Monday, November 5, 2007

Dinner for My Man

Don has been working really long hours the past week with the big move for his work. We are talking 14 to 15 hour days. It has made my evening meal preparation even that much more important. Not only do I want to create a tasteful enjoyable meal to share when he gets home and is finally ready to relax, but those super long days can be hard on a person's body and I want to be sure he is getting some good balanced nutrition to sustain him during this busy time. Though he doesn't have the time or energy to help in the kitchen this week, I know he is grateful for the hearty meals he gets to come home to. I'm telling you, cooking is good for a marriage. Good food and a shared meal are never under appreciated and the benefits go a long way. Don and I even ate dinner together at the table tonight with no television or distractions. And I'm glad we did because he pretty much went to bed straight after that before 8:00 p.m. I don't blame him since he has to leave the house before 5 a.m. all this week. At least I know he went to bed well fed.

Don and I both gave tonight's dinner rave reviews: Chicken Puttanesca with Angel Hair Pasta from Cooking Light and Bluegrass Salad from Southern Living. The main dish was a nice variation using chicken instead of ground beef or sausage with pasta and the kalamata olives, capers, and chili flakes pair well to bring out the full flavor of the sauce. In fact, the chopped fresh basil at the end really was not needed. The sauce is bold enough and stands well on its own. Next time I make this I will save some money and leave out the basil garnish. The Salad also was amazing. Bosc pears are my new secret obsession. I can't get over how good they taste this time of year. I substituded broccoli floretts for Asparagus since they are more in season. The recipe is enough to feed a crowd so consider pairing down the ingredients for a regular family meal. However, this would be great to take to a barbecue or potluck for a nice fresh side. Just bring the vinaigrette in a recycled glass jar and toss just before serving.

Chicken Puttanesca with Angel Hair Pasta

We add olives, capers, crushed red pepper, and fresh basil to bottled pasta sauce for a quick variation on the traditional version.


8 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast cut in 1 inch pieces
2 teaspoons olive oil
teaspoon salt
cups tomato-basil pasta sauce (such as Muir Glen Organic)
cup pitted and coarsely chopped kalamata olives
tablespoon capers
teaspoon crushed red pepper
cup (1 ounce) preshredded Parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh basil or basil sprigs (optional)


Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and keep warm.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Add chicken to pan; sprinkle evenly with salt. Cook chicken 5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in pasta sauce, olives, capers, and pepper; bring to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes or until chicken is done, stirring frequently. Arrange 1 cup pasta on each of 4 plates; top with 1 1/2 cups chicken mixture. Sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese. Garnish with chopped basil or basil sprigs, if desired.


4 servings

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 530(21% from fat); FAT 12.4g (sat 2.8g,mono 6.6g,poly 2g); PROTEIN 51.8g; CHOLESTEROL 104mg; CALCIUM 165mg; SODIUM 971mg; FIBER 2.1g; IRON 4.2mg; CARBOHYDRATE 55g

Karen Levin , Cooking Light, AUGUST 2007

Bluegrass Salad


1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon butter or margarine
3/4 cup walnuts
2 heads romaine lettuce, torn
2 pears, chopped
1 cup asparagus tips*
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup dried cranberries


Whisk together first 4 ingredients. Chill at least 1 hour.

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat; add walnuts, and sauté 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove walnuts with a slotted spoon.

Toss together lettuce, pears, asparagus, and toasted walnuts. Sprinkle with cheese and cranberries; drizzle with dressing.

*1 cup broccoli florets or 1 cup snow peas may be substituted.


Makes 6 to 8 servings

Southern Living, NOVEMBER 2002

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