We were on a family ski trip up north, enjoying our stay in the cutest little condo in the cutest little town near our favorite mountain, Sunday River. Condo-skiing is great, a lot of times it’s so close to the mountain you can see the peaks, and sometimes it’s even slope-side — ski in/ski out. This particular condo was about a 10-minute drive to the mountain and we were having the time of our lives.
The upside of condo-skiing is being able to come and go as you please. You don’t have to deal with checking in at the front desk or those impossible little credit card like keys that never work on the first try. The downside is being responsible for the feeding and cleaning needs of the group after a long day on the slopes. There is no room service, there is no maid service; basically, there is no easy button.
It’s times like these when I think: “Why didn’t we bring someone who could whip up our meal nice and hot on-demand, like the way we order up our movies?”
Of course, after spending a fortune on lift tickets, we were determined to not send out for food, but I was none too thrilled at the prospect of forcing creativity. Truth be told, I was not feeling it. Let’s face it, who in their right mind would choose to slave away in a hot kitchen when they still can’t feel their toes?
Knowing dinner time was coming, I needed a plan. I had noticed a strip of shops nearby: a butcher shop and a fruit and veggie mart next door to it. I checked it out and was surprised that the prices weren’t bad, so I picked up some boneless chicken and a wedge of blue cheese while my husband got some fancy fettuccine and fresh produce next door.
I had decided on chicken fettuccine. It has just a few ingredients, making it ideal for a quick, creative and filling family-style meal on the cheap. I had never made it before and thus was “winging it.” Surprisingly, it came out fantastic and I have been making it for my family ever since. Don’t you just love happy accidents?
- 2 cups boneless skinless chicken breast, boiled
- 2 packages of fettuccine
- 1 package cherry tomatoes
- 1 tsp garlic (1 clove) minced
- 1 tbls olive oil
- 1 tbls butter
- 1 tbls flour (optional)*
- ½ cup each veggie: chopped asparagus, sliced mushrooms, broccoli, baby spinach**
- 1 8 oz wedge of blue cheese
- ½ cup shredded parmesan***
- handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 cup cream or milk
- salt and pepper to taste, 1 pinch crushed red pepper
Boil the chicken and set aside in a bowl, covered with foil. Cook the pasta and set aside.
In a saucepan, heat olive oil and butter together, add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add asparagus and saute for 1 minute. Stir in cream or milk. Stirring constantly, bring to a slow boil being careful not to scald the cream.
Break up the blue cheese and whisk or stir in. Add parmesan cheese (romano, monterey jack or cheddar work just as well). Salt and pepper to taste, add crushed red pepper, stir in your fresh parsley, reserving 2 tbls. to top later. Set aside sauce.
Now the chicken has cooled off a bit, cut or pull it apart into chunks (my family likes it threaded). Add chicken to sauce, toss in the cherry tomatoes last, as they will overcook otherwise. Now toss the pasta in the sauce, top with fresh parsley and serve!
This dinner feeds my family of six with no leftovers because it’s just too darn good. Enjoy!
*If you are using cream, skip the flour — I only use flour as a thickener when I am “cutting” the cream with milk.
**I’ve added every other type of cheese you can imagine — try using two or three types of cheeses together to get different flavors. Our favorite combination is blue cheese, parmesan and Dubliner Irish Cheese. I use about ½ cup of each, shredded.
***Adding the green veggies boosts the nutritional value of this meal and mushrooms are a great compliment to this dish. If you opt to add baby spinach, save it for the last step with the cherry tomatoes. Whichever veggies you choose, you want it to amount to at least 1-1/2 full cups.