Creamy Chicken and Ziti with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

The past week I've been making more time to cook because being busy and distracted was really making me miss being in the kitchen!  Cooking is my time to get focused and creative and not getting in there was bumming me out.  I had never made anything with sun-dried tomatoes, however I picked up a bag of them recently and was itching to make something new.  That's where Google comes into my little equation.

I found 2 recipes for a pasta dish using sun-dried tomatoes, one from Campbell's and another on a separate site.  I liked the way both of them sounded, but as I couldn't quite make up my mind between the two, I decided to take some ideas from both and ultimately create my own dish.

I first sliced the chicken into thin strips and seasoned it with salt and pepper, then browned the strips in some olive oil over medium heat until cooked throughout. I tossed in the minced garlic and a can of mushrooms then let it cook for 2-3 more minutes. Mushrooms are one of my favorite toss-ins for just about any dish, and since one of the recipe varieties used a cream of mushroom rather than cream of chicken soup, I knew I couldn't go wrong. In the meantime, I boiled a box of ziti pasta in a separate pot.


Next, I added in the cream of chicken soup, milk, white wine vinegar, and water and stirred until it was well combined.  The white wine vinegar was kind-of a wild card; one of the recipes mentioned tossing in some red wine vinegar, which I didn't have on hand, so I figured I'd play around with the recipe and use white instead.  I decided to keep the chicken in the pan while the sauce simmered rather than removing it based on some of my other skillet dish experiences that have turned out well such as Chicken Alfredo.  I followed up with the sun-dried tomatoes and parsley, then mixed the sauce well, keeping the pan over medium heat until it came to a simmer.  Time for a ridiculously obvious statement...this picture was taken before I stirred in the tomatoes and parsley. Oh but you knew that already.


I let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to prevent it from burning to the pan.


For the last step, I stirred in the parmesan cheese and pasta and got my stomach ready for pure awesome.


Well now this turned into something quite special.  This was my first time utilizing cream of chicken soup, and I'm glad I gave it a shot because WOW.  I ate this for dinner then immediately got some set aside to bring in to work the next day for lunch...I knew a sandwich or salad just wasn't going to cut it with this ready to go at home. My husband was raving about this the next day.  He was a massive fan of the sauce, but felt the sun-dried tomatoes were not his style. I liked them, but did find them to be a smidge large in size, so next time I'll cut the tomatoes up into small bits and may try soaking them per instructions in one of the recipes I mentioned earlier.  Another cooking experience ending with two thumbs up.

Creamy Chicken and Ziti with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Ingredients:

1 box ziti (16 ounces)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 chicken breasts
1 can mushrooms (4 ounces)
3 teaspoons minced garlic
2 cans cream of chicken soup (10 3/4 ounces each)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
2 tablespoons parsley
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Instructions:

Slice chicken into thin strips and season with 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.  Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat, then add chicken and stir frequently until cooked throughout.  Boil pasta according to package directions.  Next, add in the drained can of mushrooms and minced garlic and cook 2-3 minutes.  Stir in cream of chicken soup, milk, water, white wine vinegar, remaining salt and pepper and mix until well combined.  Stir in the parsley and sun-dried tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in parmesan cheese and cooked pasta and serve.

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