November 20, 2006

chicken tenders & tortellinis

A creamy white sauce was an ideal base for this mid-week pasta dish idea. I have to admit this wasn't the only time I relied on convenience foods. Store bought tortellinis ( they come in a variety of flavors and stuffing - I used Buitoni brand for this ) and chicken tenders were so easy to buy and use, that I'm afraid, it's so tempting to get used to them. Just marinate the chicken tenders in some lemon juice with salt and pepper and set aside for a few minutes. They were then pan-fried in some olive oil until slightly browned. They don't have to be fully cooked at this stage as they will be simmered later in the creamy sauce. Transfer them to a plate and keep warm. Next, some chopped bacon, deli turkey slices or ham were browned in a skillet. Transfer to a sieve to drain the bacon fat. Reduce the bacon fat in the same skillet to about a tablespoon, add in a pat of butter with a tablespoon of olive oil. Add finely chopped onions and about two tablespoons of all purpose flour. Stir in the flour with a wire whisk and cook for a few minutes. Then slowly add chicken broth and half and half. Whisk well until sauce becomes creamy with a thin consistency before adding some grated parmesan cheese. Simmer the sauce and return the chicken tenders to braise in the white sauce until cooked through. Spoon the cooked & well drained tortellinis beside the chicken tenders and simmer together for a few more minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle the crumbled bacon and extra grated parmesan cheese on top and serve with a garnish of chopped fresh parsley and basil. The chicken tenders were an excellent choice for this dish, they cooked so quick and were much tender than regular boneless chicken fillets.

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