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What’s For Dinner? Grilled Chicken Penne al Fresco!

March 14, 2011

Not only is it yummy, it's pretty, too!

So it’s about time I brought back Menu Mondays, as I really love to cook and I love to share my favorite recipes, or more accurately, concoctions. And I ask my dear readers, if you have any favorite recipes, please let me know so I can share them with everyone!

Today’s dish is not only healthy, quick and easy, it’s a family favorite. The kiddos love this! I’ve hesitated to post it until now, because it is a Pampered Chef recipe that requires their Deep Covered Baker. However, I think that even if you don’t own The Magic Pot, as us PC hawkers call it, you can make accommodations, and I’ll make notes along the way. If you do own a Deep Covered Baker, than sit back and enjoy this one. This is restaurant quality chicken pasta that’s not cooked in a cream sauce, and it’s cooked….wait for it….in the microwave! One pot cookin’!

Grilled Chicken Penne al Fresco

Ingredients:
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced (NOT minced!)
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes
3 cups penne or rigatoni (any pasta with a 9-11 minute cooking time)
3 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup dry white wine (like a Chardonnay) (OR use additional broth in its place)
1/2 tsp each salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves, divided (OR 1/3 cup dried basil)
1oz Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup packed)
2 cups diced grilled chicken
Additional grated Parmesan and coarsely ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Spray Deep Covered Baker with olive oil using Kitchen Spritzer. Peel, then slice garlic using Garlic Slicer (or finely slice garlic with any chef’s knife.) Add tomatoes. Cover; microwave on HIGH 4-5 minutes or until tomatoes begin to burst, stirring after 2 minutes. Crush tomatoes using Mix N’ Chop (or any large serving fork or the back of any large spoon.) Add pasta, broth, wine, salt and pepper.

2. Return baker to microwave; cover and microwave on HIGH 16-18 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring after 10 minutes. Meanwhile, coarsely chop basil with Chef’s Knife. Reserve 2 tbsp for garnish. (Or 2 teaspoons if using dried.) Grate cheese using Rotary Grater.

3. Carefully remove baker from microwave and remove lid, lifting away from you. Add remaining basil, cheese and chicken to baker; mix well. Garnish with reserved 2 tbsp basil, additional Parmesan cheese and black pepper, if desired. This dish thickens upon standing.

Yield 8 servings
Nutrients per serving: Light (about 1 cup): Calories 240, Total Fat 2.5 g, Saturated Fat .5 g, Cholesterol 25 mg, Carbohydrate 35 g, Protein 17 g, Sodium 450 mg, Fiber 2 g

Notes:
1. First off, I’d love to see if this works in the microwave with another deep microwave-safe cooker. The DCB holds 12 1/2 cups, so if you have a similarly large microwave-safe dish, I say give it a try!
2. If you don’t, I think this could be made on the stove. Cook the tomatoes in oil and garlic over medium to medium-high heat in a large stock pot. The tomatoes will pop as they heat up, and then they’ll be ready to mash. Add the broth and wine, then bring to a boil. Add the pasta, salt & pepper and cook 9-11 minutes. When noodles are tender, add the chicken, basil and cheese.
3. I use whole wheat pasta whenever possible and this is no exception. Delish!
4. I personally think this uses more basil than I prefer (crazy, I know!). I just add what *looks* best.
5. I don’t typically use grilled chicken, I either use leftover chicken or I boil or pan fry some chicken breast first. Here is how Pampered Chef says to prep your chicken:
To grill chicken in the Grill Pan, season 2 chicken breasts, about 6 oz each, with salt and black pepper. Heat Grill Pan over medium-high heat 5 minutes. Spray pan with oil. Cook chicken 4-6 minutes or until grill marks appear. Turn chicken over; cook 4-6 minutes or until center of chicken is no longer pink and Digital Pocket Thermometer registers 170°F.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 15, 2011 3:05 am

    We all love eating out but cannot always AFFORD it.Great recipes just click on my name and see whats in stall for you.Great site.

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