Saturday, April 21, 2012

Alfredo Bow Ties and Chicken

(This recipe was first posted in conjunction with the Meijer Ad Week of 4/22/12 - 4/28/12)

This is one of my favorite chicken recipes.  I don't make it very often because honestly, it's time-consuming and creates a lot of dirty dishes.  (There, I just talked you right out of making it, didn't I?)  However, every time I make it, I remember again that the time involved really IS worth it, because it is soooo good!  Even so...anyone want to come over and do my dishes?

2 medium-sized boneless, skinless chicken breast pieces
1/2 C +/- Italian dressing (divided)
1 large or 2 small crowns of broccoli, chopped into small flowerets
4 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 medium-sized tomato, diced and drained
8 oz bow tie pasta (2/3 of a 12 oz box), cooked and drained
1 C (one 1/2 pint carton) whipping cream
4 Tbsp margarine
1/2 tsp garlic powder
pinch of salt
few shakes of pepper
1/4 C Parmesan cheese
3 slices cooked bacon, diced

Start water boiling for pasta.  Trim all visible fat from chicken breast.  Slice thinly (no larger than 1/2 inch).  Drizzle 1/4 C Italian dressing into a large skillet.  Heat until it starts to bubble. Lay chicken pieces flat in the bubbling Italian dressing.  Cook over high heat 2 minutes, or until the edges of the chicken pieces turn white.  Use a tongs to turn each piece over.  Cook 1 1/2 minutes more, or until the thickest pieces have no pink left in the middle.  Cut into a piece to check it if you're nervous about undercooking it.  Remove chicken from the skillet.  Set aside in a bowl and cover with foil.  Add remaining 1/4 cup of Italian dressing to the pan (no need to clean it out), along with the broccoli and mushrooms.  Saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, add bowtie pasta to the boiling water and start cooking.  Add diced tomato to the broccoli and mushrooms and saute for another minute or so.  [If you haven't cooked your bacon yet, now is the time to get another pan dirty and start cooking that.]  Remove vegetables from pan and add to chicken.  Cover and set aside again.  Pour out all pan liquid (no need to wipe it, just dump out the juice).  Cook and stir over medium heat the whipping cream, garlic powder, and margarine until the margarine is melted and mixture begins to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes.  Stir in Parmesan cheese and simmer 1 more minute.  Add chicken and vegetables back into the pan.  (After sitting for awhile, the chicken and vegetables will have drained a bit, so watch out for the large amount of liquid on the bottom of the bowl.  Some of the liquid can go back in the pan, but not all of it, or you'll water down the alfredo sauce too much.)  Cook and stir 1 more minute or until heated through.  Mix with cooked and drained bowtie pasta and bacon.  Serve with garlic bread and salad

Options and Tips
  • I halved the original recipe because it made a huge amount of food!  The recipe above feeds our family of 6 with some leftovers. 
  • The original recipe called for Roma tomatoes (2 tomatoes for the recipe above), but I just use whatever is on sale.  If you use regular tomatoes, make sure to mostly use the fleshy part, not the juicy part with the seeds.
  • We love the stronger flavor of Kraft's "Tuscan House Italian Dressing" but any brand and/or variety of Italian dressing will be fine.
  • Use portabella mushrooms for a more intense flavor.  You can also customize this recipe according to your family's preferences:  substitute frozen peas (thawed first) for the tomatoes, or shrimp for the chicken.
  • We like the creamy flavor of the whipping cream in this recipe, but if you'd like to trim costs, try using whole milk instead.  If you don't have whole milk in the house, use whatever percent you have, but mix it with 1 Tbsp of cornstarch to thicken it up.
    This recipe is from Charlynn Kamps.  If I remember correctly, she got the recipe from Tamara Kalsbeek, who created it based on a dish from Johnny Carino's restaurant.

    This recipe is linked to the Ultimate Recipe Swap over at Life as Mom.


    1. I will have to try this one. Looks so delicious! Way to go Tamara Kalsbeek. :)