Tag Archives: creamy chicken

Quick Creamy Penne Caper Chicken (serves 4-6)

This is comfort food at its best and exactly what I was in the mood for the last night. I know that when people see the word “creamy” in a recipe it tends to make them turn the page quickly for fear that even looking at the word will make them gain weight. From my experience in the kitchen, and living around people for quite some time, I know that eating a dish like this once in a while is not the culprit. It is all that other stuff we do, like eating bigger portions than we should, drinking sugar-loaded beverages and diving into that bag of chips with a little too much gusto!

Quick Creamy Penne Caper Chicken

Quick Creamy Penne Caper Chicken

Because of this, we deprive ourselves of a great dish like the one I cooked for myself and my family last night. I didn’t feel a shred of guilt as I glugged the cream into the pan and nor should you. I know that if you are on a mission to loose some weight it might be something to avoid for the moment (however read this if you want to know what I think about dieting!), but as a general rule, dishes like this shouldn’t be tabu unless you are over-indulging in the wrong foods, or it is a medical issue.

So go ahead and try this great pasta dish out, without guilt or remorse. Besides your worry about the cream, the rest of the ingredients should make you feel great: chicken breast, spinach, onions, garlic, celery!

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You will need:

2 tbs olive oil

sea-salt & freshly ground black pepper to season meat

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (optional, but lovely addition!)

3 or 4 chicken fillets (if they are large, use 3 or if you are cooking for 6 use 4)

1 medium sweet onion, small dice

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 sprigs fresh thyme leaves (if you don’t have this, don’t worry, still tastes great without)

2 celery ribs, including leaves, diced

8 oz cremini  (Baby Bella) mushrooms, diced

4 tbs rinsed capers

4 cups chopped spinach

1/2 cup chicken broth (or 1/2 bouillon cube and a 1/2 cup water)

2 cups heavy cream

1 lb ridged mini penne (Barilla make a great mini penne)

Method:

1 – Season chicken lightly with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper flakes (if you are using). Put large saute pan (big enough to hold the entire completed dish) on high heat and add the oil. When it is hot, add the chicken and cook undisturbed for 3 or so minutes until browned. Turn meat and lower heat to medium and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from pan to a plate and tent loosely with foil. After about 10 minutes (in the meantime you can be getting on with the rest of the dish) cut each chicken breast into 1/4 inch slices (about 1/2 cm). Cover and set aside.

Sear chicken

Sear chicken

2 – If the pan looks dry, add a little oil and add the celery, onions and garlic. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes until vegetables become softer., stirring occasionally.

saute base veggies

saute base veggies

*Put water on for pasta and cook according to instructions. Before you drain the pasta scoop out about 1 cup of the cooking liquid and reserve. Do not rinse pasta. Time this so as the pasta is cooked by the time the rest of the dish is done (see times in steps 3 to 5 to calculate)*

3 – Add the thyme and diced mushrooms and continue to cook for another 5 or 6 minutes, until the mushrooms start to brown and begin releasing juices.

Add diced mushrooms

Add diced mushrooms

4 – Add the chopped spinach and capers and cook for 1 minute before adding the broth (or bouillon and water). Turn up heat slightly and stir to release any brown bits stuck to the bottom of your pan. Add the cream and bring to a low boil.

add capers, spinach, then cream

Add capers, spinach, then cream

5 – When it just begins to boil add the sliced chicken, along with the accumulated juices and turn heat down to low. Cover and cook at a very low simmer for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked (you can check by cutting into a piece. The meat should be tender, juicy and white). Turn pan off and immediately add the cooked, drained pasta. Gently stir everything together and add a little pasta cooking water if you want a looser sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Add chicken and cook until done

Add chicken, cover and cook until done

Serve in warmed shallow bowls and pass a little grate Parmigiano Reggiano and extra pepper flakes if you so desire!

Chicken with Capers and Cream (serves 6)

This is one of those dinners that makes itself which is appropriate in an age when people feel no obligation to be in the kitchen and yet overwhelmed with guilt for not making a home cooked meal.

Chicken with Capers and Cream

Chicken with Capers and Cream

There are plenty of times I want to be in the kitchen all night long as this is my idea of relaxing, but I know that is not the case for many people, which is why dinners like this one are so great.

It has an air of luxury about it so is even something that can be made for a last-minute dinner party.

Anyway, here is another dish from the Crappy Kitchen that requires about 10 minutes on your part: so go ahead, be a little crazy and make dinner tonight!

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You will need:

3 to 4 tbs olive oil

freshly ground black pepper to season chicken

2 lbs chicken breasts, thinly sliced in cross sections making the breast the same size only thinner. (If you cannot buy them already like this, then just slice each breast into very thick slices)

4 tbs capers, including  juice (do not rinse)

1 tbs caper brine (the liquid from the caper jar)

3 bay leaves

1 sprig of fresh rosemary (use two if they are short sprigs)

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

8 to 10 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped

Method:

Preheat 400*

1 – Season chicken with a general grind of black pepper. Put big saute pan or casserole pot on high heat and add 2 tablespoons of the oil. When it is hot add the chicken in an even layer and sear on both side transferring to a plate as you go. You will have to work in batches and add more oil as needed.

