This is one of the first meals I ever made for Tom. I believe it was number two or three, actually. The first was this incredibly fatty creamy chicken pasta dish, which we obviously loved because it had about 4000 calories per serving. The other was soutzoukakia. I actually went to Tom’s apartment while he was at work and made them so they’d be ready when he got home. I was so excited, and at the first taste I realized the meatballs were woefully undersalted. Sigh.
This dish I managed to successfully make the first time around, and while we loved it, it didn’t get made again more than once or twice. I’m sure a large part of the reason is that I started getting a lot more health conscious and ditching most things that had a lot of cream (which included the aforementioned creamy chicken pasta dish).
I recently saw the very recipe I’d first made for Tom on Prevention RD. Like me, Nicole tends to healthify recipes. So, of course, I instantly put a more calorie-appropriate version of this dish on the menu for the following week. The next day, I saw someone pin a similar recipe on Pinterest by The Pioneer Woman and I liked that she used some chicken broth in her dish, which further cut the amount of half and half I’d have to use in mine (I, too, was shocked about the lack of additional cream on her end).
I completely forgot to add the mushrooms to this (which is why I had extra for those chicken sausage subs) but I’m including them in the list below because I know for a fact they’re great in this dish. And every dish, for that matter.
This meal serves 4 pretty heartily and, at that size, clocks in at about 450 calories per serving, which is not bad for a one-dish meal, particularly one with a cream sauce. If you stretch it to 5 servings, you are allowed 2 cookies for dessert instead of 1, obviously.
Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
10 oz. whole wheat linguine
1 large or 2 small chicken breasts (about 8-10 oz.), sliced
3-4 tsp. Cajun seasoning, divided
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 green bell pepper, sliced into strips
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup half and half
3 Tbsp. chopped parsley
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the linguine. Cook until al dente.
Meanwhile, season the chicken breast with 2 tsp. of Cajun seasoning. Heat the canola oil in a large saute pan and, once hot, add the chicken. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from the pan.
Add the bell peppers and onion and saute 2-3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, mushrooms, and 1-2 tsp. of Cajun seasoning; cook until the mushrooms have given up their juices and peppers are crisp-tender.
Stir in the chicken broth, and scrape up all the browned bits. Boil over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and pour in the half and half. Simmer until it begins to thicken. Taste and add salt or additional Cajun seasoning if necessary.
Add the chicken and pasta into the sauce and continue stirring over medium-low heat for 1-2 minutes to re-warm chicken and allow the pasta to absorb some of the sauce. Remove from the heat, stir in the parsley, and serve.
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