Pasta w/Grilled Chicken & Sawce (as my New Yawk mom would say)

Part of the reason I wanted to continue with my blog antics was my passion for cooking.  I really enjoy it.  It’s cathartic, therapeutic – and sometimes what I cook is actually edible. I want to become more prolific in my recipes, so here goes.  Last night’s fare was relatively simple, but very healthy, and AMAZING.

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This recipe yields two comfortable servings (and by ‘two comfortable servings,’ I mean that I ate both by myself).

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 bunch of rainbow chard (it’s just pretty, but Swiss chard would work just fine)
  • Four cloves of garlic (sorry, not sorry, I love garlic!)
  • 14.5 oz can of petite diced tomatoes with the juice (I prefer plain because that way I can control what’s happening with it)
  • 1/2 box of whole wheat spaghetti (this is a versatile issue, use whatever you’d like; spaghetti squash is a fabulous substitute if you’re looking to cut your carbs)
  • 1 small boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • dried basil to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp minced parsley for garnish (or add a bunch to your sauce if you want!)

Pan 1:

To a very hot non-stick pan, add about 1/2 tbsp of olive oil (enough to coat the pan).  Generously salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breast.  Throw that sucker in the pan and let it do it’s thing for a good 3 – 5 minutes on the first side, then turn down the heat the medium.  Turn the chicken breast and cook the second side for a good 5 minutes or so.  Set to the side to cool.  I recommend covering it to keep the juices in.

Pan 2:

Prep your rainbow chard.  This is easy-peezy.  The stems are their own flavor/texture.  Cut the leaves from the stems.  Rinse the leaves and allow them to drain.  The stems are similar to celery in their consistency.  Chop them into bite size pieces, set aside.

Now mince your garlic cloves; fine enough that you won’t be biting into giant chunks later, but big enough that they won’t freakin’ burn in the pan (something I’m notorious for).  Set aside.

Those chard leaves?  You’ll want those.  Chop them up to whatever lovely size you want.  They’re going to wilt, but not a lot, so chopping them up well is something to consider.

In this pan (a good-sized pan; if there’s a fancy word for ‘something kind of big with a cover,’ I don’t know what it is), drizzle in some olive oil, about 2 tbsp (remember, olive oil is good fat).  When the pan is hot, toss in those beautifully chopped up chard stems (not the leaves, the stems).  Sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.  Now you can add your garlic.  Swish all of that around for a minute or so.  Grab those chopped up chard leaves and toss that in as well.  Stir all of this until the chard leaves start to wilt (keep an eye on that garlic!).

Add your can of petite diced tomatoes.  Then throw in that basil (I used about 1 tsp) because, as we know, tomato sauce and basil are a match made in heaven.

Let all of this simmer on medium heat.  There’s a lot of juice in the can of tomatoes, and I like to simmer so the sauce will reduce and become thicker.  Let that hang out for a bit, maybe 10 minutes, and while this happens you can start the pasta.

Pot:

Make your pasta.  I really hope this doesn’t need any lengthy description because, well, it’s pasta.  Cook half a box of whatever pasta you love – penne, spaghetti, and linguini are my favorites – according to box instructions.  Just be sure to add a generous amount of salt to the water when it begins to boil because it really helps flavor the pasta.  Sound good?  Good.

Main Event:

That chicken breast?  Chop that up however you want.  Long strips.  Cubes.  Leave it whole.  Totally up to you.

Drain your pasta.  Throw it into the pan with all that delicious, saucy goodness.  Toss together.  Plate in whatever fashion pleases your senses.  Or put it in a bowl.  Throw it on the floor and roll around in it if you want (but wait for it to cool, please, we don’t need an ER visit here).

Garnish with minced parsley.  Sprinkle on a little more salt.  Throw on some parmesan cheese, too, if it suits you.

Enjoy!

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