Our family has this fantastic recipe for Cajun Pasta that my Aunt will cook for parties if we’re ever so lucky. I’ve tried my hand at it but always had trouble getting the alfredo sauce to be thick enough to my liking. So whenever I think of alfredo or see a recipe that calls for a similar sauce; I contemplate just buying a jar and then feel like a failure and give up on the dish before even trying to prepare it.
So when my husband recently brought home an already prepared Chicken Alfredo Bake from Sam’s Club that would have tasted great, had it not tasted super dry, it set off the spark, or craving if you may, for some GOOD alfredo. But before I gave the cajun pasta recipe another try, I wanted to start with something a little more simple; basic chicken alfredo.
I noticed the ingredients for this particular alfredo were simple and the steps seemed pretty easy. Often I see heavy whipping cream or cornstarch that is used for “thickening” a sauce. This called for neither. I was caught off guard a little by the fact that it asked for chicken broth but to my amazement; I saw the sauce almost instantly start to thicken once I added it to the saute pan. Normally the pan has to sit over heat for a bit before it actually starts to thicken, but not this recipe! It was quick, making this a great idea if you’re running short on time but craving something with protein and creamy pasta.
And if you’re REALLY short on time, you don’t even have to bake this dish. You can serve immediately after combining all ingredients. It tastes just as good either way.
Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake
Never made homemade alfredo sauce before? You're in luck! This version is basically foolproof and tastes better than any store bought alfredo. Combined with penne pasta, rotisserie chicken and baked with mozzarella cheese; this dish is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
- 2 cups rotisserie, or shredded chicken
- 12-ounce penne pasta
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2/3 cup parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh coarse black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large saucepan, cook penne pasta according to package. When fully cooked through, drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile in a large deep saute pan, heat olive oil over med-high heat. Add minced garlic and allow to saute for 1 minute. Add flour, mixing well until browned. Slowly whisk in chicken broth, mixing well, followed by cup of milk. Whisk often, lowering temp to simmer and thicken. Once sauce appears thick, add penne pasta and rotisserie chicken to saute pan. Stir well, combining.
- Using a well-greased 9x13 baking dish, add alfredo pasta. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese overtop and bake for 20 minutes.
I love recipes that call for rotisserie chicken. Not because it makes cooking slightly easier, you can always cook your own rotisserie chicken instead of buying one from your local grocery store. But because of the taste of a rotisserie chicken.
We don’t necessarily have a good local take-out, or I haven’t found one yet. So as someone who personally loves fried rice, I’m always excited when preparing this one. I’ve been meal-prepping meals for fitness programs that I have been doing and Chicken Fried Rice is an awesome, low-calorie lunch. You’re getting your protein, vegetables and a healthy grain all in one dish.
Chicken Fried Rice
Tastes better than take-out!
- Rotisserie chicken, divided into shredded pieces
- 2 cups brown rice
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 2 cups frozen peas and carrots
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- Cook brown rice according to package. While doing so, divide a rotisserie chicken into shredded pieces and set aside.
- Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic cloves, cook 3 minutes. Add frozen peas and carrots, cook 3-5 minutes. Push vegetables to the side of skillet. Crack eggs and scramble.
- Add skillet mixture and chicken to rice. Pour soy sauce gently overtop and mix well.
- Use whatever remaining leftover rotisserie chicken you have for another dish.
I enjoy fried chicken just as much as the next person. Problem is, I’ve always had a problem with not burning the chicken when attempting to fry using my stovetop and a skillet pan. For some time, I used the avoidance route and would “fry” my chicken tenders in the oven by slicing them thin and preparing them with bread crumbs, butter and egg. It worked just fine, but I knew at some point I would have to correctly teach myself how to fry something without taking the easy way out and counting on the oven to help me get it done. Besides, I’d appreciate a good piece of breaded chicken more knowing I hadn’t cheated to get it that way.
So when you hear the phrase “practice makes perfect,” know that it also applies to cooking. And so after a few different tries and figuring out what amount of oil works best, I figured out how to not burn fried chicken. And let me tell you, it tastes so much better than oven-fried and I’m no longer hesitating to try out new recipes that require frying chicken; such as this fantastic Lemon Romano Chicken recipe I found via Cooking Classy. No one should miss out on cooking something so delicious!
Lemon Romano Chicken
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved
- 2½ tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ½ cup Romano cheese
- ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon fresh coarse black pepper
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare chicken breasts by cutting each into two horizontal halves. Set aside on a plate.
