Tag Archives: pasta

Ma’s Chicken Scampi

It’s my husband’s birthday on November 20th, and ever since we’ve moved in together 6 and a half years ago, I’ve made this dish for him every birthday.  This recipe is called Ma’s because it’s my mom’s recipe. I always loved when she made it, and I’m so grateful to have seen the women in my life duplicate it so I can have it etched in my memory forever.

I have a love-hate relationship with this one, because it tastes so damn delicious, but it takes forever to prepare.  Sure, I can go the easy route and just bread cutlets and cut them up afterwards, but where’s the fun in that?  The term “Scampi” actually refers to tiny shrimp from the seas, but nowadays, the term Scampi refers to the style of cooking: a light fry in a shallow pan in oil until golden.  Traditionally, this dish is made with garlic, butter, and white wine, with a pinch of parmesan and cream.  I leave out some ingredients and stick with the big guys: garlic and crap-ton (yep, it’s a word) of buttah!fullsizeoutput_1066

Let me start by saying the trick with this dish is pacing – you have to be cognizant about timing the chicken and the pasta water, and how long the pasta cooks so it all finishes at roughly the same time.  I start out by taking 3 meaty chicken breasts and slicing them into “nugget” form.  I dip the chicken nuggets into the beaten egg, then into breadcrumbs (no skimping out on the carbs here), and set aside.  Olive oil is the choice of fats for frying the chicken, but start out with a small amount, just enough to coat the bottom (the oil with sputter if it’s not evenly distributed).

Fry a few pieces at a time and, this is important, be quick with the chicken.  They’re small pieces so they’ll burn fast.  Each piece takes about 2m per side.  As the second batch of chicken cooks, I turned the pasta water on to boil. This dish is always best with fresh pasta, which we’re grateful for at our little Italian market that opened up the block.  The water boils, add in salt, and dump in the pasta (we used Rigatoni).  Continue to fry the chicken and set aside on a paper-towel-lined plate.

Once all the chicken is done, take the garlic (3 cloves roughly chopped) and add to the pan with 3 (yes THREE) tablespoons of butter to melt.  I really feel like garlic and butter are the perfect combination for any recipe, especially as a sauce.  This dish calls for a lot of oils and butters, which thankfully is part of my diet on the regular, so no difference to me.  Mix around with a spoon and scrape the bottom of the pan to get the remnants of the chicken mixed in as well. *Wipes drool from mouth*.  Throw in the chicken to mix around in the butter-garlic sauce, strain the pasta (about 9-10m until al dente), then add the pasta directly to the sauce/chicken.  Stir together until all noodles are coated.  If you need more butter, DO IT.

Serve immediately with garlic bread, some roasted veggies, and top with a dollop of ricotta. Buon Appetito!

Ma's Chicken Scampi

Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword Chicken, italian, pasta, scampi
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Resting time for chicken 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs Chicken breast or 3-4 breasts
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 1 pkg (16 oz) pasta fresh is better!
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 cloves garlic rough chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pan or skillet, drizzle the olive oil into the pan to coat the bottom.

  2. Clean the chicken breasts, trim of excess fat, and slice into "nugget" style.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

  3. Pour breadcrumbs onto a plate and crack and beat the eggs in a separate bowl.

  4. Create your assembly line: (left to right)

    Chicken - Egg - Breadcrumbs.

    Dip the chicken into the egg and then into breadcrumbs, coating both sides well.  Put breaded chicken nuggets on a separate plate.  Repeat until all chicken is breaded.

  5. Turn stove on for the pan with oil to medium.  Place 6-7 pieces of chicken in the oil at a time, monitoring the chicken as it cooks.  Chicken will cook quickly; turn chicken pieces over when sides are lightly brown (about 2m).  repeat for all chicken and set aside on paper towel/plate.

  6. Meanwhile, take a large pot and fill with water.  Place on stove. Turn flame onto high to boil water. Add salt pasta to boiled water and cook for time described on package (9-10m).  Drain pasta and set aside.

  7. Take chopped garlic and 3 tbsp of butter and add to pan that chicken cooked in.  Heat on medium-low flame and melt butter, sautéing the garlic.  Add chicken back into garlic-butter sauce and stir.  Add in pasta and stir to coat all noodles. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

We used fresh ricotta to add to the pasta on top, if this fits your fancy, feel free to do so!

Lemon Orzo and Vegetable Primavera

It’s the final countdown (until Thanksgiving), and I cannot wait to indulge in all my favorite goods: the sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, turkey, stuffing, and apple pie!  This happens to be my favorite holiday out of all holidays celebrated, especially because it brings people together.  Friends, family, and friends who are family – it’s a season to give thanks and be happy 🙂

fullsizeoutput_1063

I always loved the idea of eating orzo, as it’s a super small pasta that goes with just about every kind of sauce.  The downside?  I never really know how to best prepare it.  Should it be in a cold salad?  Could I eat it like regular pasta with just butter?  Tonight’s dinner featured orzo as a kind of sprinkling of carbs that paired perfectly with the medley of sautéed vegetables.IMG_0031

Giving props to my SIL Ashley for finding a similar recipe and giving me inspiration,  I took it a different route: instead of roasting the vegetables and using mushrooms, I sautéed all of the veggies separately, using one pot over and over again, then mixing it altogether at the end with a touch of salt, pepper, and garlic.  I used zucchini, spinach, onions and shallots, cherry tomatoes, and bell peppers.  I started with the onions and cooked them until translucent then set aside.  Up next was the spinach: sautéed in butter and garlic, then the zucchini, and last the tomato/pepper mix.

I cooked the orzo as I would regular pasta, then added it to the vegetable mix, tossing the whole dish with some fresh squeezed lemon, olive oil, S&P (Salt and pepper).  Crumbled mediterranean feta sat atop the beaut and we couldn’t have been happier at how this came out!  This will for sure be part of the rotation of meals.  Bon appetít!

Lemon Orzo and Vegetable Primavera

Course Dinner
Cuisine Greek, Vegetables
Keyword dinner, easy, orzo, pasta, vegetables
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

For the vegetables

  • 1 cup Orzo
  • 1 zucchini sliced then halved
  • 2 bell peppers orange and yellow
  • 1 pkg fresh spinach
  • 1 large onion or onions and 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced
  • 1 cup feta
  • 3-4 tbsp oil I used avocado oil

For the dressing mixture

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 half squeezed lemon
  • 1/2 tbsp pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large sauté pan, drizzle one tbsp oil into the pan and turn heat onto medium. Add the sliced onion and shallot mixture to the pan and cook until fragrant and translucent (should be able to see through the onions), approximately 8-10m.  Set aside.

  2. Add a tbsp of butter to the same pan and pour in the spinach.  Cook until leaves are wilted and soft.  Season with garlic powder and set aside.

  3. Pour another tbsp into the pan.  Layer in the sliced zucchini and cook until browned and the zucchini starts to sweat (10m).  Set aside.

  4. Add in sliced tomatoes and bell peppers and cook until fragrant and the tomatoes begin to soften.  Layer back in all of the other cooked vegetables.  Drizzle a pinch of salt and pepper, add garlic powder.  Stir to blend.

  5. Meanwhile, boil a pot of water (3-4 qts).  Add in the cup of orzo and cook for 8-9 minutes depending on packaging. Drain and pour into vegetable mixture.  Mix well.

  6. Drizzle the lemon olive oil mixture into the pan and stir to spread the dressing.  Sprinkle crumbled feta on top and serve immediately.