Have you ever noticed how hard it is to get back into the swing of things after a vacation? Not only for my guys to get back into the routine of a working stiff, but for me to get my butt back into the kitchen. I love to cook, don’t get me wrong. But it sure is nice when someone else does all the work and all we need do is show up.
One of the perks in my kitchen is that I have Kiddo as a Sous Chef – once a menu is selected, he can handle a great deal of work, freeing me up for sampling and adjustments. I rely on him in the tasting department as well. If something just isn’t up to snuff, he usually has suggestions that will elevate a dish and enhance the flavors. I love his salads – Kiddo makes some of the best dressings that complement the main course beautifully. Working with color and “carving” are where his natural talents lay – but only when he is in a creative mood. If he is tired or not “feeling it” and oh my goodness – what a mess. Presentationally speaking – he always manages to knock it out of the ballpark in the flavor department, but the visual “pop” might be missing. If the mood isn’t there his dish could end up looking more like a short order cook slinging hash.
Kiddo loves working with anything that calls for garlic, butters and creams. He also likes dishes that call for a reduction sauce. He does better with recipes that need tending – down time for him means wandering off and forgetting what he was doing in the first place. I like to jump around – he likes to jump around – and somethings that means crashing. Yet we manage to make a good team – love that kid.
Lately, Hubby and I have been buying our chicken not in the packages at the grocery store, but rather from the butcher’s counter. Recently we bought a breast that was so large, it fed the three of us. For this dish, two large breasts from the butcher was more than enough. What doesn’t make sense to me is that it is cheaper per pound to buy the chicken buy the breast from the butcher’s counter than it is to pick up one those pre-packaged breasts from the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Guess you are paying for all that plastic wrap and Styrofoam containers to toss in the landfills later than a breast wrapped in butcher’s paper.
Base for Sauce
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 cup chicken broth, divided
1 cup heavy cream
In a large saucepan over low heat, melt butter; add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and 3/4 cup of the chicken broth; increase to medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are tender. Add the cream and bring to a boil; stirring. Simmer over medium heat until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
8 ounces dry fettuccine pasta
Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm oil and saute chicken. Press on chicken occasionally with a slotted spatula. Cook for about 4 minutes per side or until the meat feels springy and is no longer pink inside. Transfer to a board; cover and keep warm. Discard the fat from the skillet.
In the same skillet, over medium heat, bring 1/4 cup chicken broth to a boil; stirring the pan juices. Reduce slightly and add to the cream sauce; stir in basil and adjust seasonings to taste.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add fettuccine and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain, transfer to a bowl and toss with 3 to 4 tablespoons of the sauce.
Cut each chicken breast into 2 to 3 diagonal slices. Reheat the sauce gently if needed. Transfer the pasta to serving plates; top with chicken and coat with the cream sauce; serve.