine in bulk at Sam’s and freeze the containers I’m not using until I need them; I buy the fat-free version, and, while it’s drier, it still tastes great and is much lower in calories than the full-fat version).
- Purple onions (those are two mediums, and I used 1 1/2 of them).
- Tomatoes (I prefer Romas for this dish, but these were what I had on hand). I used all three because their juice makes up the majority of your “sauce.”
- Olive oil (I never can fit my ginormous Sam’s bottle in the picture).
1. Peel/halve your onions, then cut them length-wise into short, thin strips, like so:
2. Chop your tomatoes into approximately 1” chunks. Uniformity/consistency of size doesn’t matter too much.
3. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet and add your onions. Sauté for about 3 minutes before adding the tomato chunks, salt (at least 1 tsp to start), and basil (this picture should give you an idea of how much basil I put—a very healthy coating):
4. Allow your sauce to bubble on low-medium heat while you cut up your chicken (this is assuming that you have precooked/seasoned your chicken—I used Lawry’s Perfect Blend Seasoning and Rub for Chicken and Poultry…also from Sam’s). First, halve the breast…
…then slice it thinly with the grain of the chicken.
5. After your vegetable mixture has simmered for at least 5 minutes, prepare the angel hair pasta according to the package directions.
6. While your pasta is boiling, add the sliced chicken to your veggies, and mix everything together well.
7. When your pasta is ready, add 3/4 of it directly to the skillet and set aside the rest (you may need more of it). Now add 1/2 cup of Pesto sauce to your skillet.
8. Now comes the feta…1/2 cup of that as well.
9. Mix everything together well, and do a taste-test to see if you need to add more salt, basil, or even black pepper (I didn’t include it in the ingredients because I’m not a big fan, but fresh-ground pepper would be a nice addition). This is also when you’ll determine if you need to add more pasta. This dish is not “saucy” (meaning the liquid, not the hands-on-the-hips, variety), so you really only need a coating of pesto/tomato juices. There will not be excess in the bottom of the pan. If you prefer more liquid, add more pesto sauce or even olive oil (your dish will not be nearly as healthy if you do, mind you!)
10. Plop it on a plate, and, if you’re a feta-freak like I am, sprinkle some more on top. Now, chow down!
If you’ve precooked your chicken, you can get this entire dish on the table in under 20 minutes if you really hustle. The ingredient amounts I gave you will yield between 6 and 8 hefty portions (because different people have different definitions of “hefty” : )) and the cooked pasta keeps well in the refrigerator for about a week.
*Sorry about the not-so-great nighttime pics, but we took these as I made this dish at 10 P.M. the night before I left for my Les Mills exercise weekend so my hubby would have something to eat while I was gone.
Don’t forget to come back tomorrow and vote for Round Two of Thrifted or Grifted! I’ll even have a super-fun perk (think ULTA) for the best/sassiest comment explaining the reason behind your vote, so get your smart-aleck engine revved up!
Oh, and today is the last day to enter The Pleated Poppy giveaway, so if you haven’t already, get after it!
See you tomorrow!
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