Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Creamy Parmesan and Basil Chicken Pasta

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When it comes to pasta dishes, I rarely get adventurous. I grew up on two pasta meals: boxed mac & cheese and spaghetti. I didn't even have baked ziti until I started dating Tim in 2006. We just weren't much of a pasta family. Our family was more the meat n' potaters type of family.

Now that I'm a big girl/grown up/fiercely independent woman on a budget who has to make all the meals for both myself and my husband, I'm having to step outside the box. Groceries are expensive, and pasta dishes are definitely some of the most affordable options out there.



Now, I am a naturalist when it comes to seasonings. I tend to make my own concoctions and stay away from the bagged seasonings, unless it's tacos or Ranch-anything. But when I saw this bag of McCormick Gourmet seasoning, I had to give it a try. There is a recipe on the back of the package, but I deviated from it and made this incredible pasta dish. I brought leftovers into work, and the ladies were swooning over this. I know it looks sloppy, but please give it a try.

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

  • 1 pkg. McCormick Gourmet Creamy Parmesan & Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Penne Recipe & Seasoning Mix
  • 2 cups penne or rotini pasta
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. garlic
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:


First, we're going to go ahead and throw two thawed chicken breasts on the stove, medium heat, with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Our goal here is to slightly cook the chicken.



The olive oil will go crazy, so make sure and cover it the pan.



Cook the chicken 3-5 minutes on each side, making sure it doesn't burn. Like I said, we just want this to slightly cook on each side. Turn the heat off and place both chicken breasts on a cutting board.

I know. Half-cooked chicken is gross.



Cut the chicken into longer slivers. There's no specific size. Just go with what you prefer.



Throw the chicken back on the stove and turn the heat back up to medium. Now, we're going for the browning of the meat.



Once the chicken has browned, place the chicken on a piece of tinfoil and put directly in oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.



While that happens, go ahead and cook the noodles according to the instructions.


Next, we're going to start the sauce.




Take the butter and put it in the pan that you cooked the chicken in. Turn the heat on low and let it melt.



Add the milk.



Add the salt and pepper.



Stir in the Parmesan cheese and combine on a low heat level.

Not seen: throw in the cream cheese and stir, allowing it to melt fully.



Once that's all combined, add in the garlic.



Add the other two tablespoons of olive oil.



Add the cooked chicken and combine.



Add the seasoning and mix.



Oooooooh, baby.



It's good. It's really good.


Love and pasta,

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