On the National Front, today is Nutty Fudge Day. Who doesn’t love fudge? It’s been a part of my Christmas celebration for as long as I can remember. Dad made upwards of 5 pounds or more every holiday.
Christmas and home-made fudge just naturally go together. May and making fudge, not so much. That isn’t to say we shouldn’t enjoy eating fudge this time of year. Where we live, there are craft fairs nearly every Saturday. We love going to the outdoor craft markets. While we don’t buy as much as we once did (I mean how many pot holders or kitchen towels can a person own?), we do like to patronize the Cottage Kitchens. We come home with jars of homemade jellies, tins of cookies and pounds of amazing candies, including fudge. Our favorite is Jack Daniel’s Nutty Chocolate Fudge. Just think your typical Nutty Chocolate Fudge, only laced with Jack Daniel’s Whiskey. Wow! One taste and you’d understand why I don’t bother making my own candies and fudge this time of year.
Come the end of fall, and the Cottage Kitchen Industry closes up shop, giving way to the knitted scarves, wooden snowmen and warm blanket makers instead.
So no Nutty Fudge recipes from me this time of year. Come Christmas and we’ll talk. But not now. Besides, today is Tuscan Thursday. Anything even remotely resembling Italian cuisine is fine by me. Be it Veal Piccata or a Cheese Pizza, it’s all good. And any time we can create an amazing supper in a single skillet, that’s all the better, right?
Before we get down to the recipe, I want you to notice the spice jar in the center of the first photograph – Ready Spaghetti. When it comes to spice blends, I love getting mine from my enchanted friends at Kitchen Witch Gourmet. We first met at a Celtic gathering a few years back. Kiddo and I fell in love with her tea blends first, then her spices. And the names are fun – Birds of a Feather Poultry Seasoning, Flying Monkey Lemon Pepper and my go to Ready Spaghetti Italian Seasoning. Enjoy!
Italian Seashell Chicken Skillet
2 large Chicken Breast
4 Garlic Cloves
5 oz Fresh Spinach
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning Blend
1/2 cup Red Wine
1 (28 oz) can Diced Tomatoes
8 oz Small Seashell Pasta
1/4 cup Chicken Stock
1 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Cut chicken into cubes, set aside. Peel and chop garlic, set aside. Rinse and chop spinach, set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet with a lid over medium heat. While the oil warms, spread chicken out on the cutting board in a single layer. Generously sprinkle cubed chicken with the Italian seasoning. Add seasoned chicken and garlic to the skillet. Cook, stirring often until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, 5 to 8 minutes.
Add the wine and diced tomatoes with their juice into the skillet, bring to a boil over high heat while scraping any browned bits of food off of the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
Stir in the shell pasta and chicken stock. Return to a boil. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the shells have cooked through, but are still firm to the bite, about 12 minutes.
Spread the spinach over the top of the pasta, cover, and simmer until the spinach leaves are cooked, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese evenly over the skillet, and simmer until the cheese has melted and the pasta is bubbling, about 5 minutes.
Stir to blend. Serve and enjoy. Perfect with a nice crisp salad and warm Italian bread.