Sunday, May 10, 2009

Spicy Chicken and Sausage Alfredo

Today is Mother's Day, and I'm lucky enough to have the best mom in the world. My mom is also my best friend. She's cute, smart, funny, and loyal -- everything you could want in a friend. But she also loves me unconditionally, offers me money on a regular basis, and will hopefully clip and paint my toenails now that I can barely reach them myself.

And if she actually read my blog, she'd be totally flattered right now.

Isn't she cute?

She's the one sandwiched in between me and my Aunt Gwynne. And I'm the only person in this photo who looks even remotely close to my own age. It's freaky.

My mom and I are a lot alike, except when it comes to food. For example, Mom isn't big on meat, cheese, sweets, oil, fatty foods, and spicy foods. If you've been following this blog, you know that I am certainly a fan of all those things. It's not that Mom is a frequent dieter, despite her tiny size. She eats a lot. She just eats a lot of only a few foods. (Like an entire watermelon in one sitting. Salted, including the seeds.) She loves grapes, Diet Coke, Slim Fast (for the taste), Cool Whip, popcorn, melons, squash, and butter (as a food, not a condiment).

And then there are the food combinations. Foods My Mom Eats could be its own blog. There are the crab legs in hot dog buns with ketchup and mustard, salad with cottage cheese topped with canned mushrooms and cold canned soup, and the Cool Whip sandwiches topped with hot coffee, just to name a few.

Yes, this is my culinary heritage. Needless to say, my mother rarely eats what I cook. When she comes to visit, she gets her own special meals, like a grilled chicken breast, some veggies, and a baked potato. With fruit and Cool Whip for dessert.

Alas, I won't be seeing Mom until next weekend, so I am making a non-Mom-approved dish for supper this evening. She might like this if I left out the sausage. And the pasta. And the sauce.

This is a modification of a Cuisine at Home recipe, which is a low-fat twist on pasta with Alfredo sauce. I made many changes, because while the hubby isn't a big fan of Alfredo, he does like spicier pasta dishes with cream sauces. The verdict? Not only did it look impressive ("This looks like something I'd order in a restaurant"), but the hubby really, really liked it, and suggested adding some shrimp in next time. (I like it when he says there will be a next time.) I think this earned a spot on our permanent recipe roster.

Note: I updated the instructions to include the shrimp. We've made this a bazillion times since, always with shrimp. It's a hit!

Spicy Chicken and Sausage Alfredo
Serves 6-8

8 oz. farfalle (bowtie) pasta
1 c. low-fat evaporated milk
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
2 egg yolks
Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
Cooking spray
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in short, thin slices
1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined (feel free to use frozen)

2-3 tsp. Cajun or Creole seasoning (I used Tony Chachere's)
1 tsp. olive oil
8 oz. sausage, sliced on the diagonal (use turkey kielbasa to keep this lower in fat; I used andouille for some extra kick)
1 c. sliced button mushrooms
1 onion, chopped
1 small or 1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. reserved pasta water
1 c. frozen peas (optional; the hubby hates peas, so we don't eat them)
2 green onions, thinly sliced

1. Cook pasta in salted water, according to package directions.

2. Whisk together evaporated milk, Parmesan, egg yolks, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.

3. Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle chicken and shrimp with Creole or Cajun seasoning and add to pan. Saute until chicken and shrimp are browned and fully cooked, about 4 minutes. (The shrimp might finish sooner; just remove that from the pan, first.)

4. Remove chicken from pan, and then add oil to pan.

5. Add sausage, mushrooms, onion, red pepper, and garlic. Cook until sausage starts to brown and veggies are crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.

6. Add 1/4 c. pasta water to pan and deglaze, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom. Cook until water is nearly evaporated.

7. Add chicken and shrimp, and peas, if using. Add sauce mixture, stirring until thickened, about 2-3 minutes.

8. Drain pasta and add to pan, tossing to combine and coat. Sprinkle with scallions before serving.

I love how random pictures appear on my camera. This is Babe. The hubby won him for me in the claw machine at the movie theater yesterday. Apparently Babe likes the pasta, too.


dave said...

Where did you find andouille in Fargo?

...and I've always known Babe had good taste.

angelinthekitchen said...

Go Osgood Hornbacher's!

ValleyWriter said...

Great recipe! I found your blog on The Leftover Queen's Finest Foodie Fridays post - congrats on being a fine foodie!

from my motorhome to yours said...

the pictures look great!

girlichef said...

Found you through FFF...lovin' your blog so far :) Very tasty.