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Pampered Chef: Bland to Yuck.... Grilled Chicken Penne al Fresco

  1. Debbie.A.NOC

    Debbie.A.NOC Gold Member

    Made the Grilled Chicken Penne al Fresco last night for my family & got some bad reviews. (Heck I didn't like it at all) :yuck:

    Has anyone else made this? Any ideas how to spice it up & give it some flavor or it suppose to taste like cardboard/pasty/pasta stuff?
    May 1, 2009
  2. pamperedlinda

    pamperedlinda Legend Member Gold Member

    Oh NO!!!! I have made this recipe at several shows and at home and it has been a hit every time. I took a tip from Karlene and added either Greek Seasoning or Italian Seasoning when I make it. I have also added a cup full of sliced mushrooms to add even more flavor. And I always triple (at least) the parmesan cheese.
  3. pckellyd

    pckellyd Member Gold Member

    I'm actually really surprised, we love it in my house. Did you use enough garlic? salt and pepper? the right amount of liquid? I don't use the wine, I just use 3 3/4 cups of chicken broth total. When I make it it isn't pasty at all, the noodles cook perfectly. I do usually sprinkle my chicken breasts w/ italian seasoning, and cook them in the DCB. dunno if that gives more flavor...
    Last edited: May 1, 2009
    May 1, 2009
  4. Debbie.A.NOC

    Debbie.A.NOC Gold Member

    Thanks for the tips!! I followed the recepie exactly. I'll try it again adding the seasoning, mushrooms & extra parmesan. When do you add the mushrooms?
    May 1, 2009
  5. AnnieBee

    AnnieBee Veteran Member Gold Member

    I also LOVE this recipe (more than I expected to!), as did my DH. Definately make sure there is plenty of garlic, use the wine, if your broth is low sodium, check if it needs more salt. Oh, and if you used kraft parmesan, try it with real block parmesan. The flavour is so much better (and stronger), it makes a huge difference. It is more expensive, but you use less to get a great flavour.
    May 1, 2009
  6. PamperChefCarol

    PamperChefCarol Veteran Member

    Whatever you do, do not use whole wheat pasta. Makes it really gummy and yucky.
  7. pcsharon1

    pcsharon1 Veteran Member Gold Member

    We love this and have actually made it using the whole wheat pasta and it wasn't a problem at all. I would think if it gets gummy it's either a lack of liquid or it's being cooked too long.
    May 1, 2009
  8. kreaser

    kreaser Advanced Member Gold Member

    Hey thanks Linda for the "recognition"...LOL
    I love love love this recipe...I tweaked mine by not using the basil but instead use 1 TBSP of the Italian seasoning after the pasta is cooked...Use fresh parm! Make sure your chicken is seasoned some!! I use the 1 lb. box of pasta (about 3 3/4 cups with 4 total cups of broth...perfect every time...I just sold 4 bakers the other nite making this...My show schedule has been insane...I'm attributing it to the baker...I have 14 shows for May and 5 book shows and 2 fundraisers....whoohoooo
    May 1, 2009
  9. DebbieJ

    DebbieJ Legend Member

    I used whole wheat and didn't have any problems.

    For more flavor, I cook the chicken in the grill pan and season with the Sun Dried Tomato Herb Oil Dipping Seasoning.

    At my last show, the guests did add more salt and pepper when it was served--I didn't measure when I added it so I guess it needed more.
    May 1, 2009
  10. etteluap70PC

    etteluap70PC Legacy Member Gold Member

    We love this too and also season the chicken when cooking it in either the grill pan or 12" skillet. Also I ad a ton more parmesan! Extra basil too!
  11. baychef

    baychef Senior Member Silver Member

    Yes, more garlic, basil and the wine makes a difference. Sometimes I think the cherry tomato skin is too "skin-ie" and once I used diced tomatoes and it was smoother.

