Friday, August 3, 2012

Chicken Ashley

I discovered my love for cooking quite early in life.  One of my earliest memories is of my parents anniversary.  I proudly presented them with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich cake--my own creation.  In my mind it was a exquisite layer cake, expertly pieced together and decorated with swirls of peanut butter and grape jelly. I was only 3 or 4 at the time, I'm guessing my memory might be tainted.  I can only imagine what a mess I left in the kitchen.

As a teenager I started making meals for my family once or twice a week.  I would browse the cookbooks in my moms arsenal and narrow it down to something that looked delicious.  I even experimented creating my own recipes.  Fortunately for my mother, at that age I was old enough to clean up after myself, and I like to think the outcomes were tastier.

The first time I made this recipe the chicken was overcooked, the pasta was undercooked and the sauce was bland.  Despite the lack of enthusiasm this dinner received, I was undeterred.  With a few adjustments, the next time I made this chicken dish it was a HUGE success.  They're still talking about it...I'm serious.

This was one of my first major kitchen successes and continues to be a favorite in my household.  I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine does.

Chicken Ashley
a Balancing the Table original
serves 4

2 1/2 cups whole wheat elbow pasta 
1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 tsp dried basil
1-1 1/2 tsp salt (depending on how salty you like it)
1/2-3/4 tsp pepper
1 tbs. oil
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 cup water
12 oz package frozen broccoli

1. Cook pasta in boiling water for about 2 minutes less than the package directs. Drain, rinsing with cold water, and set aside.
1. While pasta is cooking, cut chicken breast into 3-4 pieces.  
2. Combine basil, salt and pepper in a small bowl and stir to combine.  Sprinkle spice mixture (you won't need all of it) onto chicken breasts and rub lightly into the chicken.  Set remaining spice mixture aside. 
3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat (I find this easiest in a large electric skillet).  Add chicken breast to hot oil and cook until browned on both sides.
4. Meanwhile, combine tomato sauce, water and the remaining spice mixture in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Once boiling, add tomato sauce mixture to the skillet.  Return to a boil.  Add pasta to the skillet and stir gently to combine.  
5.  Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer until most of the sauce has been absorbed by the noodles.
6.  Arrange broccoli on top of the chicken and pasta.  Cover with a lid and allow the broccoli to steam until warm.  
7. Remove from heat and enjoy.

What the Husband thinks:  He loves this stuff.  He always wishes there was more.  I haven't made it very much since the kid was born (see below).  He is very sad about that.  I am too.

What the kid ate: Two bites of chicken.  Yep.  The kid hates broccoli and hates pasta and is unenthusiastic about meat.  I steamed some carrots to go with it as well and he ate plenty of those.  *Sigh*  I miss pasta...


  1. This is one of my favorite meals! I do still talk about it and eat it! The picture you have is lovely.

  2. I still make this alot. In fact I was thinking that the next time I have to take a meal into someone this will be it