May 30, 2012

Blackened Chicken Alfredo

It's that time again. Time to fire up those grills, drizzle on the olive oil, and sit outside on your patio. Summer has arrived, unofficially, and I've started to celebrate by doing everything previously mentioned and by making a batch of strawberry ice cream.

I love summer. Can't it stay forever? I love being able to throw on a dress, sandals, and walk right out of the house. No fuss. No sweaters, coats, or jackets to lug around. It's wonderful.

What else do I love about summer? Being able to sit outside with a book. Walk my dog around the neighborhood. Plant some flowers and hope they don't die (going on two weeks, yay potted plants!). Cute dresses. Cute shoes. The list can go on and on. And then there's the food.

I love grilling because:
1. No mess in the kitchen.
2. Almost everything comes out delicious.
3. Easy peasy meals.

While this recipe does require you to turn on the stove, it's well worth it. The chicken can easily be cooked inside, but grilling it is definitely the way to go. The first time we had this was in March, during that rare 80 degree week of glorious weather. It was devoured in minutes as we watched one of our 1213 DVR'd shows. It'll easily become a summer favorite.


Source: adapted from This Week for Dinner and Food.com

For the Chicken
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Pound the chicken thinly. Mix all of the spices together in a bowl. Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Dip chicken in spice bowl and pat to coat both sides. Preheat grill to medium, or heat a non-stick skillet on medium and preheat oven to 350. If grilling, grill chicken for 5 minutes per side. If cooking indoors, place chicken in pan and brown both sides, 45-60 minutes per side. Transfer to oven and bake for 5-7 minutes. Slice chicken into strips.

For the Pasta Sauce
1 package of fettuccine or linguine
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 pints heavy cream
1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup cherry tomatoes
3/4 cup frozen spinach
Zest of lemon

Cook pasta according to package directions. Place 1 stick of butter and cream cheese in large saucepan on medium heat, let melt, stir in 1 pint of heavy cream. Let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Slowly stir in the parmesan cheese, about 1/4 cup at a time.Add salt and pepper if desired. Simmer for about 20 minutes on low heat, stirring frequently. The longer this simmer's the better. If sauce seems to be real thick then slowly stir in the rest of heavy cream. Toss pasta with sauce, cherry tomatoes, and spinach. Pile sliced chicken strips on top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and zest of lemon.