Weeknight Chicken Caprese

Last night, the weather here was absolutely beautiful. After a week of 100° days and evening thunderstorms, the weather finally broke, and we experienced the 80s again. Gotta love Maryland! 

It was so great to finally be able to eat outside! People don’t realize how crazy the weather is in this state. You literally can experience all 4 seasons in the same week. Wednesday felt like summer in the tropics. Last night felt like Autumn.

To take advantage of this gorgeous opportunity, I decided to make Chicken Caprese and dish it on a bed of garlic spaghetti (spaghetti aglio e olio for those of your who aren’t familiar with the Italian-American term), presented in a gorgeous plate I got for my wedding from Williams-Sonoma.

Chicken Caprese

Minimum effort for maximum deliciousness. You seriously cannot get any easier than this. I found it on Pinterest, then made it my own. The only thing I should have done differently is remove the foil for the last few minutes to brown the top a little. Also, it would probably go very well with spaghetti squash, if you’re trying to be good.

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts, filleted so there are 4 thin pieces
  • 2-4 tablespoons pesto
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced thin
  • 1 handful shredded mozzarella
  • a few fresh basil leaves if you have them on hand

 

What you do:

Spread pesto on top of chicken. Top with tomato slices, cheese, and basil leaves. Cover and bake in 375°F oven for 20 minutes.

 

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Italian Market Adventure

This weekend, my fiancé and I went to Philadelphia. We both love it. He’s a huge fan of the Philadelphia Soul (Arena Football), I love colonial history, and we both love cheesesteaks. So of course, Philadelphia has a special place in our hearts.

This weekend, our excuse to drive 3 hours to Philly was a Soul game on Friday night. Saturday, we spent the better part of the day roaming around South Philly and the 9th Street Italian Market.

Di Bruno Brothers, 9th Steet

May I just say that for the first time in my life, I was sad I had eaten a huge hotel breakfast? This place smelled AMAZING. So much cheese, meat, pasta, olives, sausage, you name it. After about 5 seconds, I was fantasizing about moving to Philly and shopping here every morning, then going home to our cute historic row house and making dinner for James.

South Philly Row House

In one of the shops, I ran into the longest spaghetti I’ve ever seen. It was about 2 feet long in the package, but it had been folded before it was dried, so each strand was about 4 feet long. Then, for the first time in my life, I came across Candelone pasta- tubular pasta about 1 inch in diameter, and (again) 2 feet long.

I was starstruck. Right away I picked it up and said “I’m buying this.” James laughed at me and said “How are you going to cook it?” “I don’t care, I’ll find a way,” I said. “Even if i have to boil water in the bathtub.”

my souvenir

Luckily, I didn’t have to use the bathtub. In a pot of water with a serious, rolling boil, the spaghetti softened up and shrunk down in about 20 seconds.

It was delicious. I love Philly. Next time I’m going to bring a cooler, a lot of ice, and come home with a serious supply of cheese and sausage as well. We actually did have a cooler with us this trip, but we were planning on spending the rest of the day out around town and didnt want to chance losing the meat. It’s ok though. There will definitely be a next time!

Chicken Carbonara

I’m a huge fan of pasta carbonara, especially when done right. If you’ve never had it, it’s basically pasta and bacon with a creamy egg-based sauce coating the pasta. In other words, heaven.

Last night, I was out of bacon, but I had 2 big chicken breasts and 4 people eating dinner, so I decided to make it with chicken, and it was AWESOME!! Here’s what I did:

Cook 1 lb pasta (thin spaghetti works best) according to package directions.

While pasta is cooking, drizzle about 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan. Add about 1 clove fresh minced garlic. Throw in a tbsp of butter if you really want it to be delicious. Chop 2 chicken breasts into bite size pieces, and add to pan. Saute together until chicken is cooked but not tough.

In a separate bowl, whip 4 eggs until completely smooth. We don’t want ANY egg clumps. Whip in a few tbsp heavy cream if you have it. Add about 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.

When pasta is done cooking, drain and return to pan. Add chicken and some of the juice of the frying pan to the pasta.

Now here’s the tricky part, read carefully:

Add egg mixture to pasta, stirring quickly and constantly. The goal here is for the egg to coat the pasta before the hot pasta cooks the egg. The last thing we want are egg clumps. We want a nice, shiny coating. Don’t worry, you can do it. Just do it quickly.

I hope you like it!