(I ‘ramble on’ a lot like Led Zeppelin said. You can scroll all the way down for the full recipe.)
This is simple comfort food that I revisit often. It’s cheap and easy to make, and great served with a house salad and garlic bread. If you want to add flare, throw in steamed asparagus!
“All food is comfort food. Maybe I just like to chew.” — Lewis Black
I have a HUGE tip for you: Brine your chicken.. even if it’s for 20 minutes, Just Do It.
This easy step is often overlooked but if done, it will make the chicken juicy and tender.
While your chicken is in the brine, take your sweetie to the garden and have her grab a garnish of tomato and basil. If you don’t have a sweetie, or if you don’t have a vegetable garden for that matter, then succumb to the fact that the garnish is not needed for your meal, but I do highly recommended it next time.
At this stage I already baked the chicken at high heat for a short amount of time. This is how I achieve my most tender chicken!
I also boiled my Fusilli Jerry pasta to an al dente state. If you don’t know what “Fusilli Jerry” means you’re dead to me… 😛
Begin by sauteing garlic in butter and then make a Roux. Roux is a fancy word for flour cooked in fat (I use animal fat, or butter) to create the base for a cream sauce… or gravy.
Freshly grated Nutmeg is a great addition. It’s actually a game changer. You can purchase whole nutmeg from Amazon and grate it yourself.
But I’m sure you have a jar of Nutmeg in your cupboard. Make sure not to skip this step. 🙂
Half of a grated nutmeg seed ^^ 🙂
My mom, Shelly, said it’s important to keep high quality aged Parmesan cheese in the refrigerator drawer. She’s from the Midwest and a great cook so if she says to stick a fancy wedge of cheese in the fridge drawer, I do it.
Anyway, this recipe calls for aged Parmesan. Whisk the cheeses into the roux and that completes the alfredo sauce.
Two of my ducks eating leftover garnish.
Next day lunch… lots of tomatoes in the garden.
Perfect Baked Chicken Breast
- 3-4 large boneless skinless chicken breast
- Olive oil
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 1/2 tsp. Pepper
- 1/4 C. Salt for Brine
Pour roughly 4-5 cups of room temp water into a large bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup of salt until mostly dissolved (I typically add whole peppercorns to the brine also, but that’s optional). Add the chicken to the water. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes, preferably an hour.
After you’ve brined the chicken, rinse and pat it dry. Preheat the oven to 450*F. Place your chicken in a large baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Make sure to cover both sides with a light coating of oil. Do the same with S&P.
Bake the chicken uncovered for roughly 15-16 minutes (longer if needed depending on the oven). Internal temp needs to reach 165*, but I always cut into the largest piece of breast to make sure it’s not pink (this is probably a no-no but I play by my own rules when it comes to food safety!).
And that’s it! Your chicken is ready to go. Place a foil dome over the top of it for at least 10 minutes and let the meat rest.
Homemade Alfredo Sauce
- 16 oz pasta such as fettuccine or fusilli
- 1/2 C. (1 stick) butter
- 2 tsp. (2 cloves) minced garlic
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. Flour
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- 1/2 tsp. Pepper
- 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
- 2 C. Heavy Cream
- 1/2 C. Grated Parmesan
- 1/2 C. Grated Mozzerella
- 1/2 C. Diced tomato for garnish
- Chopped basil for garnish
In a large non-stick skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic cooking for roughly 45 seconds. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add flour to butter mixture and whisk to make a roux. Next, whisk in the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Once the roux is creamy and bubbling, whisk in 2 cups of heavy cream until the mixture starts to thicken. Once slightly thickened, whisk in the cheeses, one at a time. Cover and set aside until ready for use.
Heavily salt a large pot of water and boil noodles until al dente, drain and set aside.
Assemble and top with thinly sliced chicken breast, diced tomatoes and basil.