One thing that I love about Italian food is its simplicity.

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Very basic and limited ingredients are thrown together with an artistic finesse with a result that is so yummy, that it makes you wonder how they do it.  I do find that at home we are in the habit of throwing a million herbs and spices into the pan in the hope it will enhance the dishes flavour.   The Italians however are so far from removed from this method.  My love of easy, simple but nutritious food led me to create this Italian inspired pasta dish using Philadelphia soft cheese. 

Philidelphia

I made this as simple as possible and it only took less than 20 minutes to cook including preparation and cooking time – the perfect weekday family meal. 

Sweet Chilli Chicken Pasta
Serves 2
A quick and easy Italian inspired pasta dish for a simple week day meal.
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Total Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 onion
  2. 1 grated garlic cloves
  3. 1 chilli (optional)
  4. 2 chicken breasts (cut into bite size pieces)
  5. 1 courgette
  6. 1 red pepper
  7. 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  8. Handful of basil leaves
  9. 2 tbsps Philadelphia sweet chilli soft cheese
  10. 2 1/2 cups pasta (I used organic and gluten free pasta)
Instructions
  1. Prepare and dice the vegetables and put the pasta on to boil.
  2. Dice the onion and add to a pan on a medium heat and cook to soften. Add in the grated garlic and chilli and coat the onions before adding the chopped chicken breasts.
  3. Next add the diced courgettes and peppers and the tomato halves to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and reserve some of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the pan and stir in 2 large tablespoons of sweet chilli Philadelphia. Also add in some of the pasta cooking water to create the sauce.
  4. Serve piping hot and scatter over the basil leaves.
Celery and Cupcakes http://celeryandcupcakes.com/

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There is nothing fancy about this dish, no unusual ingredients, just basic and simple food that generally everyone will have in at home.   If you’re vegetarian, obviously the chicken is out, but this pasta dish would be just as perfect without any chicken or perhaps try some cannellini beans as a replacement.   

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I easily adapted this recipe so that it was gluten-free by using organic gluten-free pasta that can be found in the speciality aisles of most supermarkets.  The Philadelphia in this dish with the addition of the pasta cooking water makes a wonderful creamy sauce which is reminiscent of a carbonara, but a healthier version.  

So there you have it a quick and easy budget-friendly meal that will have you wanting to hop on a plane to Italy pronto. 

Do you use Philadelphia cheese in your cooking? What is your favourite easy week day meal?

*ingredients provided by Philadelphia

{ 8 comments }

{WIAW} Brotherly love and chopstick-gate

by Jemma on April 23, 2014

in WIAW

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Hope that all of you lovely people are having a fantastic week and going back to work after the long weekend hasn’t been too bad!  Alfie is off work all this week so I have decided to take it easy with him with some work thrown in now and then.  It has been a pretty busy start to the week from the off with visiting family for a few days and doing the rounds over Easter.  My brother came to stay last night and we went for an epic Chinese meal at Sojo

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For breakfast yesterday I decided to use up the last of the wholemeal bread that I’ve been enjoying lately.  I toasted it and added humus and a whole avocado in to the mix.  This has to be one of my favourite meals right now – avocado with anything!  

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After chilling out for most of the morning I went to pick up my brother from the train station and we headed back for lunch.  We still needed to go to the supermarket to do our grocery shop so didn’t have much left in the fridge.   Luckily, Alfie’s mum likes to keep us well stocked in food whenever we visit so we had a big Tupperware box of home-made jollof rice and chicken to keep us going.  I had some of the rice with some plantain and steamed broccoli, whereas the guys had theirs with chicken and plantain. 

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We took my brother out to Bicester Village as he’s always wanted to go and see what it’s all about.  Although we never bought anything, we all went away with a long shopping list of things we loved for next time.  Tesco’s is close by so we picked up some groceries before heading home and fixing up a snack of almonds and a chopped pink lady apple.  This snack never gets old!

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So that my brother got to see a bit of Oxford we headed into town to an authentic Chinese restaurant called Sojo as mentioned above.  The menu is so long and it was difficult to decide, but my brother and I shared a dim sum set (8 pieces) to start and Alfie had the salt and chilli chicken wings.  To be honest, like always we shared each others food, we’re good like that! 

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For my main I chose the white fish with ginger and spring onions plus some stir fried mixed veg.  We all ordered different things so that we could have a pick and mix of each others dishes.  My brother also tried to rectify my ad-hoc use of the chop sticks to no avail.  The proper way to use them just feels uncomfortable to me now.  My fish was so melt in your mouth delicious!  The food here is so authentic, cooked fresh and tastes very clean…if that makes sense? We all left with happy bellies after all that food.

A walk was definitely needed to soothe our bellies so we showed my brother around Oxford and some of the main university sights and colleges.  He had just seen the Eastender’s episode that was filmed in Oxford around the same sights, so he was very impressed.  I’m counting this walk as my exercise for the day as my thighs and hips hurt afterwards – I definitely feel like a pregnant lady this week. :-)

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When we got home we watched some TV with some of my Easter Lindt truffles to snack on, before calling it a night. 

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It was a lovely day all round really, love it when my brother comes to visit.  Although there is 5 years between us we are very close and he gets on very well with Alfie, so it’s like we are all just friends hanging out.  Sometimes I do wish that we closer in age though, but it hasn’t seemed to affect our relationship at all.  Do you have a close relationship with your siblings? Is there a large age gap between you?

Are you any good with eating with chopsticks?  Have you got the right way of eating with them down or do you take the ad-hoc approach like me? I think as long as the food stays on the stick and makes it into your mouth it really doesn’t matter, but that’s just me. :-)

{ 15 comments }

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