Monday, July 2, 2012

Sun Dried Tomato & Spinach Chicken Penne Bake + Homemade Alfredo Sauce

I rarely create my own recipes, but I am pleased and proud to announce my very own recipe!  When I was making this, I wasn't paying close attention to the proportions-- so feel free to adjust according to your taste.

Sun Dried Tomato & Spinach Chicken Penne Bake
From Egg Free Bakery

8 oz "safe" penne pasta  :)
1/2 cup cooked diced chicken breast
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1-1/2 to 2 cups baby spinach, chopped
1 cup Alfredo sauce (preferrably homemade-recipe follows- but jarred would probably work)
1/2 cup (or more) Italian Cheese Blend (I used a 4 cheese blend, but any would work)
Kosher salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper, to taste

*Note: to make this meal quick and easy to put together you may cook the chicken in advance.  If using homemade Alfredo sauce, prepare in advance.  I like to make and freeze Alfredo sauce so it is all ready to go.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Meanwhile in a skillet, heat a small amount of oil and cook chicken (if not cooked already) seasoning with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper.  When pasta is done cooking and drained, add cooked chicken, sun dried tomatoes, spinach and Alfredo sauce.  Mix together until everything is coated.  Season with salt and pepper if desired.  Lightly coat a 8 x 8 inch square baking dish with cooking spray. Pour pasta mixture into baking dish and sprinkle with Italian Cheeses.  Bake, uncovered 15 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  Makes about 3-4 servings.  Serve with a green salad and breadsticks or garlic bread.

Guiltless Alfredo Sauce

2 cups low-fat milk
1/3 cup (3 oz) low-fat cream cheese
3 Tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp butter
3 garlic cloves, mined
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Place milk, cream cheese, flour, and salt in a blender and blend until smooth.  In a non-stick sauce pan, melt butter on med-high heat and add garlic. Let the garlic saute for about 30 seconds. Add milk mixture to the pan. Stir constantly for about 3 or 4 minutes or until it just comes to a simmer. Keep stirring and let it cook for 7-10 minutes more.  Once thickened, remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in cheese and then cover immediately. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before using. It will continue to thicken upon standing. Use as desired.

*If you have leftovers in the fridge, the sauce will thicken almost into a solid. Just re-heat and add a little milk and it will be back to normal again.

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