Crispy Thin Chicken and Pasta with Sundried Tomato Cream Sauce

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When I was in college I worked at Morton’s Steakhouse. They had a dish on their lunch menu called “Chicken Christopher”. It was a very thin chicken breast, breaded crispy, with a garlicky-cream sauce.

I’ve been making it ever since, but I have always “Adam-ized” it, meaning, I made it my own. It can be made from a variety of garlic cream sauces, but if you like sundried tomatoes, you will go crazy of this version I created.

I’m not going to lie, this takes a lot of cookware. You need a pot to boil the pasta, a pot to blanch the asparagus, a pan to saute (fry) the chicken, and a deep pan to make the sauce!  Plus, a baking pan to put the chicken in the oven to finish cooking! If you think you can do it, here goes!

The full recipe is in the recipe card below, but if you can handle multiple pots going on your stove at the same time, it’s a breeze!

Start off by creating the breading for the chicken. Slice the chicken thin and then pound it to make it even thinner. This is important! It just makes the meal so much tastier.

Saute the chicken in olive oil in a pan on the stove, until it gets crispy. Then set it in a baking Pyrex dish and slightly tent with foil. Place in a 350 degree preheated oven. Now you can start making the sauce.


Pasta and Cream Sauce

This is actually pretty easy. Saute some butter in a deep pan. I use an All-Clad Weeknight Pan, but a wok would do just fine.

Start off boiling a pot of salted water and cooking the pasta to the package directions. Then, start the sauce.

Add the butter, olive oil, garlic, and sundried tomatoes to your deep pan. Use some of the olive oil from the jar as well. Add the cream. Stir and let it simmer on low. While you’re doing this, blanch the asparagus.

Once the pasta is done, drain and reserve 1 to 2 cups of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the sauce. Add the Pecorino cheese.  A lot of it! And add kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

If the sauce is too thick, add some of the pasta water. Get it to the consistency that you like. Not too runny, and not too thick.

Toss in the asparagus and stir it all to coat.

Simmer it on low until the chicken is done.

Plate it and enjoy! It’s sooooooo good!

Thin Crispy Chicken with Sundried Tomato Cream Sauce

This is an unbelievably delicious meal. Thin chicken, with a lite sundried tomato cream sauce!
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

Chicken Breading

  • 1 c Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 c Panko bread crumbs
  • 3 chicken breasts (sliced thin, and pounded really thin)
  • 1/2 c grated parmesan
  • 2 eggs (beaten, for dipping and breading chicken)
  • 1/2 c olive oil (for frying chicken breasts)
  • 1 handful parsely finely chopped
  • 1 tsp each salt and pepper

Pasta and Cream Sauce

  • 1 lb Bucatini pasta (or pasta of choice)
  • 1 c Pecorino romano cheese (get a high quality cheese and grate it)
  • 1/2 pint heavy cream
  • 2 cloves garlic (pressed)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp Kosher salt (divided, for pasta water, and sauce)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp sundried tomatoes (from jar, packed with olive oil)
  • 10 spears asparagus blanched
  • 1 c pasta water (reserved from cooking pasta)

Instructions
 

Prepare chicken

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • pound chicken breasts thin (I use a Pampered Chef meat pounder)
  • Beat 2 eggs in a bowl, large enough to dip chicken in to coat
  • Create breadcrumb mixture using both types of breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and fresh parsley, finely chopped, and a dash of salt and pepper.
  • Heat nonstick skillet with olive oil until hot
  • Dip chicken in egg wash and breadcrumb mixture. Pat breadcrumbs on thick on both sides.
  • Place chicken in hot skillet and let it get crispy (approx 2-3 minutes per side). Turn and fry other side.
  • Repeat until all chicken is crispy fried with breading. WORK IN BATCHES! CLEAN THE PAN IN BETWEEN IF NECESSARY. This prevents burnt breadcrumbs coating chicken.
  • Set in baking dish. Lightly cover with foil and place in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes tops.

