One Pot Wonder

My other half is a one pot wonder in the kitchen. That is certain dishes where I might be inclined to use multiple pots say three or four, he manages to use just one. One such dish would be any type of pasta Alfredo dish. Although I have seen him cook fettuccine in a separate pot; just saying. Yesterday, I purchased some boneless chicken breasts and broccoli crowns. I had no idea what I was going to make with them just that I wanted both. I was probably inclined towards grilled chicken, steamed broccoli and some sort of potato. As it turned out, I didn’t have time to cook dinner yesterday. At least that’s what I told myself when I fixed myself a bologna sandwich; haute cuisine it was not. So tonight I did something totally out of character for me. I cooked a meal without a recipe or someone else’s instructions that I’d hastily scribbled on a piece of paper and I used one pot. I’ve seen my other half make broccoli chicken Alfredo on numerous occasions that I felt confident I could make this dish without a recipe particularly since I was using a cheat, a jar of Bertoli Alfredo Sauce. I placed my other half’s wonder pot on the stove filled with water, a dash of salt and a little bit of oil. image While the water boiled, I lined my ingredients up on the counter. image Once the water boiled, I added one box of rotini to the water; stirring occasionally. image In the meantime, I rinsed the two broccoli crown heads in a colander. image I sliced the broccoli crowns into pieces and trimmed the excess broccoli leaves from each piece.  I tend to like larger pieces than some people do.  Slice to your preference. imageI set the prepared broccoli to the side until ready to steam. image I cooked the pasta according to the directions on the box and removed the pot from the stove when the pasta was el dente. image I drained the pasta and reserved the water to put back into the wonder pot so I could flash cook the broccoli in the same water. image I set the cooked pasta aside in a bowl.  I would love to say that I cooked home-made pasta like my Nana used to make, but I did not.  I need to purchase a pasta maker and try making pasta.  My aunt has my Nana’s recipe.  Note to self: get copies of Nana’s pasta recipes. image I dropped the broccoli into the already boiling water and flash cooked it until cooked to desired firmness.  I like my broccoli to still have a snap to it so I only cooked it for a few minutes.  If you prefer softer broccoli; cook longer.  Remember though every time you reheat the broccoli will cook a little more. image  I drained the broccoli in the same colander as used for pasta. image Set aside broccoli in bowl on top of the pasta. image I had about two pounds of boneless chicken breasts.  Use less or more depending on your preference. image Butterfly the chicken breasts.  Take each breast and place one hand on top of the chicken breast holding it in place on your cutting board and with a chef’s knife in the other hand slowly slice through the middle of the breast. (Unfortunately, I can not show you a picture of this; just proceed slowly and carefully).  My other half taught me how to do this and I’m positive he was afraid I’d cut myself at first (as was I).  After many attempts, I learned how to butterfly meat with ease and have gained confidence. image The end result looks like this before you trim the fat and other chicken gunk (technical culinary term for yucky stuff) off the butterflied chicken. image Cut the chicken breast into slices; you could cook and then slice.  I guess it is all a matter of preference and whether you are going to grill or stir fry the chicken. image Crack two eggs in a bowl. image Beat lightly with salt and pepper. image In a plate or bowl (I opt for a pie plate because it is shallow and has rims) mix flour, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese.  I used a 2 -1 ratio; 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan. image My egg wash and parmesan flour set up ready to go. image Place small batches of the chicken in the egg wash and coat well. image Move the chicken from the egg wash into the parmesan flour mixture and coat all sides with flour and set aside. image My chicken all washed and coated; ready to stir fry. image Back to the wonder pot.  Line bottom of pot with olive oil (or vegetable oil) and heat up.  Once oil is hot (test with droplets of water or flour) add chicken in small batches, turning until completely cooked. image Chicken all cooked and set aside. image Major cheat: I washed out the wonder pot and poured a jar of Bertoli Alfredo sauce in the pot over low heat to warm.  If I had all the ingredients, I could’ve made my own Alfredo sauce but I didn’t have enough grated Parmesan on hand. image Add the pasta and broccoli to heated sauce and stir coating with Alfredo sauce. image Top with cooked chicken and toss. image My end result.  Delicious and pretty easy on the difficulty scale. image I was pretty satisfied with my attempt at a one pot wonder.  My other half was working and I sent him pictures and he was impressed as well.  Ssshh don’t tell him about my cheat step.  I employed the don’t ask, don’t tell adage.  The next time I make this, I will make my own alfredo sauce.  For the quantity of chicken, broccoli and pasta I used, I could’ve used more Alfredo sauce; at least another half of a jar.  The flavor was still great and frankly less sauce means less fat and calories.

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