Renee's Kitchen Adventures

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cajun Chicken and Sausage Pasta


My family LOVES Cajun and Creole flavors and we LOVE New Orleans.  Last spring, we took a trip to the Big Easy to escape all the cold and snow of NE Ohio. We missed a major snow storm while we were gone!  What a great time we had!!  If you missed it, you can read about it HERE.




With Mardi Gras just around the corner (March 4), I wanted to create a Cajun inspired dish to celebrate.  Traditionally on Fat Tuesday in my house, I make my Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya , we have New Orleans Style Bread Pudding or King Cake for dessert and I make a pot of Cafe du Monde coffee to sip.  I play Jazz music from Pandora to get into the spirit,  (Louis Armstrong station plays some awesome NOLA sounding music)  ...and I sit and dream about the next trip to this fun and amazing city.  Yes, New Orleans holds a special place in my heart.

I put this Cajun Chicken and Sausage Pasta dish together for this year and it was a hit!  Sort of a marriage of Dirty Rice and Jambalaya flavors, but with pasta instead of rice and in a creamy sauce and with lots of veggies.  I kept it light by using 1% milk and reduced-fat cream cheese in the sauce as well as using turkey sausage.  The key to making this dish taste like NOLA,  is using Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning.  This seasoning is great on just about anything.  It's just a little bit of heat and a lot of flavor. 


The sausage in this dish plays more the role of seasoning, then it does a protein.  For the sake of convenience, I used Jimmy Dean's Fully Cooked Turkey Sausage Crumbles.  I try to keep a bag in the freezer for when I need a bit of cooked crumbled sausage in recipes. As always, when I make chicken and pasta dishes, I season the chicken breasts whole and cook them whole, then cut them up and add them back into the dish rather than cutting them into pieces first and cooking them.  Why?  You retain more moisture and you don't over cook the chicken with this method, because who likes dried, overcooked, tough chicken breast?  Not me. 





Cajun Chicken and Sausage Pasta



Servings - 6   Serving Size - 1/6 of recipe   PP per Serving - 9p+
Calories - 350,   Total Fat - 8.5g,   Carb. - 39.5g,   Protein - 29.1g,   Fiber - 2.3g

Ingredients:
1 TBS olive or canola oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4)
2 tsp. Tony Chachere's® Original Creole Seasoning, divided
fresh ground black pepper
8 oz. uncooked pasta of your choice ( I used fettuccine )
1/2 cup of cooked turkey sausage crumbles (I used Jimmy Dean's ® Fully Cooked Turkey Sausage Crumbles)
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup chopped green or red bell pepper, or a combo of the two OR substitute 2 jalapeno peppers , chopped, for a portion of the peppers for extra heat
1 cup sliced mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 TBS all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups low sodium, fat free chicken broth
1 cup 1% milk
4 oz. 1/3 reduced-fat cream cheese, room temperature, cubed
1 large tomato, chopped
2 green onions, sliced, for garnish

Directions:
  1. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with 1 tsp. Tony Chachere's® seasoning and black pepper.  Add the 1 TBS oil to a large nonstick skillet.  Heat on med-high until it shimmers.  Cook chicken breasts until done.  Take out of the pan, slice into bite-sized pieces and keep warm in low oven.  
  2. To the skillet, add the onion, celery, peppers, mushrooms and garlic.  Sprinkle with 1 tsp. Tony Chachere's® seasoning.  Add a little chicken broth to the pan if there doesn't seem to be enough oil left over from the chicken.  Saute the vegetables until tender, about 6-7 minutes.  Stirring frequently.
  3. While vegetables are cooking, heat a large pot of salted water to boiling.  Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente.  Drain and set aside.  If you are using long pasta, such as fettuccine, break in half before cooking to make mixing into the sauce easier.  
  4.  When vegetables are soft, sprinkle them with 3 TBS flour.  Mix around and cook for about a minute.  Slowly add the chicken broth to the veg-flour mixture, stirring while adding to build the sauce.  Once the chicken broth is mixed in, add the milk.  Stir and bring simmer.  Keep stirring until sauce has thickened.  Add in the cubed cream cheese, and allow it to melt into the sauce.  Add the pasta into the pan with the sauce and vegetables, stir to coat.  Add in the reserved chicken and chopped tomato and stir. Add additional pepper and or Tony Chachere's® seasoning to taste.  Garnish with sliced green onions, if desired. 
adapted from Skinnytaste and Flavor Mosiac

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 The sauce on this dish is super creamy and delicious.  As always, if you need more or less heat, adjust the seasonings as you like.  You can always add a few dashes of hot sauce too!


Do you celebrate Mardi Gras?  What are some New Orleans inspired goodies do you like to serve to celebrate? 


More Mardi Gras goodness:

http://www.reneeskitchenadventures.com/2011/03/new-orleans-style-bread-pudding.html


http://www.reneeskitchenadventures.com/2012/02/chicken-and-sausage-jambalaya.html



11 comments:

  1. Looks like a great burst of flavor! I've never really celebrated Mardi Gras...maybe I should (for the food alone!)

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    1. Yes, flavor is what this type of cuisine is all about, I think! Yes, New Orleans food is KILLER! lol

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  2. I've never been to New Orleans! I've always wanted to go - love the food and this looks amazing!!

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    Replies
    1. thanks Marion! It's one of my favorite places to visit.

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  3. I love cajun and creole flavors and this dish looks amazing! I will be putting this on the menu soon.

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    1. thanks Michele! I hope you like it as much as we did.

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  4. I've only recently discovered Cajun flavors but I love them. This dish looks like something I'd love. Your pictures are so pretty, too!

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    1. Thanks Nicole! You know I have always admired your photography, so it means a lot to me that you like them!!

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  5. We don't really celebrate Mardi Gras - but one time at a law firm I worked had local counsel in New Orleans, and they sent us a king cake for Mardi Gras. I happily took a piece and while at my desk realized I had a tiny baby in my mouth. I was dumbfounded. I had visions of a bakers young child throwing their tiny baby doll in the batter while their parent wasn't watching!

    Not soon after I kept hearing "who got the baby?" and I finally realized it was good luck. Ha! Your dish looks delicious!

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  6. It looks so tasty. I don't really know these flavours very well but I'd love to try it. I love anything spicy.

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  7. Happy Mardi Gras!! Pinned! This pasta look wonderful! IFound you through Eat.Create.Party! Looking forward to following along here! ~ Angela from LeMoine Family Kitchen

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