Prepare Pasta Sauce and Pasta

  • Boil pot of salted water
  • In another deep pan, add butter, sundried tomatoes, pressed garlic, 1 tbsp olive oil and stir until butter is melted. Add cream and stir. Reduce heat to a very low simmer.
  • In another pot, place asparagus for 3 minutes in boiling water. When finished, cut each stalk into 3-5 pieces, depending on the size of each asparagus stalk. Set aside.
  • Once pasta water boils, add pasta and cook per package instructions. Drain and reserve 1-2 cups of pasta water.
  • Slowly add pasta to the sauce and coat.
  • Add the grated Pecorino cheese slowly. Add pasta water to maintain creamy consistency.
  • Add more cheese if necessary. Feel free to add more cream and/or pasta water if necessary as well. There are no rules. Make it to your liking.
  • Add asparagus. Toss. Add salt and pepper.
  • Remove chicken from oven and plate with a side of pasta. Drizzle some of the sauce over the chicken.
Keyword Chicken, Pasta
Adam LapsevichCrispy Thin Chicken and Pasta with Sundried Tomato Cream Sauce
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Seasoned Chicken One Pan Meal

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Here’s a recipe that is so good, you’ll come back to it on a regular basis. Plus, it’s easy. A “one pan chicken dish”. There is one caveat though. You’ll need a saucepan for to prep the peas and the buttery wine sauce that tops the chicken so deliciously though! Other than that, it’s super easy!


I used 4 chicken thighs, bone-in, and skin on, and I used 3 boneless breasts, sliced in half, for a total of 6 pieces of white meat. You’ll have 10 pieces total, which is a nice mix.

Adjust it to your own liking. I don’t eat the skin but it does add a lot of flavor, and looks beautiful, when it’s browned and crispy.

You’ll coat the chicken and potatoes and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, at 350° for about 15 minutes.

Then bring it out and add the fresh herbs, lemons and toss the potatoes, and place back in the oven for another 15 minutes.


Preparing the Peas and Sauce

Once you place the chicken back in for the second 15 minutes, start making the peas and sauce.

You will need a saucepan for this, but it’s so easy, and tasty, you won’t mind at all!  It only take a few moments to put together and heat up. Then let it simmer on low until you’re ready for it.


Because boneless white meat can dry out, we’re going to pull the pan from the over for this next step and remove the white meat. Crank the over up to 425° and place the pan back in for another 10-15 minutes. Make sure you toss the potatoes one more time. We want the thighs and potatoes to get super crispy now.


After about 10-15 minutes, add the white meat back onto the pan, and pour the peas and sauce over all the chicken. Put it back in the over for a few more minutes to make sure the white meat chicken is warmed through.

That’s it! Serve it with my Shaved Brussels Sprouts salad and you’ll be in heaven!

Enjoy!


Seasoned Chicken One Pan Meal

A delicious meal cooked in 1 sheet pan.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Chicken, Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 4 Chicken thighs (bone-in, skin on)
  • 3 Chicken breasts (boneless)
  • 1/2 c Olive oil
  • 2 tsp Dried thyme
  • 2 tsp Dried rosemary
  • 2 tsp Dried oregano
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 Shallot (sliced thick)
  • 1 Lemon (zested, and then sliced thick)
  • 1 c Frozen peas
  • 1/4 c White wine
  • 1/2 stick Butter
  • 1/2 c Dried Apricots
  • 10 Redskin potatoes (quartered lengthwise)
  • Handful Fresh herbs, such as sage, parsley, oregano, thyme

Instructions
 

Chicken and Potatoes

  • Preheat over to 350 degrees
  • Cut 3 boneless chicken breasts in half to make 6 pieces.
  • In large bowl, add breasts and 4 bone-in thighs.
  • Add 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 garlic cloves (pressed), and the spices and coat well.
  • Quarter redskin potatoes lengthwise. Place in separate bowl. Coat with 1/4 cup olive oil and salt and pepper.
  • Zest a lemon, set aside, then slice it into 4 thick slices.
  • Place on parchment paper lined baking pan (cookie sheet with sides).
  • Place chicken on pan at one side and potatoes on the other.
  • Coat generously with salt and pepper (to taste).
  • Place in oven for 15 minutes, until is starts to cook slightly.

