Tuesday, June 7, 2016

New Life


Our daughter and first born just graduated high school.  She had one week off from school, and then she started both college and a new job.  I have been telling her for a while now that all of the drama and junk that happens in junior high and high school will all go away the last time she walked out of the door of the high school.  Of course, she never believed me and got caught up in drama.  Well, now she finally believes me.  She finally gets it that her life really starts now. She's so excited and scared at the same time, but it's time for her to go off on new adventures and start her new life.

I'm glad she got a new job since she's always worked after school until around 10:00 pm, and I never get to see her.  I work a lot of hours, and I have to go to bed early.  But now she'll work some daytime hours and I get to have her home for dinner.  

Last night we made a fantastic dish.  There were a few steps, but it was so worth it.  This Chicken Parmesan Pasta has bite-sized breaded chicken, a quick homemade marinara sauce, and lots of cheese.  We absolutely loved it!  And I got to have dinner with my daughter.  It was a great evening with good company.  I hope you and your family love this as much as we do.  Enjoy!

CHICKEN PARMESAN PASTA
FOR THE CHICKEN:
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
1 egg, beaten
1 C Italian breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Red chili flakes, to taste
Salt & pepper, to taste
Peanut oil

FOR THE MARINARA SAUCE:
Two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Drizzle olive oil
Salt & pepper, to taste

FOR THE PASTA:
8 ounces rigatoni (or your favorite pasta)
8 ounces shredded Mozzarella
1/2 C shredded Parmesan cheese

NOTES:  You can use boneless, skinless chicken breasts if you'd prefer.  Also, the sauce made a little bit more than I needed.  There was probably 1/2 C leftover.  Use more or less if you like. 

For the marinara sauce, put all of the ingredients into a pot and whisk it.  Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer.  You will want to keep it covered since it will splatter. Simmer, whisking occasionally, for about 15 minutes to thicken.

Cook the pasta according to package directions.

For the chicken, mix the chicken and the egg in a large zipper bag.  Add in the breadcrumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, chili flakes, and salt & pepper to taste.  Shake the bag around to coat the chicken.  Heat some peanut oil in a large skillet and fry the chicken in batches until it's browned and cooked through.  Drain it on a paper towel.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the drained pasta, the chicken, half of the Mozzarella and Parmesan, and the sauce together in a bowl.  Pour it into a casserole pan.  Top it with the remaining cheese and bake it uncovered for about 15-20 minutes or until it's hot through and the cheese on top is melted.

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