Brown chicken

Brown chicken

2 – Turn heat down to low/medium and add the capers. Cook for 1 minutes, stirring frequently, then add the rosemary and bay leaves. Cook for another minute or two.

Cook capers with seasonings

Cook capers with seasonings

3 – Add the cream and turn heat up to medium and bring the cream to a low boil.

Add cream

Add cream

4 – Return the chicken to the pan and bring back to a low boil. Turn heat off.

Return chicekn to sauce

Return chicken to sauce

5 – Place lid on pan or casserole and put the dish in the oven for about 35 minutes or until chicken is tender.

Cook

Cook

6 – Remove from oven and add the chopped spinach. Return to the oven for 5 more minutes, allowing the spinach to wilt. Remove from oven and give everything a gentle stir. If your sauce is very thick you may thin it out by adding more cream.

Add spinach

Add spinach

Serve with basmati rice or boiled baby potatoes.

Serve with rice

Serve with rice

Chicken in Sumptuous Mushroom Sauce, Topped with Dumpling Crust, with Simmered Peas & Lettuce (serves 6)

 Man Alive, this was good a good dinner! Last night I was in one of those moods to cook something special for all of us. Somehow, I felt we were all in need of a treat, so I decided to make the effort to cook something extra delicious for all of us.

Chicken in sumptuous Mushroom Sauce with Dumpling Crust & Simmered Peas & Lettuce

To satisfy all of our particular tastes, I tried to cook a little part of what everyone really likes. I like chicken (obvious) so I had to cook thighs and breasts (for those of us who like dark and light meat). We all love mushrooms and the crusty topping (this also eliminated the need to cook a starch). My son loves lettuce and my daughter loves peas, and myself and my man Dave like anything green. 

We were all very happy for our own particular reasons. It was a little more work than the usual Tuesday dinner, but it had the effect of a strong medicine. Everyone came out from under their clouds, and we had a lovely evening together.

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For the Chicken; you will need: 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 1 medium sweet onion, diced, 2 rosemary sprigs, leaves removes & finely chopped, 1/2 lb white mushrooms, diced, 1 tbs unsalted butter, 2 tbs all-purpose flour, 2 1/2 cups chicken broth, coarse sea-salt, several grinds black pepper.

For the Dumpling crust; You will need: 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour., 4 oz cold unsalted butter (1 stick), 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp sea-salt, 2/3 cups milk (any %)

For the Simmered peas; You will need: 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped, 2 cups baby peas (I used frozen), 1 clove garlic, finely chopped, 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 1 cup chicken broth, sea-salt & freshly ground black pepper.

Preheat oven 400*

1 – Prep all ingredients as instructed above.

2 – Season chicken with coarse sea-salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put a saute pan on high heat and let it warm up. Add a couple of tbs of extra-virgin olive oil and when it is hot add 1/2 of the chicken and sear on both sides until browned. Remove to a heavy casserole as you go, and add more oil as needed.

Sear Chicken

3 – Turn heat down, add some more oil if need and add the onions. Cook for 5 minutes before adding the chopped rosemary leaves and diced mushrooms. Continue to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 tbs of unsalted butter and when it melts, add the flour. Stir it into the onion mixture for about 1 minute.

saute onions, add mushrooms

4 – Add the broth and turn heat up. Stir constantly until it reaches simmering point. Turn off heat, taste sauce for further seasoning and adjust accordingly. Pour sauce (making sure to scrape out every last scrap with a spatula) over chicken waiting in casserole dish. cover with heavy lid and place in preheated oven for 25 minutes.

make sauce

5 – While chicken is in the oven, make the dumpling crust; Put the flour in a bowl and add the salt, pepper and baking powder. Whisk to incorporate. Add the cold butter in slices and rub into the flour until you have a fine ruble, using your fingertips.

Add the milk, and stir with a wooden spoon until you have a dough ball. If it seems sticky, add a little more flour. Leave in the bowl covered with a cloth until ready to put on top of your chicken dish.

make dumpling dough crust

6 – Remove chicken from the oven after allotted time and remove lid. Using your hands, pull dough from the dough ball and place on top of the chicken until you have covered the entire top. (there should be sort of uniform in size, and be about the size of a large table spoonful). There will be gaps and that is the way it is supposed to be.

Place back into the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the crust has lightly browned all over. Remove from oven and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.

This is what it looks like when it appears from the oven!

7 – Five minutes before the chicken come out of the oven, put a saute pan on medium heat and add the oil. Cook the garlic for 1 minutes before adding the broth. Let the broth come to a boil, and then add the peas. Add some salt and freshly ground pepper. Bring back to a boil and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes.

simmer peas in broth and garlic

8 – Add the chopped romaine lettuce and stir. Cook for a further 5 minutes at a gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lettuce is cooked, but still has a good crunch. Turn off heat.

add romaine lettuce

Divide the chicken dish between each plate (which has been warmed of course!) and give everyone a serving of greens.

A feast of a dinner!