CREAMED CHICKEN & MARINATED CARROTS

I’ve been making these recipes for years.  I originally found them in AMISH & MENNONITE KITCHEN (1995).

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS and what doesn’t:

The Creamed chicken works as a comfort food that is satisfying and rib sticking too. I made a few “small” changes over the years to add some additional flavor. It can be made quickly and easily on a week night.

The marinated carrots add tons of color and a bit of acidic tang too. You just have to plan ahead on the carrots since this recipe requires marinating and chilling overnight. I’ve included my next best marinated carrot salad recipe (given to me by a very sweet old lady) that I’ve been using since the 80’s. Both recipes keep well in the fridge and taste better several days later.

The cookbook called for the creamed chicken to be served over “FLOATING ISLANDS”. I tried making them twice, but they were VERY bland and terribly horribly full of fat and cholesterol.

CREAMED CHICKEN

2 tablespoons GHEE or butter
1 shallot, sliced or diced thin
3 tablespoons Wondra flour
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pink Himalayan salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped celery leaves
1 cup whole milk
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups diced, cooked chicken*

  • In a large skillet melt ghee.
  • Saute’ shallot until translucent.
  • Add flour, salt, pepper and celery leaves, stirring until smooth.
  • Add milk and chicken broth, stirring to blend.
  • Bring to a SLOW boil and and boil slowly for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Add chicken pieces and heat through.
  • Serve over toast, wide egg noodles or mashed potatoes.

NOTE: *I use rotisserie chicken quite often, but usually just brown and shred 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts.

MARINATED CARROTS (COLD)

1 pound baby carrots
1 small onion, sliced into rings
1/ green pepper, sliced
1/2 cup tomato juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup avocado oil
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

  • Bring a pot of water to boiling.
  • Add carrots cooking JUST until softened. DRAIN.
  • In a large mixing bowl toss together the carrots, onion rings and bell pepper slices.
  • In another mixing bowl whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over vegetables.
  • Chill and marinate overnight.
  • Serve chilled.

An alternate recipe for this type of marinated carrot salad is:

CARROT COINS
40 ounces +/- canned sliced carrots, drained
14 ounces +/- canned baby peas, drained
1 medium red onion, chopped small
1 can Campbell’s tomato soup**
3/4 cup vinegar (I sometimes use apple cider and it is just as good)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup salad oil
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • Whisk together soup, salad oil, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, salt and pepper.
  • Add carrots, peas and onions.
  • Chill overnight so flavors blend.
  • Serve cold.

**I replaced the canned soup with the following recipe:

CREAM OF TOMATO SOUP
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup pureed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups milk
dash each of garlic salt, onion salt, basil, and oregano.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Whisk in flour and seasonings and cook until bubbly.
  • Add tomato puree’ and blend well.
  • Remove from heat and gradually whisk in liquid.
  • Return to heat and cook, stirring, until smooth and thickened to desired consistency.

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HUMPTY DUMPTY HAM & STUFFING

This is another recipe originally found in COLD WEATHER COOKING (1990) by Sarah Leah Chase. I have manipulated this recipe several times over the years to a whole new recipe, but loved the name so have always kept it.

The original recipe called for a bone-in ham. I have by passed that for convenience, BUT I always keep a Honey Baked Ham bone in the freezer for recipes like this and Split Pea Soup. I usually make them back to back for that reason so nothing is wasted also.

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: It is sweet and savory ALL at the same time, makes enough for the perfect family Sunday dinner with plenty of leftovers too.  The extra dressing freezes well too.

HUMPTY DUMPTY HAM
4-5 pound ham
1 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup Marsala wine (original recipe called for Madeira, but I use what I ALWAYS have on hand)
3/4 cup salted butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large shallot, chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
6 large mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
4 ribs celery, chopped
4 cups stuffing (I usually make my own out of stale sourdough), but the original recipe called for Pepperidge Farm corn bread stuffing
2 cups chopped pecans (original recipe called for 2 1/2 cups)
1 large can crushed pineapple (NOT the one in heavy syrup and DO NOT DRAIN)
1 tablespoon creamy horseradish**
2 tablespoons sour cream**
1 large egg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground coriander
Zest of 1 large Orange
1/2 cup Fresh Orange Juice
1/2 cup ham broth
1 cup cream Sherry
1 cup pineapple juice
3/4 cup honey
Honey Baked Ham bone

  • In a large dutch oven cover ham bone with water, season with salt and pepper and simmer over a medium heat for 2 hours until ham is falling off the bone.
  • Strain broth into a large bowl to cool.
  • Pick through ham pieces saving the best for your Split Pea Soup and save for later.

