Chicken, Bacon, Artichoke Pasta with Creamy Garlic Sauce

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This month’s Pasta Please theme is GARLIC hosted over at The Spicy Pear. I love garlic. When a recipe calls for garlic, I most always double the amount of it I actually use in my dish because I love it. It helps that Matt loves it too, because that would make me sad.

To make a garlic pasta dish? YES PLEASE! I feel like garlic gives any dish (or okay, most dishes) a nice element. Please don’t put it in my chocolate cake though.

Anyway – I’ve been busy lately and haven’t been cooking too much due to interviews and work. This dish was easy to make after a Friday at work and tasted delicious. The sun-dried tomatoes definitely helped with that too.

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Chicken, Bacon, Artichoke Pasta with Creamy Garlic Sauce
(source)

Ingredients
12 oz noodles in any shape you want
6 slices bacon
1 lb chicken breasts, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 can quartered artichoke hearts, chopped
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp garlic powder

Directions

1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta. Once al dente, drain and set aside.

2. Cook the bacon in a large skillet. Once crispy remove to a plate covered in paper towels. Add the chicken to the bacon grease and season with salt and pepper. Cook until no longer pink. Saute artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes with the chicken for 4 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add garlic and then saute for 30 seconds. Sprinkle the flour on top and cook for 1 minute, whisking until smooth.  Slowly poor in the milk and chicken broth, whisking to avoid lumps. Season with salt and pepper and stir, cooking for 10 minutes, allowing the sauce to become bubbly and thick. Add the garlic powder and stir.

4. Cut the bacon into small pieces. Combine the pasta, bacon, chicken mixture, and sauce. Toss to combine.

* serves 6
* besides Pasta Please, this recipe is being shared with  Weekend Cooking

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Rosemary-Lemon No-Knead Bread with Baked Spinach Artichoke Yogurt Dip

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2014 has started on a busy foot. I’ve been applying to jobs and working for free. If you’re thinking about going to law school, this is something to consider. Do it because you love it. Not because you think you’re going to get rich quick. I mean, maybe you will. But you probably won’t. It’s good that wasn’t ever my plan.

I’ve been counting my calories again, because I let myself go this last year and gained far too much weight. I’ve been indulging too much and not exercising at all. So 2014 that will change. It’s not a new year’s resolution. It’s just a new life resolution.

I like to indulge though, that’s the problem. One of my favorite things to indulge in is spinach dip. I am obsessed with the spinach dip that Safeway sells. In fact, just typing that makes me start salivating. It’s that good. I decided yesterday to make a homemade, way lower calorie spinach dip. It’s definitely different than what I get at the store, much less creamy, but delicious in its own right.

This dip is my entry to this month’s AlphaBakes challenge. The letter for January 2014 is Y. This dip is made with yogurt, cheese, spinach, and artichokes. The yogurt definitely makes it meet this challenge requirement!

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Baked Spinach Artichoke Yogurt Dip
(source)

Ingredients
6 oz jar artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
5 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained
4 oz plain yogurt
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 green onions, minced
1 garlic clove, minced

Directions

1. Combine all the ingredients together in a baking dish. Mix together well. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Voila!

Anyway, you can’t have spinach dip without having some delicious bread to dip in it. So I decided to participate in Cooking with Herbs and create a lemon-rosemary loaf. Karen asked for some citrus to be included with our herb cooking. The combination of lemon and rosemary was divine!

I followed a recipe from Williams-Sonoma. Additionally, a post at Serious Eats also really helped me with this loaf. The science behind this no-knead bread is fascinating. You let the dough sit for 12-18 hours and let the yeast do its business on kneading on its own. While this bread isn’t something you can whip up in a few hours, the amount of work to create a beautiful loaf of bread is minor.

I followed the Williams-Sonoma recipe, but I put the uncooked dough in the fridge for three days as per Serious Eats. I also determined when the loaf as done based on the temperature of the inside of the bread, which I also learned from Serious Eats.

This may have to be my go-to recipe. It’d be so easy to manipulate into many wonderful tasting breads.

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If I can lose weight and eat bread and spinach dip, I think this will be a good year/life.

IMG_9322* Besides AlphaBakes and Cooking with Herbs, this delicious duo is also being shared with #FoodieFriday & Foodie Friday

Roasted Artichokes

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Until recently I hadn’t had artichokes in a very long time. I remember being a little girl fascinated by this strange food. Eating it is a process – a fun process! You get to use your hands. You eat it in a way I don’t think any other food is eaten. As a little girl, artichoke with dinner was a huge thing. But I don’t know what’s happened since then. I can’t even recall the last time I ate an artichoke (before this time of course.)

Artichokes right now are everywhere at the farmer’s market. There are several vendors with just piles and piles of artichokes. Since alphabakes this month is on the letter A (hosted by The More Than Occasional Baker with co-host Caroline Bakes) it seemed perfect to get myself some artichokes!

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Making the artichoke is easy. It’s so easy in fact, that I’m not posting a real recipe. But here are some instructions:

– Cut the top of the artichoke off and the bottom of the artichoke’s stem off (about 1/2 inch on the top)
– Drizzle artichoke with olive oil and lemon juice
– Put a smashed garlic clove in the center of the leaves
– Wrap in foil
– Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes at 425

* besides alphabakes, this recipe has been shared with Tasteful Tuesday Party & Tempt My Tummy