Saturday, July 30, 2022

Cheddar and Sour Cream Chicken Pasta

 Looking for a way to spruce up your pasta bakes and solve the issue of having lots of crushed chips, especially after the kids help with carrying the groceries? Voila, enter the dish featured above with an unlikely suspect, Cheddar and Sour Cream Potato Chips.  This was a last minute addition to this dish after wanting another element of texture and surprise to liven up an unfancy, but delicious meal on the fly of a weekday in summer.  Oftentimes, a surplus of crushed chips can be a hassle and tossing out too many can truly be a substantial waste, depending on how 'crummy' the bag is. 
 All my tasters gave their approval and after tasting, had to wipe their smug little smiles off their faces, because they thought I was just grasping at straws, hoping for a hit.  The flavors brought on by the Cheddar and Sour Cream Potato Chips are complimentary to the cream cheese and sharp cheddar base of the homemade cheese sauce, that comes together in a flash. 
 You don't have to spend a ton of money to elevate a dish, even if it's just a little and with chips.   Other than maybe consuing too many on occasion, chips or some sort of crumb topping are a perfect way to jazz up a baked dish and handy to have around; For  one, toppings add a nice dimension of texture variance there's so many varieties and two, many homes have some on tap, if your household is anything like mine, especially with this seemingly ravenous behavior brought on by Summer Break, the 'crumbs' will last much longer than the chips themselves!  
Paired with other staples like different types of pasta, chicken stock, chicken, block cheese, cream cheese, evaporated milk and of course some boneless/skinless chicken breasts, this meal is quick, easy and CRAZY delicious.  Perhaps one of the best parts of this recipe is it's a less meat version, using only about 1 pound of chicken, You never miss a beat because the other ingredients hold their own.  Budget friendly, time savvy and delicious make this one pot meal a chicken dinner winner!             

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into medium cubes
1 lb. penne pasta, cooked according to box, until al dente, about 9 minutes, in salted water, drain and run under cold water until cooking stops
1- 12 oz. can evaporated milk, regular or fat free
1 1/2 pkg. cream cheese, full fat or reduced
1 8 oz. block sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups less sodium chicken stock
2 tbsp. butter, salted or unsalted
2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
2 tsp. onion powder
                                                            Fresh or Dried Parsley, rough chopped if fresh                                                            1/2 to 1 c. crushed Cheddar and Sour Cream Potato Chips
Olive oil for drizzling
SPST ( Salt and Pepper to Suit Taste)

Preheat oven to 375*F.
In a large oven safe saucepan over medium high heat, drizzle olive oil 2 turns of the pan and add butter. 
Once butter is melted and making small bubbles, add cubed chicken.
Cook, moving often after signs of browning evident , then SPST.  Turn pieces often until no longer pink, about 7 minutes.  Add garlic towards end of browning process.  
Remove chicken from pan as not to overcook, until sauce is made.  Set aside and tint with foil, if desired.
Add chicken stock to pan and bring up to a boil. 
Reduce heat to medium and add evaporated milk and bring back up to a rolling simmer.
Add cream cheese.
Stir often and melt cheese,  then stir in grated sharp cheddar, onion powder and parsley.
Stir in pasta and chicken, coating everything well and let simmer for  a couple of minutes to heat through again.    
Once heated through, sprinkle with crushed potato chips and place in oven until top shows signs of browning, about 10 minutes. * .      
Makes 8 to 10 servings.                                                             
*If contents of pan are hot enough, you may just turn on the broiler to high. 
It will brown rather quickly, so  be sure to keep a close eye on it.

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