PEAS AND SAUCE

  • White the chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce.
  • In a saucepan, add 1/3-1/2 stick butter, 1 garlic clove, and shallot slices. Stir over medium-high heat until the shallots and garlic are slightly browned.
  • Deglaze the pot with 1/4 cup white wine.
  • Add the peas, sliced apricots, and stir.
  • Reduce heat, stirring occasionally. Place on simmer with lid partially on pot.

FINISH CHICKEN AND POTATOES

  • After 15 minutes, remove chicken pan from oven and toss potatoes again. Add fresh herbs and lemon.
  • Turn heat up to 425° and cook for 15 more minutes.

FINAL STEPS

  • After the third 15 minutes, the chicken thighs should have a crispy, brown skin. Reduce the heat to 300°.
  • Add the white meat back to the pan.
  • Pour the peas and sauce onto the chicken and place in oven for 5-10 minutes, or until the white meat is warmed through.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and plate each dish, or transfer to a serving platter.
  • Enjoy with a warm, crusty French baguette and butter.

Notes

NOTE: The boneless chicken will cook faster. After the second 15 minutes, remove the white meat from the pan and set aside. Toss the potatoes again and continue cooking for another 15 minutes.
Keyword Chicken, One pan meal
Adam LapsevichSeasoned Chicken One Pan Meal
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Sauteed Halibut with Peppery Butter Beans

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This was an AMAZING dinner I concocted this evening. OMG, the flavors were so savory, I was in a food coma – but at least it was a healthy one!

It’s raining out and humid – grilling wasn’t what I felt like doing. The gloomy weather was calling for a bit of comfort food as well. I decided to try and meld a delicious recipe I had for butter beans into a delicious recipe I created for halibut and see if it would work. And much to my surprise, I not only hit a home run, I hit a grand slam!

And to top the dinner off, one of my best friends, who also happens to own a farm and sells his produce at our local farmer’s market, brought me over a ton of his perfectly ripened, farm-fresh tomatoes.

I made a tomato and basil salad that knocked the grand slam totally out of the park!


Peppery Butter Beans

Let’s start off with the butter beans. They take the most time. In a medium sized sauce pan, sauté a 2 tablespoons of butter and a 1/2 of a finely chopped small yellow (sweet) onion. Let it brown. Add a tablespoon or 2 of Wondra, or flour, to create a roux. If it’s too thick, add more butter or even a touch of olive oil.

Then add an entire can of butter beans, with the liquid, into the saucepan. Simmer on low and stir for a few minutes at the beginning. The roux will perfectly blend into the juice from the can of beans.

If you need it a little thicker, add a touch more Wondra or flour. You won’t want it too thick though. Next, add a good heaping of ground pepper, (yes, ground already), white pepper, and some salt. All to taste. It’s supposed to be peppery.

Set it on the back burner on low and let it simmer, uncovered. Don’t let it burn or get too thick. You can always thin it down with some water but not too much!


Sauteed Halibut with Capers

Now onto the halibut. Heat up a non-stick pan with a little olive oil and 2 garlic cloves, pressed.

Do not let them burn. Pat off the halibut with a paper towel and sprinkle fresh ground pepper and kosher salt on both sides.

Once the pan is hot, place the fish in it and let it do its thing. Add a tablespoon of butter to the pan and let it meld into the olive oil.

While that is cooking, slice up your tomato, or prepare whatever type of salad you’re making. Mine was tomato, basil, olive oil, and white balsamic vinegar, with salt and pepper. Then when I was ready to eat, I sprinkled some grated Romano cheese on top. Place in refrigerator to keep cold until dinner is served.

Go back to the halibut now and flip it. You want to both sides get brown and form a crust. Then add a few tablespoons of white wine. Not a lot! Remove the halibut from the pan and scrape up the brown bits with the wine. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of capers. Whisk it all together.