  • Make a crater in the center of each half of ham and set aside.***
  • In a small sauce pan bring the wine, raisins, apricots and mushrooms to a SLOW boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat to cool.
  • Over medium high heat, melt the butter in a LARGE skillet.
  • Add onions, shallots and celery, sautéing until they soften.
  • Transfer onion mixture to a LARGE mixing bowl.
  • Add stuffing, pecans and pineapple blended loosely.
  • Stir in apricots and any residual wine.
  • Whisk together the horseradish, sour cream and egg. Then blend in cloves, coriander and orange zest. Fold into stuffing until well blended.
  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Stuff each side of ham with the stuffing mixture and then either tie the ham pieces together with kitchen string or us baking bands.
  • Bake any leftover stuffing in a baking dish at the same time.
  • Place ham in roasting pan.
  • Whisk together the pineapple juice, orange juice, ham broth and cream sherry. Pour around the ham.
  • Cover with foil and bake 1 hour.
  • Reduce heat to 325° and uncover the ham.
  • Whisk together 1 cup of the pan juices with the honey.
  • Spoon half of the honey mixture over the ham ad bake another hour, basting often with the glaze.
  • Let ham rest 10 minutes before slicing.
  • Slice serve and enjoy!

**Original recipe called for 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard, but I am deathly allergic and have had to make substitutions.

***I often just halve the ham and make a thick layer of stuffing between the two halves and close with baking bands.

NOTE: If you are FORTUNATE enough to have a really cool butcher, they will USUALLY bone a bone in ham for you. Be sure and save the bone for soup at a later time.

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HUNGARIAN CHICKEN ala TAMY

I originally found this recipe when we were living in the mountains and needed some hearty rib sticking meals in the long cold winters.  I found it in an old (1990) cook book called in Sarah Leah Chase’s Cold Weather Cooking. She called this chapter Stormy Weather and Magic Mountains. The recipes were all from the New England area, but really spoke to me as all around cold weather YUM!

According to Ms. Chase the original recipe was one her grandmother concocted for her grandfather to be able to make hearty food on hunting and fishing trips. While her family debated whose version was the best, I have adapted it to my family’s likes.

HUNGARIAN CHICKEN ala TAMY
Serves 4

4 slices bacon, diced
1 small Vidalia onion, halved root to tip and sliced thin
1 shallot, sliced thin
1 Portabella mushroom, cleaned and sliced thin
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery hearts and leaves
2-3 tablespoons SWEET Hungarian Paprika
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup homemade chicken broth
4 boneless, skinless chicken pieces**
1/4 cup Wondra flour
1 cup sour cream
Fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Prepared egg noodles***

  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat brown bacon until crisp and crumbly.
  • With a slotted spoon remove bacon pieces to drain on paper towels.
  • Add onions and shallot to hot bacon grease and saute’  JUST until soft and beginning to brown.
  • Add mushrooms to pan and saute’ JUST until mushrooms are cooked through.
  • With a slotted spoon remove onions and mushrooms to paper towels also to drain.
  • Generously season chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
  • Add chicken breasts to bacon grease and sear well on both sides.
  • Remove chicken (it will not be cooked through yet and that is okay!)
  • Whisk together the chicken broth, paprika and tomato paste until well blended.
  • Add tomato mixture to pan along with celery pieces.
  • Return chicken, onions and mushrooms to the pan making sure to spoon sauce over top of everything.
  • Reduce heat, cover and SLOW simmer, basting frequently, until chicken is tender and cooked through 30-45 minutes or more depending on breast thickness.
  • Remove chicken pieces and keep warm.
  • Whisk sour cream and flour together until smooth.
  • SLOWLY (so as not to curdle your sour cream) add the sour cream mixture to the tomato mixture until well blended.
  • Heat though, stirring constantly, but DO NOT BOIL!
  • Return chicken to pan and coat well with sauce.
  • Serve over wide egg noodles.

**NOTE: I have also cut the chicken into chunks to make more of a stew with great success. Doing it this way will reduce your simmer time considerably.

***NOTE: Also quite good over mashed potatoes for a more rib sticking comfort feel.

Is recipe delivery service for you?

