Let's face it, having kids puts a damper on what you serve for dinner. I swear Max would be happy with some form of chicken and fried rice every single night. Easy, yes. Boring, YES.
I get SO tired of making the same things over and over again. So, I was super excited when I asked Claire what she wanted for dinner and she said, "Cheesecake pasta".
"Cheesecake pasta" is Louisiana Chicken Pasta that they make at Cheesecake Factory. Claire thinks this recipe is close enough to the real deal. I've posted the recipe before but this time I took out a step that I forgot and no one noticed;)
And, guess what?? Max actually ate about 10 bowties with his chicken!!
What you'll need:
4 T Olive Oil
4 Boneless Chicken Breasts halved
1 C Breadcrumbs ~ I use Panko
1/3 C Parmesan Cheese grated (not the green can please)
1 C Milk
2 T Flour
1 T Butter
1 small Yellow Pepper chopped
1 small Red Pepper chopped
3/4 small Red Onion chopped
1 C Mushrooms sliced
3 Cloves Garlic minced
1 t Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
2 t Cajun Seasoning
1 pint 1/2 and 1/2
1 C Chicken Broth
4 T Fresh Basil thinly sliced (I only had dried, used 2 T~fresh would have been better)
1 C Fresh Parmesan shredded or grated
12 oz cooked Bow Tie Pasta
Wash and dry chicken breasts. Pound until very thin with a meat hammer~I did it between two pieces of saran wrap or waxed paper to lessen mess. The thinner the better. I would also cut the chicken into pieces about the size of your palm, easier to work with and it doesn't matter if they are strips or pieces..it's all good. Whatever works best for you.
Mix breadcrumbs, flour and Parmesan Cheese together in a bowl you can dip the chicken into.
Put milk in another dish for dipping.
Dip chicken in milk and into the dry. Put on plate.
Move to sauce...
Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add peppers, onions, mushrooms and 1 t Cajun Spice and cook until crisp tender..about 4 minutes
Add garlic and crushed red pepper to skillet and saute couple more minutes.
Add 1/2 and 1/2, chicken stock, 1 t Cajun Spice and Basil. Simmer until sauce re-heats and thickens, about 5 minutes. Add cheese to sauce, stir to incorporate.
Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer on low until sauce reduces and thickens.
Back to Chicken...
Heat Olive Oil in fry pan. Fry at medium heat until crisp and golden. Remove and put on plate, tent lightly with foil to keep warm. You don't want to cover tightly or it will get soggy.
Add oil as necessary and continue to cook chicken.
Add cooked pasta to sauce and give a toss.
Plate pasta, top with chicken and serve. Add additional parmesan if desired.
Your ingredients, don't be scared..it's SO worth it.
If I was doing this for a dinner party, I would do this step earlier in the day. It's a little messy. Start pounding in the middle of the breast, flatten from the middle to the sides.
This is how thin you want it.
Chop your peppers and onions, I threw in some green just because I had them. You could do this ahead too.
Wash, dry and slice the mushrooms, don't do this ahead, mushrooms are tempermental.
Saute your vegis with some cajun spice and crushed pepper flakes.
Add your cream, chicken broth, cajun seasoning and basil and simmer.
You can't really see the difference but it's thicker now;)
Here is your dry ingredients, mix it up with a couple of cranks from your pepper mill.
Dip your chicken, make sure it's well coated.
Keep going until all the chicken is coated.
Heat some oil, see you don't need much, just a light coating in the pan.
Couple minutes per side.
Dinner is SERVED!!