Sunday, February 19, 2012

(Better Than) Jason's Deli Chicken Alfredo

It started with a mania my girls were going through. Jason's Deli is our go-to eating-out-quickly restaurant. It is pricey, but they don't use all the preservatives and yucky sweeteners that other places hide in their foods, and the children's menu is WONDERFUL. However, I was tired of going there, getting home, and hearing "Mom, I want chicken alfredo!" They love it there.(Did I mention we drive 25 miles to GET there?)


So I decided to revisit my attempts at alfredo sauce. Trial and error, overly-complicated, high-fat-homemade to store-bought sauce(YUCK!), I have done it. Finally I have settled on a RECIPE that is(I think?) fool-proof, contains nothing overtly disgusting or artificial, and is relatively low-fat(seriously).

Interested?

You will need:

1 to 1.5 lbs(I usually use about 6-8 frozen chicken tenderloins, FROZEN)
1 tsp. olive oil(totally optional)
1/2 tsp.Mrs. Dash Table Blend(dark green lid--best seasoning mix I've found, easy-button here!)
1 and 1/4 tsp. salt(approx.)
freshly ground black pepper
dash of worcestershire sauce
2 cups milk(we use 2%, but skim DOES work)
2T cornstarch or arrowroot powder
2 oz. grated parmesan(I just use the plastic bottle stuff most of the time; kids actually PREFER this!)
12-16 oz. pasta of choice--we use farfalle, mini penne, or  just wide egg noodles
water for pasta boiling
large bowl for serving


Start your pasta water boiling, with 1 tsp. salt.
Spray your(10"-12") skillet with nonstick spray or just use your olive oil to coat pan. Toss your FROZEN_easy button again!) chicken tenders in there, sprinkle with a tiny bit of your salt and about half the Mrs. Dash and some black pepper. Add about 1/4 cup of water, cover, and let it cook maybe ten minutes on med-high heat. Keep a watch on them so they don't run out of liquid and blacken(I may live in Louisiana, but I don't like black food! lol). Flip them over once they're pink only on the tops, sprinkle a little more seasoning on top, and add a dash of Worcestershire. When you're able to cut them into bite-size chunks with the metal spatula, they're done. Toss them into the serving bowl and COVER to keep warm. Your water should be ready to add the pasta now, so go ahead and toss that in to boil while you prep the sauce.

While your chicken tenders are cooking, stir the milk into the cornstarch using a whisk or a fork until the mixture is not lumpy. After the chicken comes out of the skillet, deglaze your pan a bit with a spoonful or two of pasta water, and pour in the milk/cornstarch mixture. WHISK CONSTANTLY and lower the heat to LOW. Once it starts to steam(you don't want bubbles!) begin adding the cheese about 1/3 at a time, stirring till it is smooth after each addition. Add the rest of your seasonings, and taste for salt and pepper. Once the sauce is thick and creamy, your pasta should be ready, so drain it and toss the sauce and pasta into the bowl with the chicken. Stir to combine, taste again for seasoning, and serve.

Seriously fast food, at home, twenty-five minutes, TOPS.

Taking the frozen chicken straight to the skillet is a GREAT time-saver and dish saver as well, PLUS if you're squeamish about raw meat, it really saves a lot of gross-out factor. :)

Calorie count(eight servings EASILY), approximately, per serving:

278 calories
3.5 grams fat
28 grams protein
34 grams carbohydrate

I used the stats on 2% milk, grated parmesan cheese, corn starch, 8 boneless skinless chicken tenderloins, and 12 oz. SmartTaste wide egg noodles. I did not include seasonings, worcestershire, or olive oil in my calculations.
 I hope this is something tasty and healthy you can add to your "fast food at home" menus!

~april

2 comments:

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

I cleaned out my pantry over the weekend and found....3 packages of spagetti noodles. This will be perfect!

no spring chicken said...

I love chicken alfredo! I think I have all of these ingredients... Thanks April. Dinner is on you!

Blessings, Debbie