Saturday, February 5, 2011

Days 16-19

Thanks to Project 365 I now have 574 pictures in my January 2011 folder on our external hard drive. Everything has been uploaded and I hope to finish posting all of our January entries by Monday.

Day 16: The boys are drawing pictures to mail to Ryan. Soon his rack on the ship will be very colorful and full of drawings, craft projects and photographs.

Day 17: Oh, goodness, the boys are wearing the same shirts. I had to look back at the calendar and figure out how that was possible. Day 16 was an afternoon bath day since I let them play outside despite the chilly temperatures. Day 17 was a No School day so I let them put on whatever they wanted in the morning. I think they would wear the same clothes every day if I allowed it. Anyway, they are happily playing Candyland together while I cook dinner.

Day 18: Stack of chili for the freezer. One of my secrets to surviving deployments, underway periods and detachments is to cook big and fill the freezer. This prevents those last-minute runs to the Taco Bell drive thru. I cooked a double batch of turkey chili and this is what we had leftover AFTER we ate it for dinner.

Day 19: More food! I hosted a casserole dinner playdate and each mom brought a different casserole to share. I tried out a new recipe and it turned out pretty well. I'll post the recipe with my suggestions below. And this recipe makes a double batch so I added a full casserole to our freezer this night as well!

Baked Penne with Chicken & Sun-Dried Tomatoes

**Makes 2 baking dishes -- each serves 4-6**

6 tablespoons butter, plus more for baking dishes
salt & pepper
1 pound penne
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, halved horizontally
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups whole milk
10 oz white mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups shredded provolone (6 oz)
1 cup finely grated Parmesan (4 oz)

Preheat oven to 400. Butter 2 shallow 2-quart baking dishes.

Cook penne 3 minutes short of al dente. Drain and return to pot.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Season chicken with salt & pepper; cook until opaque. Cool a bit and thinly slice crosswise.

In a 5-quart Dutch oven, melt butter over medium. Add flour and garlic; cook, whisking, 1 minute. While whisking, gradually add milk; bring to a simmer, whisking frequently. Add mushrooms and tomatoes; cook 1 minute. Off heat, gradually stir in provolone and 1/2 cup Parmesan.

Add chicken and pasta to pot; season with salt and pepper. Divide pasta mixture between baking dishes; sprinkle each with remaining Parmesan.

Bake, uncovered, until top is golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Prepare through step 4 (mixing and dividing between dishes); let cool. Cover tightly with foil and freeze for up to 3 months.

**My notes: Double the sun-dried tomatoes, use baby portobella mushrooms as opposed to regular button mushrooms to add flavor. I plan to trade out a portion of the provolone for asiago next time as well to give it added flavor. Also, I think substituting 2-3 cups of the milk with 2% instead of whole would have been fine. It was very rich.


jan said...

This sounds so good. I'm going to try it next week. Can't cook anything right now due to my BD on Monday. How's that for an excuse?

jan said...

Is Nathan always smiling? It seems like it in every picture you've sent. What a happy little darn cute. I know why they are playing Candyland - they want to beat Dad and I when we arrive on March 31st....

Dalene said...

Your boys sit and play a game together? Can they please come teach Zoey? :-)