Money Matters: Cajun Chicken Pasta

It’s true that we “rate” the recipes we try – it’s my way of steering you, dear readers, to what is good, better, and best. It’s true that we enjoy nearly everything…we’re pretty easy to please (too easy, I imagine). But this dish, without a doubt, falls into the “best” recipe category.

I love that this meal combines your complex carbohydrate (whole wheat pasta), vegetables (peppers and onion), and protein (chicken breast). It even offers up some milk, though not quite a serving. And outside of boiling the pasta, this is all made in one big skillet.

Even though this wasn’t what was for dinner last night, I couldn’t help but dream about this dish while driving home from my spin class last night. Did you know you can peddle on a spin bike while doing tricep push-ups? Yeah, me either. Owwww. After all that cardio, pasta seemed like the right thing to do. And not just any pasta, I really wanted this pasta.

This dish also had the perfect amount of heat (not too spicy, you weenies!). When I reheated these leftovers at work my co-workers asked, “What smells spicy and Cajun-y?” Good smellers they’ve got — hit the nail on the head! I’ve always loved pasta dishes with some spice, personally. The flavor in this was unique, though not complex. I can’t say I’ve ever used Cajun seasoning as a staple in my kitchen, but that has just changed!

If that testament to this Cajun Chicken Pasta wasn’t convincing enough, check out those nutrition stats. Right around 360 calories (for a rather generous portion, I should add) and a great balance of carbohydrate, protein, and fat while also offering 6.5 grams of fiber and less than 500 milligrams of sodium. Plus, it was ready in 30 minutes or less. And the actual cost? Try $1.50 a serving! Even dollar menus have a hard time competing with that ;)

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Cajun Chicken Pasta heavily adapted from All Recipes and Ommy Noms

10 oz whole wheat linguine 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts 4 tsp Cajun seasoning 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips 1 green bell pepper, slices into strips 1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 1/2 cups half-and-half 1 tsp dried basil

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, cut chicken breasts into thin strips and season with 2 teaspoons of cajun seasoning. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the chicken in the olive oil for 4-5 minutes or until no longer pink.

Add the onion and saute 1-2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute an additional minute. Add red and green bell peppers. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes, until peppers are slightly tender.

Add the half-and-half and basil, bring to a boil. Add the cooked linguine, tossing to allow the half and half to cook into the al dente pasta. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of cajun seasoning. Yield: 6 servings (about 1 1/2 cups each).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 364 calories; 10.3 g. fat; 57 mg. cholesterol; 437 mg. sodium; 42.4 g. carbohydrate; 6.5 g. fiber; 24.2 g. protein

Result: High rated meal! I think this is my favorite meal in awhile. I love that I can have a pasta meal with a “cream sauce” for 364 calories! This meal is the perfect balance of carbohydrate, protein, and fat and offers up a good source of fiber. From start-to-finish this meal was about 30 minutes, and was very cost-effective! Enjoy!

Money Matters: A pound of chicken runs $2.99/lb. Red bell peppers were $1.61 and green bell peppers were 4 for $5. The half and half was $1.69 for 2 cups (I used 1 1/2 cups). Onions were on sale for $1.29/lb (I get about 2 onions per pound). Whole wheat pasta ran me $1.60 for 13.25 ounces. The total cost of the recipe was $8.99, bringing the cost per serving to $1.50!

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Even Lily begged for some of the flavor…

I need to pack, get to court (wish me better luck this go-round), and then Lil Lil and I are headed to Chicago!

P.S. You may wanna check back tomorrow for a giveaway! ;)

See you in the Chi,

Comments

  1. says

    Delicious and cheap, I love it. I’ve been so bad about making dinner lately. Nick has had random pasta dishes each day this week, and I’ve just been making “big salads”. Long week. But….we are both off now, YEAH!! I was planning on spinning this morning for my workout. Tricep push-ups may be happening (or…maybe not).

  2. says

    This is definitely the kind of recipe where the leftovers the next day are just as, if not better, than the actual meal because all the flavors and the smells combine into evil deliciousness. And I just really love making my coworkers jealous of my skillz. ;)

  3. says

    I made this recipe many moons ago – one of the first thing I ever made for Tom! I definitely need to make it again with some healthy applications.

  4. says

    I love simple meals like this. The flavors sound delicious, and it’s so inexpensive! Awesome! I actually don’t have many dishes I use Cajun seasoning for, but I love the taste of it. I’ll have to save this recipe away for the next time I get some chicken :)

  5. says

    This dish looks fantastic and I love that you highlight the budget-friendliness. I am definitely one of those spice weenies! I like a little heat but not so much that it burns my mouth off :) Is there any sub for cajun seasoning? what’s in it?

  6. Whitney says

    I made this last night and you were absolutely right about this recipe. It’s definitely deserving of the A++ rating and its super easy! I did feel a little guilty about it with the cream but it was so worth it!

    • Nicole, RD says

      I totally agree! We make this in the hospital cafeteria and everyone goes crazy for it! :) So glad you enjoyed it, too!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Cajun Chicken Pasta was a BLOW OUT! The whole wheat variety was GONE and the feedback was a resounding, “YUM!” We actually made about 30% more than we had projected and even that was gone. Woop woop! Today is buffalo chicken salads (baked and fried). If my coworkers are anything like Mr. Prevention…this will be a hit, too! We shall see. [...]

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