Final Touches

Next is to add a bit of the creamy butter bean sauce to the pan and mix that in. This will thicken up the juices from the pan a bit. Once that is ready, add the fish back into the pan for one last warmup. Cover it for about 2 minutes while its cooking on low.

To plate the meal, place a cup of butter bean in the center of the plate. Add the fish on top, and then take the sauce from the frying pan, and add that to the top of the fish. A touch of freshly grated lemon zest is a nice touch.

Serve with the tomato salad and nice white wine, and you’re set.

The whole thing took me about 40 minutes to make, and sadly, 15 minutes to eat! 🙂

Sauteed Halibut with Peppered Butter Beans and Capers

Flaky, savory halibut served on top of peppery butter beans. Delish!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Dinner, Fish, Salad, Seafood
Cuisine American, Seafood
Servings 2 servings

Ingredients
  

Halibut

  • 2 8-10 oz Halibut filets
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 2-4 tbsp White wine
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 2-3 tbsp Capers
  • 1 tsp each Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Freshly grated Lemon Zest

Peppered Butter Beans

  • 1 can Butter Beans
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1/2 small Onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp Ground Pepper
  • 1 tsp White Pepper
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1-2 tbsp Wondra or Flour

Instructions
 

Peppery Butter Beans

  • In a medium sized sauce pan, sauté 2 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 of a finely chopped small yellow (sweet) onion. Let it brown.
  • Add a tablespoon or 2 of Wondra or flour. Whisk to thicken and create a roux.
  • Add an entire can of butter beans, with the brine, into the saucepan. Mix into the roux to thicken.
  • Simmer on low and stir for a few minutes at the beginning.
  • Add a good heaping of ground pepper, white pepper, and some salt. All to taste. It's supposed to be peppery.
  • Set it on the back burner on low and let it simmer, uncovered. Don't let it burn or get too thick.

Sauteed Halibut

  • Heat up a non-stick pan with a little olive oil and 2 garlic cloves, pressed.
  • Pat off the halibut with a paper towel and sprinkle fresh ground pepper and kosher salt on both sides.
  • Once the pan is hot, place the fish in it. Depending on the thickness of the filet, cook for 4-6 minutes on a medium high flame.
  • Add a tablespoon of butter to the pan and let it meld into the olive oil. Cook for another 2 minutes. Again, this depends on the thickness of the halibut.
  • Flip the halibut so both sides get brown and form a crust.
  • Add a few tablespoons of white wine.
  • Remove the halibut from the pan. Scrape up the brown bits with the wine.
  • Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of capers. Whisk it all together.
  • Add a bit of the creamy butter bean sauce to the pan and mix that in.
  • Add the fish back into the pan for one last warmup. Cover it for about 2 minutes while its cooking on low. The steam from it being covered with keep the fish moist and the sauce more liquidy.
  • Plate the meal by placing a cup of butter bean in the center of the plate. Add the fish on top, and then take the sauce from the frying pan, and add that to the top of the fish. A touch of freshly grated lemon zest is a nice touch.
Adam LapsevichSauteed Halibut with Peppery Butter Beans
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Bob’s Big Boy Burgers and “Secret Sauce”

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I’ll start off by saying first and foremost, this is not a normal meal in my house! It’s a decadent treat I allow myself maybe 2 or 3 times per year!  Being a Weight Watcher and heart patient, I do really try and watch my intake of fatty, cholesterol-laden foods!  But once in a while, it just tastes SOOOO good!

My History with the “Manner’s Big Boy”

Long before it was known as Bob’s Big Boy, the local Cleveland-area franchises were known as Manner’s Big Boy, and started in the mid-1950s. I remember what a treat it was when mom and dad took me to Manner’s for a Big Boy burger, slathered in that delicious white tartery-sauce. We always got “extra cups of sauce” to smother our french fries in and even added more to the burgers!

Over the years the restaurant chain changed names. In Michigan they didn’t even use the white sauce, but instead had an orange sauce that resembled more of a Big Mac-type sauce with ketchup in it. NOT THE SAME!

