Sunday, March 4, 2012

Chicken. It's What's For Dinner (Or, Another Fix For Chicken Because Beef Is So Pricey....)

Chicken breasts were on sale at our grocery store this week.  I would have rather bought lean ground round and made chili or burgers, but if you've seen the prices of beef lately, you understand why I held back.  With no price reductions in sight, we'll probably be eating a lot of chicken in the next few months, so I wanted to mix it up a bit and have something a little more unique than our average fare.  Evan had requested calzones again, and Mike and I thought barbeque chicken calzones would be a nice change of pace from the standard Italian-style we had last weekend.  I pulled one package of my sale-priced breasts out of my now-organized deep freeze, seasoned them and baked them, a la rotisserie chicken, since I have pathetic skills when it comes to roasting a whole bird.  And because I only used a tiny bit of the chicken in the calzones, I had quite a bit leftover.  How could I use it?

I recalled that back in our high calorie consuming days, we would throw together a balsamic chicken penne dish at least twice a month.  It had a lot of olive oil and loads of carbs, but it was always good.  It had asparagus, which added a nice crunch and the flavors in the balsamic, along with some sun-dried tomatoes, really complemented one another.  I decided to recreate that old favorite, still using olive oil, just A LOT less.  And guess what?  We hardly noticed the difference.  Our old favorite is STILL good and much, much lighter! 

Balsamic Chicken Penne with Asparagus and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

8 oz. high fiber penne pasta, uncooked
3/4 lb. roasted boneless, skinless chicken, chopped
1 9-oz. box frozen asparagus cuts
1 oz. julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. Penzey's Pasta Sprinkle seasoning
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. granulated garlic powder

Cook pasta to al dente, according to package directions.  While pasta boils, place chicken and sun-dried tomatoes in a large pasta serving bowl.  Partially cook asparagus in microwave according to package directions (for the lowest recommended time) and add to serving bowl.  Drain pasta and add to serving bowl.  Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the top of the mixture, toss to coat.  Add seasoning blend, black pepper, salt, and granulated garlic powder.  Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan or red pepper flakes if desired.

Serves 4

Calories:  Approximately 338

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