Monthly Archives: September 2012

Penne Alfredo Fake-out

In a perfect world, we cook everything from fresh and make our own sauces, etc. But real life often challenges us with unexpected company or a rushed schedule. There’s no need to resort to take-out, not when you can fake out. Take a little help from the store and keep a few cheat items in your pantry and freezer. Here’s a favorite emergency dish I make in twenty minutes. I read labels and shop as wisely as possible to ensure my fake out is as healthful as possible.


Penne Alfredo Fake-out

• 2 cups whole-wheat penne pasta
• Salt
• 1 jar reduced fat Alfredo sauce
• 1 cup frozen vegetables
• ½ pound medium shrimp, with veins and tails removed
• ½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
• ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Cook penne pasta according to package instructions in salted, boiling water.
2. In a 2 quart covered saucepan, gently heat shrimp and vegetables over medium-low heat until shrimp turns pink and sauce is bubbly (approximately 10 minutes)
3. Drain cooked penne and toss with the shrimp sauce mixture.
4. Serve, garnished with chopped parsley and shredded cheese, if desired.

Yield: 4 servings

Variations: Chill leftovers for a tasty pasta salad.

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Filed under casseroles, Healthful Eating, pasta, Recipes, Shrimp, whole wheat

Juicy Chicken Breasts

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts–frozen or fresh–are so convenient, but they can be unforgiving if you overcook them the least little bit. I’ve tried marinades, brines, and sauces. An easier solution is to buy skinless chicken breasts with the bone intact. The bone adds cooking time, but it also keeps the chicken meat flavorful and moist.

Here’s how I “fry” a chicken breast. First, I preheat a dry skillet over medium-high heat (this needs to be a quality stainless or cast iron skillet; aluminum may warp). Then I position the breast in the pan (do not move or the meat will tear). It will stick to the skillet. Cover, lower the heat to medium, and time for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken and cook another 5 minutes or until juices run clear. Remove the chicken then add a little liquid to the pan and whisk up the cooked on “fond” for au jus gravy. The chicken is crusty good yet tender and moist on the inside.

In the time it takes to cook chicken breasts, you can have your vegetables steamed, your drinks poured, and the table set. Thirty minute meal!

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Filed under chicken, cooking, Healthful Eating