Hello and welcome to Romance Recipes where I am happy to introduce you to a new author and a new recipe! Two of my favorite things! Today I am bringing you author, Andria Gaskins, and her recipe for Chicken Cavatappi along with an introduction to her contemporary romance, A Second Helping. Please join me in welcoming Andria and savor her recipe for Chicken Cavatappi as you read about her new book!
Makes 8 servings
1 (16-ounce) box cavatappi (or fusilli)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds chicken tenderloins
Coarse-ground black pepper.
1/2 cup chopped shallots
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
2 garlic clove, minced
5 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Marsala wine
3 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
3 tablespoons chopped chives
Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook to al dente, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Drain and return to the pot. Toss with 1 tablespoon butter and keep warm.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the chicken, in batches, in the skillet and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to a platter and set aside.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet. Add shallots and mushrooms and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sprinkle in the flour and cook 1 additional minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the Marsala wine, scraping up the small bits in the pan. Add the chicken stock, Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the chicken and juices from the platter, cook until the sauce is thickened and bubbling, about 10 minutes
Stir in the heavy cream and cook 3 additional minutes. Pour the sauce over the pasta, add the Parmesan cheese and chives, tossing to coat. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese.
Michelle Taylor knows what it’s like to be cheated on, and following the death of her best friend, she decided to change her life. She returned to her maiden name, sold her specialty food store and moved back to North Carolina with her two boys. A chance encounter at a local barbecue restaurant lands her the perfect contractor to revive an old farmhouse she purchased during her divorce. Not only is he qualified for the job, but he’s the first man in a long time to make her feel good about herself. But when her ex-husband moves to town, he brings a truckload of regret, attitude and drama onto the scene.
Last night had been one of the best nights of her life. It’d been a long time since she’d been so desired. So wanted. And so loved. Nothing seemed to matter to him but to satisfy her, a satisfaction that left her weakened and blissfully giddy.
“You hungry?” he asked, springing to his feet. He stood there. Naked.
“Starving,” she said.
He dashed to the kitchen, returned minutes later with leftover chicken cavatappi, veal piccata, a hunk of chocolate cake and a half full bottle of orange juice.
“Breakfast of champions,” he said, setting the tray on the bed.
Michelle sat up against the headboard with the sheet across her chest. She smiled at the vision of her magnificent husband in all his glory, presenting her with breakfast in bed.
“Here you go, darlin’” he said, passing her a fork. “Dig in.”
They ate from the plastic take-out containers.
“This tastes even better than it did last night.” She stuck her fork in the pasta, then the veal, finishing with a few bites of cake. “I love chocolate cake for breakfast.”
“I’d love to have you for breakfast,” he said, leaning in for a smooch. He finished off the cake, took a swig from the orange juice bottle and handed it to her.
She stared at him, then the bottle. “Are you serious?”
“What?” he said, with a mouthful of food. “You didn’t have a problem sharing fluids last night.”
Michelle punched him in the arm.
“Ow! You don’t have to be so violent.”
“And you don’t have to be so nasty.”
“You know you like it,” he said, moving in for another kiss.
Michelle blocked his face with her hand. “Down, boy. I’m not finished eating.”
Damien pouted, dug his fork into the pasta. “Well, then tell me about your tattoo. When did you get it?”
“A year-and-a-half ago. For Lashaun’s birthday.”
“You got a tattoo for someone else’s birthday?”
“Believe me, it wasn’t my idea. She turned forty and getting a tattoo was on her bucket list. I didn’t want one. I never had any interest in tattoos.”
“Not your thing, huh?”
“Not really…. Except on a really hot contractor who brings me breakfast in bed.” She kissed him and continued. “Lashaun made me feel guilty by pulling the best-friend-with-cancer card. We had a few drinks and walked to this tattoo salon and spa a few blocks from my townhouse. We—”
“Wait,” Damien interrupted with a perplexed expression on his face. “You got a tattoo at a salon?”