- In a medium size shallow dish, combine all-purpose flour and 1 egg. Whisk well so that the mixture is thick and smooth. Set aside.
- In a second medium size shallow dish, combine Romano cheese, panko breadcrumbs, oregano, garlic powder, black pepper, lemon zest. Whisk well so that all ingredients are combined. Set aside.
- Place each chicken breast, individually, in egg-flour mixture; turning onto each side so that it is well coated. Next, place chicken breast in romano cheese mixture; again turning onto each side so that it is well coated and fully breaded. Repeat with each chicken breast. Return chicken breasts to plate.
- Add vegetable oil and olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Allow oil to heat, using a pair of tongs to place each chicken breast in skillet. Cook 2-5 minutes, checking to make sure it's browned before turning to cook other side. Return each chicken breast to plate when fully cooked through.
- Line a cookie-sheet with foil, lightly coating with cooking spray. Add each chicken breast, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and place in oven for 14 minutes or until cheese appears well melted.
- Squeeze a lemon wedge onto each chicken breast and serve with lemon slices.
Adapted from Cooking Classy
Adapted from Cooking Classy
Crockpot Meal Alert! Who else loves the meals you get to throw into a big ol’ pot and leave to simmer until it’s dinner time? The easier the assembly on a busy week day, the better.
Burrito Bowls are pretty come and serve as you please. You can use other meats aside from chicken, add as many vegetables as you like and top with whatever else fits your pleasure. Because I’m watching what I eat more closely, I prepared this burrito bowl using ingredients that were healthy and that I could stand to eat consecutively for a few days.
Chicken Burrito Bowl in a Crockpot
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 package taco seasoning
- 3 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 14 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 3/4 cups of instant whole grain brown rice
- ½ cup shredded colby jack cheese
- 1 tablespoon lite sour cream
- 1 tomato, diced
- Prep a large crockpot and set on low heat. Add chicken breasts.
- Pour low-sodium chicken broth overtop chicken breasts, followed by taco seasoning. Mix well.
- Cook on low for about 4 hours.
- Remove the chicken breasts from crockpot with a pair of tongs and place in a covered container to preserve heat.
- Add instant rice and black beans to crockpot and turn heat to high. Cook for 30 minutes, or until rice appears cooked thoroughly.
- Add chicken breasts to crockpot again, cook for an additional 20 minutes on high.
- Serve with additional healthy toppings.
Mondays are never easy, but rainy Mondays are even less. I had prepared this lunch dish last night in-between waiting for our pork tenderloins and twice baked potatoes to cook and it looked and smelled so delicious that I was looking forward to photographing it in some great natural light. I should have known better. I regularly look at the weather forecast and I knew rain was headed our way all day today. It’s OK. Considering that I am going to be eating this as my lunch for the next several days and we have sunshine the remainder of the week; I will have plenty of opportunity to take a better photograph and edit this post with it. And you after Monday readers will never know!
I’m trying to ease more dairy free recipes into our menu. This is officially my first, purposely at least, and can also be seen as Whole 30 and Paleo friendly as well. Everyone cheer!
I’m not sure if you already know this or not, but the secret to preparing a quick and tasteful chicken salad is rotisserie chicken. It doesn’t make a difference if you buy a rotisserie chicken at the grocery or if you slow-cooker some chicken breasts for 4 hours with broth; chicken salads taste best with shredded, juicy chicken. You can also add and mix things as you go, accordingly to what flavors you like. I like my chicken salad quite often, so I am always trying to think of new ways to differ it up.
So why not add some ranch? There are so many great things you can do with a dry packet of ranch seasoning. I use it for a handful of recipes as it adds a nice little tangy taste that can or cannot be similiar to the ranch you use for salad dressing depending on just how much you use. If you’re leaning more towards creating your own ranch seasoning rather than buying one from the grocery, a great dairy-free recipe can be found here.
Ranch Chicken Salad
A new and tangy twist on your typical chicken salad recipe. Just as easy to make, even more delicious.
- 3 cups of rotisserie, or finely shredded chicken breast
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon dry ranch seasoning
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- ¼ cup yellow onion, diced
- Combine shredded chicken, mayonnaise and ranch seasoning in a medium sized bowl. Mix well.
- Add celery, bell pepper and onion to chicken mixture. Combine well.
