Last week, I was looking through the fridge, trying to figure out what to make with the chicken breasts that I had defrosted. None of the usual suspects sounded good, and then I remembered I has seen a video with a recipe for Cream Cajun pasta. I couldn’t find the video again, so I decided to wing it.
It’s super tasty, quick, and easy.
Creamy Cajun Pasta
- 2 T. AP Flour
- 4 T. Cajun/Creole seasoning, divided
- 2 large chicken breasts, slices in half (or 4 chicken breast tenders)
- 2T. Olive or grapeseed oil, divided
- 2T. butter, divided
- 1 medium onion, chopped (I used a purple onion)
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- 3 celery ribs, diced
- 2 small zucchini or 1 large zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 3 large tomatoes diced, or 1 can (about 15oz) diced tomatoes drained
- 1 1/4 cups chicken stock
- 1T. corn starch
- 1/2 block cream cheese
- 1 cup milk (I used whole milk if you want it extra thick and creamy use heavy cream)
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 lb. package of your choice of pasta, cooked per package instructions, reserve 1/4 cup cooked pasta water.
- Mix flour and 2T of the Cajun seasoning in a shallow dish.
- Coat chicken breasts in flour/spice mixture.
- In a large skillet, heat half the butter and oil. Once the butter is melted, add chicken breasts. Cook for about 5-6 minutes on each side, allowing a light golden crust to form on each side of the breast.
- Once chicken breasts are golden brown on each side, remove from pan and set aside.
- Add remaining butter and oil.
- Saute onions, celery, and bell peppers in oil/butter until the onions are translucent, about 5-10 minutes.
- Add in the tomatoes and cook covered for about 5-10 minutes.
- While tomatoes are cooking mix stock and cornstarch to create a slurry. This mixture will thicken the sauce.
- Once the tomatoes have cooked and broken down, add the stock slurry, milk, and cream cheese. Stir and break down the cream cheese as it melts so there are no lumps. Add in the remaining Cajun Seasoning.
- Add back in the chicken breasts, and add in the zucchini, turn the heat down to low, and cook covered for about 5-10 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender.
- Mix in the remaining cheese, and taste. Add more Cajun Seasoning as desired. We added black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste (about 1 teaspoon each).
- Stir in reserved pasta water, and cooked pasta. Allow the entire dish to cook for about 3-5 minutes.
Serve topped with parmesan cheese if desired. This was an amazing dinner and it was done in less than an hour. I had prepped all the veggies ahead of time. I do about 2 hours worth of meal prep each week, including chopping veggies on Monday afternoons after the CSA box arrives.
- To make this dish gluten-free, use Gluten Free AP flour, and gluten-free pasta.
- To make this dish dairy free, use dairy-free milk, cream cheese, and parm.
- This dish is not vegetarian or vegan.
In my recent post about hosting a mermaid-themed party, I mentioned that we will be serving pasta salad.
One of the things that I love about pasta salad is that it’s so flexible.
Basically, all you need is a pound of pasta (your choice) cooked per package directions, drained, and rinsed. After that, whatever you add is up to you.
- I use 1 cup of dressing to start. Usually, I use zesty Italian-type dressing, but if you are a pesto lover, 1 jar/can of pesto and a few tablespoons of your favorite oil (I like avocado oil) is excellent. Red or green pesto, whatever your preference is. If you are serving vegetarians, avoid red pesto because it contains anchovies.
- 1 cup of diced cheese- Mozzarella, or mozzarella pearls, or cut up a couple string cheese sticks.
- 2 cups vegetables, cut into bite-size pieces. Bell peppers, broccoli, black olives, tomatoes (either grape or cherry), and fresh, shelled peas are some of my favorites.
- Optional, but tasty: a bunch of fresh basil, cut into ribbons (chiffonade).
Mix all ingredients together, and store in a tightly closed container for at least 4-6 hours prior to serving.
This recipe serves about 8-10 as a side dish, less as a main dish. If you need to add meat to this, as a can or 2 pouches of chunk tuna, drained and rinsed.
I’ve got two picky eaters. The big kid has a lot of food aversions (textures, tastes/flavors), which is pretty common for people on the spectrum. The little kid will try new foods with greater frequency, but she loves noodles with butter.
We’ve tried so many different brands of pasta, trying to find something that tastes great and has good nutrition. a lot of veggie-based pasta gets weird and gummy when cooked, so has a weird flavor, and then there’s the “zero pasta” which is stinky even after you spend twenty minutes rinsing it.
