Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Chicken spaghetti? Why not?

Chicken spaghetti? Why not? A terrifically healthy, new take on our Italian favorite!

Traditional spaghetti, with beef or sausage in a tomato-based sauce is a favorite on American menus. Nonetheless, any dish, served too often can lose its appeal with the family. Spaghetti has become a staple of the American diet, as a hearty and filling meal, easy to prepare and a perfect partner for a side of salad and a chunk of garlic bread. If your family no longer looks with favor on this economical dish, it's time to think outside the box and throw them for a loop, with a most unlikely variation – chicken spaghetti!

Our chicken spaghetti recipe uses the same culinary concepts as traditional spaghetti: meat, veggies, seasonings and sauce, lavished in generous proportions over a plate of noodles. Let's see just how different this spaghetti recipe is and how you can create this dish and have everyone wondering where in the world you came up with this new concoction, as yet unnamed, but heavenly on the palate, right down to this last bite. This chicken spaghetti still comes with the garden salad and garlic bread sides.

Our chicken based spaghetti is prepared in almost an identical way to traditional spaghetti – the ingredients and seasonings are different, but the finished dish has a similar consistency, but an entirely different flavor. Take a look.

Chicken Spaghetti

For maximum economy, begin with a whole roasted chicken. For a quicker version, use a frozen 2-lb package of chicken breast strips. In either case, cut the cooked chicken into bite sized chunks and set aside in a stock pot, off the stove.

Clean and slice a pound of mushrooms, one large diced sweet onion and 2 large sweet red bell peppers, julienned. In a large frying pan, saute the onions in a tablespoon of olive oil, scraping the pan with a spatula frequently, until the onions are caramelized. Remove the onions to the stock pot. Scrape the pan to distribute the browned bits remaining in the pan, then toss in the bell peppers, giving them a light toasting for just 2-3 minutes. Add the peppers to the stock pot. If the pan is dry, add a little olive oil, cooking the mushrooms in small batches, adding to your stock pot until all of the mushrooms are cooked. Deglaze the pan with ½ cup of dry white wine and pour the broth over the contents of the stock pot.

Pour two 26-ounce jars of commercially prepared Alfredo sauce into the stock pot and stir well.

Prepare 8 ounces of dry linguine noodles according to the package directions. While the noodles are cooking, set the stockpot over a burner set to low-medium heat, stirring occasionally. With scissors, snip a half cup of fresh, washed Italian flat leaf parsley and set aside. When the noodles are done, drain well.

Portion the noodles on individual serving plates, ladle a generous amount of the chicken spaghetti sauce over the noodles and garnish with a sprinkling of the parsley.

Serve with toasted garlic bread and a dinner salad. Ooh-la-la! This is a meal that won't soon be forgotten! You have my permission to claim this culinary delight as your own!

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