Sunday, February 10, 2013

Quickie Greek-ish Dinner

This has been one insanely busy weekend and I didn't even do any work (well, not my normal work.)  Here's a list of what we crammed into Friday night through Sunday evening: Circus, playground, pizza with friends, Carolina Ballet performance, church, USC basketball.  It was a lot of stuff.

Viv and I left the Lady Gamecocks as they were 41-41 with Texas A&M.  As a side note, I haven't watched women's basketball in a long time.  They are aggressive as hell and they spend more time on the floor than I remember any team...not just the Gamecocks but the other team too.  It just seemed like they were constantly tripping over feet, just flat out running into each other, whatever you wanna call it...all I know was somebody was on the floor pretty much every play.

By the time we got home, it was time to get back to reality: baths, picking out school clothes, reading and of course, dinner.  I was so tired I just "thought on my feet" and whipped up and dinner that much to my delight (and apparently to my daughter and husband as well), I came up this dish: We'll call it "Elvin's Greek Chicken Pasta." Okay?

Here's what I did:
I took about 6 chicken tenderloins and sprinkled with Cavender's All Purpose Greek Seasoning.  This is something my family has always had in our cabinets.  If you've never used it, find it and be thankful.

So, next I heated up a griddle, melted some butter and added my chicken.  I used a grill press to put pressure on the chicken to quickly create the sear and that beautiful grilled color.  Plus, this cooks the chicken quicker.  I stored them under foil as I continued with other step.  All this time, I had whole wheat penne on the stove.  

Here's the thing about whole wheat pasta.  Most people think it sucks.  Know why?  If you don't cook it right, it does suck.  Wheat pasta must be seasoned with salt while it cooks and it has to cook longer than white pasta.  Simple.  Salting the water liberally will truly add some flavor to the pasta and will take away that wheaty bready cardboardish flavor. And, it must be cooked longer to make it soft and pliable; it's simply different than "regular" pasta.

Then, I used about 1/2 a package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed it and drained it.  I cut up some black olives, then cut the chicken up into bite sized pieces. (Full disclosure: Neil actually handled the chicken for me.  Fantastic job, honey!)  While he was busy with that, I started the sauce.  I like to make roux. Actually I don't really know how to make a sauce or gravy without doing so.) I used about 3 Tbs of butter, 2 Tbs that cooking, stirring until it got "blonde" and "nutty" smelling then I added about 2 cups of warm milk (having the milk warm or hot is important so you don't end up with clumps) whisking vigorously.  As it began to thicken, I added a little Parmesan and Feta.  That's the sauce.  Easy, huh?

So, after draining my pasta, I put it back in the pot, mixed in the black olives, spinach, chicken (now in bite sized pieces) then mixed it all up with the sauce.  It was ridiculously easy to whip up in a hurry and I got big thumbs up from the 6 year old and the 45 year old!  So, if you need quick entrees in your repertoire, you might want to include this one.

Pictures never give it justice

My six year old loved it and my husband had three helpings.  Go ahead, try it, I dare ya!

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