When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Simple summer pasta

When the days outside are hot and sunny, the last thing I feel like doing late afternoon is standing around in an equally hot (but not as much fun) kitchen, preparing dinner. Regardless of the warm weather, it's still important to me to have a healthy meal with my family every evening. Matt and I have several favourite summer suppers that are quick and easy to prepare, while still being full of nutrition and really delicious. This pasta with grilled chicken and veggies is one of them.

(You will have to forgive my lack of precise measurements for this recipe; this is literally one of those suppers that we just throw together, without measuring anything. You really can't go wrong with this dish, anyway!)

boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thick strips
an assortment of fresh seasonal veggies (we like to use red and yellow bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, red onion, and asparagus), cut into bite sized chunks
fresh garlic, minced
fresh basil, parsley, and oregano, finely chopped
olive oil
sea salt and pepper
your favourite pasta (we like to use brown rice rotini for this recipe)

Toss chicken pieces in a mixture of olive oil, fresh herbs, garlic, sea salt, and pepper, and grill on the barbecue until fully cooked. Remove chicken from grill and cut strips into bite-sized chunks.
While the chicken is cooking, toss vegetable chunks in olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Place veggies in a grill basket and grill on the barbecue until they are tender-crisp and flavourful.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. (Do not overcook; this recipe works best when the pasta is cooked al dente.) Drain and rinse.
Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat on the stove. Add garlic and finely chopped fresh herbs and stir until fragrant. Add cooked pasta to skillet and toss to coat. Add in grilled chicken and veggies, and toss all ingredients until well-combined.
Serve pasta medley (sprinkled with parmesan cheese if you like) with a green salad and enjoy!

With a simple pasta supper like this one, the whole family can have more time to enjoy the late afternoon sun together (and after eating this healthy meal, everyone will have lots of energy for outdoor fun in the evening, too!) What are your family's favourite easy and nutritious summertime meals?

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