Recipe: Red Chicken and Pasta

I made a really delicious dinner last night that I want to share with you.  It was very simple, as most of my meals are in our current apartment situation, but the result was great.  Feel free to add a salad or green vegetable if you so desire… and bread or a dinner roll is always a great way to stretch your dinner.

I started by marinating two chicken breasts in a mixture of a lightly sweet red wine (Boordy’s Chambourcin Merlot blend could work here), a touch of olive oil, some garlic salt, honey, and herbs de provence.  I put everything into a plastic, resealable bag and left it in the fridge for the day.  NOTE:  I always place a plastic bag into a bowl if I’m leaving it in the fridge for the day so there’s no risk of mess to the fridge if anything happens.

I also reconstituted a half cup of dehydrated sun-dried tomatoes and sliced them to add to the pasta for flavor and color.  This was easily done by pouring some hot water over the dehydrated tomatoes and then allowing them time to plump up before slicing them.  Doing this early in the day (or even the night before) makes things so much simpler when you start cooking.

When I started cooking, I decided to toast some whole wheat pasta in garlic butter to add some flavor to the side portion of this meal. Rather than leaving the whole wheat pasta (spaghetti) whole, I chose to break it up into 2″ pieces so the garlic butter would have a better chance of toasting all the pasta.  Once this was done, I added a handful of bowtie pasta and the sliced sun-dried tomatoes to the mixture and allowed the pasta to pick up some of the flavor before adding a few ladles of chicken stock and some red wine to cook the pasta thoroughly. RedChicken&Pasta

I then began cooking the chicken.  I heated a touch of olive oil in a large skillet and sauteed the chicken breasts on both sides until they were nicely browned but not cooked through.  I added the leftover marinade from the plastic bag and stirred up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  At this point, I could have simply left the chicken on the stovetop to cook (with the lid on), but I’m not entirely comfortable with the electric stovetop that I’m currently using so I chose to alter the recipe in mid-stream.

I pushed the chicken off to the sides of the pan and added the pasta/liquid into the pan.  I then put the lid on the pan and popped it into a 350 degree oven to braise everything in the liquid until we were ready for dinner.  Just before serving, I added a Tablespoon of soft cheese to round out the flavors of the pastas, sun-dried tomatoes, *and* the chicken.  NOTE:  Some of the bowtie pasta didn’t get all the way into the liquid and ended up a little crunchy, which is NOT something my husband enjoys. Make sure to keep stirring the pasta throughout the cooking process to make sure that all the pasta is cooked thoroughly before serving.

I really liked this meal – the difference in pasta shapes was fun to me and the chicken was flavorful and yummy.  I’m not always sure how a meal is going to turn out when I start without any sort of structure, but this one was fun.  Next time, I think I will adjust the flavors a bit and make sure that all the pasta is thoroughly cooked before serving… otherwise, this was a good one to repeat.  The basics are all there… now to play with it…

Enjoy!

Recipe: Chocolate Wine Cobbler

ChocolateWineCobblerI originally found this recipe on the side of my Facebook account. It looked yummy and was called “Chocolate Cobbler”. It showed up in my FB feed when I was looking for a new dessert and this just looked simple and tasty. For me, the plus came when the recipe called for “boiling water”… wait… water? What? Why use boiling water when I could substitute wine… and a new recipe was born. After trying this recipe a few times, I’ve finally been able to get a picture of this treat so you can see just how yummy it can be. Oh, and you’ll notice that there are exact measurements in this one because I didn’t use The Force…

INGREDIENTS:

2 sticks butter or margarine (I used margarine, because that’s what I had on hand)

BATTER:

1 1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 c self-rising flour (or use 1 1/2 cup regular flour + 2 tsp baking powder + 3/4 tsp salt)

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup milk

CHOCOLATE LAYER:

1 cup sugar

6 Tbs cocoa powder

WINE LAYER:

2 cups boiling red wine – I used 2 cups of sweet red wine *Note: this tastes perfectly fine with boiling water instead if you so choose.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a high-sided 9×13 baking dish, melt the two sticks of butter in the oven
  2. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl mix together the ingredients for the batter layer. Once the butter is melted, pour the batter over the melted butter but DO NOT STIR.
  3. In a clean bowl, mix together the ingredients for the chocolate layer. Sprinkle on top of the batter but DO NOT STIR.
  4. Pour 2 cups of boiling wine gently on top of entire dessert (again… DO NOT STIR) and bake for 30-45 minutes. I bake mine until I can see a nice golden brown crust.
  5. Serve warm – this is great with ice cream.

I served this dessert at our company Christmas party and it was a huge hit. If you want to substitute boiling water for the wine, that’s completely fine. I would use anything that you like, but I’d suggest using a red wine that cooks well. I find that red Bordeaux varietals (Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot) cook nicely and maintain their integrity throughout the process.

Enjoy! I’ll be adding a little bit of vanilla ice cream to each serving tonight, but I can’t think of anything more comforting than wine paired with chocolate…