Today I’d like to share a total cheater recipe that I threw together. This is one of my “OMG I have to feed an army and I have to do it now????” Recipes. It has pleased a few crowds at my house and easily feeds 10-12 people. If you don’t keep some frozen veggies on hand consider doing so, they come in handy. These are all things I usually have on hand in the freezer and pantry. Don’t panic, it’s not as complicated as it looks.
1 32oz bag mixed frozen veggies of choice
1 package chicken breasts (4 breasts)
1 1lb package of pasta (bowtie, penne, something pretty)
1 jar store bought Alfredo sauce
¼ cup shredded Parmesan/Romano cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1tsp Herbs de Provence or poultry seasoning
A few pinches of salt for the pasta water and for the chicken
A couple of tablespoons of olive oil
While you’re waiting for you pot to boil (because a watched on never does), combine Herbs de Provence or poultry seasoning, and a pinch or two of salt (you can leave the salt out if you wish) in a small bowl. Squish them around a little to release the flavors. Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry. Drizzle with just a little olive oil, enough to make the herbs stick, then rub the seasoning mixture onto the chicken breasts. Depending on what the weather is like in your neighborhood at the time, you can grill the chicken on the bar-b-que over medium heat or you can roast then in the oven at 400 degrees in a covered dish with a little water in the bottom to keep them moist, or poach them in some chicken stock. Depending on the thickness of the breast, they take about 20 minutes to cook.
Once your pot has come to a boil add the spaghetti. When you put in the spaghetti add a little salt and put the veggies in the microwave to steam. Warm up the Alfredo sauce in a small pot. Chop parsley. Don’t forget to turn your chicken after 10 minutes if it’s on the barb-e.
Let the chicken cool for 5 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute (otherwise when you cut into it, all the juices will run out and the chicken will be dry). Once cool enough to handle chop into 1”, bite-sized pieces.
Now for the fun part! Throw all the veggies, pasta and chicken into a big, family sized, bowl. Add the Alfredo sauce and toss until well coated. Garnish with a sprinkling of shredded Parmesan/Roman cheese and parsley. Voila! Dinner for an army in 30 minutes!
The most important key to this recipe is timing. If you follow the cooking order, everything should be done at the same time and ready to combine. Don’t be afraid to cook things at the same time. It’s really not as hard as it looks. It just takes a little bit of planning. Make sure you fully cook your poultry to avoid salmonella and other nastys from ruining your meal.
*Note: I live at an altitude of roughly 6,000ft. It takes water a little longer to boil here. I have a good ten minutes even with a covered pot before my water will boil.
How do you feed a crowd in a hurry? Do you have a favorite recipe to accomplish this?