Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mis en Place

The trick to a speedy and accurate recipe is to have all the ingredients ready, pans prepared, and the oven preheated before you start. Called "Mis en Place", its a French term for pre-assembling your wet and dry ingredients. It helps so that recipes can be assembled quickly and easily and helps to prevent your leaving something out.

Have you ever started a recipe and had one of your lovely darlings call out "Mom I NEED you". You then find out that what they needed was to tie a shoe or reach the crayons. I recently had this happen to me. After I took care of that dire moment I came back to find that I couldn't remember if I had already added the baking soda. Hmmm what should I do? Start over? Add the baking soda again if in fact I already had? What would you do? Of course I threw it out and started over.

I now read my recipe twice and pull out all my ingredients that I will be using. I also premeasure everything before I start to add and mix. I have also learned that cleanup is much easier and faster if I clean as I go. Put away your ingredients when you are done measuring them wipe counters and rinse measuring cups and spoons when done that way they can easily go right into your dishwasher. Before you know it your kitchen is clean and your cake, pie, or cookies are in the oven baking and you can sit and rest before it comes out of the oven instead of cleaning your mess.

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Easy Chicken Pasta

Easy Chicken Pasta

What's For Supper Ya'll?

White Beans, Pasta and Chicken
8 ounces dried cavatappi, fusilli, rotini, ditaloni, or other short pasta tubes
1 15- to 19-ounce can cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
12 ounces cooked chicken, shredded
1/4 cup snipped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley sprigs (optional - I usually skip it)
Olive oil (optional - but I recommend at least a little for moisture)
1. In a large saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions; drain well and set aside.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine 3/4 cup of the beans and the chicken broth. Cover and blend or process until smooth. Place bean puree in pan used for cooking the pasta; bring to boiling. Return pasta to pan.
3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook garlic in 1 tablespoon hot olive oil for 1 minute. Add tomatoes; cook for 1 minute. Add the remaining beans, shredded chicken, snipped parsley, pepper and salt. Heat through.
4. Add the tomato mixture to hot pasta; toss to cost. Top with parsley sprigs and additional olive oil. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
Posted by Stacy Nelson, Easy Dinner

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