11/05/2008

Perfectly Pink Pasta w/ Fried Polenta

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I got a fun box in the mail from Prego, it contained some ingredients and a challenge to make a family meal for under $10. I received a jar of their yummy new 100% natural pasta sauce, a bag of dry penne noodles, a can of green beans, and a jar of parmesean cheese. Here's what I came up with. Not too bad for $10, definitely cheaper than going out to eat and a lot more nutritious! Their new sauce is surprisingly yummy! We are very picky about our pasta sauce and this one's a winner! What's your family's favorite pasta dish? Perfectly Pink Pasta w/ Fried Polenta & herbed cream cheese
Ingredients:
3 chicken breasts
16 oz. Penne Pasta
16 oz. ready-made polenta (I used Frieda's Sun-Dried Tomato & Garlic)
26 oz jar 100% natural Prego “Chunky Garden” Sauce
8 oz. (1 package) Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 c. Water
1/2 c. corn starch
Olive Oil
Garlic Salt
Oregano
Basil
Parmesean (for garnish)

Pasta Directions:
Cook penne according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, chop chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and roll in cornstarch. This gives the chicken an AWESOME texture--a little crispy but not fried. This is my favorite way to cook chicken! Add a little garlic salt and any other spices you want (I used a little oregano and basil). Drizzle about 2 T. olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken.
Cook until browned and completely cooked, stirring occasionally (about 7 minutes).
Add entire jar of pasta sauce and 1/2 c. water. Reduce heat to medium, Stir well.
In a microwave safe bowl, heat 5 ounces of the cream cheese for 45 seconds, until very soft. Add to pasta mixture and stir well. Turn heat to low or completely off.
After pasta is cooked, drain and add to chicken mixture. Serve garnished with parmesean.

Polenta Directions:
If you've never used ready-made polenta before, it's divine! You'll find it in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, often with the health foods.
Slice polenta into 1/2" round slices. Put about 4 Tbs. olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add polenta slices and fry until golden brown, flip and brown the other side. While the polenta is cooking, mix the remaining 3 oz. cream cheese (the other 5 oz. were for the pasta sauce) with a few italian herbs (I used oregano and basil). Put cream cheese mixture in a small ziploc baggie.
When polenta is done, remove from pan and let cool for a minute or two. Snip end off ziploc baggie and pipe a cream cheese swirl on each polenta piece. Serve with the pasta and enjoy!