The inspiration for tonight’s dinner came by way of the salad dressing in my fridge… really! I picked up a national brand Asian Sesame salad dressing recently and wondered how it would pair with chicken for dinner. Thankfully, it paired beautifully and became the focus of this recipe. NOTE: You can substitute your own favorite dressing in this recipe… if you like it, feel free to use it for more than a salad.
I started with two chicken breasts. I made a foil packet (using two pieces of foil) in my baking dish and placed the breasts together on the bottom of the dish. I then poured some Chardonnay white wine (I love using James River Chardonnay for this sort of recipe) and drizzled the dressing on the breasts before closing up the packet. I could have easily cooked the chicken for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, but I wanted to cook dinner much slower, so I let the breasts steam in the packet at 250 degrees for an hour. NOTE: Even at this much longer time frame, the breasts were tender and juicy… I love when an experiment goes well!
About 20 minutes before I wanted to serve dinner, I started making the bow tie pasta and added a touch of Chardonnay to the cooking liquid to flavor the pasta to mirror the chicken’s sauce. After taking the chicken out of the oven and opening the packet, I realized that the sauce was much too thin to be “good enough”, so I had some work to do.
I removed the chicken to a plate and poured the cooking liquid into a saute pan. Using a bit of the cooking liquid, I made a slurry with some flour, whisked the slurry into the pan, and cooked the sauce until it thickened (which happened really quickly). For flavor, I added a few tablespoons of a garlic/herb light cheese, some salt and pepper, and a sprinkling of herbs de provence. Then, using a spoon and a fork, I turned the cooked chicken breasts over twice to pick up the sauce and warm the chicken a bit.
Serving dinner was easy… I ladled pasta onto the plates, placed the chicken breast on top, then poured sauce over the entire meal. A side salad or a vegetable would have added a bit more color and a great boost of nutrition, but we opted to go with a very simple meal tonight. If my entire family was coming to dinner, I could have easily cooked more chicken/pasta and the additional vegetables/salad would have completed the meal.
It’s the little things that can add to your meal each night. Adding your family’s favorite vegetable or some crusty bread to dinner can round things out quickly. Follow your instincts when it comes to cooking… and wait to hear the sounds of happy, satisfied family members singing your praises.
Enjoy the food journey we all travel… it’s so much fun that way!