Every now and again Mr. G has a recipe request. It’s not often very specific. A lot of the time it comes in the form of, “Please no recipes with mushrooms,” or ,”Can you make that without kabosh,” (“kabosh” is his word for quinoa, don’t ask me where he came up with that) or my personal favorite, “Why did you put __(random veggie)__ in it? I TOLD you I hate __(random veggie)__”. Some of these statements would make the normal wife want revenge. You know, sautéing a bunch of chunky mushrooms in with his favorite meal and not tell him about it… making “kabosh” instead of his normal rice or mashed potato side… or even including a variety of these random veggies in pasta sauce or even making the noodles for said pasta out of this “random veggie” (spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles). Not like I would actually seek revenge or anything. *Wink – Wink* But, a girl can always dream, right?
So, when he came to me with a specific request – some version of Fettuccine Alfredo – I thought about it. When he asks for anything with Alfredo sauce, he doesn’t mean the sauce in a jar that you can purchase at your local grocer and he is not talking about anything you can buy at a restaurant either. He wants me to make the sauce. I don’t know about you, but cream sauces scare the living daylights out of me. I know it really isn’t a huge deal, but in my head things can go terribly wrong, and most likely (with my luck, see my earlier Cooking Fails post) will go terribly wrong. I mulled over his request. Could I do it? Should I do it? It can’t turn out that bad, can it?
I finally decided that I would attempt to oblige him. Once I made the decision that I would dive in head first and try a Fettuccine Alfredo recipe, the rest was a matter of what Pinterest recipe would I test out. I did find one, the Chicken Alfredo Baked Ziti from Gimme Some Oven. I thought, this one is full proof. It’s limited number of ingredients, it’s not too heavy, and it doesn’t involve any amount of cream cheese (I have avoided that since my Mac-N-Cheese disaster). I got all prepped, and ready to go. This was the final outcome.
Before I go and give you the recipe and a few things that I did a touch differently, I have to say this:
(a) Ms. Gimme Some Oven promised ease in the production of this recipe and I relied upon that promise when I decided to use this recipe. I was not disappointed. Thank goodness it was easy! I think the more complex, the more likely I would make mistakes.
(b) I do love the added mozzarella. It gives it a cheesy topper that makes the bake super yummy. It makes the eating of the meal fun too with all the stringy goodness.
(c) I felt that the sauce was great with the pasta before I baked it, albeit a bit garlicky. After I baked it, I thought it was a little dry. If I would make it again I would set some sauce to the side and add the extra sauce to it about five minutes before done baking. I will elaborate a little more on this in a second.
After everything was done cooking (I made this for lunch and the toddler and munchkin were napping, as was Mr. G) I was able to let it cool for about 10 minutes before everyone came a’calling. This recipe was toddler approved. I couldn’t believe it! The toddler doesn’t eat anything I make. Ok, so I am exaggerating, but he is very picky, so it was amazing that he actually ate it. When it came to Mr. G’s review, I waited… bite one, bite two, bite three… silence. Then a loud, but mumbled “Oh muh gawd! This is SO good!” escaped his lips between chews. I asked, “You don’t think it’s a little dry? And you can really taste the garlic.” He simply said, “No”. I was like… OK!?!?! After a few more minutes of eating and yummy noises he made his last request of the meal, “Can we add this to the rotation?” HAHAHAHAHA! I just smiled and nodded. He was a happy hubby after that. He even ate more for dinner.
It was great! I will definitely make this again, but I will also make some extra sauce just for me if anything. If hubby doesn’t need it, I will use it for mine and maybe for some dipping sauce.
Chicken Alfredo Baked Ziti
CHICKEN BAKED ZITI INGREDIENTS:
- 12 ounces ziti (or any pasta shape)
- 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken (about 2 small chicken breasts)
- 1 batch Alfredo sauce (see below)
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I used 2% low fat)
- (optional toppings: additional shredded Parmesan cheese, chopped fresh parsley)
- 4-5 sprays of Pam
- 2 chicken breasts or 5 chicken breast tenderloin
- 2 Tbsp. garlic salt seasoning
- 1 tsp. diced dried onion
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
ALFREDO SAUCE INGREDIENTS:
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Tbsp. flour
- 1 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup low-fat milk (I used 2%)
- 3/4 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
TO MAKE THE CHICKEN BAKED ZITI:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Cook the pasta al dente in a large stockpot of well-salted boiling according to package instructions. Drain. Return pasta to the stockpot and add chicken and alfredo sauce. Gently toss to combine until the pasta is evenly coated.
- Pour half of the pasta into a greased 11×7-inch or 9×13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup of cheese. Layer the remaining half of the pasta evenly on top. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and just barely starts to turn golden. Remove and serve immediately, sprinkled with additional toppings if desired.
TO MAKE THE CHICKEN:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Grease a 8×8-inch glass baking dish.
- Mix the garlic salt and dried onion. Sprinkle mixture on both sides of chicken and pour chicken broth over seasoned chicken.
- Bake for 25/30 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.
TO MAKE THE ALFREDO SAUCE:
- Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute one minute, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. Sprinkle with flour, and stir to combine. Saute for an additional minute to cook the flour, stirring occasionally.
- Slowly add chicken broth (use the chicken broth from cooking the chicken and supplement with additional broth to total the one cup), whisking to combine until smooth. Whisk in milk, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Let cook for an additional minute until thickened, then stir in Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper until the cheese melted. Remove from heat and set aside.