Friday, February 11, 2011

Cheesecake Factory's Louisiana Chicken Pasta Recipe (Slenderized!)

We're trying to tighten our belts around here, both literally and figuratively. Mr. T and I are trying to shed our winter-hibernation weight. We're also trying to save money so we didn't have our normal Friday night meal out. 

So let it be known that I love the Cheesecake Factory. Yes, I know, some people consider it pedestrian but I don't care. It's my favorite chain restaurant. I like their drinks, I like their salads, and I especially like their Louisiana Chicken Pasta. 

We were looking for something different than the same old, same old for dinner tonight. I had the fixins' to make a home version of Louisiana Pasta but I decided to slenderize it. The results were delicious. And to top things off it was quick and easy enough to move into weeknight meal rotation.

Cheesecake Factory's Louisiana Chicken Pasta Recipe
1 teaspoon margarine
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ of a 12 oz package mushroom
1 cup red onion
1 ½ cup yellow, red and green peppers ( Note: I used frozen strips that come tri-colored and just diced them up)
½ to 1 teaspoons crushed red pepper, depending on your heat threshold
4-5 garlic cloves (Note: Who doesn't love lotsa garlic? You can reduce if you like.)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon flour (Note: You can mix a bit of flour and water if your sauce doesn't thicken up)
2 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth (Regular or reduced sodium depending on your preference)
1 to 2 teaspoons Frank's red hot sauce
½ cup Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh basil (Note: I use the tube stuff it lasts longer. It's one for one for fresh.)
1 tablespoon seasoned salt (Note: I use light Goya Adobe Seasoning Salt)
1 package Perdue Baked Tenderloin Chicken Breasts 
1 box bow tie pasta or spaghetti 
Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

Put on a pot of water for pasta. Heat chicken according to package. Melt butter and oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms saute about 3 minutes or until tender. Add peppers and onions and saute about another 3 minutes until crisp-tender. Add garlic and crushed red pepper. Add flour and stir into vegetables until coated. Cook down for about a minute or two. Add milk and chicken broth. Add basil, seasoned salt, Red Hot sauce and Parmesan. Turn up heat to a low boil to thicken sauce. Stir frequently so that sauce doesn't stick to pan. Once thicken reduce heat to very low. Drain pasta and return to pot and cover with sauce. Heat sauce and pasta to coat. Add seasoning salt and additional broth if needed. Serve and top with chicken.

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