Sunday, June 19, 2011

Chicken Penne Alfredo with Bacon and Broccoli

Here's our latest favorite! My husband claims this is in my top 10 best recipes and I made it up! Sweet! If you pair this with a fresh Spinach Strawberry Salad, it's a perfect meal of comfort and healthy!

1. Start by boiling water for the pasta. For this recipe, use 1 box of Barilla Penne pasta. Cook till tender (al dente- as directed by the package). Drain and set aside in a large pot or bowl, keeping warm with a lid on.

2. Cook 4 pieces of bacon in a large frying pan, reserving bacon grease. (Cover with splatter screen to make it less messy!) Cool on paper towels or paper napkins. Cut the bacon into bite-sized pieces and add to the pasta pot.

3. Cut 3-4 chicken breasts in bite sized pieces and fry in the bacon grease with seasoning of your choice. I use Pampered Chef's Sun-Dried Tomato Seasoning Mix and Johnny's Seasoning. Add salt if necessary. Cook until lightly browned. Add chicken to the pasta pot, leaving a little grease in the frying pan.

4.  In the pan from the chicken, saute' 4-6 cloves of freshly pressed garlic. This only takes about 30 seconds. Watch it carefully so that it doesn't burn. Use this pan to make the sauce next.

5. To make the sauce: Melt 1/4 cup butter in the frying pan or in a saucepan on medium heat. Take pan off heat and stir in 1/2 cup flour. Slowly pour in 1 pint of cream (heavy cream is richer, 1/2 & 1/2 is good, milk might work but I'd call it low-fat). Return to stove. Stir until it's well combined and then thickened. Once it's a thick sauce, add 1 cup sour cream or 4 oz. cream cheese (for a richer sauce), then pour in the amount of milk you like for how thick you want the sauce. I think I use about 1 1/2-2 cups of 2% milk. Remember that it's better to use less to start with. You can always add more later to thin the sauce. Add salt (to taste, about 1 teaspoon) and a spinkle of pepper. Cook a few minutes longer until it's the consistency you want. Add to the pasta pot.

6. Either between cooking the above things or after, steam 1-2 heads of broccoli. Add to the pasta pot, of course!

7. Stir the pasta pot and serve with a delicious salad! Out kids love this recipe so hopefully yours will too! I used 6 cloves and it wasn't too spicy. Next time I may use more!

*Note: You could also bake this once it's cooked and mixed or keep it warm in an oven-safe pan on low heat.

**Also, I normally add about 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan to my alfredo sauce and that would be wonderful with it. I just didn't have any and it was still loved by all without it! :)