I have tried the home delivery services Blue Apron, Home Chef and Hello Fresh. All three offer plans based on family size and have their own merits and setbacks.  For the working mom with little time to shop, these are phenomenal services. For me since I already scratch cook and love to grocery shop they were good, but not mandatory avenues of cooking. I thought I’d tell you about my experiences with each and let you decide for yourself. Price wise they are quite comparable to doing your own shopping if you calculate in your time, gas and such.  It is nice to have them prepackaged and show up right at the front door.

The above picture for Fontina Stuffed Pork Chops with Sweet Pepper Sauce was one of our most favorite recipes (which I have reworked to my methods and hubbies taste likes) from Blue Apron.

BLUE APRONPROS


  • Good delivery service and food packaging.
  • Well packed fresh ingredients. 
  • Well written recipes with easy to follow directions.
  • Great customer service.

BLUE APRON CONS

  • I honestly couldn’t find any down sides other than the fact that the recipes were either truly inspired or really pedestrian and choosing 3 recipes each week to challenge our palette was difficult some weeks.

HOME CHEF – PROS

  • Good delivery service and food packaging.
  • Well packed fresh ingredients. 
  • Well written recipes with easy to follow directions.
  • Great customer service.
  • Nice binder to organize your recipes.

HOME CHEF – CONS

  • Delivery is later with this service and tended to mess with my schedule, but that might be because I’m at the end of the delivery route.

HELLO FRESH – PROS

  • Good delivery service and superior food packaging for a really fresh delivery.
  • Well written recipes with easy to follow directions. 
  • Great customer service.

HELLO FRESH – CONS

  • A bit more expensive, but with quality food and recipes making it worth the while.

After trying all three services I have learned to sign in each week and scrutinize the menus before signing up for any particular week.  I do like that all three offer menus 4-5 weeks in advance so you have plenty of notice to make your decisions.

 

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BLUE APRON was a HUGE success!

THANK YOU again Carrie!  Loving my first Blue Apron box that came this past week.  Such pretty vegetables and all the fixings for  the 3 meals. They also included wonderful recipe directions that were really easy to follow. I cant wait to get my next box.

I let hubby choose the order we tried the recipes and he chose the Fontina Stuffed Pork Chops with a pepper sauce for our second meal. I have to say I was thoroughly impressed again! Definitely a meal we’ll have again. I did change a few techniques, but only for my own liking.  For example, they had you cutting the Fontina into small squares and I chose to slice them for better coverage inside the pork chop and to get some oozing out along the edge so there was a CRISP cheesy edge to the chop.

Just a little chat and update on MY life plus a review of my first Blue Apron recipe

THANK YOU Carrie!  My first Blue Apron box came today.  Such pretty vegetables and all the fixings for  the next 3 days. They also included wonderful recipe directions that were really easy to follow. I couldn’t wait to make dinner.  I let hubby choose the recipe and he chose the Chicken Under a “Brick” for our first meal. I have to say I was thoroughly impressed! Definitely a meal we’ll have again.

We also thought it might be a good idea to do a “Vision Board” for our search of the next house project. We would really like to find and old church, train station, fire station or school to rehab into an open floor plan and make a forever home.  Anyone know of anything in any of these states?

 

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 12 of 2017

I hope you all had a wonderful week and weekend FULL of  blessings and fun with your family and friends. My week was full of doctor appointments and errands, but all and all worth it as we move closer to a diagnosis and health plan.  So far, I LOVE all my new doctors.  I see one more new one later today and have 2 more big tests later this week.  Once all the test results are on they can all get together with a plan of action to make me better.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE

Last week was EXTREMELY pleasant and in the high 60’s with tons of sunshine and a cool breeze.  I don’t think this week will be the same as they are predicting mid 80’s and higher humidity.  So far this morning, not so bad, but we’ll see.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE

I haven’t been very hungry in the mornings, but am trying to keep with the menu plan.  This morning is peach yogurt and coffee.

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE

I’m pretty happy with it.  With spring approaching I am having to vacuum daily LOL as the black lab just doesn’t want to wear his winter coat any longer, not that we had a winter to begin with.

WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS

  • Dr. appointments
  • Vacuuming
  • Laundry
  • EBAY
  • Paint touch up in  few places
  • Grout touch up in a few places
  • Water Plants

CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR

Still trying a few of the newer shows.  I just can’t get a feeling for the new cable and TV scheduling and it leaves me a bit unsure of what I want to watch.  I’m still reading Jana Deleon books.  I’ve been intrigued by her Bayou mystery types.

