Learning As I Chop

Manic Monday

Posted in Baking/Cooking, Food Philosophies, Tips by R @ Learning As I Chop on September 30, 2010

As you know, my weeknights have gotten a little crazier since I’ve started school.  Monday and Thursday are my free nights, so I try to do some cooking.  I don’t know why it took so long, but it’s recently dawned on me that dinners don’t need to take two hours.  They can take thirty minutes and still be good. (No, I don’t mean Rachael Ray. No offense, Rach.) I received The Weeknight Cookbook for my bridal shower, but hadn’t used it yet.  No real reason, except that I’m a creature of habit and stick to the J of C or Epicurious.  On Monday, however, I decided to be adventurous and try something new

As you can see, Monday’s dinner included a mixture of pasta, arugula pesto, grape tomatoes and cheese. Delicious! And easy if you want to make it for your carnivorous partner, and sans meat for yourself.  I had many of the ingredients at home, but was lacking a store-bought rotisserie chicken. Normally I’m kind of anti those types of chickens, but will admit they work in a pinch. Except when my supermarket is out of them. Of course they were.  So H pulled a piece of chicken from the freezer and defrosted it in a bowl of lukewarm water. I have to say that worked pretty well.

Back to the plan.The argula pesto pre-processing

Truthfully, I’m not a fan. I tried a tsp for tasting purposes (working to improve this skill) and “bitter” immediately came to mind. I tried to salvage the pesto via a little more olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and even a touch of lemon, but nothing worked. I was nervous but forged ahead.

I also focused on following my rule of prepping before cooking. Here are the nicely washed tomatoes and a yummy hunk of ricotta

The tomatoes were halved, the ricotta “microplaned” and the parmigiana shredded. Once everything was measured and ready, I moved back to the chicken. No pictures since it wasn’t very exciting. I just cut the breast into bite-sized pieces and covered with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Saute the chicken in butter AND olive oil, and voila! It might seem a bit indulgent, but I find using butter together with oil works best. Plus I had no time to marinate the chicken before cooking, and needed to avoid blandness.

In the end I tossed everything together in a large bowl and served. The pesto was better once cut by the cheese, pasta and tomatoes.  But I’m still going back to basil. I guess I’m a traditionalist at heart.

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