Moms Perogative (Penne and Chicken Tenderloins with Spiced Tomato Sauce)

My mom is an excellent cook. She was when we were growing up and she is still today. Without trying too sound bratty, however, there were a few things my mom cooked when I was growing up that I just did not care for. One was Goulash… we seemed to have Goulash all the time and I could not stand it. I hated the big chunks of cooked or stewed tomatoes. She also made this nasty, nasty, nasty stuff – hamburger cream gravy on top of slices of bread. Just thinking about that meal today makes me want to gag.

I know my mom knew how much I hated those meals, especially the hamburger gravy, so I could not understand why she continued to make them. I mean, seriously, shouldn’t it have been all about me and what I wanted to eat? I was not that picky of an eater but those two particular meals would have to be forced down me.

Now, I am a mom, and I am in the meal making drivers seat. I totally understand why my mom made those two meals as often as she did. One – they were cheap and went a long way and could pretty much be whipped up with items already in the pantry. Two – she liked them (which I will never understand with the hamburger gravy crap, but anyway…), and sometimes that is simply enough.

This week, I pulled a “mom”. I made a meal that I was pretty sure my kids would not like because they are not fans of tomatoes. I wanted it though… and when mama is in the drivers seat, that is all that matters sometimes!

Much to my surprise, my oldest loved this dish and had two “loads”, as he likes to say. My two youngest girls, however, cried and wailed and had serious drama at the table about the injustice of being served something they clearly would not like. I am quite sure that their behavior tonight was payback for all of the nights I had a fit over Goulash and Hamburger Gravy.

This was a delicious meal…comforting, filling and really easy to make. Good enough to shake up the lives of the little Divas in the house. I would hate to deprive them of something to blog about when they get older!

Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Holland House.

Penne and Chicken Tenderloins with Spiced Tomato Sauce (from Cooking Light, April 2006)

1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound chicken breast tenders, cut into (1-inch) pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups canned diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup white wine
8 ounces uncooked penne
1/4 cup (1 ounce) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl; rub over chicken.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 4 minutes, turning once. Remove from heat; set aside.

Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds or until garlic is soft. Add tomatoes and wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Add chicken, and simmer 5 minutes.

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Toss pasta with sauce in a large bowl. Sprinkle with cheese and basil.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups)

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  1. says

    I love that your mom blogs!

    For me, it was Jennie-O turkey loaf. UGH. My brother had it at a school Thanksgiving party and loved it. He was such a picky eater that my mom was so thriled to have something that he’d eat she made it all the time and I used to want to gag just looking at it.

    I think she and my dad probably did too, thinking back, but they were better sports than I!

    mariss last blog post..Half-Baked

  2. says

    Oh how I love the crying and wailing at the dinner table. It’s my theme song you see. mrChaos and I usually just start loudly and theatrically crying along with them. The only rule is no fake throwing up or gross comments. That makes mommy come unglued.

    Katies last blog post..Bread

  3. Elizabeth says

    that recipe sounds delicious! My Mom loved stuffed green peppers. She made them about twice a month. I would eat the hamburger/tomato/rice stuffing, and then choke down the cooked green pepper. I have never and will never make that dish myself!

  4. says

    Ha! You know what they say about paybacks! If it helps my youngest is mini me and while a good girl, I was a sassy girl with a smart reply to everything! :-)

    I’m pretty certain that the twins, my honey, and I will like(love) this but babygirl? It all depends what kinda mood she’s in, paybacks.

    ingrids last blog post..Snickerdoodle Blondies Peabody style

  5. says

    I like that you use ground fennel in the rub for the chicken. Such a nice flavor to it!

    I never gave my mom any hard time over her cooking. It may not have been the healthiest, but if you didn’t eat it you wouldn’t get anything else.

    Wish my kids understood that.

    Nates last blog post..Broiled Salmon Collar Recipe

  6. pat/Mom says

    I still love hamburger gravy and Dad still loves goulash. But tonight I think I will have tuna casserole with potato chips on top. And my vegetable will be lima beans…doesn’t that sound delicious? YUMMMM! I didn’t like scalloped tomatoes that my mom used to make, but now I like them. She also made something she called “City Chicken” which I loved. It was squares of pork on a skewer that was rolled in cracker crumbs and egg and then fried. It was delicious, but I have never been able to re-create it. I think the name came from the fact that they looked like chicken drumsticks.


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