Chicken and Rigatoni

We’re both down twenty pounds!

This, boys and girls, is pretty heartening – it means all of this work is actually paying off! We feel better. We have more energy. Everyday tasks are easier to do. It’s a flippin’ miracle.

This proves me wrong about eating with impunity as long as the food, itself, is good. I did it for years – and slowly gained weight while my activity levels decreased. Eating good food is of major importance – but the volume of food has to be realistic. We were eating way too much.

I’ve always joked that at any given moment, the neighborhood could drop by for dinner. That has changed. I’m actually starting to learn how to cook smaller portions. It’s not as easy as it sounds for someone who is more intuitive than recipe-follower. But I’m getting there.

One of my greatest achievements is I’m actually weighing pasta! 2 ounces per serving. It’s remarkable how much 2 ounces of pasta actually is – especially when we have always just cooked half a pound for the two of us – and eaten it! I just shake my head at the excess…

Tonight’s pasta dish was a throw-together that ended up taking forever. I thought I’d cook the pasta right in the skillet with the veggies, broth, mushroom liquid, and Marsala. Sadly – for me – I picked the wrong pasta. I chose a mini rigatoni that on a good day takes close to 20 minutes to cook. Put it is a skillet with other stuff and it takes a lot longer. A lot longer. It was easily 35 minutes, although it came out perfect and totally full of flavor!

Pasta with Mushrooms and Chicken

  • 8 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 oz assorted dried mushrooms, reconstituted in 2 cups boiling water
  • 6 oz frozen spinach
  • 4 oz chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 cup dry Marsala
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups mushroom soaking liquid
  • 4 oz pasta
  • Italian seasoning
  • salt & pepper

Brown chicken in skillet and set aside. In same skillet, sauté mushrooms and onions until onion is translucent and mushrooms give off their liquid. Add garlic and reconstituted mushrooms – chopped, if large.

Add Marsala and cook a moment. Stir in mushroom liquid and bring to a boil. Add pasta and a cup of chicken stock. Cover and cook about 10 minutes, stirring at least once.

Stir in reserved chicken, spinach, and add more broth, as necessary to continue cooking pasta. Add seasonings

Recover and reduce heat. Simmer until pasta is cooked – up to another 15 minutes depending on style of pasta.

If sauce seems too thin, uncover and boil to reduce – or – add a tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with a bit of water.

Really good, really rich, and really easy! My favorite kind of meal.

On another note, we’re coming to the end of the hot peppers. I still have a batch to cook up and there’s easily one more basket-full in the garden, but Victor took the reddest of the reds and dried them last night.


200°F in the oven for several hours and then turn it off and leave them overnight.

I put them into the food processor this morning and made some fresh pepper flakes!


These guys are H.O.T. I almost choked breathing in the dust from the processor.

I love it!

A happy end to Week Ten and an optimistic start to Week Eleven.

Life is good.