It’s been too long since I posted a must-make dinner recipe, hasn’t it? It could be because I don’t like to cook actual dinners when the weather gets hot, or because my baby is getting so big it is making my stomach too small to care much about whole meals and increasing my personal body heat much beyond already-unacceptable summer levels, or it could be because I snack so much all day I spoil my appetite, as my mother always promised I would :)
Good thing she’s bailing me out by making real dinners herself, and is willing to share! This is definitely a must-make, as are most one-dish chicken bakes for a family that eats chicken as often as we do. Is chicken a meat staple in your house too?
And the recipe binder of which she speaks…I pulled it out on occasion during my 3 month stay there, and let me tell you, overflowing is an understatement :)
I love cookbooks, especially ones with big, beautiful pictures of every recipe! I have a somewhat extensive collection sitting on my kitchen shelves and I love to browse through them and think about which recipes would be amazing and delicious to make. When ooohhing and ahhhing over another new cookbook a few years back, out of the mouth of babes, my youngest daughter Emily, came the words, “Why do you need a new cookbook? You never use the ones you already have.”
As tempted as I was to say “mind your own business!” (ok, I may have actually said it), I knew she was right. I get into supper ruts, making the same thing repeatedly and rarely actually using one of those recipes I have been drooling over or ripping out of magazines and calendars and stuffing into a binder. Seriously, if I actually made every new recipe I check out or rip out, my husband and I would never eat the same food twice.
Having reached the point where I can no longer pull my binder out of its place in the cupboard without at least 100 pages of ‘really want to try’ recipes falling out, I thought it was time to actually try a few. I adapted this recipe from a page ripped off of an old Milk Calendar, the ones put out for free by Canada’s Dairy farmers. I have added more vegetables for nutrition and colour, as well as adding pesto to the sauce for more basil flavour. I have also changed the chicken from 4 pieces to 6 because the pasta portion of the dish will easily feed 6 people.
When my husband saw the pan come out of the oven, he gave what for him is his ultimate compliment if he likes the appearance of something or somebody… “Fancy!” :) It definitely looked good, and the taste did not disappoint. This is one recipe that will be moving from where it was stuffed in the front of binder to the back, where the keepers are.
- 6 small boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 11⁄2 tsp salt, divided
- 1 tsp pepper, divided
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 green onions sliced,
- 1⁄2 large sweet red pepper, chopped
- 8 oz (250g) white mushrooms, sliced
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 1⁄2 cups milk
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1 Tbsp basil pesto
- 1 cup shredded Swiss or Mozzarella cheese, divided
- 8 oz (250g) broad egg noodles
- 2 cups chopped green beans (fresh or frozen)
- 1 fresh tomato, chopped, or 1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a shallow 10-12 cup baking dish. Sprinkle chicken breasts with 1⁄4 tsp each salt and pepper. In a large non-stick skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add chicken and cook, turning once, for about 10 minutes or until chicken is well browned on both sides (but not cooked through.) Transfer chicken to a plate.
- Add green onions, red pepper and mushrooms to the skillet and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Whisk flour into milk; gradually pour into skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes or until slightly thickened.
- Remove from heat and stir in basil, pesto, 1⁄2 cup of the cheese and the remaining salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, cook noodles in large pot of boiling, salted water for about 5-6 minutes or until almost tender, adding green beans 2 minutes before end of cooking time for fresh and 1 minute before if frozen. Drain well in colander and spread in baking dish. Pour 3⁄4 of the sauce over noodles in dish and toss gently to coat. Arrange chicken and tomatoes on top of noodles. Spoon remaining sauce over chicken and sprinkle with remaining ½ cup cheese.
- Bake for about 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.