Since Matt and I decided to stay in for Valentine's Day I still wanted to prepare a special dinner. He was just planning on having a protein shake, that sweet dear, but a special occasion calls for a special dinner, even if it didn't happen to be candlelit and two kids were running around our house screaming, fighting and giggling to their little hearts content.
I also thought since Matt and I have a love affair with Mexican food it would be appropriate to make a posh Mexican dinner if you will. I think the fact that I could also eat white queso dip out of an old, sweaty shoe had somewhat to do with the dinner selection, as well.
Because of my white queso obsession I have tried and tried to make my own which only ends in dip too soupy or too lumpy. Mine never even comes close to those served in restaurants, so I took a different approach and thought why not try to immulate the dip in a sauce; a pasta sauce.
So for the Valentine's Day dinner extravaganza [insert drum roll] I made Restaurant Style Salsa with tortilla chips and Chicken Fajita Pasta served in a Queso Sauce [insert oos and ahhs]!
Chicken Fajita Pasta with Queso Sauce
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced in 1-inch pieces (not exact science, you know what I mean)
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 red onion
1 clove garlic
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp cumin
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup heaving cream
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups shredded Monterrey jack cheese
1 cup hot pepper jack cheese
1 cup Parmesan
1 lb pasta of your choosing (I used whole grain spaghetti; I know whole grain but I'm pretending it will cancel out the cream and cheese)
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and add a tablespoon of butter. Add chicken that has been seasoned well with salt, pepper, and cumin. Saute until cooked through with a nice crust. Put chicken in a bowl and set aside. Add another tablespoon of butter and chopped garlic. Then add peppers and onion, that have been cleaned and roughly chopped. Saute till soft and caramelized. Add another tablespoon of butter (for good measure of course) and some more salt and pepper and cumin. Set vegetables aside in a bowl, as well. Add white wine, this will deglaze the pan (or help take up all the yummy, crusty, bits of goodness from sticking to the pan). Then here comes the good part (catch your breath), add the cream and all that cheese! Bring heat up to a boil, and whisk constantly until cheese has melted, reduce to a simmer and let the sauce thicken. Your mouth may start watering here, but try to resist tasting because you will burn off your taste buds (no that did not happen to me, ok, ok it did! I couldn't help myself). While the sauce is simmering start cooking your pasta. Whisk the sauce until at the right consistency for you, thick, but smooth and silky enough to be considered a sauce. Drain pasta and toss chicken, vegetables, sauce and pasta together till everything is soaking up that yummy sauce. Now serve, add more shredded cheese, and take a bite, you know you're going to have a panic attack if you don't try it soon. Now you can say prayer over dinner in peace.
I'm so emotional; it's not even that time of month! Now calm down here because this is where I burned my tongue.
Toss together and it's time to taste! Now you can say a prayer of thanks! Hallelujah! Amen!