Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Inspiration can come from anywhere, as the saying goes. This dish is brought to you by cat testicles. What? Let me explain. Many years ago we had a family friend who was raising his two boys alone. We got together for the occasional meal every now and again. My favorite thing he made was a cheesy chicken and green olive pasta dish. It may have stuck in my head all these years because of the terrific taste, or it may be because he had his sons convinced that green olives were cat testicles. He told them this is where all the neutered cats' left over bits, as it were, went. Please note, it didn't stop them from eating green olives in this wonderful dish. (I think he finally had to admit the truth when he heard one of them explaining the origin of green olives to a friend.)

I am not sure why, but I got to thinking about that dish the other day. And since I don't eat chicken, and the carnivore doesn't eat olives, I decided to split it up. In the end we both loved our meal. Just like I remembered.

To make these two pasta dishes you will need:
1.5 boxes of thin spaghetti
3 chicken breasts
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
1 yellow onion
1 bunch of celery
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 can of cream of celery soup
1 can of rotel
1 cup of slice green olives
a few dashes of garlic powder
olive oil for drizzling
seasoned bread crumbs for dusting
salt and pepper

Start by boiling a large pot of slated water. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Get out two skillets and drizzle them with a bit of oil. In one cook the chicken breast thoroughly after coating them in salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Once they are done set them aside to cool a bit. Then cut up the onion and the celery. Add half of each to the two skillets. (I have to go through an extra step here of putting the carnivore's veggies in the food processor so that he can enjoy the flavor and not pick them out because of the texture.) Let the veggies soften on medium heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Shred the chicken breasts and add them back into its original skillet. In the other skillet add in the rotel and olives. Simmer for a few minutes. Add your pasta into the boiling water and cook until almost al dente (it will finish cooking in the oven). Add the can of cream of chicken to the carnivore skillet, and the cream of celery to the veggie one. Top each with one cup of shredded casserole cheese. Stir the mixtures thoroughly. Drain your pasta. Add half to each skillet (if you have room - if you don't do this in separate mixing bowls). Coat the pasta well. Pour each mixture into a large glass baking dish. Dust each with some seasoned bread crumbs. Cook for 20-30 minutes - until they are golden and bubbling.

You can eat on these dishes for days. The flavors get better with time. It is also a great freezer meal. Make this ahead of your maternity leave and you are good to go once baby arrives. Just pop the dish into the oven and reheat. And every time you take a bite, think about the inspiration for the dish. Between that and the terrific taste you are sure to smile. I know I did.

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