Weeknight Dinner: Cajun Chicken Pasta

I set a goal with my colleague Melissa that I was going to bike 1,000 miles by the end of the year. So far, I'm only at 58… so I really need to get my butt in gear. However, I am very proud of my workout today – 5.45 miles in 29 minutes! 

And since I worked SO hard (ok, not as hard as those people on the Biggest Loser… OK. FINE. I probably could have worked harder…), I thought I deserved some packin' a punch pasta for dinner. This is so delicious – you're going to absolutely love it. And, if you're going for a Meatless Monday – no need to add in the chicken, as this would be delicious with both tofu OR no meat at all. And even though it's a creamy sauce, it's all so good good good for you because I used greek yogurt instead of cream cheese. Let's dig in!

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I adapted this recipe from SkinnyTaste.com.

What You'll Need:

For the cajun seasoning (I don't keep a container of cajun seasoning in our aparment because it's really easy to make from scratch! If you have it already at home, you'll just need 2-3 tsp of cajun seasoning):

  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

What You'll Need for the Pasta:

  • 3/4 box of Barilla vegetable farfalle pasta (this is so much better for you than normal pasta! It's made of vegetables, and it is really flavorful. We are officially switching over to these!) 
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, seasoned with your cajun seasoning. 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into long slice/pieces
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, cut into long slick/pieces
  • 1/2 cup baby portobella mushrooms, cut into small slices (Mr. Grumpy was NOT happy about this, but he was able to push the mushrooms aside, and still pretend to enjoy his dinner)
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock (if you're going vegetarian, you can use vegetable stock
  • 1/3 cup milk (we buy the organic, lactose-free)
  • 3 tbsp plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp flour, plus 3 tbsp for later
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 green onions, chopped

First, make your cajun seasoning, and chop all your vegetables. The rest will go really fast from here! In a blender, mix together the greek yogurt, milk and 1 tbsp of flour. Set aside.

Cook your pasta – boiling, salted water for about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In the meantime, season your chicken with about 1 1/2 tsp of cajun seasoning. Heat a large skillet with 1 tbsp of olive oil, and cook the chicken (about 3-4 minutes on each side). Remove the chicken from the pan, and set aside. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil (yes, again) on the skillet, and add bell peppers, the onions and the garlic. Saute this for about 5 minutes on medium heat.

Then, add in the mushrooms and tomatoes, and cook for an additional 5 minutes (until vegetables are cooked, and not crunchy). Season with 1/2 to 1 tsp of cajun seasoning (depending on how spicy you want it). Stir. 

Add the chicken stock and the milk/yogurt mixture into the skillet. Stir for 2 minutes, letting it cook and get hot. Add the remaining flour slowly, while turning up the heat slightly above medium. Let that simmer for 3 minutes, until the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. 

Cut chicken into small, diced pieces, and add into the skillet. Stir. Cover with scallions, and serve! 

Here is a trick – if you make extra chicken, it makes for a delicious cajun-inspired salad for lunch at work the next day! Try the chicken, with sweet corn, 1 tbsp of your favorite salsa, and onions. YUM! 

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