Don’t feel guilty eating this delightful and comforting dish. It’s a lightened recipe and has many hidden nutrition benefits, while retaining all of the wonderful taste. This Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake is made with whole grain pasta, fresh spinach, broccoli, chicken breast and lighter Alfredo sauce.
You have no idea how long I’ve been craving some Chicken Alfredo! It’s definitely my favorite creamy sauce but I just can’t make it too often. It’s so addicting and not exactly on the healthy side. All that wonderful cheese, cream and butter is delicious but not a friend to my waist line or heart. Alfredo is definitely a cheat day kind of dish that I have a couple of times a year. I’d make it more often if my little guy would eat it too but he is not a fan of creamy sauce, just tomato based. (It’s like we’re not even related!)
Since I was having an Alfredo craving, I decided to make it healthy and lighten it up. It’s really easy to make this sauce lighter without sacrificing the taste. First of all, I omitted butter all together. When possible, I always try to omit butter and substitute extra virgin olive oil. I’m reminded of the scene from The Family, when Maggie talks about butter vs. olive oil.
“Now, olive oil – olive oil caresses your insides!“
~Maggie played by Michelle Pfeiffer, The Family
Finally, used light sour cream in the sauce and omitted flour. I also added broccoli, fresh spinach and used whole grain pasta so that this dish has hidden health benefits.
Try it! You’ll love it!
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Lightened Spinach & Broccoli Chicken Alfredo Bake
- 1 lb chicken breast
- 4 oz fresh spinach
- 5 oz broccoli florets
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves
- 7 oz dry whole grain penne
- 1 Tbsp fresh minced parsley
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 shallots
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup light sour cream
- 3 Tbsp dry Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- Cook pasta according to the box instructions, drain and set aside in a bowl.
- Cook chicken in a skillet over medium heat with some salt and olive oil, until completely cooked. Set aside until cooled enough to be handled.
- In the same skillet, add spinach and chopped broccoli. Add some salt, lemon juice and minced garlic. Saute over medium heat until spinach is cooked down and broccoli is tender. Add veggies to the bowl with pasta.
- Chop chicken and add it to the bowl with pasta as well.
- Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly grease a casserole dish.
- Stir pasta, chicken and veggies together with some salt and fresh parsley, then transfer to the casserole dish.
- In the same skillet as you cooked veggies and chicken, heat up some oil.
- Dice shallots and saute in the skillet until fragrant.
- Add heavy cream and slowly whisk in sour cream until incorporated. Add dry and fresh grated Parmesan cheeses and some salt. Bring to simmer on medium heat and simmer, stirring slowly, for a couple of minutes. Pour sauce over pasta mixture, evenly.
- Grate a generous amount of fresh Parmesan cheese over the top and bake for 15-17 minutes.
Check out these great recipes from other bloggers:
Asian Ginger Sesame Roasted Vegetable Pasta from The Law Student’s Wife
Sriracha Chicken and Broccoli Lo Mein from Baker by Nature
Easy Tomato Basil Pasta from Spoonful of Flavor
Caprese Style Mac and Cheese from Heather’s French Press
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