KITCHEN REVIEWS

I LOVE my new Indigo True Bamboo cutting board.  I’d been looking for a smaller one (8×13) with a juice catch for resting and cutting meats so I didn’t need drag out my large Pampered chef one all the time.  THIS BOARD IS A DREAM! It is also the perfect size for small roasts and cuts of meat. PLUS it was on sale for half price!

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
BREAKFAST
YOGURT & FRUIT
SCRAMBLED EGGS & CHEESE
ENSURE CLEAR
YOGURT & FRUIT
MAPLE OATMEAL & RAISINS
CORNED BEEF HASH and FRIED EGGS
BACON & EGGS
LUNCH
FRUIT & CHEESE
SOUP & CRACKERS
SANDWICH
OUT
MEAT & CHEESE
LEFTOVERS
SANDWICHES
DINNER
C.O.R.N.
SOMETHING ON THE GRILL
SEAFOOD SALAD
DESSERT

SUCCESSFUL RECIPES and their links FROM LAST WEEK

RECIPE FINDS TO TRY LATER

  • CHEESEBURGER LASAGNA
  • BBQ CHICKEN LASAGNA
  • SEAFOOD LASAGNA
  • CARAMEL BANANA CREAM PIE
  • BALSAMIC GLAZED CHICKEN

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

Portrait of a fresh and lovely woman with flowers

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

ON MY MIND

More on this eventually, but for now, this says it all. I’m really hurt and betrayed that I’m seeing a blood relative’s true colors ESPECIALLY after doing so much for them AND while I’m so sick.

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA

LOL Somehow I let the battery run down on the camera so this category is empty this week.

INSPIRATION

Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

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KENTUCKY HOT BROWN

Previously I had made the HOT BROWN from THE BROWN HOTEL from OFF THE EATEN PATH by Morgan Murphy from Southern Living.  I had made a couple of small substitutions but we loved it and cannot even think about changing the substitution back.

THE HOT BROWN serves 4
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
4 cups heavy cream
10 tablespoons Pecorino Romano cheese, divided**
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound thinly sliced turkey (I used Costco sliced and it was perfect)
4 Texas toast slices (I used thick Sourdough)
4 plum tomatoes, sliced lengthwise (I used grape tomatoes halved and scattered)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
8 cooked bacon slices
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

*Preheat broiler with rack 4 inches from heat.
*Melt butter in a heavy 2 quart saucepan over medium low heat.
*Whisk in the flour until smooth and golden.
*Gradually whisk in cream over medium heat, whisking constantly until thick and bubbly.
*Stir in 1/2 cup cheese, salt and pepper, stirring to blend.
*Place toast slice in the bottom of a lightly greased casserole dish or make them all at once in a foil lined cookie sheet.
*Top with turkey slices.
*Top with tomatoes.
*Spoon cheese sauce over tomatoes.
*Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
*Broil 5 minutes or until cheese begins to brown.
*Sprinkle with paprika.
*Top with bacon pieces (Next time I will crumble the bacon over top to make them easier to eat.
*Sprinkle with parsley.
*Enjoy.

**I didn’t realize I was out, but I was, so I substituted extra sharp cheddar and it was lick the plate clean good.

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PAN SEARED GARLIC CREAM CHICKEN

 

PAN SEARED GARLIC CREAM CHICKEN

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced or pounded thin
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Meyer Lemon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
2 sprigs Lemon thyme, leaves pulled and stems discarded
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper, to taste

  • Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
  • Heat butter and olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add chicken, cooking until golden on both sides.
  • Remove chicken and keep warm.
  • Add garlic, stirring to brown until aromatic.
  • Add wine, cream, thyme and tarragon.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bring sauce to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and add parsley.
  • Add chicken pieces back in and coat with sauce.
  • Serve with mashed potatoes.

 

PARMESAN ROASTED CARROTS

I tore this recipe out of a magazine.  Which one is unknown, but I did find a small logo in the corner for CAL-ORGANIC FARMS, so I assume that this is their recipe.  I accidentally overcooked this recipe, but that only added to the flavor.  There was literally nothing left in the bowl when everyone was done.

