I LOVE any recipe that calls for garlic (and I’m sure many who have crossed my path at one time or another have come to a quick realization of that fact!) Not only is garlic a delicious addition to many recipes, it is good for you! Garlic contains vitamins C and B6, manganese, selenium and other antioxidants. Recent evidence-based research also suggests garlic may be effective against high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, cholesterol, colds and some cancers.
As we all know, however, along with the benefits of garlic, comes a lingering odor some people find offensive. That’s because when minced or crushed garlic is ingested, it releases volatile sulfur compounds that can offend those with a sensitive sense of smell. The potent compounds are absorbed into the bloodstream and then become vaporized while going through the lungs. Furthermore, the garlic aroma is not limited to your breath; it is also excreted through your pores and is a lingering “fragrance” that can last for twenty-four hours or more after consumption. And if you eat it on a regular basis, you’ll like earn a reputation and notice some people purposefully dodging you because of the offensive fragrance that consistently emanates from you. Still, it’s SO worth it! And this recipe, in particular!
Chicken & Bacon Pasta in Garlic Cream Sauce
6 bacon strips, cooked, drained, and crumbled
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 14.5 oz. diced tomatoes (drained)
7 oz. diced tomatoes with green chiles
3 cups of fresh spinach, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1-1/3 cups Half & Half
1-1/3 cups Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 tsp. salt
10 oz. penne rigate
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, for serving
In a small skillet, fry the bacon, drain, and crumble. Set aside on a paper towel,
In a separate, large skillet, heat olive oil on high heat until hot. Keeping the burner at high heat, add chicken breasts, sprinkle with paprika and italian seasoning, and cook on one side for 1 minute. Flip the chicken over and cook on the other side for 1 minute. Remove chicken and slice into thin strips. Reduce the heat to medium and place back into the pan for several minutes until no longer pink in the center. Remove 2/3 of the chicken from the pan and keep warm.
Add tomatoes, spinach, garlic, and half of the bacon and mix together. Add half & half and bring to a boil. After the half & half starts boiling, add grated Parmesan and immediately reduce to simmer and stir for 1-2 minutes (no more than 2 minutes) until the cheese melts and the sauce is creamy. Then immediately remove from heat.
Add the salt, stir in the pasta, the remaining bacon and strips of chicken. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and serve with a fresh, green salad! Wonderfully delicious!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
In a similar way, the reactions received by others to a consistent consumption of garlic is a good analogy for what we, as followers of Jesus Christ, will experience when we continually spend time in His presence, read His Word, worship, honor and live for Him. As we daily “taste and see that the Lord is good”, we will be filled with His presence and have the unmistakable “scent” of Christ. 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 says “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.“ The Message Bible quotes that verse this way: “In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma rich with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse.”
I LOVE Jesus! He is the Giver of Life and He is so very Good! I pray I am consistently emanating the exquisite fragrance of Jesus to everyone I encounter … and that the aroma is pleasing to you. If it isn’t, it can be! Taste and see, my friends!