When the cooking world is your oyster, the question “What should we have for dinner?” is simultaneously thrilling and daunting. The follow up question: what are you craving?
Zach: Chicken and BBQ sauce. Amanda: A light summer pasta.
But that’s what we got.
We turned to the usual suspects for inspiration and found a recent chicken recipe by The Pioneer Woman that actually satisfied both the chicken and BBQ cravings. Then we turned to the pasta and we went with one of The CQ’s classic vegetarian recipes that satisfies even the meat-lovers (when not on their Atkins diets, of course — Not Z, but the CK&Q).
So, here’s what we made.
Chicken with Amazing BBQ (and Peach and Whiskey) Sauce
(Serves 2 as an entree)
2 large chicken breasts
1 cup whiskey
1 cup BBQ sauce
1/2 jar peach jam
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup of water
6 cloves of garlic
1 small white onion
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
Start by dicing the onions and getting your other ingredients ready. Preheat the oven to 300. Melt the butter and olive oil in a sturdy, oven-proof pot. We used one that our friends left here after a party because they said it was too heavy to carry home — thanks guys!
Put the chicken breasts in the pan and brown each side. We halved the breasts and put two halves in the pan at a time.
Remove the chicken and replace with the onions. Cook briefly, about 2 minutes, and then pour in the whiskey. If you are burn-prone then be careful. One of us knows all about that (Hint: one of us has particularly good fine motor skills and the other one is a teacher).
Let the whiskey cook down for a minute or two and then add the worcestershire sauce, water, garlic, Amazing Sauce (or BBQ sauce of your choice), and jam. Let it cook for about 2 minutes and then add the chicken. Cook in the oven at 300 for 3 hours.
Summer Pasta a la The Cardiac Queen
(Serves 4 as an entree)
5 bell peppers
1 cup basil leaves
1 cup parmesan plus more for serving
6 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb rigatoni
First, wash and de-stem the basil. We tore up the biggest leaves to make them smaller, but otherwise you can just leave them whole. Grate the parmesan, peel the garlic, and slice it into thin strips.
Set a pot of generously salted and olive-oiled water to boil.
Now the fun part. Slice the peppers (we used red, orange, and yellow to make it look pretty) in quarters. Remove the seeds and the other inside stuff. Cover a baking sheet in aluminum foil. Put the peppers skin side up, turn on the broiler and broil.
The charring took about 6 minutes. The CQ taught us that the more charred the skin gets, the easier it is to peel off. She also taught us that when you take it out of the oven you should cover them with a towel to keep them moist while they cool.
Once they’ve cooled, peel back the skin and discard.
Slice in strips that are about 1/2 inch thick and 2 inches long.
Hopefully by now your water is boiling so that you can put pasta in to cook. Keep it a little shy of al dente, because it will end up cooking a little more later. Start sauteeing the garlic over a gentle heat. Throw in the peppers once the garlic is softened. Drain the pasta, but keep 1 cup of the pasta water.
Put the pasta into the sautee pan with the peppers and garlic. Alternate between adding parmesan and pasta water. Feel free to use less than the cup you have saved. Add the Basil right at the end.
Grind fresh pepper over it (we used a lot) and add salt to taste. Toss thoroughly and serve.
The chicken was incredibly tender. The pasta was simultaneously hearty and light. Both cooks got what they were craving and highly recommend either option with or without a movie and/or drink.