I thought I would start with something simple to get us started. This recipe was one of my favorites growing up and best of all, it is always a winner with the kids.
2 large chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/3 cup diced red pepper
½- ¾ cup parmesan cheese, to taste
½ cup of peas (fresh or frozen)
1 ½ cups of milk (or 1 soup can full)
½ Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter or margarine
12 ounces bowtie pasta
1 Tbsp Salt (for pasta water)
Heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet.
Pat chicken breasts dry with a paper towel. This will keep excess water from entering the pan and “boiling” your chicken. Cut chicken into small bite-size pieces. Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper.
Dice your red pepper. Store the extra in your freezer (in a freezer Ziploc). I do this with green and red bell peppers as well as onions. This way they are readily available to you when you need a handful of them.
Now is a good time to fill your pot of water for your noodles and get it heating up. Bowties always seem to take forever to cook. When water reaches a boil, add salt. It is important to add enough salt so that your water tastes like a broth, so don’t go skimpy here. This will add so much flavor to your pasta.
Heat pan over medium-high heat. Always remember when cooking meat to let your pan get hot before you put the meat in. This will keep your meat from losing all of its juices and essentially boiling itself, leaving it flavorless and rubbery. Also use a large enough pan so that when the meat is dropped into the pan, the temperature does not plummet. Your pan should let out a good sizzle when the chicken is dropped in. Spread the chicken out into one layer in the pan. Do not stir until the meat is seared (browned) on the bottom-side. This is especially true when you are cooking with a skillet that does not have a non-stick surface. If you let it sear before turning it, you will not end up with your chicken super glued to the bottom of your pan. Sprinkle red bell peppers over the top of the chicken after a minute or two when the pan has recovered its heat. Turn the chicken with a spatula and repeat the searing process on the other sides until the chicken is fully cooked.
Reduce heat to low. Add cream of chicken soup, milk and peas. Stir together and return to heat.
Grate parmesan cheese. Do not use the cheese in a can (save that for your pizza). Try to always use freshly grated parmesan as it will have a much better flavor and texture. It’s really not very expensive and it is very versitile for use in your other recipes. You can also freeze the leftovers if you don’t think you will use them right away.
Add Cheese, garlic salt and pepper to taste (taste first then add salt). ALWAYS taste your dish and make sure it tastes delicious before you serve it. This will save you from serving something bland or way too salty.
Drain pasta and spoon 3/4 into pan containing chicken sauce. Stir until pasta is coated. I generally leave about 1/4 of the noodles out so the dish is nice and creamy. (Save them for later.)