Saturday, March 13, 2010

chicken and mushrooms! balsalmic pasta and enchiladas

Remember on Sesame Street, how each episode would be sponsored by a couple of letters and numbers? Like, this episode brought to you by the letter K and the number 7. Well, this blog post is brought to you by two common ingredients: chicken and mushrooms.

...and Chaka Khan.

ADMIT IT--you forgot how good this song is

It was chicken and mushrooms week at the DePalma house. Mushrooms were on sale at Kroger for $1.50/carton, and I had a big 3lb tray of split chicken breasts in my freezer, so just like that, chicken and mushrooms were all the rage.

My girl Rosie over at Naked in the Stacks posted a simple but intriguing recipe for Balsalmic Chicken Penne:

Rosie's Balsalmic Chicken Penne

*1lb chicken breasts, trimmed [I used split breasts]
*1/2lb penne pasta [I used elbow macaroni bc I had a bunch sitting around]
*1/2lb sliced button mushrooms
*1 c. chicken broth plus more reserved
*1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
*1 small onion, sliced
*4 cloves garlic
*italian seasoning (however much you like)
*2 T. olive oil

1. Cut your chicken breasts in to chunks, and marinate in the broth, vinegar, garlic cloves (minced) and italian seasoning in a shallow dish or plastic bag.

I went pretty out of order fixing this dish. Having split breasts instead of b/s breasts, I went ahead and boiled and shredded the meat. I set half of it aside for the next night's enchiladas and threw the rest into a pan with the marinade, letting it cook on very low heat. While it just barely simmered in the pan, I threw the scraps and some of the water from boiling the split breasts into the crockpot along with some salt, some seasonings, a few frozen pearl onions (purchased at Kroger accidentally a few months ago--trying to get rid of them slowly but surely), and the fresh parsley and rosemary I had leftover from New Orleans-style Barbeque Shrimp last week. Voila--8 cups of chicken broth tomorrow morning with virtually no effort on my part.

I admit it--fixing chicken broth from leftover bones and scraps makes me feel sooooo domestic and sensible. Like someone give me a cow to milk or something, jeez

shredded chicken in marinade on low heat

2. While that's marinating, sautee onions in olive oil over medium heat in a pan. Add in mushrooms and cook till they start to give up their water.

Then I got here and I was like whoops so I dumped the chicken and marinade into a bowl I had handy and sauteed the onions and mushrooms instead.

3. Add in your chicken chunks, reserving the juice/marinade and cook through.

4. Add in your marinade and continue cooking until thickened. Add more broth or a little cornstarch to adjust the consistency. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional vinegar if needed.

Since my chicken was already cooked through, I just went ahead and dumped the whole bowl of chicken and marinate in all together and cooked it until it started looking more saucy and less brothy.

5. Serve over penne with some parmesan cheese on top, and a loaf of crusty bread.

Instead I poured it over elbow macaroni and served it trough-style in a big bowl with tons of parmesan.

Marriage is...eating out of one giant bowl in front of the TV to save dishes

Nick and I gobbled it up, and I was able to have the leftovers for lunch two days in a row. I really loved this recipe because I adore balsalmic vinegar and I am always looking for new ways to incorporate it into my cooking. This is also a nice chicken pasta dish that for once doesn't call for tomatoes. I am a tomato fiend but sometimes its nice to fix pasta without cracking open a can of crushed tomatoes.

Soooo we had to eat the next night, too. I had 8 cups of fresh homemade chicken broth and a breast and a half of shredded chicken just begging to be fixed into something delicious, so I decided to try my hand at Sarah's Cucina Bella's Lighter Chicken Enchiladas. I needed to run over to Kroger anyway to pick up the chipotle peppers and the corn tortillas, so I decided to pick up another carton of those mushrooms to round out the dish a little. I felt like it needed more veggies/fungi. You can read about my harrowing mushroom negotiation here. This is cracker-jack material, folks!

Sarah's Lighter Chicken Enchiladas
adapted from Everyday Food
serves 4

*2 tbsp olive oil
*2 cloves garlic, minced
*1/4 cup all-purpose flour [I used cornstarch bc I LOVE cornstarch, so fun]
*1 tsp ground cumin
*1 tbsp minced canned chipotle pepper in adobo [$1.69 at Kroger; I had never used this before but it is tasty]
*1 can chicken broth [I used the fresh broth I just made]
*1/2 cup water
*8 corn tortillas
*1 1/2 lb cooked chicken, chopped [so perfect that it calls for precooked chicken!]
*1 cup cheddar-jack cheese [I used pepper jack bc I had some already]
QUIDQUID BONUS: 1 carton of mushrooms, sauteed lightly

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 8×8 inch square baking pan with cooking oil spray and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Whisk in the flour, cumin and chipotle peppers and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in chicken broth and water. Heat to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 5-10 minutes until thickened, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for 1 minute to heat. Set aside.

Spread enough sauce into the bottom of the baking dish to cover lightly. In a medium bowl, toss one cup of sauce with the chicken. Divide the chicken mixture evenly among the tortillas and roll up. Arrange in the baking dish. Top with the remainder of the sauce. Sprinkle with the cheese.

This recipe is so easy, it should be a sin. The sauce came together perfectly and quickly, and then you just roll up the tortillas and throw it in the oven!

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the edges begin to brown ever so slightly. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about five minutes before serving.

If you can possibly wait that long.

I served it with half an avacado, sliced, and a big dollop of fat-free sour cream. We ate the entire pan in less than 10 minutes. SO GOOD.

These recipes go PERFECTLY together. If you want to try them, I would recommend holding off until split breasts and mushrooms go on sale (which is like every other week at Kroger), buying a big tray of split breasts and two cartons of mushrooms, and fixing them back to back like I did. These two recipes fit together so perfectly, with the broth and the shredded chicken and everything. Shop on Sunday and boil the chicken/fix the broth in advance, then you've got the basis for two big easy weeknight dinners PLUS leftovers.

Discussion Question
What makes you feel sensible and domestic?


  1. heeeeey babe.

    It's meghan here, your fave friend in the maroon lipstick.

    I'm commenting with this blog because my "other" blog is anonymous and I could seriously get fired for the shit I write about.

    P.S. I feel domestic when I swiffer in my high heels.

  2. I feel ya Megs!

    I would like to see a picture of you Swiffering in heels.

  3. Mmm delicious food! I like the music while reading thing! Nice touch kate :-)

  4. Thanks boozie! I knew you'd enjoy a little Chaka Khan with your cinnamon rolls this morning.

  5. Pilsbury cinnamon rolls on sale with a coupon?

  6. HELL YES GIRL! 30 big cents at Kroger

    you know me too well

  7. Cooking and baking from scratch always makes me feel super domestic. Also, the smell post swiffering. I love it and the clean floors.

  8. Cassidy, from the sound of your recent post, your floors will be clean enough for that baby to eat off of!