Enter ZenB Pasta! Made from 100% yellow peas, including the skins. It comes in a variety of pasta varieties: Penne, Elbows, Rotini, Spaghetti, and Agile.
It’s an amazing source of protein and fiber. It’s gluten-free and vegan!
Both kids tried ZenB over the weekend and loved it. They both asked for seconds, which is unheard of. I love that it’s a great source of protein- it’s hard to get protein into kiddo sometimes.
If you want to check it out, The ZenB website currently has a free shipping offer, when you shop here.
And if you are looking for some new sauces, ZENB has the hook-up! ZENB Gourmet Pasta Sauce, made from WHOLE vegetables, for a rich depth of flavor.
We eat a lot of veggies in this house, but recently I picked up a few pounds of bulk hot Italian sausage and I was jonesing for a meaty baked pasta dish. We don’t eat a lot of meat, so 1 pound for this recipe is a lot for us. If you are a big meat eater, you can add up to an extra pound of sausage to make it extra meaty.
This recipe makes a lot, but, it keeps well for leftovers and you can freeze leftovers as well.
Meaty Baked Pasta
- 1 box pasta (whatever variety you like best), cooked per package directions
- 1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
- 2 T. butter or oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1 medium-sized zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 32 oz of your favorite red pasta sauce
- 1 small can of tomato paste
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups mozzarella, divided
- 1 cup parmesan/romano blend cheese, divided
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Cook pasta per directions, drain off the water, reserving 2-3 Tablespoons.
- In a large pan, cook and crumble Italian sausage. After it is cooked, drain it on a paper towel.
- Using the same pan, saute onion and pepper for 10-15 minutes, until the onions are clear and have started to caramelize.
- Add in garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add in zucchini, sauce, and tomato paste- cook until sauce comes to a simmer.
- Add meat back in, and stir to combine.
- Add reserved pasta water to the sauce and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- In a baking dish layer sauce, pasta, cheese, and sauce. Repeat until the baking dish is full and top with the remaining cheese.
- Cover the baking dish with a lid or tented foil and bake for 45 minutes.
- Remove the lid/foil and cook another 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Serve with a green salad and garlic bread!
This recipe made a 9×13 baking dish, which will serve 6-8 people a hearty portion.
If you need more veggies in your life, add carrots, drained diced petite tomatoes, more peppers, and even a few handfuls of spinach!
This meal was so satisfying. I’ve had leftovers for lunch twice now.
I ended up with extra sauce, and I plan on making calzones with it.
This recipe is easy to make, and amazing. It uses Red Pesto, which has a tomato base. It’s warm, filling, and comforting.
The first thing you need to do is roast some veggies. Check my recipe here. I roast 5-ish lbs of veggies each week, so we usually have some in the fridge.
Baked Red Pesto and Roasted Veggie Pasta
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Boil salted water and cook pasta per package directions. As you drain, reserve some of the pasta water (about 1/2 cup).
- In a large baking dish (11×13) mix roasted veggies, pasta, red pesto, and add pasta water a little bit at a time, until all the pasta is coated. You may not need all 1/2 cup.
- Mix in 1/2 of the cheese.
- Smooth the mixture down into the baking dish, and bake for 20 minutes covered.
- After 20 minutes, top with the remaining cheese and continue to bake uncovered for 10-ish minutes until the cheese is brown and bubbly.
- Serve with garlic bread and a green salad.
Serves 6-8. This re-heats well, if there are any leftovers.
- This dish is vegetarian, but not vegan. This is a vegan red pesto, but I’ve not tried it. To make it vegan, use a vegan red pesto and vegan Italian Cheese blend.
- Pesto is not a nut-free product! If you have a nut allergy, be careful!
- Feel free to use your favorite pasta (high protein, gluten-free, made from soy, etc). I do not recommend shirataki noodles- They have a weird texture and smell (seriously).
We’ve been participating in Tryazon events for three+ years. We’ve gotten to try all sorts of fun toys, games, and food. You can learn more about Tryazon here.
Taste Republic is back again with new Tryazon TryaBox opportunity. Taste Republic is revolutionizing gluten-free food with delicious, wholesome ingredients. The pasta is made fresh and kept in the refrigerated section to maximize freshness. Taste Republic is now in Walmart making it even easier to enjoy pasta without sacrificing taste or texture!
They have 100 participant spots open (for individuals within the western US, including MT, TX, CO, WY, ID, UT, AZ, NM, NV, CA, OR, and WA) and those chosen will receive a Gluten Free Goodness TryaBox including coupons to pick up FREE fresh packages of Taste Republic gluten-free pasta of your choice to sample and review! Learn more and apply here.
