Thursday, September 20, 2012

Quick & Easy Super Chicken Supper!

Quick and Easy Super Supper - Chicken, Artichoke and Olive Pasta 

This one is for all the working cooks in the universe... I’m gonna say what you’re not supposed to say, “I’m too tired to make dinner tonight!”

Let me ask you, have you ever had no idea what to make for dinner?  You get home from work, and your mind goes blank when you walk into the kitchen? Do you stand in front of the refrigerator with the door open or at the stovetop, and nothing comes to mind?  Well, I have!  I’ve been so tired, spending the day extending my brain function beyond the acceptable capacity levels, that thought of going into the kitchen, and creating some spectacular dinner that’s going to dazzle the family, is simply too exhausting.

Well friends, I’ve got a recipe that will make your life a lot easier, and is a super supper. It’s Chicken, Artichoke, and Black Olive Pasta, a mouthwatering dinner that will grab hold of your salivary glands and put a smile on your lips. Toss a salad with a light vinaigrette, and a freshly baked baguette... dinner is served!

So what makes this so effortless? It’s simple – open a jar of red pasta sauce, grill a couple of chicken breasts, pour in a can of artichoke hearts, and finally, sliced black olives... Oh, and cook a package of linguini. Recipe below.

There are a couple of reasons why I love this dish, besides the easy part. First, it’s a dish from one of my favorite restaurants here in Sarasota – Crab & Fin, on St. Armand’s Circle. My husband and I go there for an occasional splurge. It also reminds me of some great times I’ve had sitting on the sidewalk veranda with my mom, friends and my husband, people watching and making fun memories. This entrée has been a standard on their menu for quite some time... in fact, since they were Charley's Crab many moons ago.

The other reason, well it’s a really tasty dish! All the elements together blend beautifully; the artichoke hearts add a creaminess with a hint of tanginess, the char of the chicken is warming, the deep ruby red sauce adds a level of comfort, and the black olives lend a little sweetness. One twirl of the fork, and you’ll taste for yourself!

I mentioned easy... I prefer to use a pre-made pasta sauce, but you could make your own (if you have the energy). My personal go-to-ready-made sauce is the Publix grocery store signature brand, either Tomato & Basil or the Garden Vegetable - both do quite nicely as a base. Besides, what you add to the sauce is what makes it your own! Now, if you want to make it more special, gourmet pasta sauces from a specialty market, like Casa Italia in Sarasota, add a layer of elegance to the dish. I’m sure the staff will have some appetizing suggestions for you!

SRQ Foodies Take on Crab & Fin’s Chicken, Artichoke Pasta
Serves 4

1 24 oz.  jar      Tomato Sauce
2                         Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breasts
1  14 oz.  can    Quartered Artichoke Hearts
½ c.                    Large Black Olives sliced
12 oz.                 Linguini cooked al dente (enough for four people)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper, grill until thoroughly cooked. While chicken is cooking, heat sauce in pan over medium heat; add artichoke hearts and black olives.  Once chicken is cooked, let it rest 5 minutes and cut into bite size cubes, add to sauce.  While chicken is resting, bring water to a boil and cook linguini al dente. When pasta is ready, pour sauce over noodles, toss lightly, and top with a sprinkling of shaved parmesan. Godere! (Italian for enjoy according to Google Translate)

Seriously, you’re talking less than 30 minutes total for a fresh semi-homemade dinner – and it’s so much better than ordering a pizza or reheating a frozen dinner of some sort. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with frozen dinners, sometimes it’s nice to just heat something up. But... if you can make it yourself, the pride that comes from cooking dinner for the ones you love will boost your self-confidence and energize you!

Until next time....

May life be as delicious as your dishes!

SRQ Foodie

1 comment:

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