February 28, 2007

Cheesy chicken goodness

Giada's Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina is simple and easy. After all, this is the "Cooking with Kids" recipe.

But I have a problem with it.

My problem with this recipe is just that it calls for itsy bitsy little amount of food. 1 cup pasta? 1/2 cup cube chicken? I mean, seriously. I will have to deal with half a box of pasta and half a package of chicken later? I don't think so!

So I just upped the ante and went all out with my ingredients. The following note shows the quantity for my version. Follow the original instruction, and you're all set. It's still very tasty AND I have leftover for a few days. And so far, the pasta/casserole dishes seem to freeze well.

I only deviated from it just a bit by seasoning my chicken pieces with salt and pepper and chili flake as well. And right before I take the chicken mixture off the heat, I splashed a tad of vermouth in there to pick up whatever brown bits may be left behind. The onion's sweat should've taken care of it, but a bit of alcohol in cooking never hurts anybody. ;-)

Supersized Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina

1 package rainbow rotini (or whatever small pasta you like. If it's elbow macaroni, I think half a box is plenty.)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 package chicken tenders (just about a pound...ish), cubed.
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice (I used Italian seasoned ones)
3 cups shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (totally adjustable here...Brandon just doesn't do the "decorative" greens that much)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Some butter for buttering up the casserole and to dab on top of the crumb topping
Optional: chili pepper flakes to kick it up and a dash of vermouth (or maybe white wine) to deglaze the pan.

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