Thursday, October 17, 2013

Grab Your Popcorn: Pasta with Portabellos and Broccoli

As I type this, I'm watching Toy Story - of Terror.  I can't help it.  I'm a sucker for Christmas movies too, but I love the Halloween specials.  Mostly because they're usually cartoons you know and love, with a fun Halloween twist.  Like Toy Story.  Or the Smurfs.

We have a Halloween tradition of carving pumpkins while watching scary movies.  For the past two years, we've done this after Thatbaby goes to bed, or while he's napping.  This year we're really excited that he'll be able to join us - if he has the attention span for a movie.  We haven't experimented with that yet.

With Thatbaby in mind, we've decided to tone down the scary for something fun and kid-friendly.  So I've been going over my favorite Halloween type movies to figure out what we should watch.  Which is how it came on my radar that Thatboy hasn't yet seen Hocus Pocus.  So we have our Halloween movie picked.    And, in the spirit of my Halloween posts, here are my top 10 Halloween movies!

1)  Nightmare Before Christmas - This is actually one of my favorite Christmas movies true.  I just love this movie period.  It's JUST scary enough.

2) Corpse Bride - Comes in a definite second to Nightmare, but is just as Tim Burton perfect.  I'm actually dying to see Frankenweenie too - I'm sure it'll end up on this list eventually, I just haven't seen it yet!

3) Hocus Pocus - It's Halloween!  It's Witches!  It's a young Thora Birch!

4) The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Not the Johnny Depp version, but the Disney one.  The cartoon.  The one that will have you buh-buh-buh-booing over Ichabod, Ichabod Crane.

5) It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown! -  Probably the original Halloween "special" featuring cartoon characters you know and love.  Besides, don't you love the idea of a pumpkin coming and bringing gifts?

6) Beetlejuice -  Fun scary movies are some of my favorite, and this is the best of the bunch.  Because if you have to be dead, you might as well do it with panache.

7) Rocky Horror Picture Show - I remember watching this show with my dad.  It has just about everything.  A monster, aliens, singing AND dancing.  So much better than the traditional Frankenstein.

8) Gremlins - I feel like this is one of those "You know you're a child of the 80s when...." kind of movies.  Seriously, Gremlins is such an integral part of my childhood.  Don't get them wet, don't feed them after midnight, and don't expose them to bright lights.

9) Ghostbusters - Another one of my classic 80s childhood movies.  Sure there are sequels, but none are as good as the original, with the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, the Keymaster and the Gatekeeper.

10) Little Shop of Horrors - Another one of those funny, scary, movie musicals.  It has a monster, an alien, singing AND dancing!

Before I got into a television show about toys being in terror, I treated my family to a very non-terrifying meal.  A special request of Thatbaby for "pasta" which had him picking out pieces while saying "yum broccoli!"  (Seriously, whose kid is this?)  After dinner, there was dancing and singing.  No monsters, no aliens. Just good, old fashioned boogie-ing down.  But it's still early in the month, there's hope for some creepiness ahead.

Pasta with Portabellos and Broccoli
1 egg white
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup panko
1/2 lb chicken tenders
8 oz pasta
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour 
1 cup milk
1/2 cup mascarpone
1/4 cup parmesan
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 broccoli crown, chopped
8 oz portabello mushrooms, sliced

  1. Preheat oven to 425.  Place the egg white and panko in two separate shallow bowls.
  2. Dip the tenders in the egg white and then roll in the panko.
  3. Bake for 13-14 minutes.
  4. While chicken in baking, make pasta according to directions on the box.
  5. While pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a skillet.
  6. Add the flour, whisking until smooth.  Cook for 1 more minute, until a nice paste forms.
  7. Slowly add the milk, whisking to combine.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower heat and cook until thick and bubbly. 
  8. Remove from the heat and stir in the mascarpone and parmesan, stirring until the mascarpone is melted in the sauce.
  9. Remove the sauce from the pan and heat the oil in the skillet.
  10. Add the broccoli and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are browned, about 10 minutes.
  11. Combine the broccoli and mushrooms with the cooked pasta.  Stir in the sauce.
  12. Divide between bowls.  Slice the cooked chicken and place on top of the pasta.  Serve!


  1. You can't go wrong with pasta!

  2. The pasta dish is pure comfort food. I can totally enjoy this-
    Halloween is fun and that baby is really going to enjoy it this year.


  3. I could watch the nightmare before christmas ever and anon.

  4. I loved Hocus Pocus growing up and I had completely forgotten about it until now! Haha! I need to rent that (or better yet...find it on netflix!) And this pasta looks like it needs to happen too!

  5. Very comforting and creamy dish!!!!!