Friday, June 29, 2012

Recipe Review: Three Cheese Chicken Alfredo Bake

Yesterday, we made the three cheese chicken alfredo bake that I found on Plain Chicken. It was really good. We halved it and still had 5 large servings. The original recipe was from Southern Living and can be found here. I was in a hurry last night to get dinner on the table, so unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures, but the pictures from My Recipes and Plain Chicken are accurate.

We made a few very minor adjustments. I used penne instead of the ziti, and cooked it according to the al dente package directions. I think any kind of stabby pasta would work. I refer to pasta as stabby pasta or twirly pasta, because I think that the shapes are strictly for presentation or ease of eating.

I beat one egg (because I halved the recipe), and then added the ricotta, sour cream, alfredo sauce, and parmesan, and mixed until well blended. I used low fat ricotta and reduced fat sour cream. I have never made the full fat recipe, so I can't compare, but I sure didn't miss it. I added about 1 tsp. of fresh ground black pepper, because we both like lots of black pepper on our creamy pastas. I wish I had added more.

I left out the garlic and parsley. The alfredo sauce we used smelled plenty garlicky to me, and I didn't have any parsley on hand.  I mixed in some chopped chicken that I marinated in Italian seasonings and grilled earlier in the week, then I turned the mixture out into an eight-by-eight baker sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, sprinkled the top with mozzarella, and baked it at 350 for 30 minutes. The top wasn't very browned, so I turned on the broiler and set the timer for 3 minutes. It was perfect! We both really enjoyed this dish.

Here are the proportions for a half batch (and suggestions for additions), in case you want to make this dish:
1/2 lb. (stabby) pasta (penne, bow-ties, elbow, ziti)
1 egg, lightly beaten
10 oz. refrigerator alfredo sauce
7-8 oz. low fat ricotta cheese
4 oz. reduced fat sour cream
~2 T. parmesan cheese
~1 c. chopped, cooked chicken
1 t. fresh ground pepper, or more to taste

Suggested additions to make a one dish meal:
10 oz. package of frozen broccoli (place in colander and drain pasta on top of broccoli to melt ice)
10-12 oz. package of frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
10-12 oz. package of spring vegetables blend (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots)
2-4 julienned zucchini or yellow (crooked neck) squash

We served this with a spinach salad. To one pack of baby spinach, we added a few diced nectarines and ~1/4-1/2 c. chopped pecans. We dressed it with poppy seed dressing. This salad can be adapted for whatever fruits are in season, nectaries, strawberries, blue berries, or a combination, and nuts of choice, or can be made with canned mandarin oranges in the winter.

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