Cooking with Elizabeth: sort of spicy spinach chicken Alfredo with penne
A friend suggested posting good recipes when I didn't know what to write about, so I decided to take her up on it. Last night, as I was cooking, I looked at my pot and thought of all those fast-forward videos that show up everywhere showing you how to cook meals. This was because I have the same pot! Since I had the correct pot, I thought, "Hey, I'll share this recipe with everyone." But I don't know how they do that fast-forward video-thing, so you get still pictures. (And MY still pictures,.. even better, huh?) At at that point in the game, I wasn't even sure it would be a good recipe since I was totally making it up. I took pictures anyway.
Here we go. Imagine me cutting up some chicken breast and throwing it in my cool blue pot. Oh, throw in some chopped garlic, too. A lot of it. And I heated up some olive oil before throwing in all that stuff. Clearly, I'm really good at this, huh? Here we are so far:
OK, first lesson learned. You can't take a photo directly above a cooking pot as it steams up the camera lens. How about this instead?
I walk to the pantry to put something away and see this on my shelf. (No, I actually have no idea where it came from. That happens a lot around here.)
I think to myself that just spinach and chicken sounds a little blah, and decide to throw in some of this. So I do. I probably put in two or three spoonfuls. (In the end, it could have used more, though my less spicy people might have complained.) I threw it in after the chicken cooked a bit... I forgot to take a picture. You could also use just roasted tomatoes... or roasted red peppers... or nothing.
After I stirred that around a moment or two, I threw in a giant bag of baby spinach. It was a lot of spinach.
Oops... that's for the cook, not the dinner.
It was a lot of spinach. Now it's just an adequate amount of spinach.
I forgot to mention that you should start a pot of water boiling before you begin in order to cook the penne. I wondered to myself why no one shows a picture of the pasta cooking, so I took one. Now, I know why. It's not terribly interesting. That's two pounds of pasta, by the way. I can't think of the last time I cooked less than two pounds at a time.
About the time my pasta went in, I poured in a pint of heavy cream to my chicken mixture, reduced the heat (you really want to do this or bad things will happen to the sauce), and let it simmer, stirring it occasionally. It will thicken a bit.
While this simmered and the pasta cooked, I took the French bread I had thrown in the oven out to cool.
Once the pasta was cooked and drained, I added it to the cool blue pot with the chicken mixture in it.
To serve, sprinkle on some Parmesan, or as in our case Romano cheese. (Romano isn't made with cow's milk, so my people who can't do cow's milk dairy can eat it.)
The results? It was pretty good. Pretty good as in everyone had seconds. To review, that was one package of chicken breasts, some red spicy stuff, minced garlic (as much as you want), a little olive oil, a huge bag of baby spinach, two pounds of penne, 1 pint of cream, and some hard grating cheese. This served 9 people with some leftover for lunch today. I'll let you make the necessary adjustments for your size crew.
I think now I'm supposed to end it with some cute word like yummy or something.
Oh, I want to brag a little about A. Yesterday, a package arrived in the mail. When she opened it, she discovered that she received a letter for being on the varsity crew team. (Although we did have to have a discussion as to what it was, poor homeschooled child.) She also received a star pin from the life guard accrediting agency at work for doing so well on the life guard inspection.