Friday, July 4, 2014

July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July!  I hope you had a fantastic Independence day; we sure did!  Parade watching with friends, family time at home, a BBQ over at more friends...and the most pleasant weather.  All in all, a fabulous day - and still the full weekend ahead of us.  It doesn't get much better than this.

This week we had 2 keepers - one discovered and suggested by Hannah, and the other sent to me by one of my sisters.  First - the chicken Parmesan pasta from Hannah.  MY OH will love this dish!  I already want to put it on the meal plan again this week!  Somehow it was the perfect combination of flavors you know and love, ease of preparation, and a slight twist to make the recipe feel new.  For this dish the breadcrumbs are toasted and passed so each person can add their own to their plate, and that is the secret that puts this dinner over the top.  You have to try it to taste for yourself.  I will really be amazed if you don't fall in love with the dish.

The second was chicken and broccoli - Chinese take-out style.  Don't confuse the rice wine in the ingredients list for rice wine vinegar.  I did have to purchase that new ingredient, but I didn't mind since even Hannah, my girl who does not like Chinese food (not even fried rice!) really enjoyed this and voted it a keeper.  And she couldn't get enough of the snap peas!  I think next time I make it I might add a few extra so the rest of us can have some!  :)

Happy cooking!

New Recipes
Chicken and Broccoli
Chicken Parmesan Pasta

Chicken and Broccoli

* 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
* 1 small green pepper, cut into small thin slices
* 3/4 cup snap peas, chopped into thirds
Chicken and Marinade Ingredients
* 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small bite size pieces
* 1/2 tsp baking soda
* 1 tsp sugar
* 2 tsp cornstarch
* 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
* 1 tbsp water
* 2 tbsp vegetable oil
Sauce Ingredients
* 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
* 2 tbsp brown sugar
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 tbsp flour
* 1 tbsp rice cooking wine
* 1 tsp sesame oil
* 1 tbsp vegetable oil
* 1 tbsp vegetable oil to saute the chicken
* 1/2 cup water

1. Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl and add the chicken and stir.  Set aside.
2. Mix the sauce  ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.
3. Steam the broccoli for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
4. Heat up the tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the chicken and marinade and half the sauce mixture and saute until the chicken is fully cooked.
5. Add the steamed broccoli, snap peas, pepper strips and the remaining sauce along with the 1/2 cup water.  Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes until the sauce thickens up.  Serve and enjoy!

We really enjoyed this - including Hannah!  5 keeper votes from us!  You can serve this over rice if desired, but we made pork fried rice and served it with that.

Chicken Parmesan Pasta

* 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
* 1 tbsp butter
* 1 cup panko bread crumbs
* 1/8 tsp garlic powder
* 3/4 tsp Italian seasoning
* 2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
* 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs cut into bite size pieces
* 2 tsp kosher salt, divided
* freshly ground black pepper, to taste
* (1) 28oz can petite diced tomatoes, processed in the food processor or blender
* 1 large onion, halved and cut into thin strips
* 4.5 cups low sodium chicken broth or water
* 10-12 basil leaves, minced
* 5 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 lb dried linguine

1. In a large skillet or dutch oven melt 1 tbsp of olive oil with the butter over medium heat.  Add the panko bread crumbs and garlic.  Stir and toss to evenly coat the crumbs.  Toast, stirring occasionally, until the crumbs have turned golden.  Scrape the crumbs into a bowl and mix in the Italian seasoning and cheese.  Set the crumb mixture aside.
2. Return the pan and set on medium high.  Add the remaining olive oil to the pan.  Season the chicken with  1 tsp of the salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Cook the chicken, browning on each side.  When the chicken is fully cooked pour it into a bowl and keep warm.
3. Add the tomatoes, broth (or water), onion, basil, remaining salt to the now empty pan. Raise the heat to high to bring it to a boil.  Once boiling, add the linguine.  While it boils, toss and turn and stir the ingredients.  After 5 minutes add the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan.  Continue to boil and stir for another 4-5 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked to your liking.
4. Transfer the pasta and chicken to a serving platter.  Serve the pasta, passing the bowl of breadcrumbs and additional Parmesan cheese for each person to add as desired.  Enjoy!

WOW!  WOW!  We LOVED this dish!  I haven't raved about a dish to friends and family as much as I did this one in a long time.  This is an easy dinner to put together, and it only took about 30 minutes from start to finish.  Sprinkling the crumbs on the pasta was a stroke of genius; with each bite you get the crunch that you would get from traditional chicken Parmesan, but even better.  We had plenty of leftovers that were devoured for lunch over the next two days.  I am already wondering how long I need to wait until I can put this on our weekly menu again...probably not too long!