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Cheesy Chicken and Mushroom with Roasted Broccoli

A few basic components come together to make a very creamy and delicious dinner.

BLOG POSTINGS > Everyday Meals

Cheesy Chicken and Mushroom with Roasted Broccoli

by zirbirt

With Skillet type meals, I never really start from a recipe. Instead, I always start with what kind of meat I want to cook. In this case, chicken. I then consider what experience I am looking for, creamy, zesty, tangy? In this case, creamy. After that, everything starts to come together kinda on it's own.

I know I want creamy chicken so, 'what is going to go with the chicken?' Mushrooms.. that combo makes me want garlic as well. With garlic, I know I would prefer a cheese based sauce over a stock based sauce, and of course it all goes with pasta, as opposed to my other skillet "go-to" starches: potatoes or rice.

The only other question I ask is 'Do I want bacon, prosciutto, other vegetables or anything like that?' In this case, I decided to keep it simple and focus on the chicken, garlic and mushroom dynamic.

Since I am not including vegetables (other than mushrooms) I want some veggis on the side. So I just take some frozen broccoli and toss it in a light coating of olive oil. I then sprinkle on some kosher salt and some fresh ground pepper, give it a light toss, and put it in a foil lined baking sheet.

This goes into a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Once it is in there, I can start the rest of my meal.

I find timing to be very important with almost any dinner. My goal is to have everything done about the same time so everything on the plate is nice and warm. Sometimes there is no way to do that.. but most of the time, with a little planning I can work it out. With skillet meals, its even more important. I want to have each component of the skillet be done about the same time it's ready to be included in the skillet.

So, the following is going to be a step by step of how I do that.

NOTE: This will make a dinner for 4... adjust to match your needs ;-)

First, I consider what I need to add to the skillet.

The chicken and the mushrooms and the primary seasonings will all be done in the skillet. In this case, since I am planning to use pasta, I don't really want to use my cast iron skillet since my large "oven safe" skillet has a lot more room.

The cheese will be a sauce, so I will need a medium saucepan to prepare that. The Pasta obviously needs to be cooked, so I need a large pot with a LOT of water. I go ahead and get all of these out and put them on the stovetop. (ignore the tea kettle, it always sits there in case I need an emergency tea break).

Right off, I fill the big pot (upper left) about 3/4 full of water and toss in a bit of salt. I then put that on high (about 8)

In the medium pot, I place 3 Tbs of butter and put that on medium (about 5)

I start heating the large skillet on medium (about 6) and add about 1-2 Tbs of olive oil to it.

While everything is getting warm. I grab my chicken, rinse it, then season it with salt, a little dried garlic, and some Thyme. Then, I slice it up.

I don't put the seasoning on after slicing, but before. I do this because I don't want the seasoning to be too crazy. I cook it after cutting, just to make it a bit quicker.. and to save me a little effort later on.

I toss that into the big skillet.

About now, my medium skillet Is warmed up and that butter is melted, so I add in 3 level Tablespoons of flour. Then mix it with a whisk. Then let that sit and bubble up a bit.

About now my large pot is boiling, so I add in about 8 ounces of dry Penne Pasta. *quick tip: If you put a lid over the water pot, it will come to a boil much faster*

I then toss my chicken. I am not looking for it to be done, just the outside cooked.

Now back to my medium (cheese) pan.. I add 2 cups of milk, 1 crushed garlic clove, a dash of salt and some pepper... then let it heat back up to a boil. I whisk it every chance I get.. basically if I'm not immediately doing something else on the stove, I am whisking. You do not want to let the milk scorch to the bottom of the pan.

Now, I have a little lull, so I chop 2 cloves of garlic, very fine. I also thoroughly clean and de-stem a pack of mushrooms. (I save the stems for gravy or stuff or something like that in the future).

Once my chicken is looking about cooked, I toss in the garlic, some salt, and the mushrooms. I give it all a good toss. Then put the lid on my skillet, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer.

About now my Cheese sauce is starting to boil, so I want to add 1 cup of shredded cheese.

and whisk it in. I then bring the heat to 4 and let is warm back up.

Now my pasta should be about al dente. I want to drop it into a strainer and rinse with cold water, to stop the cooking. (Note, if your making pasta for a sauce it's usually a bad idea to rinse the pasta. Pasta has a starch layer which sauces can stick to very well. Since I am basically embedding cheese, this wont be an issue.. So I rinse it to cool it down)

I remove the lid on my chicken and mushrooms and ensure my chicken is now fully cooked.

I leave all that juice and everything in the pan.. and toss in my pasta

Then pour on my cheese sauce

Then toss it all together and sprinkle on some cheese.

This goes into my 350 degree oven (no lid, but if you don't have an oven safe skillet, just simmer it on the stove with a lid to melt the cheese).. Oh no.. my broccoli is still in there.. yup, it should be just about done, but if not, just put this beside the broccoli pan. It will sit in the oven for about 5-10 minutes, just really to melt the cheese on top.

Once done pull it out of the oven.

and serve with broccoli and a little bit of bread (sliced crusty baguettes for me)

I kept this simple for two reasons. One, I didn't feel like I needed anything else to make a nice dinner, and I was right. I liked it just the way it was.. but also, I figure this can be a foundation for anyone who wants to play around and add or change things around. A dish like this can be a great starting place for a lot of creativity.

Hope you enjoyed this posting! thanks for reading.

zirbirt
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