Friday, November 20, 2009

Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Prep Time:
38 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Grade: A-

Make Again: Yes

Recipe Source: Everyday Food (March 2009)

This is a "make enough for two pans and freeze one for later" recipe, which I like when I'm busy (which seems to be a permanent state for me now.) I modified the recipe quite a bit, because I wanted to lighten it up, and also because I am very much in a use up what I have mode in an effort to be frugal.

My modifications:
~ no mushrooms (don't like)
~ used 5c. 2% milk instead of 6c. of whole milk
~ 3T of butter instead of 6T
~ used 1/2 c. of mozzarella cheese instead of 1.5c of provolone since it's all I had.
~ used a little less Parmesan

I usually don't like these dishes to be too saucy, so I knew using less of the sauce ingredients would be OK. The recipe didn't specifically say to cook sauce enough to thicken, but I cooked it longer than called for so it would thicken, since I knew it wasn't going to have as much cheese. The lighter ingredients and amounts for the sauce worked perfectly and I'll do it that way again.

I do feel like the dish could use a little more spice or flavor, which is why I give it a "-". I don't feel that this had anything to do with my lightening up the fats in the ingredients, but rather a lack of herbs or spices in the recipe. I would probably use more sun-dried tomatoes, or try adding some oregano or fresh basil next time. It wasn't completely bland, just could of used a touch more flavor, I think.

I wrapped up the second pan of this and look forward to having a no-cook meal ready for the oven sometime in the next month or two when I'm busy. I'll try to remember to update this page with how the frozen one tasted.

Freezer Update: I used the frozen half of this recipe this week. It still tasted good. The pasta did get a tiny bit gummy, but it wasn't too bad. The chicken was a little drier, but it was in the saucy pasta, so it still was fine to me. It is a little better fresh, but the convenience of having a meal without any effort was worth it, so I would definitely freeze half again.

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