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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tomato Spinach Chicken Cassarole

Asian Comfort food VS. American Comfort food
Who will win?

Last time I blogged about fried rice and I considered it an Asian comfort food. This time I'd like to share what I call an American comfort food. Both are comfort foods in different cultures but of course have something in common! Food is universal!

Here's why: because it comforts you in your comfort zone! Rice for Asian and pasta for American. You can't go wrong with that. You can count on it and how it has been. However, the more experience you have, the more fancy and unique it will look.

Who will win? This is a tough call. Since it will comfort you, you will have to be the one to pick. For me? Yay to fried rice, and nay to cassarole. Not because of its taste, but because it comforts me (mentally) in my comfort zone. Don't worry. I love food. Any kind of food, and I'm going for it!

What about you? Which one will comfort you?

Tomato Spinach Chicken Cassarole
Adapted from Giada's and Rachel Ray's recipe; yes I mixed both recipes and adapted it to my taste to comfort me =)
Yield: 6 people

3 garlic coves minced
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons parsley chopped
1 15 oz. canned diced tomatos
6 oz. sour cream
1 box frozen spinach
2 teaspoons salt
1-2 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
1/2 lb penne pasta
1 lb chicken cut to cubes
1 1/2 cup cheeses: mozzellara, shreddar, parmesan, shredded
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
a pinch of ground nutmeg
italian bread crumbs
chili flakes

  • Boil salted water for penne. Cook to al dente. Don't over cook it. You will finish it in the oven.
  • In the meantime, heat up a meduim deep pot with oil. Add garlic and shallots. Brown it.
Note: I used a meduim deep pot because it's easier when you add pasta to mix at the end.
  • Add chicken and cook through. In the meantime, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Add canned tomatos. Stir well. Then add milk and sour cream.
  • Season with salt, peppers, and chili flakes.
  • Add spinach. Use your wooden spoon to break it down. Mix well.
  • Dump in pasta. Mix well. Finish up with parsley.
  • Transfer the pasta into a cassarole dish. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top. This will make it crispier.
  • Top with cheese all over. Did I say all over? yes all over! yummers!
  • Cut butter into small cubes and place on top of the cheese - a couple dots throughout the dish.
  • Bake it for about 30 mins.

Some of the cast: parsley, shallots, garlic, sour cream, and canned tomatos

Pop the frozen spinach into a microwave for a minute. Squeeze the liquid out, but be careful. It can be hot!

Heat oil, add in garlic and shallots till brown, then add chicken

When chicken is cooked through, add canned tomato, milk, all seasonings, and sour cream. Lastly, add spinach. Mix well.

After mixing with pasta, transfer to a cassarole dish

Top it with bread crumbs, then cheese, and place the little dots of butter

Do you see it's crispy on top? That's my favorite part!

I'm feeling comforted hmmm!
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