Chicken Pasta Bake, Salad, Rolls, Mint Tea and Profiteroles
2008.08.14 in fooding
We decided that, before Tim left to go back to school, we should make one more dinner. This time, on August 13th (almost a month after our last full meal), we decided to go all out—which means a table cloth, perfectly aligned settings and every course imaginable (except for soup...). We decided to make a chicken and pasta bake, which I have made before with some friends at the Ronald McDonald House. In addition to that, we found a recipe for a spinach salad with sesame dressing. To our meal, we added dinner rolls and a mint tea punch. For dessert, we decided on profiteroles, which are basically cream puffs with ice cream instead of cream.
We went shopping on the 12th, which is always an exciting adventure. We scouted out everything that we needed, except for lemon juice. We solved that issue by buying lemons and squeezing them ourselves. We even got to check ourselves out, which is always fun! I spent some time last night going through the recipes and organizing a timetable for when we should start each separate piece so that we could end up with a hot dinner at around 6:30.
Today, we started at 4:00 with the rolls, because they had to rise. We mixed all of the ingredients (yeast, milk, flour, eggs, salt, shortening and sugar) in half quantities, so that we only had 12 rolls. The next step was to knead the dough until it was smooth. That turned out to be the most exciting thing ever! Well, not really. We floured the cutting board and plopped the dough down. Then Tim set to work kneading. I poured (and I mean poured) flour onto the dough and his hands so that it would stop sticking. I can't say that it worked too well. The dough was horribly sticky and messy, but we got it into the greased bowl and let it rise for an hour.
While we were waiting, I did the dishes and Tim took some pictures. Before we knew it, it was time to start the main dish. First, I cut up all of the vegetables and gave them to Tim to sauté. I continued to combine ingredients—the tomatoes and spices. Then, when the vegetables were done, we added those to the tomatoes. Tim went off to cook the chicken which I cut up, and I set the pasta to cook. Those all finished in about ten minutes, and they too were added to the vegetables. Everything was mixed well and poured into a 13x9 pan. I shredded the monterey jack cheese and poured it into the whipping cream, while Tim measured the grated parmesan. All of that cooked over medium heat until it was a sauce. That was poured over the chicken/pasta/vegetable mixture. Then, we put into the oven to bake for 45 minutes.
With that done, we moved back to the rolls. They had to be split into 12 pieces and put on a pan. I floured my hands and dove into the dough. Eventually, with a lot of flour, the dough became 12 very round rolls. We put them in the oven with the chicken and pasta so that they would both be ready at the same time.
Next came the drink. We boiled some water and put tea bags in it, as well as a bunch of mint sprigs. We let that steep, and then I took out the leaves and we added sugar and orange juice. We squeezed the three lemons and had exactly enough lemon juice to add. Then came the five cups of cold water. We put it in the fridge to cool, took out the chicken pasta bake and moved on to the salad.
I mixed the spinach and red onion together and started on the dressing. We cooked the sesame seeds and added the other ingredients (soy sauce, oil, salt, sugar and cider vinegar). Once it was boiling, which was quite dangerous, I poured it onto the salad and tossed it together.
Tim was pouring melted butter and garlic salt over each roll (at which point I burned two fingers on the pans...) and letting them cook for another few minutes. Once that was done, they were taken out of the oven and put in a basket. Tim set the table perfectly and then we put everything on it.
So, all of our food was done and on the table, and Mom was working her way through our mountain of dishes, but we were still waiting on Dad to get home from the neighbor's house. When he finally got home, we started dinner.
Every bit of dinner was excellent. The chicken pasta bake tasted really good, and had a lot of different flavors. The drink had a lot of flavors as well, but they all seemed to work together perfectly. The rolls worked much better than expected. It all worked together quite well... but then there was dessert...
So, for dessert we attempted to make profiteroles, which are, apparently, as hard to make as is it to say their name. It's really simple to make the batter and shape it on the trays, but once it's cooked, they 1) don't come off of the pan well and 2) don't fill well with ice cream because a) they don't cut in half and b) they fall apart. Basically, this was our first big... issue. I wouldn't say it was a disaster because how can you go wrong with ice cream? But it wasn't what it was supposed to be, which was very sad.
Besides dessert, this was a very successful day of cooking!
What I want to know is why Amy didn't make dinner for us while she was here!!