It feels like all I?ve done over the past week is cook chicken.
You?d think that means Joey and I have been enjoying some delicious, home-cooked meals, but unfortunately, most of the chicken I?ve been dishing has gone to our schnauzer, K.C.
After struggling with off-and-on bladder infections, we finally discovered that our tiny dog had managed to create a not so tiny stone (the size of a quarter, if you?d believe it), so she went in for surgery this past week.
Everything went really well (we have a fantastic veterinarian), and she seemed to recover well until she started getting sick.
Long story short, we discovered that Miss K.C. does not do so well with the antibiotics she was on, so not only is she on a different prescription along with some anti-nausea medication, but she is also on what the vet calls a ?bland diet,? which consists of boiled chicken and rice.
This development has been quite to K.C.?s liking, and she?s been enjoying her chicken dinners quite a bit.
I, on the other hand, require something a bit more flavorful when it comes to my dinner, so Joey and I also enjoyed some chicken this week, but ours included pasta, asparagus and a great creamy sauce.
I found this recipe on a blog called ?Lil? Luna.? You can find the original at http://lilluna.com/chicken-and-asparagus-pasta/. I changed it a little. Most notably, I replaced the half-and-half that was in the recipe with milk and butter. I never seem to have half-and-half on hand, and this substitute worked really well.
12 ounces medium-sized pasta (I used penne; the original used bowtie)
2 cups chicken, cubed (breast meat would be best, but I used thighs)
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into two-inch pieces
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup reserved pasta water
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
pinch of red pepper flakes (this will not make the pasta spicy; I promise)
4 ounces cream cheese (I used fat-free)
1/4 tablespoon melted butter
scant 1/4 cup milk (I used skim)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Heat your olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute your chicken for about 20 to 30 minutes (or until it?s done).
Get a large pot of salted water boiling (use a bigger pot than you think you need for the pasta, because you?re adding the asparagus, too).
Toss in your pasta, and cook it according to directions on the package. When your pasta is about five minutes away from being done, add the asparagus.
When the pasta is cooked, drain it, saving about a cup of the pasta water.
Once the chicken is cooked all the way through, add the garlic, onion powder, garlic powder, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes to the pan. Cook for about another five minutes.
Add the chicken broth, butter, milk, cream cheese and half the parmesan to the pan. Stir until everything is melted together.
Add the pasta and asparagus to the pan and stir to coat the pasta in the sauce.
The sauce will thicken on the stove. If it seems a bit thick or the pasta seems too dry, add a little of the reserved pasta water until you get the consistency you like.
Add the rest of the parmesan and salt and pepper the dish to your liking, and enjoy.
This was great summer pasta, and I thought the sauce had a great flavor. I think you could easily make the same dish with broccoli. No matter what, this dinner definitely won?t fall in the category of a ?bland diet.?