PENNE PASTA WITH BITE-SIZED CHICKEN & GREEN PEAS SEASONED BY BASIL – MINCED GARLIC – LEMON SLICES IN BROTH AND TOPPED WITH PARMESAN / CREAMY EGGPLANT DIP WITH MINCED GARLIC & BAKED ONION

–4 chicken tenderloins or breast strips

–penne pasta

–green peas

–basil (fresh if possible)

–minced garlic (bottled)

–lemon slices (fresh)

–chicken broth (non-fat, low sodium)

–Parmesan cheese (shredded)

–salt and pepper

–olive oil

–eggplant (large)

–onion (1, medium)

–yogurt (non-fat, plain)

–crackers (for dip)

1 – Wash and puncture the eggplant all around with a fork.  Microwave on high for 5 minutes; then turn over and microwave for 5 minutes more.  Cool in the refrigerator.  Peel and cut an onion into eight pieces.  Place in a covered baking dish with a very little water.  Season with salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Microwave on high for 10 minutes.  Let cool.

2 – When eggplant has cooled, cut off the stalk, and then cut the eggplant lengthwise.  Rake out the pulp onto a cutting board.  Cut the eggplant two ways.  Add to a mixing bowl.  Season with salt, pepper, minced garlic, and olive oil.  Add the baked onion to the mixing bowl.  Add 1 tablespoon of yogurt.  Stir very well.  Refrigerate until time for dinner.

3 – Place 1 cup of penne pasta in an uncovered baking dish with water to cover.  Season with olive oil.  Microwave on high for 6 minutes; then microwave for 5 minutes more on 50 percent power.  When finished, keep covered to preserve warmth.

4 – Place the chicken in a covered baking dish with a little chicken broth.  Season with salt, pepper, and olive oil.With a very sharp knife, cut a fresh lemon into slices.  Place the slices atop the chicken.  Microwave on high for 5 and one-half minutes.

5 – Place one-half cup of green peas in a covered baking dish with a little chicken broth.  Season with salt, pepper, minced garlic, and olive oil.  Microwave on high for 4 minutes.

6 – Drain the pasta and add to the green peas.  Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, and add to the green peas.  Stir gently.  Sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese.

7 – Serve the eggplant dip with crackers as an appetizer.  Then serve the chicken pasta hot.

–eggplant dip adapted from Minimalist Baker blog; chicken pasta adapted from Edward Giobbi’s Italian Family Cooking.

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