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4.19.2012

Avocado Pasta with Chicken and Spring Vegetables

Maybe I should start a blog about how much I love ice cream.  Oh my gracious.  I think it's my favorite topic.  I think it's all I really want to talk about.


Ice cream headaches?  Occasional belly-aches and sugar shakes?  Totally worth it.  I die.

There's a new frozen yogurt joint that popped up in the area, and this weekend my husband and I drove 35 minutes to stumbled upon it.  As it turns out, this place lets you serve yourself, and the only ice cream cup size available is bucket.  These people are geniuses!

Naturally, I chose mango, vanilla, peanut butter, banana, mint, and cookies and cream.  Why wouldn't you?

And let's put this in perspective.  When you visit your favorite spot and order up some chocolate ice cream, do you tell the person assembling your cup that you'd like frosted animal crackers, gummi worms, kiwi, cheesecake pieces, and some cookie dough bites on top for good measure?

If you do, can we be friends?  I'm envious of your unapologetic, shameless, true love affair with ice cream.  Because topping all six of your flavors with malt balls, granola, mixed nuts, and Lucky Charms somehow elicits zero embarrassment when you do it yourself.  As if the lady behind the register isn't seeing dollar signs as she weighs your masterpiece.

This post feels really judgey.  Am I being judgey?  No judgement, I swear.  Life is totally about balance, and a quick and healthy make-up meal will even out your dairy hangover.

Can we talk about green pasta now?  Geez.

How does one tastefully describe a green, non-pesto, pasta sauce?  We'll call it a big bowl of health and leave it at that.  Whole wheat pasta is tossed with bright green peas, crispy asparagus, lean chicken, and bound with a creamy, naturally-rich avocado sauce.

And in a way, you can get ice-cream-bar creative here and toss in whatever vegetables you have on hand.  Unlike my thighs, this recipe is very forgiving.

Fact: Making a pasta sauce out of mashed avocado sounds weird, right?  Yeah.  It's weird.  But avocado makes everything better, so don't be afraid to give this sauce a try.  It coated the pasta really well, and the resulting flavor was savory and fresh.

And I bet frosted animal crackers would make this a dream, but we gotta draw a line, people.  We just do.

Avocado Pasta
with
Chicken and Spring Vegetables
Adapted from Fitness Magazine and inspired by Oh She Glows
Yields 4 servings

Ingredients:
8 oz whole wheat pasta (I used penne)
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt/pepper
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided
2-3 cloves garlic
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 medium ripe avocado, pitted
1/4 c fresh basil leaves
1/2 onion, chopped
1/3 c low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
6 oz asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2/3 c frozen peas

Preparation:
Cook the pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat.  Drain, but reserve 1 c of the pasta water in case you need it to loosen the sauce.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, season the chicken with salt/pepper.  Heat 1 tbs of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken, and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

Make the sauce by placing the garlic cloves, lemon juice, and remaining 1 tbs of oil into a food processor.  Process until smooth.  Add in the avocado, basil, and pinch of salt.  Process until smooth and creamy, and set aside.



Return the skillet to medium-high heat, and add the onion.  Cook until softened, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the chicken broth, scraping the bottom of the skillet to loosen the brown bits.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Add the asparagus, and cook until crisp, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the pasta, chicken, and peas.  Cook until the peas are heated through, about 1 minute.


Pour in the avocado sauce, and toss to coat, adding the reserved pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce.


Season with salt and pepper as desired, and serve with grated parmesan cheese.

1 comment:

Tiff said...

I like the sorbet at those self serve frozen yogurt shops. Then I add fresh fruit...so good!

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