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Busy Nights Beg for Sauté Express® Meal Starter

Our lives are very full right now—in a good way! Our son, Clark, was born last fall, I went back to work full time right after Christmas, we decided to get a Lab puppy the day before Christmas (whose bright idea was that?!) and Ryan started a new job. “Go big or go home” ought to be cross-stitched on a pillow for us. And all these great changes means there are fewer hours in the day to accomplish little things like, oh, I don’t know, getting a good night’s sleep? Eating a decent dinner? Personal hygiene? Just kidding. Sort of. We are a very tidy family, even if my hair doesn’t get brushed as often as I would like.

Aw, aren’t those babies sweet?

The hectic pace of our new family life is why we consider it a huge win when we discover any shortcuts that help us squeeze more time out of our day! That’s why I got very excited when Ryan’s mom, Becky introduced us to a new Land O’Lakes product called Sauté Express® Meal Starter. It’s specially formulated to cook and flavor any protein such as chicken, fish or pork in one easy step. No digging for seasonings in your cupboard. No measuring spoons. No forgetting how much garlic you added when you have to pause to change a diaper (and wash your hands, of course). Just unwrap a square and drop it in the pan! It was made for busy mommas like me.

Since the Sauté Express® squares sounded so handy, I wanted to try them out in a recipe. The Chicken Italiano sounded yummy and simple, so we bought our ingredients and kept them on hand for a busy night. Oh wait, that is every night. As usual, Land O’Lakes pulled through for me. The chicken was moist and packed with flavor! And dinner was so easy, it practically prepared itself. Definitely a recipe I would recommend to other families on the go!

To make Chicken Italiano, begin by doing what we mommas do best: multitask. Put the pasta water on to boil so you can start cooking the chicken breasts. To do that, melt two Italian Herb Sauté Express® squares in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.

When bubbles just begin to form, add your thawed chicken breasts to the pan. Cook over medium heat for 13 to 18 minutes, turning occasionally. I covered my pan in order to trap the heat and help the chicken cook through.

Meanwhile, your pasta water has probably come to a boil. Add the penne pasta and cook according to package instructions.

When your chicken is golden brown and smells delicious, make sure there is no pink left inside. You will slice the chicken breasts before serving, so don’t be shy about cutting into the chicken a bit to make sure it’s completely cooked.

When the center of the chicken is cooked through (no more pink, remove the chicken breasts from the pan. 

Set aside.

Now your skillet is freed up. So, add one more Sauté Express® square to the pan along with your chopped onion. Cook the onion for a couple of minutes to soften it up.

Add your chopped tomatoes to the skillet. Coat them with that great Italian herb flavoring.

This is where it all comes together: The official directions say to add your pasta to the skillet, but I was concerned that it wouldn’t all fit. So, I placed my drained, rinsed penne in a serving bowl and recruited Ryan to help pour the yummy mix of onions, tomato and herb sauce over the pasta. I carefully folded it all together and added slices of the sautéed chicken on top.

Ding! Less than half an hour had gone by and we were ready to sit down to a delicious pasta dinner. It smelled great and even Clark was trying to grab at our plates (no grown-up food for you yet, little guy!).

Whew! This Chicken Italiano recipe is a lifesaver for busy weeknights. And, if I had time on the weekend, I might even spice it up by sautéing in some other veggies from my fridge—mushrooms or perhaps peppers. But that’s a variation for another day. For now, we have toys to pick up and a little boy to get ready for bed.

Prepare Chicken Italiano on one of your next busy nights and see how simple Sauté Express® squares make your life!

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    Hi, I'm Becky. I'm eager to share my best ideas and favorite recipes from my 20+ years in the Land O'Lakes Test Kitchen. I'm also excited to help with any questions you have about cooking and baking with Land O Lakes® products. Some of the questions and answers will be published in our newsletter, The Measuring Cup®. Please use the short form below to ask your questions, or share your tip or memory.


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