PARMESAN ROASTED CARROTS

  • 2 small packages carrots, rinsed and dried
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 3 tablespoons powdered Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Panko crumbs
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons, chopped Italian Parsley
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Line your baking sheet with foil.
  3. Place carrots in a ziploc bag.
  4. Whisk the oil, garlic, salt and pepper together until well blended. Pour over carrots.
  5. Sprinkle in the Parmesan cheese and Panko bread crumbs.
  6. Shake until well coated.
  7. Spread carrots onto cookie sheet.
  8. Bake 20-25 minutes until carrots are tender.  Shake pan halfway through.
  9. Serve immediately.

I’m off to check out CAL-ORGANIC FARM’S website and see if I can find any more great recipes.

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HAM & CHEESE BRUNCH CAKE

“Strata, breakfast casserole, savoury french toast bake or bread pudding. It doesn’t matter what you call this, it’s totally delish and can be made ahead so it’s great for feeding a crowd! It tastes like a cross between a quiche, french toast and an omelette.” ~ Recipe Tin Eats

HAM & CHEESE BRUNCH CAKE 
Using ham allows for soaking overnight with less mess to prepare. I also like using a mixture of half bacon half ham.
adapted from Cheese and Bacon Bread Bake Cake (Strata) from RecipeTin Eats

Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 45 minutes
Serves: 8

12 ounces HAM steak, diced small and divided – ORIGINAL RECIPE CALLS FOR BACON
3 green onions, minced
1 tablespoon butter
6 eggs
1¼ cups 2% milk (I use whole)
¼ teaspoon sea salt flakes or kosher salt
Black pepper, to taste
7 cups (lightly packed) stale baguette, cut into 1 inch cubes (I use whatever is on hand)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese **
Parsley, finely chopped – optional garnish

  • Heat a large non stick pan over high heat.
  • Add all but 3 tablespoons of bacon (reserve for topping) and cook until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel.
  • Whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a bowl until well blended.
  • Place the bread in a large Ziploc bag.
  • Pour in the egg mixture, 1½ cups of the cheese and cooked bacon.
  • Seal and massage the egg into the bread cubes.
  • Set aside in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or overnight (until all the egg is soaked into the bread).
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray an 8″ springform pan with non-stick spray.
  • Pour the bread mixture into the cake tin, pat down to compress and scatter with remaining uncooked bacon and remaining ½ cup cheese.
  • Cover loosely with foil or a pan lid.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for another 10 minutes until bubbly and golden on top.
  • Allow cake to rest for 5 minutes before removing the springform and cutting into slices to serve.
  • Garnish with parsley if using.

**You can substitute any other tasty flavored melting cheese such as Jack, Fontina or Havarti.
NOTE:

  • You can also use a 10 inch square baking dish instead of a spring form pan. I use a 10 inch square PUSH up pan.
  • Using the Ziploc bag instead of directly using the pan keeps the mixture from seeping out  during the soaking time.
  • If your bread is NOT a stale crusty bread you may need to bake longer.

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RUSTIC CREAMY PARMESAN CHICKEN

I ALWAYS make a recipe as written the first time. You have to see what they were aiming for after all.  The next time through I make changes to appeal to my family’s taste as well as my ease and anything I feel will make the recipe MORE flavorful and/or MORE healthy.

I originally found this one on facebook and it was delicious, but hubby hated the bones so I now make it with boneless breasts. He also is NOT fond of wilted spinach so I cut back on the spinach and increased the parsley.  I also increased the garlic – A LOT!

RUSTIC CREAMY PARMESAN CHICKEN
4 chicken thighs, bone-in & skin-on  skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Wondra flour

2 teaspoons fresh ground Pink Himalayan sea salt 
1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper 
1 tablespoon oil
3 6 cloves garlic, chopped minced
1 LARGE shallot, diced
½ Vidalia onion, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 2 cups fresh spinach
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2/3 1/2 cup grated powdered Parmesan
1/2 cup 2 tablespoons FLAT LEAF parsley, chopped

  • Generously season chicken with the salt and pepper.
  • Dredge in Flour until VERY well coated.
  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium-low heat.
  • Sear chicken well on both sides. Move the chicken around from time to time to ensure it cooks evenly.
  • Remove chicken from the pan and keep warm.
  • Add garlic, shallot and onion, stirring until onions are translucent. 
  • Add the heavy cream, salt, and pepper, bringing to a boil.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and spinach until the spinach is wilted.
  • Add the Parmesan cheese and parsley, stirring until the sauce has thickened slightly.
  • Place the chicken back in the pan, spooning the sauce on top of the chicken.
  • Serve with pasta!