I have to say I have never been the biggest fan when it comes to baking. Probably not what I should have started this blog off with. However, baking comes with very precise measurements. Otherwise you can mess the whole operation up. But when cooking you can get away with a little bit of this, a little bit of that and a whole lot of greatness! I often will throw some kind of meat in the slow cooker with no real plan on what I am going to do with it. I just love pull apart meat in most dishes I throw together. A few days ago I wanted to prep something I could just throw in the oven for dinner. With this beautiful weather poking its head out it is all I can do to keep my two little ones inside. Most of our days are spent in the front yard riding bikes and eating outside. The other day, during our late afternoon down time. I boiled a bag of rotini pasta and threw together an Alfredo sauce. Some might wonder how could you find the time and or energy? Tweedle de and tweedle dumbs take a lot out of a parent. Although some may frown upon tv time to keep them entertained, I find it works to give us a break. And at the same time cooking can be seen as a chore. I see it as a chance to have some adult time, playing and experimenting in the kitchen. After my husband passed away, the kids and I moved in with my parents for a while. Living with the support of my family I was able to focus on cooking to keep myself occupied on the okay days. I quickly realized how easy it was to cook simply delicious meals without always having to go to the grocery store. My mom kept basic ingredients in the fridge and had every spice and herb you would possibly need. Investing in your dry storage is the first step to easy cooking. It may seem pricey at the time, at least I thought it was. But build your collection over time, it wont seem so bad and they last forever! Anyway, back to my open window. An Alfredo sauce consists of few ingredients. Liquid chicken or vegetable stock, heavy cream (alternatives: dairy or a nut milk), garlic, onions, nutmeg, salt and pepper. The ratio of stock to cream is really up to the cook. Consider how many your feeding and how rich you want your Alfredo to be. I quickly sautéed my garlic and onions, added my spices. Deglazed the pan with my stock, added some cream, thickened it a little with a corn starch mix and added my pull apart chicken. Because I wanted to bake the casserole with some cheese, I only half cooked my rotini. So, I threw my rotini in a large casserole dish, poured my chicken Alfredo over top. I added some frozen peas. Topped the dish with finely chopped chives, shredded mozzarella and some Kraft parmesan (Kraft parm is another must have for your fridge!). Set the dish aside ready to go for dinner. Around your desired dinner time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, bake for 20 to 25 minutes and "bon apitit"! Dinner is served. I like to broil my cheese to get that golden finish.
What is the great thing about cooking? With some tunes and a glass of wine, it can be the best part of your day. Allows you to experiment and play with an outcome of bringing your family together with great food.