Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me and Skillet Chicken Pasta with Broccoli

Yes, today is my birthday. I'm an April Fool's baby. And, trust me, I've heard all the puns and jokes about being born on this day. The best part of celebrating my birthday on April 1st is that my kids are always enjoying Spring Break on this day. This morning I awoke only to be told to go back to bed and was served a warm bagel and grapes in bed. Very thoughtful and much appreciated! I can't wait to see what the rest of the day has in store. I didn't want today to go by without sharing an amazing new dish I recently discovered on one of my favorite blogs. Enjoy!

I love pasta! I love anything pasta! As a mother, I love the diversity of pasta. I love that I can add vegetables and meats into a cheesy sauce and the kids are more apt to eat what I've prepared. As a cook, I love the simplicity a pasta dish offers. When I found this recipe on
Melanie's fantastic blog, I immediately worked it into the following week's menu.

This entire meal is prepared in one skillet and comes together fairly quickly and simply. Most of the ingredients called for in this recipe are staples in our home except for the sun dried tomatoes (which are quickly becoming a favorite of mine). The water, broth, cream and parmesan cheese create a fantastic, creamy white sauce that is flavored with the sauted onion and garlic. This dish was a huge success with my family and was wonderful heated up for lunch the next several days.

From the heart of my kitchen to yours may your experience be fun and the food always flavorful. Enjoy!

Skillet Chicken Pasta With Broccoli

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch squares
Table salt and ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
12 ounces ziti (I used penne pasta and actually added 16 oz.)
4 1/4 cups water
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4-5 cups broccoli florets 1
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed and chopped coarse
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (asiago was the cheese in the original recipe and can be interchanged)
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the chicken in a single layer and cook for 1 minute without stirring. Stir the chicken and continue to cook until most, but not all, of the pink color has disappeared and the chicken is lightly browned around the edges, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a clean bowl and set aside.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil, onion, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the skillet. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened, 2 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and pepper flakes, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the pasta, 3 cups of the water, and the broth. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the liquid is very thick and syrupy and almost completely absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, and the remaining 1 1/4 cups water. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the broccoli turns bright green and is almost tender, 2-3 minutes.

Uncover and return the heat to medium-high. Stir in the cream, parmesan, and reserved chicken with any accumulated juices and continue to simmer, uncovered, until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is cooked and heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, passing more grated parmesan at the table, if desired.

Source: Melanie at My Kitchen Cafe


Rachel said...

First of all...Happy Birthday! I hope you're enjoying your day!!! That was very sweet of your kids to bring you breakfast :)

This dish looks wonderful! I can't wait to try it when I get back home!

Barbara Bakes said...

Happy Birthday! I hope you have a great day! The pasta looks fantastic!

Melanie said...

Happy Birthday!!

I'm glad you liked this dish. Your picture is fabulous!

Elyse said...

Happy Birthday!!! I'd much rather celebrate your birthday than April Fools! Hope you get some great celebrating in (hope there is cake in store, too)! This one skillet pasta dish looks great; I'm definitely going to save this recipe.

CaSaundraLeigh said...

Have an awesome birthday! Relax, enjoy, and keep bringing us all your good recipes he he! Take care =)

dishinanddishes said...

Happy Birthday - I love your blog...I'll be back! You sound a lot like me - A christian food blog! Enjoyed looking around!

Pamela said...

Happy Birthday!! I hope the rest of the day was a good as the beginning was. The pasta looks delicious.

Sharon said...

Happy Birthday! I can't imagine how many jokes you endured growing up :) Pasta is a godsend and I think of the world's greatest inventions. Yummy recipe!

Donna-FFW said...

Happy Happy Birthday!! Hope you had a nce day! This dish looks fabulous!! I will have to try it! I love that it is one dish!

Ingrid said...

Hey, Happy Day After Your Birthday!! Hope you had a terrific day.

I totally agree with you on the simplicity and ease of pasta dishes! Another nice thing about pasta dishes is (if there are any left over) they're still pretty good the next day.

Calm In The Kitchen said...

Happy Belated Birthday!

This dish is a regular in our rotation! I sometimes add artichoke hearts too. I am doing a version similar to this tonight, but using roasted red peppers!

This looks delicious.

Elyse said...

Yay! I'm so excited that you're joining the group!! Let me know if you need me to send you the recipe (if you don't have a chance to get the book this weekend).!