    We love it at our house and when I made it at a party last week, they too loved it. One other thought...did you use the little penne the Mezze Penne? I am not much of a person for hot and spicy so maybe this is why I liked it. And I love the combination of fresh tomato, basil, parmesan and pasta.
    May 1, 2009
  12. quiverfull7

    quiverfull7 Legacy Member Gold Member

    We love it just as the recipe says too... and I only use the broth.. no wine. I have a host who did it with fresh spinach instead of basil and they loved it.
    May 1, 2009
  13. pamperedlinda

    pamperedlinda Legend Member Gold Member

    We used just broth last night too - I've made it both ways and personally, I think the wine does add another layer of flavor. We were also talking about adding spinach as another variety - I bet it would be good.
  14. smilesarepriceless

    smilesarepriceless Advanced Member Gold Member

    i've done this for 2 shows, and both times, personally found it to be nothing spactacular. I've made it exactly as the recipe calls, but really..It looks super boring, and taste-wise, not all that impressed.
  15. mscharf

    mscharf Advanced Member

    WOW, I am shocked. I have made this at a couple shows and have always sold at least 2 DCB's. My only difference is I just used broth, no wine, and I always add MORE cheese. I have gotten so many ohh's and ahh's
    May 8, 2009
  16. beepampered

    beepampered Veteran Member

    Thanks for the tips. The few shows I have done it at have had several guests say "it's missing something." So, I'm going to add the Italian seasoning, more salt and more cheese at my show tomorrow....
    Jun 12, 2009
  17. ChefBeckyD

    ChefBeckyD Legend Member Gold Member

    I thought this recipe was very bland and boring too - glad I'm not the only one! :D DS & DH didn't care for it either. It didn't taste bad...it just didn't taste. Plus, we like sauce on our pasta, and this isn't it. I ended up tossing the leftovers.

    I think that if you have to doctor it up as much as people have posted to make it taste good, than it's not a very good recipe to begin with.
    Jun 12, 2009
  18. AnnieBee

    AnnieBee Veteran Member Gold Member

    I still stand by this recipe as-is!! I always use the wine (gives a wonderful flavour), and I would just say that you do need a good quality parmesan to get that flavour (ie not from a green can!). I do NOT use the whole box of penne, I think that makes it too dry. I do add an extra 1/2 cup of the pasta though. I really was pleasantly surprised by how much flavour this recipe has.

    I agree that it is not a really "saucy" recipe, so if that is your preference it may not be for you.
    Jun 12, 2009
  19. caraighan

    caraighan Member Gold Member

    I've made it once and followed the recipe exactly. I thought it was bland and boring too.
    Jun 13, 2009
  20. I made it once without the chicken and used veggie broth. Then I made it with the chicken and it was very blah. I think I'll continue to make it without the chicken in the future.:chef:
    Jul 15, 2009
  21. shelly.nurse

    shelly.nurse Member

    I've made it twice. I tasted it at my recruiter's house with just the chicken broth and it was okay, pretty bland, it really needed some acid to brighten the flavors. When I made it, I used the wine, added dried basil in with the dry pasta and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. The flavor was much better, and was actually good. I used Ronzoni SmartTaste pasta (white pasta with the same nutritional values as whole wheat). My picky daughters even liked it and suggested it again when making the next 2 week menu!!

    If you don't want the wine, how about some lemon juice at the end to brighten the flavors some. Oh, and I definately agree that you should use fresh parm, not the canned stuff, for extra flavor!

    Last time I made it, I also had some leftover grilled veggies (zucchini, vidalia onion, mushrooms, squash) that I stirred in with the grilled chicken (that I had grilled the previous night on our outdoor grill).
    Jul 16, 2009
  22. jackieblue

    jackieblue Member

    Wow, we really like it too. It was really good when we used Greek Seasoning to grill the chicken breasts. We also use the wine. Also, I agree with everyone who has said that ingredients (like the basil and parm) are SO much better fresh.

    I can't cook it at the first stage as long as the recipe says b/c the tomatoes cook faster in my microwave. Are you cooking it just until they really all start bursting?

    Bummer, hope it turns out better for you. :(
    Jul 16, 2009
  23. Beckycooks

    Beckycooks Novice Member

    Being from the South, we like a little kick to our food. I usually add more seasoning and some red pepper flakes to the PC recipes. :thumbup:
    Jul 16, 2009
  24. Fluffy215

    Fluffy215 Member Gold Member

    I make this all the time. Just about every party, and even pot lucks. It is always a huge hit and I have sold several DCB because of it :) Definitely will have to be my recipe of choice to book up parties whenever stoneware the special ;)
    Jul 16, 2009
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