Eating with Endo: chicken and broccoli pasta with sun-dried tomato cream sauce

4:27 PM

I'm going to start off this blog post with a disclaimer. Upon skimming through a post I made a few days ago, one reader thought that I was advocating substituting an anti-inflammatory diet in place of treatment and medication. In response to that, I said, "Wow, noooo way am I doing that." I was actually sort of baffled that anyone would think that, but after re-reading that post, I could see how someone may interpret what I said that way. So I apologize for any confusion, and I've updated the post accordingly.

Absolutely do not use this diet in place of medication. I personally am taking continuous birth control as a way to slow/stop endometriosis production. This diet won't stop endo. What I believe it will do is help manage the symptoms you might feel as a result of endo (upset stomach, indigestion, general pain and discomfort, etc.)

So again, sorry for any confusion. I'm not advocating for foregoing treatment and medication. If there's one thing I firmly believe in, it's the power of modern medicine and science. So please don't stop taking your medication, and please don't use a blog written by a 24-year-old with a BA in political science in place of real-life doctor advice.

Anyway, on with the food! (Note: I don't consider this recipe anti-inflammatory, due to how I felt afterward, but it is delicious.)

So Andrew's anxiety over having me in "his" kitchen has slowly been building, and I think he was about to have a panic attack while I was making this dish. I was cooking chicken (on my own and unsupervised), chopping vegetables with his fancy knives and cutting board, and making a lot of noise. (That last thing apparently runs in my family. My mom can't seem to cook without banging pots and pans around... Also, hi Mom!)

But despite my husband's apparent lack of confidence in my cooking abilities, I persevered, and gosh darnit, this recipe was good! However, as I noted above, it's probably not anti-inflammatory. But it's not too harsh, and it's quite delicious.

I used flash this time. Ooooh... ahhhh...
Chicken and Broccoli Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

Serves 4

3 large garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 small jar (3-4 oz) sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • 1 lb chicken breasts, sliced
  • salt
  • paprika (just a little bit)
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz penne pasta 
  • 1/2 pound broccoli florets
  • 1 tablespoon basil (if using dry basil), if using fresh basil you can add more
  • 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (at least, use more to taste)
  • 1/2 cup reserved cooked pasta water (or more)
  • salt, to taste

  1. In a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil reserved from the sun-dried tomatoes jar. Add garlic and sun-dried tomatoes (drained from oil) and saute for 1 minute until garlic is fragrant. Remove sun-dried tomatoes from the pan, leaving the oil, and add sliced chicken breasts (generously salted on both sides and lightly covered in paprika, for color) and cook on high heat for 1 minute on each side. Remove from heat.
  2. Cook pasta according to package instructions. When pasta is about half done, add the broccoli florets. Continue cooking both pasta and broccoli for about 5 more minutes, until pasta is al dente. Reserve some cooked pasta water. Drain and rinse the pasta with cold water (to stop cooking).
  3. Slice sun-dried tomatoes into smaller bits and add them back to the skillet with chicken. Add half and half and cheese to the skillet, too, and bring to a gentle boil. Immediately reduce to simmer and cook, constantly stirring, until all cheese melts and creamy sauce forms. If the sauce is too thick - don't worry - you'll be adding some cooked pasta water soon. Add cooked pasta and broccoli to the skillet with the creamy sauce, and stir to combine. Add 1 tablespoon of basil, at least 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and stir to combine.
  4. Add about 1/2 cup reserved cooked pasta water because the creamy sauce will be too thick (do not add all water at once - you might need less or more of it). This will water down the thickness of the cheese sauce and make it creamier. Immediately, season the pasta with salt, more basil, and more red pepper flakes, to taste, if needed. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes for flavors to combine.
  5. Note: Make sure to salt the dish just enough to bring out of the flavors of basil and sun-dried tomatoes.

Afterward, I felt okay, but honestly, not the best. I had some pain in my stomach, and it could have been from a couple of different sources. Following my ER visit, I had a lot of trouble eating tomatoes and anything acidic, so it might have been that. I've also heard a lot about how gluten-free foods might help women with endo, so I could have gone for gluten-free pasta. Then again, it could have been the spices. I like when my food has a little bit of a kick to it, so I may have gone overboard on the red pepper flakes.

But overall, I didn't feel terrible. Andrew liked it, too, even though he confessed that he'd rather do most of our cooking... In our home, whoever doesn't cook has to wash dishes, and he didn't seem to enjoy that part as much as I do. So while I may not cook every night, I will definitely still be working in the kitchen. I actually, for once in my life, enjoy making food, and I feel a sort of purpose behind what I'm doing.

If you have any recipe suggestions, send them my way! I'd love to hear from you.

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    i think you may find the post above interesting in relation to your possible reaction with tomatoes and red pepper flakes. i know personally that eating those or any other nightshades is a good way to trigger an endo flare. wish you well, endosister!

    1. Oh, thank you so much! I really appreciate the link! Figuring out food has been a two-year struggle for me so any input is always welcome. Keep up the good fight, endosister!

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