Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

Sometimes you just need an old classic for some comfort food.  This Alfredo sauce is light and fluffy (and all natural) so you don’t have to sacrifice taste for moderately healthy eating.  You can also make this one vegetarian if you leave out the chicken, no problem.

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

(Inspiration found here)

Ingredients

  • 1 package pre-cooked chicken strips
  • 1 cup fresh chopped broccoli (or frozen broccoli, if you don’t have fresh)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Pasta of your choice

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Preparation

Make the sauce first because it takes the longest.

1.  Melt the butter in a saucepan.
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2.  Add the minced garlic, heavy cream, garlic powder, and pepper.
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3.  Bring the sauce to a boil and then simmer, uncovered, until it thickens and reduces.  This takes about 10-15 minutes.  Keep stirring regularly to keep the liquid from bubbling over.  Once thick, mix in the Parmesan cheese and melt into the sauce.

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4.  Boil a pot of water and cook pasta.  Drain and set aside.

5.  Chop broccoli florets into bite size pieces.

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6.  In a pan, heat the chicken strips with a dash of olive oil or cooking spray
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7.  Add the broccoli and saute until browned.
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8.  Mix the chicken and broccoli and the sauce into the pasta pot.  Mix thoroughly.  Garnish on a plate with some extra Parmesan on top.  Serve with some garlic bread and enjoy!
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Results:

A family favorite.  I used gluten free brown rice penne for this dish and it worked great.  You can use any sort of pasta that you see fit.  The sauce is creamy without being too heavy, and this recipe made plenty for leftovers.

Cranberry Chicken

One of my favorite ways to find recipes is to peruse cookbooks for inspiration.  My mom gave me one of her favorite cookbooks when I was home last – “From Noodles to Strudels”, the official cookbook of the Beverly Hills Hadassah from 1972.

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“Cherished recipes contributed by women who care” – how awesome is that.  The best part of community cookbooks like this are that the recipes are straightforward and to the point.  The recipes are easy to follow and were clearly designed with love.

This recipe is one that Mom used to make on special occasions and I’ve come to associate with a special meal.  It’s really easy but oh-so-delicious.

Cranberry Chicken

Ingredients:

1 lb chicken breasts [In this case, I used 2 decent sized pieces]1 16-oz can of cranberry sauce with the whole berries
1/2 cup French dressing
1 packet onion soup mix

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Preparation:

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Put chicken breasts into a foil lined baking dish.

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3.  Mix together the cranberry sauce, French dressing, and onion soup mix in a mixing bowl.  Pour mixture on top of chicken breasts, covering all pieces.

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4.  Bake for 35 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

5.  Serve and Enjoy!

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Results:

Perfection.  The berries add a nice counterbalance to the tangy flavor of the dressing.  This is a great, simple but lavish recipe for any dinner that you’d like to make a little bit special.

This recipe has always been one of my favorites.  Enjoy it in good health! (as my grandmother used to say :))

Dijon Chicken

The original post where I found this recipe called it ‘man-pleasing chicken’, and I don’t disagree!  This was a quick chicken meal that didn’t take too much effort but makes you look like a rockstar.  The sauce is tangy and sweet at the same time.  Both of us were licking our plates by the end.

Dijon Chicken

(Inspiration found here)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb chicken breasts  [I used thin sliced chicken tenders in this recipe and the original calls for thighs.  Any cut of chicken that you prefer will work]
  • 1/2 cup dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Rosemary (as garnish)

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Preparation:

1.  Preheat oven to 450ºF.

2.  Mix together 1/2 cup of dijon mustard, 1/4 cup of maple syrup, and 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar into a bowl.

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3.  Put chicken pieces into a foil-lined baking dish.  Salt and pepper the chicken, then pour the sauce over until chicken is completely covered.  Put the chicken in the oven on the top rack.

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4.   Bake for about 40 minutes or until most of the liquid has burned off or caramelized.

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5.  Sprinkle some rosemary, serve with some veggies and potatoes and ENJOY!

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Results:

Winner winner chicken dinner!  This one was a bigger hit than I’ve seen in a long time.   Very savory sauce and quick time to make – call it a win-win in my book!

If you wanted to use chicken with a skin to make the sauce crust a little more, that would add to this recipe as well, but this cut of chicken was just delightful and easy to do.

General Chang’s Chicken

A holiday tradition is to have Chinese food and go to the movies on Christmas Day.  This year, I was inspired to take a crack at one of the most popular dishes, General Tso’s Chicken.  Since I’ve been doing the gluten free thing, I took to my trusty cookbook (Artisanal Gluten Free Cookbook by Peter and Kelli Bronski) to find an alternative to the (usually flour fried) delicious dish.  This is my attempt at their masterpiece.

General Chang’s Chicken

(Inspiration on page 193 of this marvelous cookbook)

Ingredients

Olive Oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
Cornstarch
3 garlic cloves, minced [I used some preminced garlic]
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup cranberry juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons GF soy sauce
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons ground chili paste (depending on heat preference)
2 tablespoons water
Snap peas
Chopped scallions for garnish
Rice (for serving)

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Preparation

1.  Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over high heat.

2.  Coat the cubed chicken breasts with cornstarch.

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3.  Add the chicken to the oil and cook, turning, until cooked through, lightly browned and crispy on all sides.

