Ree's Cajun Chicken Pasta

This dish has quickly become a regular around the Swisher house!  A few months ago I found this recipe on The Pioneer Woman’s website, and I have made it 4 or 5 times since.  It’s really SO good, and it’s really not that hard!  Here’ s the recipe I followed:

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/04/cajun-chicken-pasta/

Just a warning: you’re probably going to see a lot of Ree Drummond’s recipes on here.  I love that site, and I have yet to try a recipe of hers that I don’t like.  Go buy her cookbook RIGHT NOW! And on with the show…

You’ll see that I changed things up a little bit for mine, but remember: THAT’S OKAY! You should always feel free to mix it up a bit in the kitchen.  Don’t be afraid to customize dishes to your tastes.

Raw chicken goes in…

Yummy chicken comes out!

I took a bit of liberty here with the veggies.  I had beautiful, plump, big beefy tomatoes ripe in my garden, so I used those instead of romas.  Because of the extra liquid, the vegetables ended up stewing more than searing.  It was still so yummy…I don’t really care!

Here’s where I have been cheating lately: see that yellowish-white glob up there in the midst of all those yummy veggies?  Yeah, that’s crushed garlic, and I get it at Trader Joe’s.  It has CHANGED. MY. LIFE!   I never used the jarred minced garlic.  I think the taste is just weird.  BUT THIS! This tastes (to my amateur palate anyway) like freshly crushed garlic!  So I spend the $1.50 or whatever nominal amount they ask for to save myself the trouble of crushing my own garlic.  Ree calls for a minced garlic, but crushed works just fine for me.  I’m not that picky here! Go to Trader Joe’s and stock up on this stuff.  I love it…

If you have something bad or scary to say about it, just know that I’m plugging my ears, and humming carelessly so as not to hear you.

Here’s the Cajun seasoning mix I’ve been using lately.  I started using it last year when I picked it up while vacationing in New Orleans with my mom and sister.  If I were to move to a town for food alone, I would move to NOLA.  Amazing food. AMAZING!  Like nothing you’ve ever had before, and certainly like nothing I’ll ever be able to cook!  Until I got this Slap Ya Mama stuff, I was a dedicated Tony Chachere’s fan.  Some Texas friends introduced it to me about 11 years ago, and Tony and I have been close friends ever since.  Seriously, how does one live without a good Cajun seasoning in their cabinet at all times?  Anyway…I still love Tony, but we’re on a break right now while I enjoy some time with Mama.

I usually use fettuccine for this dish, but I used linguine tonight because that’s what I had.  Pasta=Good in my book, no matter the shape, width or length!

Okay, see all that brown stuff at the bottom of my pan?  This is what we had after the chicken cooked.  Raise your right hand and SWEAR to me that you won’t get rid of this!  It’s beautiful in it’s ugliness.  As you stir your sauce, please do yourself a favor and make sure you scrape it off the bottom of your pan so it gets mixed in.  Your life will be so much better for it.

Here’s where I’ve added the chicken stock (yum), cream (yum) and white wine (YUM!).  I’ll take this opportunity to let you know that I don’t drink much, and I’m not really sure what wines are best for what. Beyond the whole red meat=red wine, chicken and seafood=white wine, I’m fairly lost.  I’m learning though, so give me that.  The wine I used is assuredly not the best, but it’s what I grabbed.  It’s Yellow Tail Chardonnay.  I got chardonnay because I needed a dry, white wine, and I know chardonnay fits that order.  At least I’m not using Franzia guys!  I’m too classy for that.

P.S. Whoever decided to put wine and cream and chicken stock together was a total genius.

P.P.S. Whoever came up with spell check was a genius too.  I just tried to spell genius G-E-N-I-O-U-S.  Twice.

Moving on.

This is the finished dish. Is it messy? Yes. Is it the most beautiful dish you’ll ever make? Not a chance.  Is it delicious anyway?  Darn straight.  Eat up!

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