Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Healthified Chicken Alfredo

One of my secret weapons to losing weight was substitution, not elimination. I knew that cutting out everything I loved from my diet would only result in me binging on all my favorite foods. So I made it a hobby to healthify all my favorites. I made healthy versions of all sorts of things I love, taco salad, pizza, sub sandwiches, chicken cordon bleu, chicken tenders, spaghetti with meat sauce, all sorts of casseroles and one of my all-time favorites: chicken alfredo! I made this for dinner last night and posted a picture on Facebook and got several requests for the recipe, so I thought if I'm going to type it out anyways, then I may as well post it on my blog, so here we go:

*disclaimer: I don't follow any particular recipe for most of the things I make, for this reason my recipes may sound vague.

Healthified Chicken Alfredo

Ingredients:

* 2-3 chicken breasts depending on size, diced into bite-sized pieces and very meticulously trimmed of fat
* about half a yellow onion, thinly sliced
* 4-7 garlic cloves, minced (we love garlic, if you don't then use less)
* about three cups of chopped fresh broccoli
* about 4 cups of fresh spinach (I used almost a full bag of the spinach you find with the bagged salad, saving just enough for a single serving of salad)
* mushrooms to taste, sliced
* lemon pepper to taste
* oregano to taste
* coarse ground black pepper
* reduced fat Italian blend cheese or Parmesan cheese
* crushed red pepper, optional
* Weight Watchers cream cheese, optional
* chicken broth, optional
* Ronzoni brand pasta, my favorite is the Garden Delight variety because it's made with real vegetables and tastes great, this makes it almost like a free carb, right??? (don't answer, I'm right :P)

Sauce, option A - Ragu Light Alfredo Sauce
Sauce, option B - half and half and make sure you have plenty of Italian/Parmesan cheese, cream cheese and garlic

Directions:

Cook pasta according to box and preference, drain and set aside - best cooked with olive oil and salt. Place chicken, onion and garlic in hot wok sprayed with olive oil cooking spray, cook for a couple minutes, then add all seasonings.... I really can't tell you how much to use here, but I do tend to go heavy on my seasonings. Also, I've used all sorts of different spices here... you can use basil, thyme, poultry seasoning... but my most recent mix I just stuck with the basics (listed above). Cook a bit longer until chicken has just a bit of pink left in it, then add broccoli and mushrooms. Cook about five more minutes and add spinach and cook until wilted (all of this time you should be cooking on medium heat). At this point your broccoli should be tender, your mushrooms cooked normally and your chicken should be pink-less; there will also be a bit of liquid in the bottom of your wok. This is chicken/veggie broth and also the base for the sauce.

Quick and easy sauce option: add about a tablespoon of cream cheese and a handful or so of shredded cheese of your choice and let melt in the broth until it gets a bit creamy. Add jar of Alfredo sauce, mix well, add more coarse ground black pepper and tada, done! (I myself LOVE tons of coarse black pepper on my Alfredo  so this is a matter of taste) Serve over pasta with additional veggies on the side if you're just veggie crazy like me. :)

A little less quick and easy sauce option: add two-three tablespoons of cream cheese to broth and some half and half.... this part is kinda hard to explain because I never measure, but add enough half and half until you get approximately the amount of sauce you want. If you're worried about calories, you can also add chicken broth, let it bubble and add a bit more cream cheese. Add shredded cheese of choice until you have a nice cheesy Alfredo sauce. Make sure you use plenty of garlic earlier on in the recipe if you make the sauce this way! Also, add more coarse black pepper, spoon sauce over noodles and bon appetite!

Serves 6 (if you have men, boys and runners in the household. :))

Hope you all enjoy!

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