Have you ever thought..."I wanna cook something with "such and such" ingredients...but what?" Then you spend the day wracking your brain (in the secret backgrounds of your mind while you're at work) trying to figure out what you're going to possibly come up with?
Well that was me....I knew I was making something "chicken" (that's a no brainer)....but I wanted to use artichoke hearts as well.
Sure, I could've made a nice creamy sauce with artichokes and mushroom poured over chicken. But that seemed too typical. And that's where my brain got stuck.
When I got home that night, my first issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine had arrived, with my "free" Better Homes and Gardens All-Time Favorites 2010 Cookbook. I got coerced into this subscription because of the free cookbook with a $5.00 1 year commitment. How could I not? right? So I pulled out my "cookbook" (and I use that term loosely) which contained a whole 32 pages (index included) of recipes....2 per page.
But hey...it was FREE!!! I'm not complainin', I'm just sayin'
As I thumbed through my new freebee, I discovered this recipe, which happened to include my 2 main ingredients....
Chicken and Artichoke Hearts! WOW!!
I have to warn you...there are a ton of ingredients....19!
Better Homes and Gardens Chicken Florentine Artichoke Bake
8 oz bow tie pasta, cooked
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1 - 14oz can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered (I used frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted and quartered)
1 - 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
2 cups shredded jack cheese (I used mozzarella cheese)
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (divided)
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (my addition)
Preheat your oven to 350'F
In a medium skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat and cook the onions until tender, stirring occasionally (about 5 minutes).
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, italian seasoning, red pepper, salt and pepper.
(I look at this and I'm not sure if I see a flooded swamp, or if I wanna look for caricatures in the spices)
Stir in the chicken, artichokes and spinach
Lovin that color!!
Then stir in the cooked pasta, onion, jack (mozzarella) cheese, dried tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese
Bake covered for 20 minutes
Meanwhile...in a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, remaining 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese, melted butter and paprika.
Now this is when I decided (and not soon enough) that this dish needed more.
I know, right? Seriously? with that long-ass list of ingredients?
When I removed the pan from the oven and saw it was on the dry side....and the flavors smelled bland....oooh. crud. Ok, so lets add garlic. Quick! Oh ya, maybe it was dry cuz I forgot to cover mine when I baked it? Damn! I hate when I miss a "minor" detail like that.
So...sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the casserole and then sprinkle the garlic slivers over the crumbs. Continue to bake, uncovered this time, for 10 minutes or until golden. Let stand an additional 10 minutes before serving.
It's beautiful and has some wonderful ingredients. But it was lacking. I think it would be better with fresh spinach instead of frozen. Maybe marinated artichoke hearts would help as well? And garlic in the sauce for sure!!! More cheese? Always!
I dunno.....what would you do differently?
Oh ya...One more thing...wanna a chance a win Fresh MORELS?! Ya, so do I. If you win, so do I...how cool is that? Just click on the picture below and enter to win your (and my) 2 lbs of Fresh Morels.