When Life Hands You Lemons, Bake Some Pasta

Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - 
Someone stole hub's car yesterday.  Yup, you heard me correctly.  From our driveway.  Woke up in the morning only to discover it was gone.

That is some sort of lemon throwing.

Nothing valuable was taken, a few odds and ends in the car.  A garage opener being one of them - so of course, we changed all the codes. We just did what we had to do to move forward.  Of course, this little hiccup makes us a one car household for now, but we have some really great friends and neighbors all offering to help us out (thank you everyone!) 

After a day of filing a police report and all the other jazz that comes along with car theft, one may wonder what one has for dinner on a day like this. At least this hungry girls does.

Well, when life throws you lemons, bake some pasta.  That is, only if you are craving baked pasta.  And this girl definitely was.

I looked outside to the porch (which is over where the now empty car spot is) to see our pot of fresh herbs that is growing like a mad man (what does that phrase mean?)  With all of the sage that we have, I opted to make something that was sage focused.  Of course, chicken goes great with sage, so why not create a chicken sage pasta bake?  I assessed the pantry (found some panko), the fridge (cheese and chicken), the freezer (peas) for basics and then add-ins.  Done and done - hubs made some fantastic garlic breadsticks to go with it (honestly, my husband is a fantastic baker) while I began the pasta dish. 

It turned out quite good - I even put peas in it (my dear friend Rachel over at Fall Creek Eclectic is surely clamping her hands with enthusiasm) and it still turned out good.  Here is a breakdown:

Chicken and Sage Pasta Bake
Ingredients (I'd like to note that I actually put measurements despite me not measuring anything - I'm all about approximating but I know some people want more 'exact' measurements. )
  • Bacon, 5-6 Slices
  • Large chicken breast, cubed into bite sized pieces
  • Green Onions, 6, roughly chopped
  • Flour, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons
  • Milk, 2 cups
  • Cheese, 2 cups shredded (I shredded a combo of Monterey Jack and Mozzarella)
  • Butter, 2 tablespoons divided
  • Peas, frozen, 1 cup
  • Sage, 6 fresh leaves
  • Breadcrumbs, 3/4 cup
  • Pasta, 6 ounces
  • Salt & pepper to taste.  
  • I also threw in some garlic powder last minute for more flavor - maybe 1 tablespoon
  1. Cook pasta al dente while prepping the sauce
  2. In a large pan, fry bacon until crisp.  Remove, crumble and set aside.  Keep bacon drippings.
  3. Add to bacon drippings, 1 tablespoon butter and the cubed chicken.  Cook until no longer pink, about 5-6 minutes (pending size)
  4. Add onions and cook for one minute.  Add flour and stir until incorporated into the dish.
  5. Add milk, slowly, and cook/soft boil until thickened.  
  6. Add cheese and stir to incorporate
  7. Add crumbled bacon, chopped sage and peas.  Stir to incorporate, add drained pasta.  Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder (if using).
  8. Once everything is combined, pour the pasta mixture into a greased 9x9 pan.  Top with breadcrumbs (I use panko) and drizzle with remaining tablespoon of butter, melted.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until you have a nice brown topping
Yes, if it isn't brown after 30 minutes, I wouldn't frown on putting on the broiler to get that brown topping you crave.

And if you'd like, make some lemonade (though a glass of wine worked really well for us!)