20 Minute Meal: Grilled Chicken & Asparagus With Fettuccine Alfredo

Posted by on Apr 17, 2012 in Cooking | 0 comments

Rachael Ray is known for popularizing “30 minute meals”. I guess the intent is that busy professionals or parents can enjoy home cooked meals without the stress of a time consuming cooking process, but really, what person with the demands of a job, or the demands of kids, or both, has 30 minutes to prepare a meal?

I used to spend hours preparing fancy and complicated meals, but that was before children.  Actually, I had no children and I only worked 25-30 hours a week, it was bliss.  Bliss.  But I digress.  For some reason, the children seem to fall apart every day at 5:30 on the dot, right as I’m getting dinner ready, and do things like chase the dogs with push toys, or cling to my legs crying, or try to battle each other to the death…ya know, things that require my supervision and intervention and interfere with me being tied to the stove whisking the perfect cream sauce.  But I love to cook.  And I love to eat.  Since I’m not willing to give up either one of those things, I’ve had to adapt.  These days, I’m able to successfully prepare a family meal if the recipe is either one that I can prepare early in the day and just heat up at dinner time, or one that I can make with alarming speed.

This dinner fit in the category of quick and easy, and it was yummy!  The Fettuccine Alfredo recipe is from the Pioneer Woman.  If you don’t want to take the time to make the Fettuccine Alfredo then you can just toss your pasta with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese, but for as little work as the Alfredo takes it makes this dinner a lot nicer.

If you prepare the meal in this order, it only takes about 20 minutes:

1. Preheat the grill (or broiler if you prefer to cook indoors).

2. Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat for the pasta.

3. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator and season it.  You can marinate it ahead of time, but on the night I made this I just mixed equal parts balsamic vinegar and olive oil and let the chicken sit in it at room temperature until I was ready to cook it, then I seasoned it with salt, pepper, garlic, basil, and red pepper flakes.

4. After about 10 minutes the grill should be hot and the water should be boiling.  Put the chicken on the grill and add the fettuccine to the boiling water.

5. Snap the ends off of the asparagus, season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil, and toss.

6. After 5 minutes, turn the chicken over (I butterflied my chicken so that it would cook faster, thicker breasts may take a few minutes longer per side) and add the asparagus to the grill.

7. While the chicken, asparagus, and pasta finish cooking, add the Fettuccine Alfredo ingredients to a large serving bowl.

8. After the chicken and asparagus have cooked 5 minutes, remove from the grill and finish the Fettuccine Alfredo according to the recipe.

This dinner was simple but good, and even my picky child ate it cut up as “chicken nuggets.”  Since most of the cooking was done on the grill, we were all able to play together outside while I made it, which seemed to keep Bug and Bear happy.  The dogs seemed happy too, as they were not chased with a single push toy in the making of this meal.



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