Yesterday I took over lunch-making duty at Mom's house, and began preparing random ingredients with no clear idea of how they were going to come together. I was boiling macaroni, pulling frozen vegetables from the freezer and then changing my mind and putting them back, thawing and sauteeing chicken with garlic and Italian seasoning, grating cheese. Finally I just threw it all together and voila! A culinary success!
My younger siblings, ages 7 and 9, can be a tough audience when it comes to eating foods that they haven't tried before. I suppose I was like that at that age too. Luckily, this dish gained their quick approval. My 22-year-old sister, however, was less convinced, since she has this thing against broccoli. I liked it so much I made it again for dinner tonight. Since it was a throw-together dish, using my mom's ingredients the first time and my ingredients the second, it was different each time. I like foods like that!How I did it:
Boil some water, and dump in some elbow macaroni. If I were to approximate, I'd say I used about 12 oz. when I made it for the whole family yesterday, and only 6 oz. today for my little family. Boil until the macaroni is close to being done.
At this point, add some frozen broccoli. You can also add frozen peas like I did tonight. I used about a cup of broccoli and a half cup of peas. Cook until the pasta is done and the vegetables are tender, but not mushy. Drain.
Chop up one partially-thawed boneless skinless chicken breast. Place in heated pan sprayed with cooking spray. As chicken cooks, sprinkle it with garlic powder, onion powder, and Italian seasoning. Or you could use fresh or jarred minced garlic for a great flavor burst! Sadly, I didn't think to do that until I was eating my pasta tonight, so I missed out. Maybe next time...
When the chicken is done cooking, add 2 tbsp. butter or margarine to the pan with the chicken and let it melt. then stir in 2 tbsp. flour. Then stir in 1 cup milk. You've just made white sauce with chicken in it! Heat the sauce until it becomes bubbly. Then add it to the drained pasta and veggies. Or add the pasta and veggies to the sauce, depending on the pan you cooked it in. Whatever floats your boat. If the pasta seems a bit dry, add some more milk. I added about 1/3 cup milk yesterday when I used lots of pasta, but didn't need to add any today.
Grate up about 1 to 1 1/2 cups cheese. Yesterday I used aged white cheddar and it was amazing! Tonight I used Monterey Jack, and it was great too. So use whatever you've got. Add that to the pasta and let it melt for a bit. Make sure the whole thing is heated through, and serve!