September 19, 2011

Guilt Free Pasta

This is what I came up with for the September HouseHold6 cooking challenge (click here to read more about it). I made this meal way back on Sept 7th for dinner using what I had on me without going to the store since I posted those pictures. I felt no guilt going back for seconds.

3 frozen chicken tenders (unbreaded)
2 small to medium yellow squash
1 medium zucchini
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 box of whole wheat penne pasta
pureed sweet potatoes
pureed butternut squash
salt and pepper, to taste
shredded parmesan cheese

I started off by throwing the frozen chicken tenders (yep, frozen! lol) into a pot of hot water. I put on the lid, turned the heat to medium-low, and forgot about it for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, I sliced the squash and zucchini into half moon shapes. I threw them into a large skillet over medium high heat with the butter. I then diced the onion and added that to the skillet. Occasionally I remember to stir the vegetables over the next 10 minutes.

While cooking the vegetables, I filled up a large pot with hot water. Once it came to a boil I added half a box of whole wheat penne pasta (about 8 oz). By this point I remember the chicken and check it. It was cooked! I removed the chicken tenders from the water and SAVED THE WATER (very important!). I set the chicken to the side to cool for a few minutes as I grabbed my pureed sweet potatoes and squash from the freezer (and proceeded to almost trip on my son lol). Once the chicken was cool enough to touch, I shredded the chicken tenders with my hands and added it to the vegetables.

 I then I added 2 cups of the saved water from the chicken (by this point the vegetables had browned up nicely). Once bubbling, I added a few ice cubes of my pureed sweet potatoes and squash. In the end I ended up added 6 ice cubes of each.

I kept stirring until the puree became hot and the sauce thickened. Then I added salt, pepper, and rosemary to taste (I have a lot of rosemary that I don't normally use in daily cooking, so I figured why not use it here). I added the pasta to the sauce once the pasta was cooked to al dente. Mix well and serve with shredded parmesan on top.

I found the pasta to be fantastic. DH said it was okay, but it needed more meat (I think he's still bitter from a previous meatless meal). Squish loved it and ate a cup of pasta himself!

Side note about frozen purees:
While most people consider frozen pureed vegetables to be only for baby food, I think it is useful for normal cooking. They are GREAT thickeners for soups and are easy to sneak into meals for picky eaters. My husband had no idea it was pureed vegetables till I told him. The next time you have an extra sweet potato or carrots hanging around, peel them and throw them to steam on your stove. Once tender, throw into a blender or food processor. Add water from the steamer/sauce pot as needed to thin out the puree. Freeze in ice cube trays. Once frozen you can throw them in freezer bags or containers. Super easy! Since Squish never liked baby food, I often throw a cube of our puree into whatever I'm feeding him for an extra veggie serving.

Sadly, this was the state of my kitchen after I finished cooking this meal! My son makes a bigger mess than me these days. . . . oy.



This sounds so easy and delicious!

Karen said...

I 100% agree about pureed vegetables as thickeners. I used pureed sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and other squash in place of oil in a lot of baking recipes. Your meal looks great!

Amy said...

I love the idea of purees for thickeners. I always have squash and sweet potatoes that I don't get used before they go bad. I will be puree them from now on. Thanks so much!
Your meal looks so yummy too.

Bethany Rim said...

haha I love that I'm not the only one whose kitchen looks like this regularly.