Dec 5, 2010

Breaded Chicken with Lemon Leek Linguine

Winter is finally making its first appearance down here in the south. It was actually in the 20s here a few mornings! I have yet to bring out the heavy coat though. After walking in negative 20 degree weather with winds that made your eyes water I can strangely say that 20 degrees isn’t too bad! Chicago winters introduced me very quickly to what winter is really all about! My first winter up there I was dressed from head to toe in every bit of winter gear that I owned by October because you know, 40 degrees is winter down here in the south. 40 degrees in Chicago is a nice brisk day for maybe a scarf and light jacket. Needless to say, my first winter was a little rough! Now that I’m back living in the south, I miss the city terribly during the holiday season but I enjoy having 40 or 30 degrees define my winter temperatures!

This chicken and pasta meal is sure to warm you up on winter or fall night. The flour mixture covering the chicken keeps it moist and it’s oh so delicious and the leeks and linguine pasta is full of flavor and comfort! It’s not too heavy, which I think some winter foods can go over board, but after a long day you’ll be able to put this together in no time and enjoy a wonderful home cooked meal!

Here’s what you’ll need:


(Adapted from cooking light. Serves 2)

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 3-4 ounces uncooked linguine
  • flour
  • parmesan cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 leek, cleaned and chopped
  • 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • juice from half a lemon
  • parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

To start, take a small pan (I used a shallow cake pan) and pour in about 1/4 cup of flour, salt, pepper, little bit of freshly grated parmesan cheese, and any herbs you might like. Mix that around a bit. This is going to be the coating for the chicken.

Flour Coating: flour, fresh parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, herbs.

(Before you start your chicken, go ahead and turn on your pasta water and start bringing that to a boil.) Before you give your chicken breasts a dip in the flour, put them between two pieces of wax paper and pound them out just a bit. The important thing is to make sure they are the same thickness to ensure they cook evenly. Once that’s complete, take each chicken breast and press it into the flour mixture. You want each side to be completely covered. It’s going to be delicious so don’t skimp any part of the chicken!

Chicken coated in the flour mixture on both sides.

In a large skillet, add a little bit of olive (or butter if you prefer) and after it heats up add the chicken to the pan. (At this time you can also add your pasta to the boiling water.) The chicken should take between 3-5 minutes on each side, depending on how thin you pounded the meat down.

Chicken breasts coated in flour, parmesan and herb mixture and cooking in a pan on the stove.

Once the chicken is completely cooked, remove it from the pan and keep it wrapped in tinfoil to keep it warm. To this same pan you can now add your garlic, leeks, lemon juice and chicken broth. Let this mixture cook for about three minutes and the liquid has reduced by almost half.

Leeks, garlic, lemon juice and chicken broth mixture cooking in the same pan the chicken cooked in.

Once your pasta is done and the leek mixture has reduced, drain the pasta and add it to the leeks. The pasta will soak in all the wonderful flavors of the mixture and taste delicious! Everything is ready to eat! Take the chicken from the tinfoil, sprinkle some parsley on the pasta and your dinner is complete!

Dinner complete: When dinner is this good you can expect the guys to go for this much pasta!

This dinner seems a little more labor intensive with it not being a weeknight one pot wonder but it’s still really easy! The coating on the chicken is so simple and light but has tons of flavor! For those looking out for what they eat during the holidays, this is a great dish to replace the fried chicken that you crave! It won’t disappoint but it also won’t have you slipping off the healthy wagon! The pasta with the leeks makes your pasta a little fancy but without all the fuss in the kitchen! If you’re not a chicken fan I think you could pair this tasty pasta side dish with a white fish and be just as pleased! This meal is comforting on the cold days and a wonderful go to on the nights when you need a tip top meal in a flash! For now, that’s breaded chicken with lemon leek linguine…in the shell of a nut!

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