He chuckled. “You women have it good. I got these in the filthy kitchen of a local artist when I was stationed in Hawaii. And, I’m pretty sure I saw him clean his needles with a dirty toothbrush.”
Damien shrugged. “I was drunk too.”
“Piedmont Body Art catered to an upscale crowd living on the edge. It was a beautiful place, and they did great work. Lashaun thought it would be special if we chose each other’s tattoo. I picked a dove for her because it symbolized love, grace and hope. I was thoughtful with my selection, even though I was buzzed. She, on the other hand, went for the funny. I didn’t realize what it was until the next day when I went to take a shower and saw the Tasmanian Devil growling above my ass in the mirror. Ooh, I was so mad at her—I wanted to choke her!”
“I like it. It’s cute.” He finished off the pasta and set the tray at the foot of the bed. “What did you say to Lashaun?”
“Since she’d slept over, I woke her up and showed her my ass. Of course she laughed once she remembered the night before. Then she made me cry.”
The memory clutched at Michelle’s throat. She sighed to keep from crying. “Lashaun said I picked the dove for her, so she could enjoy it while she was still alive, but she’d picked the Tasmanian Devil, because she wanted me to have a permanent memory of her that would always make me laugh once she was gone.”
“Wow… That’s… um… That’s really nice.”
“Yes, it was.” Michelle dabbed her eyes with the sheet and chuckled. “But, I still wanted to punch her in the face for having a damn cartoon put on my ass.”
“Can I see it again?” Damien asked, picking at the sheet across her chest.
“You’re the first man that’s seen it.”
“And I’m gonna be the last.”
“Yes, you are,” Michelle said, with a smooch to his cheek. “I’m going to take a shower. I have to pick up the boys soon.”
“Sorry I can’t go with you…. But I can join you in the shower. I can wash your back if you want me to.”
“No thanks. I can manage.”
“I promise to keep my hands to myself.”
Michelle glanced down at his body. “What about him?”
“Scout’s honor,” he said, holding up the three-finger Boy Scout sign. “I’ll keep him to myself, too.”
He didn’t. But it was a broken promise she didn’t mind.
On sale for $2.99 until February 14, 2016. Regular price $4.99
Buy the Book:
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1MX3RUp
Signed copies of A Second Helping available at http://bit.ly/1lFUbXM
5-Stars from Amazon Customer
I really liked this book, it is real and engaging. I loved the relationship between Damien and Michelle. They have a genuine love that most people long for. I almost wish that I lived next to there farm since I am a country girl. Also, check out the recipes in the back of the book. I thought that it was cool that the author included them since we hear about what they eat and now we can make those same dishes. Way to go, I look forward to this author’s next book.
4-Stars from K Cowley
A Second Helping was a fun read giving insight to a second chance at love. I could smell the delicious dishes and desserts Andria describes so realistically. Make a cup of tea and curl up in your favorite chair and enjoy!
5-Stars from Amazon Customers
I enjoyed every part of this book. Michelle was a great protagonist. I wish I had her quick wit and good heart. Damien was a good match for her, and I like how they moved past the problems in their lives that they encountered (and sometimes created). I look forward to reading more of Ms. Gaskins’ work.
Andria Gaskins is a graduate of Wake Forest University and Life University School of Chiropractic. After a few years as a chiropractor, she decided to leave her practice to stay home full-time with her children. Andria is a prize-winning home cook, and has competed in contests for Food Network, Cooking Channel, Nordic Ware, Beringer Wine and Martha White. Her cooking experiences prompted her to write a cookbook that morphed into a novel, which is inspired by true love and great food. Andria is currently working on her second novel and cookbook. She lives in North Carolina with her handsome husband and their two aspiring NBA All-Stars.
Connect with Andria:
Thank you for joining us for another Romance Recipes! I hope you’ll stop by next week to meet another author, try a new recipe and pick up a new book!