Thursday, September 1, 2011

Crispy Chicken with Creamy Italian Sauce, Farfalle, and Asparagus

My latest obsession is the website Pinterest, a virtual collection of pinboards that you can personalize to suit your interests. I've got boards like "My Style," "Dream Kitchen," and "My Wishlist," but my favorite by far is my "Recipes to Try" board, where I can save pictures of amazing dishes that are linked back to the original website where they're featured. This is a fantastic way for me to save all of the delicious-looking recipes that I see online and get to appreciate the visual nature of the pinboard, filled with pictures of these scrumptious meals (way better than saving links in my Bookmarks). One of the recipes I saved to this pinboard (featured here) is the one featured in this post. I needed a recipe to go along with some leftover asparagus we had in the fridge, and this dish looked perfect. The chicken is crispy like fried chicken, but much lighter and less fattening, and the creamy sauce is super easy to make—perfect for a quick weeknight meal.

The creamy sauce was delicious on the pasta and I even mixed it in with my asparagus.

Serves: 4
Prep. time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded flat (about 1/2-inch thick)
  • 5 cups corn flakes
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil (or enough to cover the bottom of a large skillet)
  • 12 oz. farfalle (bowtie pasta)
  • About 1/2 of a bunch of asparagus
For the creamy Italian sauce:
  • 1, 10 oz. container Philadelphia Cooking Cream (Italian Cheese and Herb Flavor)
  • 2 cans Cream of Chicken soup
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400*F. Bring water to a boil and add the farfalle, cooking according to the package instructions (about 11-14 minutes). In the meantime, put the corn flakes in a food processor and pulse to crush the cornflakes into chunky crumbs (don't pulverize them into dust—you want your chicken breading to have some texture and crunch). Get three small pans or low, wide bowls (loaf pans or pie tins work too; I used three small, deep bowls and it was kind of tricky trying to fit the chicken pieces in them). In the first pan, mix the flour and salt. In the second, pour 1/2 cup milk. In the third, pour in the corn flake crumbs. Dredge each of the chicken breasts first in the flour (coating them completely), then dip in the milk (coating both sides) and immediately coat in the corn flakes. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the chicken to the pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and let it cook for about 5 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom. Flip the chicken over, reduce to medium heat, and cover the skillet, allowing the chicken to cook until the other side is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through, but still tender. Remove the chicken from the skillet, place it in a shallow dish, and cover the dish with aluminum foil to hold in the heat. Over medium-high heat and in the same skillet that the chicken was cooked in, add the chicken broth, Cream of Chicken soup, Philadelphia Cooking Cream, and milk and whisk together to blend. Let it heat up enough to bubble a bit and blend completely. In the meantime, place the asparagus in a shallow, oven-safe dish, drizzle it with olive oil, and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Put the asparagus in the preheated oven and cook for 5-8 minutes, until bright green and slightly tender, but still crisp. Serve the pasta with sauce ladled on top, then top it with chicken and serve asparagus alongside.

This is a great meal for a busy weeknight, because the sauce is incredibly easy to make and the meal is both delicious and filling. The cornflakes are a great alternative to breadcrumbs or panko and they add a great crisp as they cook in the olive oil (and hey, any leftover corn flakes in the box can be eaten for breakfast!). The creamy sauce is like a variation on alfredo—cheesy, studded with herbs, and oh-so-creamy. Crispy green asparagus adds a pop of color and can be served with the sauce on top too. So tasty!

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