Everyone likes a quick dinner idea. At least I know I do. Who wants to slave away in the kitchen after working a full 8 hours?! This recipe was inspired by not having a plan for dinner. I almost always have a weekly meal plan and most of the time I follow that plan. This week was a little different. We were on vacation for a week and every time we come back from vacation, our routine is a bit messed up. It takes a little while to get back on track.
So one night after work, I stared into the fridge, starving…. I needed something quick, easy and I needed to use up a couple peppers, some mushrooms, half a brick of cream cheese and a couple chicken breasts. Then, as I was stuffing some cubes of cheddar cheese into my mouth, it hit me! Grilled chicken pasta with mushrooms and peppers with a creamy cheesy sauce! An easy, quick and satisfying dinner!
First I got the chicken marinating right away. I used 3 Tbsp. of olive oil, juice of 1/2 a lemon, garlic, fresh thyme and basil (from the huge herb planter I have that I am still trying to use up) and salt and pepper, and I let it sit in that marinade for 20 minutes.
Next I needed to get the rest of the ingredients together, including chopping up the mushrooms and peppers (about 2 cups of mushrooms and 2 whole peppers chopped).
I started the barbecue and put the marinated chicken on the hot grill for about 20 minutes (flipping half way through). Then I started the macaroni and followed the directions on the box.
I took 1/2 cup of the pasta water and put it in a skillet. I added the chopped mushrooms and peppers and let everything sauté for about 10 minutes, until soft. I added the cream cheese (I cut it up into cubes thinking it would melt easier broken up and it did melt quite nicely!). I gave everything a stir and let it cook for another 5 minutes until the cheese fully melted and everything was creamy and saucy. By this time the chicken is done and I have it chopped up into pieces and added it to the mushroom, pepper, cream cheese mix.
The pasta is now also done and drained. I plate everything by spooning some pasta into a bowl and top it with the mushroom, pepper, cream cheese and chicken mix. I grated fresh parmesan cheese over top and voila! Tasty chicken pasta dinner done in about 45 minutes!
Cheesy Grilled Chicken Pasta with Mushrooms and Peppers
- 4 Chicken Breasts
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- Fresh thyme and basil
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups mushrooms chopped
- 2 peppers sliced
- 1/2 brick of cream cheese
- whole wheat macaroni
Marinate chicken for 20 minutes in a mixture of the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, herbs and salt and pepper.
Start the pasta by following the directions on the box.
Using about 1/2 cup of the pasta water, sauté the mushrooms and peppers for about 10 minutes, until soft.
Meanwhile, start the grill and cook the chicken breast until no longer pink, about 10 minutes each side.
Cut the cream cheese into cubes and add to the mushrooms and peppers and sauté for about 5 minutes until melted.
By now the chicken should be cooked. Remove from the grill and chop up; add grilled chicken to the mushrooms, peppers and cheese, and stir well.
Drain pasta once cooked. Spoon pasta into bowls. Top with mushroom, pepper, chicken and cheese mixture. Grate fresh parmesan cheese over top. Enjoy!
What do you cook at home when you don’t have a plan? How do you “clean out your fridge” into a meal?