I got out of work an hour early yesterday...and hopped the light rail on down to Saratoga street and bought me some hair dye...and I found not only the shade that I normally use...but my absolute favoritest shade of fuschia hair dye, which I've only found a few times before. Same brand. Not too far from the one I usually use. Slightly deeper, slightly redder. and then I went to the new Superfresh on Charles street. I started out looking for some stuff that I could just pick at for dinner, raw vegetables, focaccia, that sort of thing. Well, I found the focaccia. And I found some perfect red bell peppers. No broccoli. Then I wanted pasta. Cold pasta with chicken and stuff. Grabbed chicken, pasta, pesto, tomato-basil feta cheese and blackberries....yummy. Ran into Nicole whilst shopping and we headed home. Turned out that she was really wanting somethign for dinner that involved chicken also. I'd gotten enough food to cook for everyone in the house, but no one else was home last night. Ah well. It's provided me with a couple of days worth of lunch.
I will need to repeat this one...(Vegan variation is easy. Just don't use the chicken and cheese)
3 chicken breasts (skin and bone removed if needed)
2 medium-large red bell peppers
1 1-pound box of pasta (I generally use rotini or fiori. I'm not a fan of macaroni. Watch me geek about my pasta prefernces!)
-red pepper flakes (to taste. I like mine a little on the spicier side.)
-oregano (ok...tough call on this one, I pick some dried leaves out of the container enough to cover a specific little area in my hand. Then I rub them between my hands to crush them. I'm gonna estimate 1/2 teaspoon crushed for each use, so let's say a total of a teaspoon of crushed oregano.
~6-8 heaping tablespoons basil pesto
-crumbled feta cheese (optional. I like the tomato-basil stuff)
It doesn't matter if you cook the chicken or the peppers first. If your skillet will hold it all, you can cook them together- combine the amounts of pesto, oregano, pepper etc in the pan, though the peppers will be less cooked through if you only cook them as long as you cook the chicken. This is not a bad thing unless you have something against uncooked bell peppers.)
If you cook them separately, once the first is finished, set it aside til the pasta is ready.
-cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and throw it in a 12-inch skillet with about 1/2 teaspoon of the crushed oregano and desired amount of red pepper flakes. Add 2-3 heaping tablespoons of the pesto and cook over medium heat until the chicken is cooked through. (I didn't need to add any extra oil or anything like that for the cooking, the pesto was good enough for that, but a little olive or vegetable oil can be added if needed.)
-cut the peppers into small pieces (I usually do strips of about 1"x 1/4") (for faster cooking, I microwave them in a bowl of water for about 2 minutes but this isn't necessary.) toss 'em in a skillet with a heaping teaspoon of pesto...again, add a little oil if needed, half teaspoon crushed oregano, red pepper to taste. Let 'em cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally til they're the desired um...cookedness? Drain.
-cook the pasta per package instructions. once drained, stir in some pesto...(2 tablespoons made for a light, even covering of all the pasta on the box of rotini that i used last night.)
-get a bowl big enough to hold chicken, peppers and pasta. Combine all into bowl and stir to evenly combine the ingredients.
-sprinkle crumbled feta cheese on top if desired.
I really need to cook more often. I think once I get my new schedule after training in the new job, I will probably be able to do just that. And I might do the chicken-free variation of this recipe for Equinox this weekend. It would make for a good cold pasta dish. I had just decided that I didn't feel like waiting for it to chill last night.