Even if the temperatures in Austin are still sizzling, there’s nothing I love more than pretending it’s cold outside with a hearty, warm meal. After all, swimsuit season is over and I think that means we can all step away from the scale and indulge a little more!
Chicken alfredo is a meal I make rarely, but when I do it’s a real treat. Plus, instead of using heavy cream I like to incorporate a low-fat, protein-rich cream cheese substitute called Neufchatel. You can find Neufchatel right next to the cream cheese in the dairy aisle of your grocery store, and you’ll be happy to know that the rich taste and soft, creamy texture is exactly the same… Just with half the fat! Which, of course, means an extra slice of garlic bread or glass of wine. See? It’s a win-win scenario.
Make this delicious, decadent and super simple chicken alfredo for dinner some night, pop open a bottle of wine, and bake a loaf of warm garlic bread. It’s a little less sinful than your typical alfredo, but with all the tasty texture and creamy dreaminess of the classic favorite. With tender sliced chicken breast, a mouthwatering medley of vegetables and a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, this scrumptious dinner is bound to become a cool weather staple in your home!
Creamy Chicken Alfredo with Red Pepper, Broccoli and Mushrooms
Yield: Makes 4-6 servings
½ lb. uncooked penne pasta
1 package (8 ounces) Neufchatel or cream cheese, cubed
6 tablespoons butter, cubed
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
2 cups chopped broccoli, fresh or frozen and thawed
8 button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup plus 4 Tbsp. Parmigiano Reggiano
In a medium pot of boiling water, add penne pasta and cook according to package instructions (usually 11 minutes for al dente). Drain well and set aside.
In a large skillet over low heat, melt cream cheese and butter; stir until smooth. Add the milk, garlic powder, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cook and stir for 3 minutes, or until thickened.
Add the cooked chicken, broccoli, mushrooms and red pepper. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Reduce heat; cover and cook 5 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender. Stir in Parmigiano Reggiano. Serve immediately with penne and extra Parmigiano Reggiano.
Adapted from Taste of Home