Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cajun Pasta --Quick, Light and Delicious

Cajun Pasta, oh so good! 
I began my exploration of creating this dish by browsing a new cookbook, "Eat More of What You Love" by Marlene Koch. (Find it here) I like to read cook books like I read novels, front to back, re-reading parts that I love over and over again. So far, I am finding this book to be a great starting place for new recipes. Her philosophy, I LOVE. She believes, as do I, that you can eat whatever you want but you've got to be smart about it, in order to manage your health. I've written before about my struggle with my weight, and I am always searching out ways to make my struggle easier. I love to cook, I love to eat and I love to entertain my friends by cooking for them. For a middle aged, height challenged lady, with grown sons who love to eat, that is a lethal combination. Fortunately, I don't have any heath issues (so far, Praise God!) but I need to shed a few pounds. SO, I purchased this cookbook to get myself inspired to cut back, cut WAY back.

This is only the second recipe that I've adapted from the book, and I knew from the first one that they need some tweaking to suit our palates. I have not added any additional carbs, sugar or fat, but I have added in more flavor, with herbs, veggies and spices. I eliminated the butter she recommended using, but since I amped up the flavors, we didn't miss it. Her recipes are also extremely low sodium, so I did add just a pinch of kosher salt. I hope you like my recipe and my alterations. I think you will! While it looks like a lot of pasta in the picture, it's only 6 ounces, divided 4 ways. We ate it for dinner and again for lunch. Perfect.

This pasta dish is packed with flavor, vegetables, lean protein and is low in fat. While there is a little bit of chopping, it's worth the effort. I put this together in only 30 minutes, start to finish. The flavor is spicy, but not overwhelming. If you like things only mildly spicy, don't add the hot sauce and cut the cajun seasoning back by a teaspoon. We loved this and can't wait to eat it again! I would absolutely serve this to company as well as using it as a quick, healthy family dinner on a weeknight.

Cajun Pasta 
Serves 4
6 oz linguine
8 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 T.  + 2 tsp. McCormick Cajun Seasoning (divided use)
2 T, Texas Pete Hot Sauce (optional) 
2 tsp. olive oil
1 medium red pepper, cut in strips
1 medium green pepper, cut in strips
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 c. thinly sliced celery 
8 oz. peeled, raw shrimp
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5 can organic diced tomatoes, with juice
1/4 c. low sodium chicken broth
2 T. seafood stock
a pinch of kosher salt
Start the water for your pasta in a large pot. Preheat a large, non-stick skillet and add 2 tsp. olive oil. Toss the chicken cubes with 1 T. cajun seasoning and add to the oil. Stir fry that for 2 minutes and then add the garlic and onions. Stir well to combine and let cook for 2 minutes. Add the peppers and celery, and continue to cook until the peppers start to soften. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, a pinch of kosher salt, the additional cajun seasoning and hot sauce (optional if you like things very mildly spicy). Cover. Bring the mixture to a full boil, turn it down and let it cook.  Cook pasta according to package directions until just al dente. Drain well. While the pasta is draining, add the shrimp to the skillet and set the timer for 5 minutes. When the timer goes off, combine the pasta and the sauce together in one of the pans. Cover and let steam for 5 more minutes, over lowest heat. Serve in a bowl. 
Approx 325 cal for 1 1/2 c. 

1 comment:

Christina said...

This looks great when we can get out again I am going to try it using some sort of gluten free noodle or quinoa. Being height challenged 4-5 pounds on me looks like 15 on someone else - now why do they call it pleasantly plump?