Diablo Pasta

CuteDevilGirl

I don’t have a picture of this yet, so he’s an adorable devil girl.

This was an experiment in one pot cooking that turned out better than expected and caused a near-riot at or house. Okay, maybe not that exciting, but it turned out better than any of us could have imagined.

It’s got a chili mac vibe, a little bit of heat, and fresh cilantro. What’s not a to love? Let’s class it up and call it Diablo Pasta.

Ingredients for seasoning:

2 Tbsp chili powder

2 Tbsp cumin

3 tsp paprika

3 tsp garlic powder

3 tsp onion powder

The Rest:

2# chicken breast, cut into chunks or ground beef – chicken gives it a bit of an enchilada quality and keeps things a bit healthier, ground beef is good for the taco or chili lover. They’re both good, though.

2 bell peppers, diced small – I like to keep things colorful with one red and one yellow.

2 jalapenos, diced – I only seed and de-rib one, because I love a little heat. You can do whatever you like though.

1 onion, diced small

6 cloves garlic, smashed and minced

4 cups rotini or fusilli – I used macaroni once, and it doesn’t work as well as the larger pastas, so keep that in mind. Cavatappi works well too, and it’s fun!

4 cups chicken stock – If you don’t make your own (and I don’t always), use one of the varieties that comes in a carton. The flavor is vastly superior to canned.

1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce

1 cup shredded Mexican cheese

Chopped cilantro for garnish

Directions:

  1. Combine all the seasoning ingredients in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat with some oil.
  3. For chicken: season chicken chunks with 2 Tbsp seasoning mix and cook in skillet until brown and cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate.
  4. For ground beef: brown and drain the beef, then add back to the skillet with 2 Tbsp of seasoning mix. Make sure it’s thoroughly coated and remove to a plate.
  5. Add vegetables (onions, garlic, peppers) to pan with 2 more Tbsp seasoning mix and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add chicken stock and scrape up anything that has cooked to the bottom of the pot. Let this boil and cook down a bit before adding dry pasta to pot along with 2 more Tbsp seasoning. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Cover and turn to low. Allow to cook 10 minutes, until pasta is al dente.
  7. Add tomato sauce and stir until mixed well. Turn heat off and stir in shredded cheese. Add meat and stir together.
  8. Serve in bowls and top with a dusting of cilantro.

To be honest, I didn’t mix the cheese in the last time I made this because I’m not a big fan of cheese. Instead, I sprinkled it on top of everyone else’s at the end and ate mine without. With and without cheese were both a success!

Serves 4-6, depending on appetites. 

 

Perfect Chicken Breast

nobodycallsmeI’m notorious for overcooking chicken. A lifetime of hearing about the dangers of eating undercooked chicken as left me incapable of cooking it to anything less than a leathery consistency.

This method cooks chicken breast perfectly every single time. There’s no bells or whistles on this method, so the seasoning is up to you. I chop it up and use it in fried rice, or slice into strips and put on top of salad. Seriously, you can do anything you like here. It’s not terribly interesting on its own, however, so I’m not even going to post a picture of it.

You will need:

A large fry pan with a tight-fitting lid

Cooking oil

Thin-sliced or pounded-thin chicken breast.

  1. If your chicken breast isn’t thin-sliced, either butterfly slice it thin,  or place it in a large Ziplock bag and pound it thin.
  2. Heat your fry pan (I like cast iron/enamelware) to medium-high with peanut or vegetable oil before placing your chicken breast in the pan. They should sizzle slightly when they hit the metal. Let them cook on one side for 1 minute, then flip.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium-low and put the lid on. Let the chicken breasts cook for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off, and let them sit, lid on, for another 10 minutes before serving.

Want to see a picture of them cooking? 

Ha! That was a trick question because you’re suppose to keep the lid on!

When you take the lid off (after 10 minutes of cooking and ten of sitting, not before. Never before!), the result will be perfectly-cooked, juicy chicken breasts. This method works because you’re basically poaching the chicken in it’s own juices.  

 Try it! It’s amazing. It opens up a whole new world of chicken possibilities to you.