What a crazy weekend for weather! On Sunday it snowed for most of the day and for me made me feel like Mother Nature was playing an April fools joke on us. It was beautiful weather a few days earlier, and then in the voice of the water buffalo who is the cheif of Police from Zootopia (a Disney movie) Mother Nature says "Just Kidding". But yesterday almost all of the snow was gone, except in very shady places, and it was beautiful out again! So I decided it was time to BBQ my chicken for super.
How many of you prefer to BBQ your meat for dishes like pasta and salads? I know I sure do, it just gives it a nicer taste, as long as you don't burn it! Yesterday I was in a bit of a predicament, I couldn't find our BBQ lighter and only had little matches. I was on the phone with my mom and she was telling me not to blow myself up. So I did the whole light the match and toss and cover myself thing. Guess what! Success, I didn't blow myself up and I was able to cook the chicken perfectly.
When the weather turns nicer out I like to BBQ most of our food, it keeps the house a bit cooler in the summer, seeing as we don't have air conditioning and it can be a million degrees in our house. Plus the smell is just amazing when you BBQ, I am sure if we lived in the city we would drive our neighbors nuts, the only neighbors we have are my in laws across the dirt road and my husbands Grandparents across the dirt road the other direction. Maybe we drive the deer, bears, elk, moose, cougars and cows nuts.
I love pasta, it is super easy to whip up last minute and can be super versatile. I like to make it fancy with some kind of a nice sauce and loaded with veggies and other wonderful things. Alfredo sauce is such a yummy sauce but is often way too thick and is high in fat and calories. I lighten up mine by using 2% milk and cutting back the butter, I add about 2 tablespoon of low fat cream cheese and BAM it makes a great Alfredo sauce.
So if you are looking for a great meal that takes 30 minutes to make, here is good one for you.
Cajun Chicken Alfredo Pasta
1 500 gram bag of Penne noodles
2 large chicken breasts, cut in half width wise to make 4 pieces
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 batch of Alfredo sauce (recipe further down)
1 cup of fresh parsley
3 small tomatoes, or 3 Roma tomatoes
2/3 cup of real bacon bits
1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
One hour before making the pasta rub the chicken pieces with the olive oil and then sprinkle the Cajun spice all over the chicken, flip over and sprinkle on the back as well. Place in a plastic Ziploc bag and place in the fridge.
When it is time to make your pasta, place a large pot of water with 3 tablespoons of salt on the stove. Turn the heat to medium high and when the water boils cook the pasta till it is al dente, so it is firm to the bite but not too soft and not crunchy. Drain and then place back into the pot.
At the same time you are cooking the pasta cook your chicken on the BBQ until they are no longer pink inside and have a nice dark sear line from the grates on the BBQ. It took me about 6 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the BBQ and let sit for 5 minutes, then cut into strips.
Cook your Alfredo sauce during this time as well. Cut up the tomatoes into small dices, dice up the fresh parsley and set aside.
When it is time to assemble, pour the Alfredo sauce on top of the noodles in the pot and stir until all the noodles are coated with the sauce. Place the noodles covered in the sauce in a large bowl. sprinkle the diced tomatoes, parsley and bacon on top. sprinkle with most of the Parmesan cheese, place the chicken strips on top and then sprinkle with a bit more cheese. I topped it with a few slices of fresh Parmesan, a couple dices of tomato and a few pieces of parsley.
Place on the table and enjoy as a family!
Lightened up Alfredo Sauce:
3 cups of 2% milk
2 tablespoons of salted butter
3 cloves of garlic minced
2 cups of freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
2 Tablespoons of low fat cream cheese
salt and pepper to taste
In a medium sized sauce pan melt the butter until bubbling. Add the minced garlic and cook while stirring for 2 minutes.
Slowly pour in the milk while whisking.
Bring the milk to a simmer, then add the cheeses and pepper. With a whisk gently whisk the sauce together to allow the cheeses to melt into the sauce. You want to cook the sauce on a medium low heat so you do not burn the sauce.
Cook for 5 minutes until the sauce is hot and all the cheese is melted and has thickened a bit. Once done use right away with your pasta.
I always make way too much, but I am lucky to have people who I can share it with. This was such a super tasty pasta, I love the fresh parsley and tomatoes on it. I like my chicken a bit spicier but my kids not so much, so I didn't add as much as I normally do. If you want your chicken spicier then add as much seasoning that you want, if you do cook it in your house in a frying pan, make sure to open all your windows and turn the vent on. Trust me you will cause your whole house full of people to cough and basically be peppered sprayed haha.
I am looking forward to eating a bit for my lunch today, it definitely hit the spot on the taste buds!
Happy Cooking and eating!
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