You know those no-good periods of time where life just seems to hit you from every angle and you feel like you’re living out a first-world version of Achebe’s Things Fall Apart? When you look at your friends’ social media highlight reel and just feel so defeated that the ending of T.S. Eliot’s The Hollow Men resonates in a vaguely comforting (yet alarming) manner that you find yourself meditating on in the strangest of places– the shower, the car, while waiting for pasta to turn al dente?
“This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.”
During times like that, I either lose all my appetite… or I busy myself with baking food that are not necessarily the most healthy (mug brownies, anyone?).
But no more. This is my new comfort dish. It’s distracting to make, and easy to eat no matter how I’m feeling. And the best part?
It has chicken AND bacon. Its totally, 100% healthy, and you can get several meals out of it. Its definitely a dish I will be returning to time after time to make when I get stressed or in a slump–and I hope you’ll consider doing the same!
The recipe for the sauce comes from pinchofyum.com, although I included a few adaptations that the author/fellow readers recommended in the recipe I’m posting here. If you haven’t visited that site, definitely give it a glance– it’s one of my favorites.
- 8 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 large cauliflower
- 4 cups (1 32-oz) box of vegetable broth
- 4 cups water
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ½ cup milk
- ½ tbsp. olive oil (opt)
- ¼ cup parmesan
- ½ lb penne pasta
- 5 strips bacon, crumbled
- 1 lb chicken, diced
- ¼ cup chopped green onion
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes (pro-tip: use a packet from Papa Johns instead of buying a whole container...)
- ½ green pepper, chopped
- In a large pot, bring water and vegetable broth to a boil. In another large pot, bring water to a boil for the pasta.
- While waiting, cut the cauliflower into florets, mince the garlic, chop the green onion, green pepper, and dice the raw chicken.
- Once the water is boiling, place the cauliflower into the vegetable broth solution and let simmer for 7-10 minutes. Cook the pasta according to the package directions
- Meanwhile, sauté the garlic with the butter in a large, nonstick skillet over low heat. *Note: once it’s soft and fragrant, you’re done!
- Pour garlic-butter mixture into your blender/food processor.
- In the same pan, cook the chicken, stirring frequently. The remaining butter in the pan will help it along. When the chicken is almost done, add the green bell peppers Set cooked chicken and bell peppers aside.
- At this point, the cauliflower is probably tender and thus done. Turn the heat off and, using a slotted spoon to reserve the broth, place the cauliflower into your blender/food processor. Let it cool while you strain the pasta.
- Cook the bacon.
- While cooking the bacon (if you can handle doing two things at once!) combine the cup of the reserved broth mixture, the milk, salt, pepper, olive oil, and parmesan and blend together until very smooth. If you want it to be less thick, blend in more olive oil, milk, or broth mixture… your call!.
- Pat the bacon dry, and combine all the ingredients together (the green onions, red pepper flakes, green peppers, chicken, and [crumbled] bacon.)
- Store any remaining sauce in the fridge.
2. The sauce makes enough for you to double the ingredients. By all means, go for it if you'd like!
Poco a poco
Pinch of Yum has an EXCELLENT video explaining how to make the sauce if you are a visual person like me.
I originally was going to put a piece of classical music to accompany this, but as the post began to shape itself, I realized that this song was far more fitting. 🙂