Penne For Your Thoughts

One of my major weaknesses is my inability to resist eating pastanoodles-tagliatelle-raw-colorful-165844. Pasta is not horrible for a healthy diet if it is consumed in moderation and if incorporated into a varied diet. A main contributor to pasta’s bad rap is sauce loaded with unnecessary calories. Before starting my lifestyle improvements, I found an AMAZING recipe for homemade chicken alfredo. To allow myself to indulge in this high-calorie meal without feeling as guilty, I made a few tweaks to the recipe to make it healthier.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box whole-wheat penne
  • 1/2 pound chicken breast
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 3 finely minced cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup low-fat mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup spinach (or as much as you want!)
  • 1/4 cup chopped mushrooms (optional)

Directions:

  1. Dice up your chicken and place it in a well-oiled pan over medium heat. Cook the chicken for about 15 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.
  2. Boil penne in salted water until al dente.
  3. While your chicken and pasta are cooking, coat a large pan with the olive oil and sauté garlic for around a minute.
  4. Begin slowly stirring in flour with the garlic/oil mixture until combined. Continue cooking for another minute.
  5. Whisk in the milk and simmer until it begins to thicken, Then add both cheeses and spices.  (you can add more milk depending on your preferred thickness)
  6. Add spinach and mushrooms. Reduce heat and cover the pan. Allow it to cook for about 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are cooked.
  7. Toss 1 cup of cooked penne and 1/2 cup of sauce. Sprinkle with cheese if desired.
  8. Enjoy!

pexels-photo-277276The original recipe called for lots of heavy cream, butter, and salt. These revisions cut the amount of fat and calories per serving. Whole-wheat pasta has about the same amount of carbohydrates as normal pasta, but I chose it because it is packed with protein. This meal is a great way to get your pasta fix without the guilt!

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