Slowly, the number of Big Boy restaurants started to fade away and now there is only 2 left in the Cleveland area. I found myself stopping at a Big Boy restaurant a few times a year though because I loved the sauce so much and could never figure out how to make it.  UNTIL RECENTLY!

One day about a year ago, I had a craving, but didn’t have the energy to drive to the west side for a burger. I started scouring the internet to see if there was a copycat Big Boy Sauce recipe out there and wouldn’t you know…. there was!

To my delight, I made it. I had to run up to the grocery store to buy the dill pickle relish but I had everything else on hand. I followed the recipe to the “t” and it sure tasted pretty similar to the classic sauce at the restaurant.

We had friends over last night for a cookout and pool party and I wasn’t in the mood for cooking up some fancy meal. I thought burgers would be great but wanted to do something a bit different – so, I cooked up 6 Big Boy burgers, complete with the double decker buns!

Double decker buns are not easy to find so I improvised. I bought several packages of sesame seed buns because I would need to use two “bottom buns” for each burger, turning one of them into the “middle bun”.

When I first got home I tried to slice the bottom crust off a bottom bun so it would resemble and taste more like the middle bun but it was not easy. Desperate for a solution, I then had an epiphany! FREEZE THEM FOR A WHILE!

I was making burgers for 6, which ultimately required 12 buns… 6 tops, 12 bottoms. I put 6 of the bottom buns in the freezer for about an hour which made slicing the bottom crust off a lot easier.

To cut down on some of the calories, I served them with roasted sweet potato fries and homemade cole slaw.

And the next day, I went on a 5-mile run and ate a vegetarian all day! Everything in moderation! 🙂

ONE SIDE NOTE:  I’ll be honest, I personally think it tastes more like the restaurant burger if you cook them indoors in a skillet versus on the grill, simply because they were cooked that way in the restaurant, but either way is excellent.

Boy's Big Boy Burgers - with "Secret Sauce"

I finally figured out how to make the special sauce that makes Big Boy burgers so delicious!
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Chill Sauce & Freeze Bottom Buns 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
Course Beef, Dinner, Sauces
Cuisine American
Servings 4 Double decker burgers

Ingredients
  

SECRET SAUCE

  • 1 c Mayonnaise
  • 4 tbsp Dill pickle relish (drained)
  • 2 tsp Fresh lemon juice
  • Dash Onion powder
  • Dash Paprika
  • Dash Garlic powder

BURGERS

  • 2 pounds Ground beef (Mix of 80% and 85% is what I used)
  • 8 Sesame seed burger buns (You need two "bottom buns" for each burger)
  • 4 slices American cheese
  • 1/2 cup Lettuce (Iceberg, shredded)
  • 1/4 cup Onions (Chopped)
  • 1/4 cup Dill pickle slices

Instructions
 

SECRET SAUCE

  • Combine all ingredients and mix well.
  • Cover and chill for at least 1 hour (or more) until ready to serve.

BURGERS

  • Freeze as many bottom buns as you are making burgers. These will become the "middle bun" (if you can't find double decker buns).
  • Mix ground beef with a little salt and pepper and form into patties. Cover and chill.
  • Chop onions and slice iceberg, and pickles. Prepare cheese.
  • After "middle buns" are slightly frozen, using a serrated bread knife, carefully thinly slice the bottom crust off to make it a"middle bun".
  • Toast the buns on the grill or under a broiler. Remember to flip the middle bun to get it toasted on both sides.
  • Cook burgers.
  • Assemble burgers placing a bit of sauce on the bottom bun and middle bun.
  • Add burgers on each bun with one of them having a slice of cheese on it.
  • Add lettuce, onions and pickles, and more sauce on the top burger.

Notes

ONE SIDE NOTE:  I'll be honest, I personally think it tastes more like the restaurant burger if you cook them indoors in a skillet versus on the grill, simply because they were cooked that way in the restaurant, but either way is excellent.
The sauce will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator. It's not healthy, but for a decadent splurge "once in a while", it's a fun variation on a regular burger!
Adam LapsevichBob’s Big Boy Burgers and “Secret Sauce”
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