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4.  Transfer cooked chicken to a bowl lined with paper towels.

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5.  Add the garlic to the remaining olive oil in the skillet and cook until fragrant.

6.  Mix the orange juice, cranberry juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, and chili paste and stir to mix well.

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7.  Mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with the water and stir into the sauce and pour into the skillet.  Bring to a boil.

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8.  Return the chicken to the skillet and cook until the sauce thickens and the chicken is heated through.  Toss in the snap peas and coat in the sauce.

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9.  Garnish with scallions.  Serve and enjoy!

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Results

This was a really interesting twist on a classic recipe.  It had a good balance of sweet and spicy that made for a wonderful Chinese food inspired home cooked meal.  It has a crisp in each bite without feeling heavy and too fried.  I included the snap peas because I always like to serve a vegetable in any meal like this and they add a little crunch.  Serve over rice for the full restaurant experience.

Spicy Peanut Noodles

This recipe is one of my favorites when I don’t know what else to make.  There are a bunch of ingredients, but a little goes a long way, so even though you’re buying a lot of new things up front, they will last you a long while.

This one is a quick meal, but also super customizable.  In the recipe below, I used red and green peppers, but you can really throw in any fresh vegetables you have laying around (I sometimes use a cucumber or some green onions, but anything with a crunch will succeed here).   The original recipe is for shrimp, but I opt for some precooked chicken strips.  You could also forgo the meat all together and make this a vegetarian option.  Totally up to you!

Spicy Peanut Noodles

(Inspiration found here)

Ingredients:

Peanut sauce:

1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 to 2 teaspoons chile paste [Find this in the international foods aisle]

Noodles:

4 cups cooked spaghetti or linguine noodles(8 ounces uncooked)
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 green pepper cut into strips.

1 box pre-cooked chicken strips

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Preparation:

1.  Boil a pot of water and add noodles.  Boil until noodles are ready, about 10 minutes.  Drain noodles.

2.  To prepare sauce, combine the first 5 ingredients; stir until smooth (There will be chunks due to the peanuts, but the rest of the mix should be combined well)

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2.  To prepare the chicken, sauté in nonstick skillet coat ed with cooking spray over medium-high heat for 3 minutes on each side or until crispy on the edges.

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3.  Slice peppers into strips.  Set aside.

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4.  Combine chicken, noodles, and peppers in pasta pot.  Stir together.

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5.  Add peanut sauce and stir.

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6.  Serve and enjoy!

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Results:

The sauce is sweet and yummy and this one throws together in about 10-15 minutes.  It’s great when you don’t know what to prepare or you need to whip a lot of food up quickly.  This one is consistently in my meal rotation, especially on busy weeks.

Root Beer BBQ Chicken

As life gets busier, the crock pot becomes more and more essential to my well-being.  This one is quick, easy, and totally delicious.  It’s the combo of sweet and tangy that is the best about barbeque chicken and this recipe captures that balance perfectly.

Root Beer BBQ Chicken

(Inspiration courtesy of my friend Amber’s genius).

Ingredients:

1 lb chicken breasts
1 16-oz bottle of barbeque sauce
1 16-oz bottle of root beer (Coke or other dark sodas work really well here too – just nothing diet!)
1/2 cup brown sugar
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Preparation:

1.  Mix barbeque sauce, soda, and brown sugar together in a bowl.  Consistency should be like a watered down version of the BBQ sauce itself.
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2.  Insert chicken breasts into crock pot and pour mixture over.

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3.  Cook on low heat for 8 hours.

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4.  Serve up and enjoy!

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Results:

Yum!  Perfect balance of sweet and tangy without being overwhelming.   Try not to shred the chicken on this one, though it’s basically impossible because it basically just falls apart.

I almost always use frozen chicken breasts in the crock pot.  This one is no exception.  I find that they are less likely to burn/overcook than non-frozen.  Frozen also store longer and allow you to throw together this meal at any time.

Cheesy Chicken Casserole

One of my go-to meals is a rotisserie chicken from the deli counter at the grocery store.  It is quick, pre-cooked, and goes well with anything.  It’s also a great meal on grocery shopping day, because I know the last thing I want to do after lugging grocery bags is preparing a full meal.

With rotisserie chicken on the brain, I stumbled upon a recipe for a casserole that would jazz things up a bit.  This is great for a quick evening meal when most of the lift is done for you.

Cheesy Chicken Casserole

(Inspiration here)

Ingredients:

1 rotisserie chicken [I put mine in the refrigerator so it wasn’t hot, but it doesn’t matter the starting temperature]
16 oz bag of frozen broccoli florets
11 oz of cream of mushroom soup
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

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Instructions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  At the same time, boil a few cups of water in a saucepan.  Once the water hits a boil, pour in the broccoli.  Once it hits a boil again, drain the broccoli.

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2.  While boiling, shred the chicken meat using a fork and/or your fingers.

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3.  Mix chicken, broccoli, cheese, and soup together in a bowl

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4.  Put entire mixture into a baking dish and cook for 25 minutes.

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5.  Scoop and enjoy!

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Results:

YUM!  Although it is a little more legwork than just serving rotisserie chicken straight up, the cheesy goodness makes it worth it.  Definitely a good one to keep in your pocket.  Also, second day leftovers would be equally as delicious.