Paul and I have always had a lackadaisical approach to dinner – it wasn’t unusual for us to eat at midnight or later, just because we were so busy doing other things that the fact we hadn’t eaten dinner yet didn’t cross our minds until our bellies protested and demanded to be fed.
All of that changed when my sister moved in with us, along with the rest of her family (boyfriend and 3 kids, ages 6, 8, and 10). With kids in the house, dinner has to be on the table fairly early, because the kids go to bed at 8pm on school nights. What this means is that to remain practical, we need to have a stack of recipes that can be prepared in a half hour or less. This is one such recipe, and it has a few nutritious ingredients (such as olive oil, lean chicken breast, shallot, bell pepper, garlic, and tomatoes) that mean that the kids get a full serving of veggies and protein too. You can make it even healthier by using whole wheat pasta. I wouldn’t skimp on the heavy cream though – because it is the key ingredient that makes the whole dish work so well.
What are your favorite dishes to prepare on a night where you’re pressed for time?
Garlic Chicken with Creamy Tomato Pasta
recipe courtesy Cooking with Paula Deen magazine
3 c. uncooked rotini pasta
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 shallot, sliced
¼ c. finely chopped red bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
¼ c. heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp. Italian herb blend seasoning
2 c. packed fresh baby spinach
Parmesan cheese (optional)
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain well, set aside and keep warm.
In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken, shallot, bell pepper, and garlic; sauté for 7 minutes or until chicken is done. Add tomatoes, cream and herb blend; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and stir in pasta and spinach. Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese, if desired.