Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuscan Garlic Chicken Pasta

Here's another winner from Cook's Country magazine. This was in the recipe card section of the April/May 2009 issue. My 9-year old gobbled it up and went back for seconds! It makes a lot (we had enough for 2 dinners) and reheats nicely. Just a warning: it is very garlicky.
Start heating enough water to boil 1 pound of penne pasta. Mix 6 minced garlic cloves, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes and 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil together and heat this mix in the microwave for about a minute, until you can smell the garlic. Dry 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the garlic flavored oil in a large skillet (be careful not to add the garlic pieces or red pepper flakes) and cook chicken until brown and cooked through. Cover the cooked chicken with foil for 5 minutes, then slice into bite size pieces.
Salt the pasta water (about 1 tablespoon salt) and boil the pasta until al dente. Reserve some of the pasta water in a measuring cup to thin out the sauce later on. After draining, put the penne back in the pot and add the sliced chicken, 1 (5oz) bag of baby arugula or baby spinach (I used spinach), 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, 6 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese and the rest of the garlic oil. Thin with pasta water as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
(Does anyone know why Blogger sometimes takes out the spaces between your paragraphs? Or how to put them back?)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Burp Cloths

Sometimes I want to sew something for a new bambino, but I'm short on time. When this happens, I turn to embellished burp cloths. They are simply pre-folded cloth diapers fancied up with a simple machine applique. I don't have a detailed tutorial on making these, but I have come across instructions for applique in my travels around the web, and I'm sure that a quick search would turn up some fine sites to visit.

I basically iron a square of fusible web (such as Wonder-Under or Heat n Bond) to the back of a scrap of fabric, draw a simple shape on the backing paper of the web (I used an extra-large cookie cutter as a template for the heart shape), then cut it out. Fuse the shape to one end of a pre-folded cloth diaper and use your sewing machine (with a heavy-duty or denim needle) to make a tight zig-zag stitch all around the edge of the applique (like a satin-stitch). You could also sew a blanket stitch by hand. These are quick to whip up and make a nice, handmade addition to a gift of purchased baby items.

I have also used this technique to embellish kitchen towels: