Today, I officially graduate from Ashland University with my MFA in Creative Writing. I feel as if I am here by the Christmas tree in my living room, sipping coffee out of my MFA mug, while simultaneously I am strutting across a stage 600 miles directly north of here. But, this summer, my husband and our parents all drove up to Ohio to see me get my certificate, which gave me plenty pomp and circumstance so that this winter, we could sit in the green, above-freezing South Carolina climate and celebrate with a little tradition instead–Christmas Fettucini.
I had never considered fettucini to be a festive dish until I watched the film “The Holiday.” I won’t spoil the plot, but in one scene, the cure for heartache is not ice cream, but instead fettucini. It makes perfect sense. This year, Ben and I let my mom and dad join the tradition we’ve had since the first Christmas we were dating–Christmas Fettucini and “The Holiday.” We all had a delicious time. We laughed at our miniature schnauzer Winston snoring through the movie, at my dad trying out an English accent, and at my mom wanting to know about Cameron Diaz’s real love life. My recipe for the fettucini is below, but all it really took was cheap pasta, a movie we already owned, and the willingness to abandon all other schedules to be together*.
- 1 box fettucini pasta
- 4 chicken breasts, cubed
- 1 jar Alfredo sauce
- 1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
- 1+ cup of milk (more if needed for preferred consistency)
- 1 bag frozen broccoli
- 1 bag frozen mushrooms
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
- olive oil/cooking spray
- salt, pepper, red pepper, basil, oregano, garlic
“Brown” the chicken in olive oil on medium heat (except it should get white, not brown!). Salt and pepper the cooked chicken. Boil broccoli and mushrooms as directed on bag. Toss in with chicken. Boil pasta. Add Alfredo sauce, mushroom soup, and milk to chicken and veggies. Drain pasta and toss in a little olive oil (to keep from sticking). Add spices to chicken, veggies, and sauce. Bring sauce to boil then reduce heat to low and simmer while putting some garlic bread in the oven and tossing a salad, of course. Add tomatoes to sauce (I do this last because I don’t like the tomato juice to mix in with my sauce). Serve up. Top with parmesan. Don’t forget the bread in the oven!
*Excellent with cheap chardonnay . . . or bourbon.