Put that jar of alfredo sauce back on the shelf. In 30 minutes, you can cook yourself a much healthier, fresher and undoubtedly more delicious version. This recipe, adapted from Cooking Light, is sure-fire. I’ve made it to much acclaim at least 10 times. The applause only comes from my kids, but I’ll take it, as they are my harshest critics as well as my most ardent fans. It is one of just a handful of meals that all three of them give a cheer for and so it has been on our table often in the past few years.
I add chicken and mushrooms, and sometimes broccoli, to this, but you could do shrimp or scallops as well. It is really all about the sauce, a wonderfully creamy concoction made with lowfat milk, a bit of butter, light cream cheese, and Parmesan. If you are nervous about making this basic white sauce, check out this video demonstration from the Cooking Light kitchens, which shows exactly how its done. Otherwise, get cooking! Your alfredo - and applause - await!
TIPS: Have everything else done, or near done, before you begin to prepare the sauce. Once the sauce gets going, you will be stirring for 5-8 minutes and won’t have a free hand during that time. I usually get the pasta boiling and the mushrooms sauteing on the back burner before I begin the sauce, so that they are cooked and hot when the sauce is done; I just zap the chicken in the microwave for 1 minute just before combining everything.
Chicken and Mushroom Alfredo
adapted from Cooking Light Five Star Recipes: The Best of 10 Years, copyright 1996
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups nonfat milk
2 tablespoons light cream cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cups hot cooked whole grain pasta (i.e., fettucine, penne rigate, or medium shells)
~2 cups cooked chicken, chopped (I often use Perdue Short Cuts grilled chicken, 9 oz package)
1 cup sliced mushrooms, sautéed
Chopped fresh parsley, if desired
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, and saute for about 1 minute. Do not allow the garlic to burn. Stir in the flour, then gradually stir in the milk using a wire whisk. Stir constantly until sauce is thickened and bubbly, about 8 minutes. Stir in cream cheese and continue cooking for about a minute, until cream cheese is melted. Remove from heat, and gradually stir in grated Parmesan. Immediately combine, sauce, pasta, chicken and mushrooms in a large bowl. Top with chopped fresh parsley if desired.