Sometimes you don’t want the fancy stuff. No escargots, no lobster cappuccino (it’s rather good), nor turducken (a chicken stuffed into a duck stuffed into a turkey, awesome eh?) can satisfy the inner simpleton in you. Sometimes you just want the good ol’ mac and cheese, chicken and dumplings, or a quick pasta supper. No hassle, no dressing up, no empty wallet. This easy pasta dish is just for one of those days. It’s filling, flavourful, and healthy. Tell me what else you want? My firstborn? No I can’t give that to you, but you can have my food, or pictures of my food.
Rainbow Garlic Chicken Pasta
(makes enough for 4, at least, maybe some leftovers too)
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp. corn starch
1/2 tsp. pepper
a generous pinch of salt
2 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 lb box of whole wheat spaghetti
2 small zucchinis
1 medium carrot
7-8 white button mushrooms, about 4 oz.
3 green onions
1/3 cup of frozen peas (hey, can’t be easy PEAsy without peas, right? Bad, yes I know)
1/3 cup of frozen corn
half a can of white kidney beans (or any color really, even blue )
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter (I used a butter spread to cut back on some fat)
1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar (or if you are lazy like me, hack off a good chunk of that cheese and just slice into odd shapes, it’s fine, no need to get out the grater)
extra salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
First, dice your chicken, and mix with the herbs and cornstarch and seasonings listed above. Work the mixture through well and set aside while you chop the vegetables.
Slice carrots and mushrooms and the zucchini and the green onions (run-on sentence anyone?). Bring a large pot of water to boil. Dump in the pasta, cook for about 8-9 minutes, or until just before al dente. I’ve found that whole wheat pasta, in addition to packing in some fibre and protein and great nutrients, are more resistant to over cooking. It’s awesome, try it.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil on medium high in a large pan. Stir fry the chicken with the green onions until about half cooked and slightly brown on the outside. Add vegetables, fresh and frozen. When everything is just about cooked, add a little over half a cup of pasta water, ladled out of your boiling pasta. Season to taste. I added extra garlic powder.
When pasta is done, add it to the chicken and vegetables along with the beans. Reduce heat to medium low and toss the pasta until water is mostly absorbed. Stir in the cheese and let it melt. Give it all a good toss. You don’t need much cheese, or any cream at all to make the sauce creamy. The secret is the pasta water. Now eat and be happy about how simple life can be.