We are slowly getting back into the groove of summer. Yesterday was too hot and humid to head to the beach though. There was always the threat of a thunderstorm. Those dark looming clouds don’t make me want to spend hours at the beach. So, instead we tried to catch up on a few things around the house and the work.
I had taken chicken out of the freezer two days ago and it needed to be cooked. I am still craving pasta and creamy comfort foods (it has been a stressful and joyous few days). So a Parmesan cheese sauce with some spinach and sun-dried tomatoes it is.
We received some garlic scapes in our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box this week. My son was eating right from the box as soon as we picked it up! I thought adding a few to the top of the pasta would add to that wonderful garlic flavor of the dish. Garlic scapes are the tops of the garlic bulbs that they cut off so that the bulbs will grow larger. They have a wonderful garlic flavor but are only available for a short time each year.
Everyone said this was a restaurant quality meal for 1/3 of the cost. We each had a big plate of pasta and sauce and still had enough for leftovers for two lunches. We figured the meal cost us about $20 to make but we would have been charged at least $15 per plate in any restaurant.
The best part to me was that the entire meal was on the table in about 40 minutes! My son helped grate the cheese, slice the sun-dried tomatoes and cut the garlic scapes so that I could cook the chicken and make the pasta. It really is a nice, simple dinner.
You can make this as garlicy or as mild as you would like. We added garlic scapes to the top of the dish to add even more garlic flavor to ours.
I served this with a side salad and some broccoli for a complete meal.
Tuscan Garlic Chicken
- 1 1/2 – 2 lbs chicken breasts, pounded down flat and cut into cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups cream (half and half will work but you may need to add more flour to the sauce to thicken it)
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
- 1+ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (Do not use the green can cheese – use freshly grated from a block of cheese)
- 2 teaspoons +/- garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons flour (if needed)
- 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, drained and cut into thin strips
- 2 cups fresh, tough stems removed
- extra Parmesan cheese and garlic scapes for garnish if desired
- In a large skillet heat olive oil and cook chicken about 3-5 minutes per side until it is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan to a plate.
- Degrease the pan if needed.
- To the pan add cream, chicken stock, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and basil to the skillet. Whisk while heating to a light simmer. The sauce should start to thicken after 3-5 minutes of whisking. If it does not add 1 tablespoon of flour and stir well. Again, it should thicken if not add the second tablespoon of flour.
- Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Add sun-dried tomatoes and spinach to pan. Allow spinach to begin to wilt as you stir the sauce. Add the chicken back to the pan and heat through.
- Serve hot over pasta with garlic scapes sprinkled over the top and Parmesan cheese as desired.