Memories... Like Mom Made!

Memories... Like Mom Made!
Out of dark moments, flowers grow.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Greek goddess Pasta

At first I had titled the post very simply "Greek Pasta"... then I decided, being the domestic goddess that I am, to very appropriately rename this delicious Greek inspired pasta dish...

So Greek goddess Pasta it is!

And it really, truly is goddess worthy...

One of my favorite foods in the entire world is Greek salad. In fact, once when I was 12 I asked for Greek salad as my birthday meal... Pretty exotic taste for a preteen, huh?

Lately I have been having these insatiable cravings for Greek salad... constantly... I have been eating them so much that I haven't really eaten much else. And though salad is extremely healthy, yes, I have dropped about 30 pounds since I had our daughter (not baby weight, as I had already lost weight during the pregnancy and hadn't yet gained), it was time to "bulk up" my nice little Greek salad into something more of an actual meal. I added some chicken, added some pasta, added a creamy Greek inspired pasta sauce...

It was sheer perfection.

Here is how I did it. But wait, first I need a quick disclosure: I did not write down this recipe while I created it... but I think I remembered everything pretty well. This is not my best mapped out recipe ever, but I only have time to post while my toddler is napping, so this is going to have to cut it for now!!!! GOOD LUCK! ;) (oh come on, I promise you can figure it out!!!)

You will need

2 chicken breasts,cubed into 1 inch pieces
1 bottle of Greek dressing (or make your own if you wish. I used the Kraft stuff... it's yummy!)

Sun dried tomatoes (reconstituted if you use dried like me)
1 can artichoke hearts
Kalamata olives
Red onion
Feta cheese

1 block cream cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese (the kind in a can)
3/4 c milk
1/2 c butter

First, a couple hours before you are going to begin cooking (or even the night before), transfer the chicken cubes to a plastic baggie and cover with some of the Greek dressing. Maybe 1 cup, but you probably won't use more than that. Seal tightly and let marinate in the fridge until you are ready to begin.

Meanwhile, reconstitute your sun dried tomatoes. You can do this one of two ways. 1) Heat a pot of water to boiling. Place tomatoes in a heat proof bowl, cover with boiling water, place a plate or lid on top to keep in heat and let soak for about 30 minutes. 2) Or if you are like me and forgot to reconstitute them until right before you need them, pop them in a saucepan, cover with water, and boil until tender. It works.

Next, line a cooking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Arrange artichoke hearts on the pan, drizzle them with olive oil, and bake them at 375 for about 20-30 minutes, checking every few minutes so they don't burn. You will want to shake the pan to move them around so they get roasted all over.

Why roast, you ask?

The answer is simple: you have NEVER fully experienced an artichoke until you have tasted it roasted. Just trust me. Sometimes I just mix together red peppers and artichoke hearts and garlic and drizzle it all in olive oil and roast it... it is amazing.

Ok so back to the artichokes: you want them to be a goldeny color, but not super burnt, so keep an eye on them. Oh and let me warn (if there a nice kind of warn?) you now: they smell INCREDIBLE! You may have to contain yourself to keep from plucking them right off the baking sheet after they are done...

Okay so now that your prep work is done, heat a skillet with a bit of olive oil and add your garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the chicken and cook until done on all sides. Next add your artichokes, capers, tomatoes, olives, and about 1/4 cup of the Greek dressing. If it looks a bit dry, add more.

While you are cooking your chicken, you will also be making your sauce. It is basically a creamy alfredo sauce that you will mix in to the chicken, and it will mix with the Greek dressing, and magic will happen.

In a medium sauce pot, add the cream cheese, Parmesan, butter, and milk. Heat on medium heat until everything is melted and well blended. Stir often.

Add about half of it to the chicken mixture and stir well, continuing to cook until the chicken is done. You can add more to your taste after you add the pasta, but I ended up with about half or a little less left over, and tossed with with plain hot cooked pasta and gave it to my son as a fancy "macaroni and cheese". He devoured it.

Stir in about half a box worth of hot, cooked penne pasta, and serve, topped with feta cheese, of course.

Now I would have pictures of this deliciousness, but my husband had the camera, so I do not have pictures...

But I can tell you a secret: if you don't have time to do all the prep work, you can make this a much quicker meal if you just use some cherry tomatoes and pop them under the broiler until the burst open. You can also just pop the artichoke hearts under the broiler for a few minutes if you are in a hurry, but keep an eye on them. And last, if you forget to marinate the chicken, it isn't the end of the world. Just add a little more Greek dressing to the cooking pot.

Good luck! I hope you enjoy it!


  1. This sounds incredible. I may make this for a girls night..

  2. It would be amazing with a side salad and a glass of wine!