Experimenting in the Kitchen

I do believe it’s time for a recipe. Now I know summer cooking is all about the lighter, perhaps easier fare, but I’m always in the mood for comfort food. You know the whole, “Never trust a skinny cook,” saying? I am trustworthy…and I like my comfort food.

This is one of those dishes that comes out of those little sparks of inspiration that are so often lit by a craving for some dish or other. In this case, it was a hankering for creamy pasta that started it. It reminds me of a recipe I used to make quite often, but was a lot of time-consuming prep work.

So, here we go. And please bear with me as I am not all that skilled at figuring how many servings, etc. We’re a family that loves to eat, so our serving sizes might not be yours anyway. 🙂

Creamy Chicken and Pasta

1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken thigh cutlets (boneless chicken breasts would work equally well, but wouldn’t be as juicy.)
Olive oil cooking spray
Garlic powder
Montreal Chicken Seasoning
1 lb mostaciolli (or other pasta)
1 eight ounce brick cream cheese
6 tbs butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup five cheese Italian blend, shredded (mozzarella, Romano, parmesan, asiago, provolone)
1/4 cup chopped green onion tops
3 to 6 slices cooked, chopped bacon (this is totally a how-much-bacon-do-you-want kind of thing, and really, there’s no such thing as too much bacon)
Salt and black pepper

Spray the chicken lightly with the cooking spray. (Or brush with olive oil). Sprinkle generously with salt, garlic powder, and Montreal Chicken Seasoning. Cooking method is up to you, but I don’t think you can do better than grilling.
Cook the pasta as directed.

Now for the best part: In a saucepan, over low heat, begin to melt the butter and cream cheese together. IMG_20140722_195726
Add to this mixture salt, freshly ground pepper, and garlic powder. (Don’t be stingy with the garlic here!) Add the heavy cream and stir until smooth, then slowly add the milk. (Fyi, there’s no better tool for this than a whisk.) Keep the heat low and keep stirring. Once the sauce is a smooth, slightly thickened consistency, add 3/4 cup of the Italian cheese blend and stir until it is melted and fully incorporated. Remove from heat.
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Now, bring it all together. Spray a 13 x 9 casserole dish with your cooking spray and put the pasta in the pan. Lay the grilled chicken cutlets on top and then pour the (oh-my-word-this-sauce-is-heaven) sauce evenly over the top.
Sprinkle the chopped green onion and bacon all over the top, followed by the remaining shredded cheese.
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Bake at 350 degrees for twenty minutes, and prepare for your family and friends to tell you how amazing you are.
(When my hubby – who isn’t often impressed by pasta dishes – said, “Oh man. This sauce is awesome!” I knew I had a winner.