If you have ever been faced with a situation where you needed to take someone a meal, you know how stressful that can be. What do they like? What foods do they hate? What can I make that the kids and the adults will both like? Do I need to take vegetables along with the meal? Should I stick with a chicken casserole or a lasagna? What can I put it in so that they don't have to return my dishes?
There are endless possibilities when it comes to preparing meals for other people. The most important things to find out is how many people you are serving and whether there are any food allergies. Once you know the answer to those 2 things, you can start to plan your meal. I like to choose meals that my dinner recipients can heat for themselves whenever it's convenient. This also frees me up to drop the meal off earlier in the afternoon instead of trying to transport hot food at dinnertime.
Baked Penne with Chicken
6 tablespoons butter, plus more for baking dishes
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound penne rigate
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (8 ounces each), halved horizontally
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups whole milk
10 ounces 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 ounces)
1 cup finely grated Parmesan (4 ounces)
In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper; cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Halve each piece lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise.
I hope that this blog will help alleviate some of the stress that comes along with preparing food deliver to someone else. The bottom line is that if you've ever been in a situation where you've had to be on the receiving end of these meals, you know just how much they are appreciated - no matter what they are.
I like this baked penne recipe for a couple of reasons. The pasta appeals to children and the chicken appeals to the lean protein eaters in the house. The sauce is rich and creamy without using heavy cream so it's lower in fat than traditional Alfredo sauces - especially if you use low-fat cheeses. This recipe makes enough for 2 casseroles - one for my family and one to give away. You could also bake one dish and freeze the other for another day. Pair this dish with a fresh green salad and a loaf of whole wheat bread and you have a dinner that any family would be grateful to receive.
This recipe came from the Martha Stewart website and it was originally called Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun dried Tomatoes. I omitted the sun dried tomatoes because they have kind of a strong flavor that doesn't appeal to everyone.
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