Friday, July 15, 2011

Quick Weeknight Meal

This recipe is a combination of 2 recipes I used to make (one from Pioneer Woman and the other from Ina Garten).  My kids would eat this every night if I let them, and considering how quick and easy it is we do eat it at LEAST one night a week.  This is a true 30 minute meal and I keep the ingredients readily on hand so I can whip it out when needed.  You need a mini chopper or food processor to make it and if you don't own one of those you SHOULD!  Go to Walmart and buy a mini chopper, they are less than $20 and will revolutionize weeknight cooking.  If you are having one of the crazy weeks and you can't remember the last time you made a home cooked meal try this one out.  I hope you enjoy!

Kimberly's Chicken, Pasta & Broccoli in a Garlic Lemon Butter Sauce


2 sticks butter (cold and cut into pieces)
5 cloves garlic (peeled)
1 Lemon
1 package of THIN boneless, skinless chicken breasts (they sell these at Kroger & Publix, sometimes they are called thin & fancy - if you can't find them you can buy regular chicken breasts and pound them out)
1/4 tsp Red Pepper flakes (optional - some kids don't like them)
1 box of short pasta (I usually use either bow tie or penne)
1 bag of fresh broccoli
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350.  Get a pot and start boiling water for the pasta.  Using a mini chopper or food processor to chop/mince the 5 cloves of garlic.  Slice the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the mini chopper/food processor.  Add the cut pieces of cold butter and red pepper flakes and pulse until the butter and garlic is combined.  Place the chicken in a large baking dish (at least 9x13 or bigger) laying each breast/slice flat out.  Drop spoonfuls of the cold garlic lemon butter on top of each chicken breast/slice.  Use ALL the garlic lemon butter.   The chicken will actually poach in the butter "sauce".  Place the chicken in the oven and set the timer to bake for 20 minutes.  Once you get the chicken in the oven the water should be boiling.  Add salt to the water then pasta and boil for the time indicated on the box (usually 10-12 minutes).  When the pasta is almost done go ahead and pierce the bag of broccoli and then steam it in the microwave according to the directions on the bag (I usually do 3 minutes).   Drain the pasta when done and take the broccoli out of the microwave and open the bag to let some of the steam out.  When the chicken is done take the chicken breasts out of the pan (I go ahead and plate it for dinner), then toss the drained pasta and steamed broccoli in the baking dish with all the melted garlic lemon butter.  Add salt & pepper to taste and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if you prefer.  Enjoy!