Friday, March 2, 2012

Light cajun chicken pasta

I love me some pasta. And with the working out I've been doing lately, I'm a carb monster.  Not good. So I figured if this lets me kill some craving while not being totally decadent, then I better give it a shot.  I was not disappointed. I ate leftovers yesterday for lunch to lead me up to my plyo workout and am eating leftovers today for lunch to lead me up to my kickboxing workout (it's cardio week at Kosama)...and I feel a lot better in class, can do so much more work, and just have more energy when I have some carbs in me before my evening session.

Whether you have a workout to get ready for, or you're just a pasta monster like me, you will be impressed with this lower calorie version of cajun chicken pasta.  Get to it!

8 oz uncooked wheat linguine
1 lb chicken breasts
1-2 t cajun seasoning (or to a lot more if you're me)
1 T olive oil
1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion (I didn't have red, so I used a while white onion)
1 can mushrooms, drained
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 cup fat free low sodium chicken broth
crushed red pepper to taste (you know what this means to me...I added a couple tablespoons!)

1/3  cup skim milk
1 T flour
3 T fat free cream cheese

Prep all your veggies...Word to the wise: all the chopping, cutting, and dicing took a while so I wish I would have done this on the weekend so that step was done when I came home from work.  Season chicken generously with cajun seasoning, garlic powder, and salt. 

In a blender, make a slurry (I learned this new cooking term on Chopped the other night!) by combining milk, flour, and cream cheese. I used a whole box of pasta, so I tripled the slurry recipe to make sure there was enough sauce. This came out to be the perfect amount for our taste. Set the slurry aside until later.

Prepare pasta in salted water according to package directions. Heat a large heavy nonsitck skillet over medium high heat. Spray with cooking spray and add the chicken.  Saute 5-6 minutes or until done, set aside on a plate and add olive oil to the skillet.  Reduce heat to medium, and add bell peppers, onions, and garlic to the skillet. Saute for 5 minutes.

Add mushrooms and tomatoes and saute for 3 more minutes or until veggies are tender. Season with salt, garlic powder and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium low, add chicken broth and pour in the slurry slowly while stirring, about 2 minutes.

Return chicken to skillet, adjust salt and cajun seasoning to taste, cook another minute or two until hot, then add the linguine and toss well to coat. 

P.S. I apologize to all those Catholics out there for posting meat recipes during lent.  I'm a heathen Methodist and don't have to give up meat on Fridays :) If you want to de-meatify this dish, you could absolutely use some shrimp that you flavored in the same way and it would be perfect! Either way, you need to try this if you are a pasta lover and don't like all the extra calories of a real cream sauce...

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