Monday, 29 November 2010

Chicken, Bacon, Spinach & Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta in a Creamy Garlic Sauce

What a wonderful weekend! My menfolk were off on a Cub/Scout camp together which just left Missy Moo and myself to have a total girl-fest! Two days filled with eating ice cream, time with girlfriends, shopping, going out to dinner and even a movie. Bliss!

Yesterday Missy Moo and I went to see the new Disney movie "Tangled". It was a great movie filled with lots of laughs from the secondary characters and almost got me choked up (me of little tears!). I would say that if you have a sensitive youngester (I'm talking 5 and under) there were a few chase scenes that were intense and they did talk about hanging (and even showed a noose). That's probably why it's rated PG and not G.

Anyway, after my menfolk came home and showered (a bunch of guys/boys in a cabin sans showers for 2 nights does not an olfactory treat make!) the men sat down to watch the Grey Cup (Canadian Super Bowl) and I got to work making this dish for Brad and I to enjoy.

It featured Brad's favourite ingredient, bacon. His mantra has always been 'bacon makes everything better' and with this dish I have to agree. By using only 6 slices we got the bacon flavour that we loved without eating a pound of bacon in one sitting. Our family can pack away a lot of bacon if we're not careful!

This dish came together beautifully and was really easy too. I had Brad BBQ the chicken breasts while I was cooking the bacon which just made my job easier. You can saute the chicken along with the bacon if you prefer (might make the chicken a little too greasy though). You can also use precooked chicken breasts (the kinds you'd use for salads to make your life even easier) or use leftover cooked chicken.

This is a colourful dish with lots of flavours that compliment each other well. It's also a great way to add spinach to a dish (you can pass it off to kids as 'spices' if you chop it up finely enough). If you're not a fan of sun-dried tomatoes (is there such a person?!?) then try substituting fresh, diced tomatoes instead.

2 chicken breasts, cooked and sliced
6 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 lb rotini
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup half'n'half creamer
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained and sliced
3/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
1 handful of baby spinach, stems trimmed and coarsely chopped
to taste - fresh black pepper and salt

Cook rotini in salted water. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.

In a large skillet, cook bacon until almost crispy (I don't like mine dried out). Remove bacon to a plate lined with paper towel and set aside. Remove all but approximately 2 tbsp of the bacon fat from the skillet.

Add onion, garlic and mushrooms to the skillet and cook until onions are transparent. Scrape up all the bacon bits from the bottom of the pan. They're not gross, they're flavour!!! Add creamer and simmer for a few minutes. Add the cooked bacon, sun-dried tomatoes and Parmesan; stir well. Add spinach to the mixture and cook until wilted. Add pasta and toss well. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with more fresh Parmesan cheese.

Yield: 3 servings

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