Disclaimer: I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links. For more information about the use of affiliate links and partnerships, visit my disclosure page.
Yesterday we had an amazing dinner! We’re still without a full-size fridge, so we’re without meat or a lot of our usual ingredients, thankfully Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto to the rescue! I paired the pesto with farfalle (bowtie pasta), and roasted veggies. It was tasting, filling, and a great way to get veggies into your kiddos.
I wrote down the recipe to share with you. The Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto sauce is so rich and creamy and pairs really well with the veggies I chose.
Roasted Veggies and Farfalle with Creamy Pesto
- 1 6.2 oz jar of Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto
- 1 box of pasta (I used Barilla Farfalle)
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into pieces
- 1/2 sweet onion, cut into pieces
- 1 cup grape tomatoes
- 1 red bell pepper, deseeded, and cut into slices
- 1 zucchini, cut into coins
- 2 T. olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- parmesan to taste
- Roast Veggies (complete directions can be found here)
- While veggies are roasting, bring a pot of water to a boil.
- Cook pasta per box directions.
- Reserve 3 T. of pasta water when draining cooked pasta.
- Mix a jar of Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto into the cooked pasta.
- Add roasted veggies to the pasta/sauce mixture. Stir to combine.
- Serve with a little extra parmesan cheese, as needed.
This is a great, easy dish that’s perfect for meat-free nights. This Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto is so versitile. In addition to using on pasta, it makes a great veggie dip (I might be guilty of dipping some of the raw veggies into the jar while I was cooking), a sandwich spread (in place of mayo or mustard), or for marinating meat. Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto does not need to be heated prior to eating, and it’s shelf-stable prior to opening. You can find it in the store near the jarred pasta sauces. I found it at Target, but you can also find it on Amazon.
Giveaway: I want to share Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto with you! I’ve got 2 coupons each for one free jar (up to $3.99) of Barilla Pesto (expiration 12/31/2021). I will choose 2 winners on 10/8/2021 and notify them via email.
Entering is easy: Leave a comment on this blog post with how you would use Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto!
Bring authentic Italian flavors into your kitchen with new Tryazon TryaBox opportunity sponsored by Cucina Antica and Taste Republic. Cucina Antica uses premium, authentic Italian flavors to create award-winning pasta sauces. Each sauce is made with no preservatives and no sugar, water or tomato paste is added. They are gluten-free, vegetarian and Whole30 Approved. Taste Republic is revolutionizing gluten-free food with delicious, wholesome ingredients. The pasta is made fresh and kept in the refrigerated section to maximize freshness. Bring the Italian flavors to your home without the gluten!
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Did you know that 10/17/19 is National Pasta Day?
I didn’t. There aren’t tons of freebies. Like… None.
Olive Garden has some sort of shenanigans going on via Twitter, but ain’t nobody got time for that. IF you sign up for their email club, you can get a free app or dessert.
For those of us who don’t have time to chase deals, and want to eat a bowl of plain ‘skettis at home, here are some yummy pasta recipes to try:
The kids have requested Mac and Cheese for dinner- so we’re celebrating!
This recipe came to me, as I was staring into the fridge wondering what the hell I was going to do with all spinach my friend gave me.
I used a package of Aidell’s Chicken caramelized onion meatballs, but feel free to use whatever kind of meatballs you like (or make your own!).
Mix it up with whatever veggies you have on hand! Peppers or kale would be great in this dish!
- 1 package chicken meatballs (about a dozen, if making from scratch)
- 1/2 purple onion, diced
- 1 T. olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1.5 c. grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise (about 1 package)
- 3-4 c. fresh spinach
- Juice of 3 lemons
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 T. Thyme
- 1 T. Rosemary
- 1 T. air-dried shallots
- 1 package pasta (I like ziti) cooked per package instructions
- 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
- salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- In a large saucepan, saute onion until translucent.
- Add garlic, and cook on medium/low until fragrant.
- Add meatballs, tomatoes, and herbs. Cook on medium/low, until meatballs are heated thoroughly.
- stir in lemon juice and zest. Scrape pan to remove any browned bits.
- Toss in spinach, turn to low, and cover with the lid. Allow spinach to cook down by about half- this takes only a few minutes.
- Remove from heat, stir in cooked pasta and cheese.
- Season with salt and pepper as needed, and serve ASAP.
This is a great 1 dish meal! It’s very filling, but the acid from the lemon and the chicken meatballs keeps the meal feeling very light.
To make this dish Gluten-free: Use GF pasta and make sure your meatballs are GF.
To make this dish Vegetarian: Use meat-free “meatballs”