The McG’s have a bit of an issue with food. Namely, we really, really like it. Sometimes we’re trying to hunt down places that belong on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives… Other times, we’re dragging new friends to old favorite spots. But this post is about what happens in our OWN kitchen, when left to our natural ways. Actually, it’s about what happens in Chelsea’s grandmother’s kitchen… But whatever. We offered to cook one of our favorite recipes (and I use the word “recipe” loosely, here) for Chelsea’s family post-Christmas, and we thought you might find it interesting as well. We don’t really have a name for it, but it’s been known to answer to “That Sun-Dried Tomato Alfredo Pasta Stuff”. We’ll also look at how we throw together a nice modified Waldorf salad to go with it. Editor’s note: That is NOT the recipe I’m using here. It’s just to let you know what a normal one looks like so you can tell how badly I’ve messed it up. Let’s get down to it, shall we?
Ingredients!!! You’re going to need those… Also, never enter the kitchen without your trusty steed and a fair maiden!Above, you’ll notice Chelsea quartering some red grapes for our Waldorf salad. Below, we’re roasting some walnuts for the same salad. It’s key to give them a good roast, as it really brings out the flavor of the nuts. Just don’t go too far (we did on the first batch… Oops!). Then give them a bit of a chop. Don’t go too fine here, you want that texture for the salad. We’re also going to throw in some julienne‘d Granny Smith apples, chopped dried cranberries, and thinly sliced celery (if desired). Use the quantities you wish; it’s your salad!As has been discussed previously, Mack is not a huge fan of having his picture taken. Beware the cutlery!Put your desired quantities of salad components in a bowl, and toss them with a pretty healthy dose of lemon juice to keep them from yellowing or browning and add a little tartness. I normally drop a handful of the final mixture on a big leaf of Romaine lettuce and eat it a bit like a taco. Now, for the main course! I normally cook one large chicken breast per person, which meant I cooked… Eleventy-seven… chicken breasts for family dinner the other night. I normally pound the thicker end a bit so that they cook more evenly. Don’t thin them out too much, we’re just trying to keep one end of the breast from being 5 times as thick as the other. I then season the breasts pretty liberally with Weber’s “Kickin Chicken” Seasoning. It’s got a nice zest to it with pretty good heat, which works well both on the barbeque and in this recipe. I then cook the whole breasts in a bit of EVO on medium high heat. When you’re doing a big batch like this, you’ll have to do 3 or 4 at a time, then put them aside on a plate or pie dish while you cook more.Meanwhile, roast red bell peppers and poblano peppers under the broiler until the skin starts to bubble and turn black. You’re not burning the actual meat of the pepper, just scorching the skin so it will peel off easier in the next step. If you’re cooking for one family, one of each pepper should be fine. Scale up as necessary or desired!Drop the peppers fresh from the oven into an ice water bath. This is going to separate the skin from the meat a little bit to make peeling easier.Julienne the peppers and set them aside. I also chop some green onions, which were too boring to photograph. When the chicken is done, toss the peppers and onions into the pan until the onions start to soften, then add Classico Sun Dried Tomato Alfredo base. This sauce isn’t my favorite straight out of the jar, but it makes a HECK of a starting place for my final sauce! One jar is adequate for our normal family of 3.5, but for this occasion, I used four.Clearly, my skillet is at capacity.I like to slice the chicken breasts, and add them back to the sauce once it’s at a full simmer, but you could also leave them whole and place them on your pasta at serving time. Your call!A quick note about pasta… Sometimes I make my own, but I have a store bought variety that I REALLY like. I buy mine at Central Market, but you can also snag it on Amazon.com. It’s called De Cecco, and it’s a really high-gluten imported pasta that will absolutely rock your world. Plus, it’s only $2/box in the store. We also REALLY enjoy their Gnocchi!
As you can see, it made for a pretty nice spread after you add in a couple loaves of fresh french bread from HEB. I’m sure I’ve left crucial steps out of the making of this delicious meal, but one of the most fun things about cooking is getting in there and figuring out what works for you. Our kitchen is where we have a lot of our favorite adventures, and we hope this encourages you to get in there and do the same! If you have questions, hit me up in the comments and I’ll answer! Happy eating!