- Serves best after being chilled for a half hour in refrigerator.
There’s something about buffalo chicken and sports events. Most of the time when I do a search for a new and delicious snack or appetizer to enjoy during some sort of tournament game, buffalo chicken is the top pick. We’ve done Buffalo Chicken Dip for years and it’s never disappointed, but it was time to try an alternative way of using buffalo chicken. Coincidentally enough while going through my inbox this weekend, I came across Two Peas and Their Pod’s weekly meal plan that I subscribe to and they had a buffalo chicken recipe I’ve never tried nor seen before. The ingredients were mostly staple items I already had in the fridge and it was a quick bake; always a favorite on the weekend!
You really can’t go wrong with Franks Hot Sauce and blue cheese dressing, so there’s really no way of messing this appetizer up. The original recipe suggested using Blue Corn Tortilla Chips, but my husband isn’t too keen on those and if I bought both a bag of those and a bag of regular corn tortilla chips, I may get myself in trouble later with the blue chips. That tends to happen if there’s shredded cheese, chips, and me in a room)
And because the NCAA National Championship game happens shortly after tonight’s games, I definitely get to make these again. No complaints about that here.
You can get the recipe here.
Growing up, I remember having sloppy joes all the time. I think it was half because they were so good and half because they were so easy to make since they came prepackaged; all you had to do was heat ’em up and slop it on a bun.
This is a more chicken-esque take on the sloppy joe. You may have to do a little more work with preparing the sauce and patiently waiting for it to cook in the crock-pot for a few hours. It’s worth it. And honestly, I think this version is a lot better than the store-bought sloppy joes.
BBQ Chicken Hawaiian Sliders
A different take on sloppy joes using a crockpot and chicken.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup barbecue sauce
- ½ cup zesty italian dressing
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- hawaiian bread sliders
- 1. In a medium size bowl, whisk together barbecue sauce, italian dressing, worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Set aside.
- 2. Trim chicken breasts of any fat. Place on the bottom of a slow-cooker.
- 3. Add barbecue mixture into slow-cooker, making sure to cover each chicken breasts top and bottom. Cook on low for 4 ½ hours.
- 4. Remove chicken breasts and shred using two forks into small pieces. Return to slow-cooker, making sure to mix it well with the barbecue sauce. Cook for an additional 45 minutes.
- 5. Fill each hawaiian slider generously with barbecue chicken and enjoy.
Break out the blue cheese dressing. Or ranch, if that’s your thing. These buffalo chicken lettuce wraps are so good, you’re going to cross your fingers that there’s leftovers when you’re finished.
For every Ohio State football game, we used to make a buffalo chicken dip. You’re probably familiar with it. That’s where the love for buffalo branched off from and inspired more recipes that consisted of it. Buffalo wraps are a common lunch (and dinner) selection, but I wanted something a little more healthy. Less wrap, more vegetable, even more buffalo.
I had done the lunch lettuce wraps with the turkey. Those were pretty good. So why wouldn’t bite size buffalo chicken work just as good, if not better? Pair it with some vegetable toppings; carrots, celery. and suddenly that buffalo chicken is looking more healthy.
Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Perfect for a quick dinner, or appetizing lunch on the go.
- 1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/4 inch bite-size pieces
- ½ cup buffalo sauce for cooking, ½ cup buffalo sauce for drizzling overtop
- 2 cups plain panko bread crumbs
- 4-6 large boston bibb lettuce
- ½ cup diced tomatoes
- ½ cup shredded carrots
- ½ cup celery, diced into small pieces
- blue cheese (or ranch) dressing
- optional: scallions, blue cheese crumbles for garnish if desired
- 1. Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
- Note: I line mine with foil and lightly grease it as if to avoid staining the cookie sheet from potentially burn marks.
- 2. Using a large ziplock bag. toss your chicken bites in ½ cup of buffalo sauce. Allow to marinate in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- 3. Prepare breadcrumbs by using a large plate or shallow dish. Roll each bite in bread crumbs so that all sides are covered. Place on cookie sheet.
- 4. Bake chicken for 30 minutes. In the meantime, chop your vegetables if you haven't already.
- When chicken is ready, allow it to sit for 2-3 minutes to cool off slightly.
- 5. Line your lettuce wraps onto a flat surface. Add chicken, tomatoes, carrots and celery. Lightly drizzle sauce of your choice overtop. Garnish with blue cheese crumbles and scallions if desired.