Garlic Chicken Pasta with Roasted Asparagus

 

I love fresh asparagus.  Love, love, love.  This week I got it from our local farmer’s market, but next year I really want to grow my own.  Did you know asparagus is a weed?  It will grow wild in dry areas.  I just need to find a place to grow it (you need full sun, and I don’t have any).

 

But that’s only part of the recipe.

 

The other part of the recipe is adapted from a recipe for Smokey Garlic Chicken Pasta which you can find below:

(Source: Dinners Dishes & Desserts)

 

Here is the recipe as written:

 

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16 oz. Pasta, any short cut will do

3/4 cup half and half

1/4 cup skim milk

1/4 cup butter

2 large garlic cloves, grated

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1/2 Tbls pepper

1/2 cup bacon, crumbled

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 1/2 cup Lawry’s Garlic and Herb Marinade (or Italian Dressing)

1/4 cup Barbeque Sauce (I used Sweet Baby Rays)

In a shallow baking dish cover the chicken with the Marinade and Barbeque Sauce.  Bake at 300 for 30 minutes, or until cooked through. Shred chicken.

Meanwhile cook the pasta according to package directions.

In a small saucepan melt butter.  Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Add in the half and half, milk, pepper, and cheese.  Whisk until smooth.  Add in the crumbled bacon.  Cook for 3-4 minutes.

In a large bowl mix the chicken, pasta and sauce together.  To serve top with additional cheese if desired.

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I never buy half-and-half or skim milk so I figured a cup of 2% would more or less substitute.  But oops!  I forgot to look at how much milk we had, and we were completely out by the time I made this recipe!  So instead I added the last little bit of low-fat sour cream we had in the fridge (maybe 1/3-1/2 cup?) and about a cup of water, and oh my goodness that was the best sauce I’ve ever tasted!  It may have helped that I used 3 cloves garlic instead of 2 . . . I also really like garlic.  I left out the bacon because we didn’t have any, but hey, I did have Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce (my husband’s favorite, but the first ingredient is high fructose corn syrup . . . so I’m thinking we need a replacement).

As you can see from my picture, I didn’t shred the chicken.  I had half breasts so they still had the bones and skin.  When you cook chicken, the skin can help keep the meat moist.  If you don’t want the extra Calories and fat, just peel the skin off after cooking.  Easy peasy.  (Personally, I love the skin.)

Back to the asparagus.  You put fresh asparagus on a baking dish and drizle with olive oil, then sprinkle with parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.  I don’t know what the amounts are, just eyeball it.  Cook at 400 for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through.  Or, you can be like me and put it in with the chicken.  It just takes a little bit longer that way and may not get crispy (I took the chicken out and turned up the oven for the last 5 minutes or so to make up for it).

This was an amazingly delicious meal!  Also, it was a lesson in the rule that cooking is a forgiving art – you don’t always have to follow the recipe 100% to get good results (with certain exceptions, but I don’t usually make those kinds of food).  I am still learning to experiment in the kitchen but this was fun!

Panko Chicken

 

If you like crispy chicken but are trying to stay away from fried foods, this is for you!  It has my very Southern husband’s stamp of approval, and that means a lot (if you know much about Southern cooking you understand this).

 

I got this recipe from Cook This! Not That but it’s really basic so I’ll share it here.  All you need is:

 

– chicken, whatever kind you like (Justin and I love the Foster Farms chicken breast tenders)

– egg whites (2-3 per pound of chicken)

– salt and pepper to taste

– panko bread crumbs (1 1/2-2 cups per pound of chicken)

 

What is panko?  Basically it’s bread crumbs, Japanese style.  They are crispy and crunchy.  You can find them at your grocery store shelved either with the Asian foods or in the baking aisle (the aisle with flour and sugar; I call it the baking aisle).  This is what my box looks like, as well as what the uncooked crumbs look like:

 

 

 

All you have to do is:

 

Step 1.  Salt and pepper the chicken to taste

 

Step 2.  Dip the chicken in the egg whites

 

Step 3.  Salt and pepper the panko crumbs

 

Step 4.  Coat the chicken in the panko crumbs.  When I make breaded anything, I put the crumbs in a freezer bag, then add the meat, seal the bag, and shake.  Like so:

 

 

Step 5.  Place the breaded chicken on a baking sheet and bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes or until the panko crumbs are golden-brown and the chicken is no longer pink in the middle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yum!  Eat it with your favorite sauce.  Cook This! Not That has a recipe for chipotle-honey sauce, but I prefer honey-mustard and Justin likes barbecue sauce (and we highly recommend Sweet Baby Ray’s).

 

I’ll post the nutrition facts later; I need to consult my recipe book because I don’t think the numbers on the Cook This website are correct.