Holy cow, summer is going by so quickly! I can’t believe it is mid-July. Back to school specials abound and I can’t help but feeling a little sad that summer is almost over. But then I remember that here in the “northern South,” summer continues well into September (I just love that Southern Living magazine calls KC part of the South – it gives me lots of excuses to make the Southern food I adore!). Tomato season started early and I have lots of plans for the jeweled orbs. The farmers markets are overflowing and I’d better get while the getting is good before the impact of this draught starts to catch up with the grocery stores and markets.
I must admit to a bit of laziness and a severe lack of creativity when it comes to cooking this summer. Maybe that is due to the roller coaster ride I’ve been on this past year. I think the other part of it is that I don’t have a garden for the second year in a row. I have nothing going crazy in my backyard, demanding I dream up new and exciting ways to prepare it. A friend brought over some fresh jalapenos from her garden and I smiled, recalling the numerous recipes I searched and dreamed up to use our plethora of peppers. A girl can only eat so many jalapeno poppers…
The other aspect of my noticeable absence has been that we have just been so busy! Last summer flew by in an instant between Ben starting his job, selling our house, making the official move to KC, and then, the nasty C-word. This summer, we’ve welcomed many friends into our home, traveled to see friends and family, and bummed about town with lazy days at the pool, baseball games, happy hours and more. One such evening took us to Shakespeare at the Park where we packed a few bottles of wine and a picnic and laughed at the whimsy of a Midsummer Night’s Dream. Midsummer…
One of the dishes I prepared for our picnic left me with lots of delicious spinach dip left over. Given its consistency, I felt that it would be better served in another dish versus on its own, scooped with chips or crackers. Laziness prevailed yet again, so I opted for ease, convenience and rotisserie chicken, a girl’s best friend. The creamy sauce and spinach got me thinking of an alternate BLT and then I couldn’t help but tinker. I liked this dish served warm, but it’s likely pretty tasty chilled too and perfect for a picnic or Midsummer Night’s Dream.
BLT Chicken Pasta
recipe: jb’s pour house with assistance from Food & Wine
1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed and shredded
5 slices bacon
1/3 c. sliced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 box pasta (any shape), cooked according to package directions
1 c. heavy cream
1 8 oz. box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry of excess moisture
1 pkg. Philadelphia cooking creme, plain
Salt & pepper to taste
2 large tomatoes, diced
Place bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat. Saute until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add onion to pan and saute until translucent and starting to brown, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, saute for 30 seconds and remove from heat. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, boil the cream until reduced by half. Keep a close eye on this as you don’t want to allow the cream to boil over. Add the dry spinach and stir to incorporate. Add the cooking creme and stir until melted. Add the juice of half of a lemon. Add half of the chicken, reserving the remainder for another use. Add pasta, bacon, onion mixture and tomatoes. Mix well to incorporate. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Can easily be doubled.
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