Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Chicken on a Beef Day

It's Mother's Day week, and women should celebrate life's little victories, don't you think? I'm certainly no Superwoman. I wouldn't look good in the costume anyway, so it's just as well. 

We got more of the baby calves and their mamas moved to pasture this week. (More on that later.) It went well, despite a close call or two when I let a couple of calves get around me while we were sorting. Thankfully, Jake is younger and quicker than me and got the gate closed before the babies escaped into another pen, where we would have had to start the process all over again.

But, even though I spent all morning outside, I still got a new recipe on the table for our noon meal, along with a lettuce salad packed with fresh veggies. Even better? It got good reviews, and there were plenty of leftovers. Bonus!

Though my cattleman prefers beef, he will eat chicken. Since my time was limited, I opted to use frozen chicken breasts rather than grilling a steak and using the pasta as a side dish. Because I had less than 30 minutes, I cooked the chicken breasts via the microwave, putting some pesto on top of each breast to give additional flavor and moistness. 

We ate the pasta dish warm for our noon meal, and that's Randy's preference. I have eaten some cold for subsequent meals, and that's good, too, If you're looking for a good pasta salad or side dish for Mother's Day, try this Chicken & Bowtie Feta Pasta - with or without the chicken and served warm or cold. Moms love options, don't we? 

Chicken and Bowtie Feta Pasta
3 chicken breasts (see below)*
1 12-oz. package bowtie pasta (farfalle)
3/4 cup prepared pesto
1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
Salt, to taste
Freshly-ground pepper to taste
Olive oil or additional pesto as needed

*  The original recipe didn't call for any meat. However, I added chicken to make this a main dish meal. Since I had limited time, I put three frozen chicken breasts in a 9-inch-square baking dish and covered with a little prepared pesto. I covered with plastic wrap and then cooked in the microwave until the chicken tested done. Cooking it in the microwave with the pesto kept it moist and gave it good flavor. I then cut the chicken into bite-sized chunks to add to the completed pasta dish. You could use leftover grilled chicken, too.

Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente. Drain and run under cold water to stop cooking. Mix pasta with pesto, tomatoes and feta cheese. Mix in prepared chicken. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If needed, moisten with additional olive oil or a little more pesto, especially if you need to reheat to serve again.

Serves at least 6, main-dish-sized portions. You could also serve this as a side dish or a salad. I liked it both hot and cold. Randy preferred it served warm.

Today I'm linked to Ashley's What's In Your Kitchen Wednesday, a place to share all sorts of yummy food for anytime of the day. Check it out!


  1. Ranchers are a little pickier on what they eat for a cattle working day. I think they need comfort food due tot the high stress level.

    We branded a little over half the calves on Monday. It was a big day with the traditional "branding day" meal. Beef and Pork Roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, veggie platter, relish tray, jello-salad, coleslaw, snickers bar salad, homemade rolls, cherry pie and brownies. Good thing I had my Mother-In-Laws good help!

    At coffee time the tradition is Ham Sandwiches. I think this is kind of odd. I made the sandwiches with homemade buns and had half of one sandwich left over. They went over better than the doughnuts!

    Now to come up with a menu for branding #2.

    1. Your guys ate better than mine did! Did you have to help with the cattle duties, too? I agree with you: Doughnuts sound like more of a coffee accompaniment than ham sandwiches, but I guess you have to please your crowd. Good luck with Day No. 2, Robyn!

  2. the recipe sounds yummy and the pictures weree amazing!

    1. Thanks Amber! We really liked it and it went together quickly.

  3. Yum, this looks good! Glad you stopped by my blog and that you liked the Tomato Tortellini soup. One of my favorites for sure!

    1. Thanks, Christi! We liked it the first time and we've enjoyed the leftovers. The soup recipe is definitely in my "save" pile and I sent the recipe to my daughter to try, too. I also suggested your blog to her with your meal plans. She is a busy young mom, and she also plans her meals by the week.