I had several new recipes for this month’s planner that I was trying and wanted to review for you guys. This first recipe comes from the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, a favorite cookbook in my collection. The cookbook includes really great reviews on the best products and rates common cooking tools for chefs. There has not been a recipe yet that I have tried and not enjoyed!
I am a big fan of skillet dinners because you only have to dirty one pan and they come together quickly. Two of my favorites are the Skillet Penne & Sausage Supper (also from the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook) and the Cheeseburger Pasta Skillet Dish. These dishes are great for busy weeknights and make great leftovers for the next day’s lunches.
Skillet Ziti With Chicken & Broccoli
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into 1″ pieces
Salt and pepper
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, minced (we omitted this due to personal tastes)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces ziti (2 1/2 cups)
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream (I substituted this with half & half)
1 bunch broccoli (1 1/2 pounds)
1 cup jarred roasted red peppers, rinsed and sliced 1/4″ thick (we omitted these due to personal taste)
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (optional)
Pat the chicken dry, then season with salt and pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a 12″ skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until it is lightly browned, but not fully cooked, about four minutes. Transfer chicken to a bowl. Add 1 more tablespoon of the butter, onion, red pepper flakes, oregano, & 1/2 teaspoon salt to the skillet. Cook until the onion is softened, about five minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Sprinkle the ziti evenly into the skillet. Pour the broth and cream over the ziti. Cover and bring to a boil, about five minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the broccoli and roasted red peppers. Cover and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta begins to soften and the broccoli turns bright green (approximately eight minutes). Stir in the chicken and any accumulated juice. Cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about three minutes longer. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, the Parmesan, and lemon juice (if using). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- This dish made about six servings for our family. I diced fresh tomatoes to sprinkle on top of the pasta, which added a really nice fresh burst of flavor and sprinkled it with a shaving of Parmesan cheese.
- When I packaged our leftovers, I added a drizzle of chicken broth to each container to keep the pasta moist for reheating.This definitely helped it to not dry out when it was reheated and added a little additional flavor to the leftovers.
- If you want to make this an Aldi-friendly recipe, just substitute the ziti with elbow macaroni or penne pasta and adjust the cooking time accordingly. You would have to omit the red peppers and replace heavy cream with half & half (which substituted beautifully).
- Don’t be afraid to add a little extra liquid to the dish- I added an extra 1/4 cup of chicken broth and an extra 1/4 cup of half & half to keep the pasta nice and moist. You don’t want the pasta to dry out and it should have a very thin sauce that helps to coat the pasta.
- To make this dish vegetarian, just omit the chicken and up the veggies. The sprinkle of tomatoes or a handful of sundried tomatoes and spinach could make this a veggie packed dish worth repeating!
This dish was a huge hit with everyone except with Ethan, who has firm beliefs that no food should ever touch. He liked all the foods separately, but not mixed together. The rest of us absolutely loved it and I plan to make this again and again!