It’s amazing what you can do with a little cooking smarts and a few ingredients, when you’re really pressed to come up with something new for dinner. For the past few weeks, I’ve been reading slow cooker recipes of every kind. Although I’ve owned my Crock-Pot cooker for some 10 years now, I’m just now using it to seriously make life easier.
I keep running into crock-pot recipes that call for processed ingredients like jars of cheese dip or cream of mystery soup. My heart skips a beat when I think of the high sodium these items contain. To get around the excess salt, I’ve learned to make my own cream sauces and cheese sauces. Homemade sauces take about 5 minutes to whip up. They have better textures (creaminess) and it’s easier to control the outcome with the spices that go into the pan.
In the original recipe that inspired this meal, it called for a 16-ounce jar of Parmesan Alfredo pasta sauce. I didn’t have that on hand, but I did have butter, flour, chicken broth, sour cream, Parmesan, garlic powder, and fresh ground pepper. All the fixin’s to make a great alfredo sauce at home without having to make a special trip to the store. When I come to think of it, it would have taken me 20 minutes to go to the store and back, if I wore blinders and tried not to pick up anything else.
Anyhoo. If you love creamy chicken pasta recipes, add this one to your list. My family CHOWED DOWN like there was no tomorrow. I was glad I made enough for leftovers. And yes, it was SO GOOD, my family ASKED me to heat up the leftovers the very next night. That rarely happens in this house.
HERE’S ALL IT TAKES
- 3 large frozen chicken breasts, boneless & skinless
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 6 tablespoons Smart Balance LIGHT Buttery Spread
- 6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Bragg Liquid Aminos (reduced salt substitute)
- 1/4 teaspoon white ground pepper or fresh ground black (whatever you have on hand)
- 1 3/4 cup chicken broth, warmed
- 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
- 1-pound dried whole-wheat pasta
In 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, lay the chicken in the bottom of the crock and top with grated Parmesan cheese. Set the cooker to low-heat.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Whisk together until smooth and continue whisking and cooking flour for 3 to 4 minutes. Slowly pour in warm chicken broth, whisking as you pour to keep the sauce from forming lumps. When sauce begins to thicken, within a minute, turn off heat. Add in sour cream and whisk into sauce until smooth. Taste for salt and pepper. (Remember the Parmesan has a salty flavor and will help season the dish.)
Pour the cream sauce over the chicken and cheese in the crock pot. Use a fork to lift up the chicken boobs, so the cream sauce can get under the poultry.
Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5 1/2 hours or on high-heat for 2 1/2 hours.
About 20 minutes before you’re ready to eat, bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil over medium-high heat. Add the dried linguine. Stir. Boil for 10 to 13 minutes until tender to the bite. Drain off water. Put the pasta in a large serving bowl.
Remove the cooked chicken breasts from the crock pot and cut into bite size chunks. Add chicken to the pasta bowl. Carefully remove crock from heat source, if possible, and pour sauce over chicken and pasta. Toss until pasta is evenly coated. Serve hot with garlic bread and a leafy green salad.
Take a look at my other alfredo recipe, it’s low-fat; no cholesterol; and lower in sodium.
Dairy-Free Alfredo Pasta Dinner