Dyan Damron made Easy Cajun Pasta. You can find more healthy recipes and meal planning ideas at www.coachdconsulting.com. For more information, call (615) 310-6634, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow Dyan Damron on Facebook, @Dyan_Damon on Twitter, and @Dyan.Damron on Instagram.
Cajun Chicken Pasta
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (to taste, can leave out if you prefer)
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp salt
½ lb. boneless skinless chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
½ lb. andouille sausage (fully cooked links), cut into ¼ inch slices
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ cup onion, diced
½ cup bell pepper, diced
½ lb. whole grain pasta (any shape)
1 15 oz. can no-salt added diced tomatoes
1 15 oz. can low sodium chicken broth
2 oz. Neufchatel cream cheese
For garnish: sliced green onions or fresh parsley
Combine the ingredients for the Cajun seasoning in a resealable bag. Add the diced chicken and shake and massage to coat the chicken in spices. You can do this in advance and store in the refrigerator until time to start cooking.
Add the olive oil to a large Dutch oven or heavy skillet (that has a lid). Heat the oil over medium-high until the skillet is hot. Add the sliced andouille sausage and sear for a couple minutes. Once the sausage is browned and the oil has turned red, remove the sausage from the skillet and set aside on a plate. Add the chicken to the skillet and seasoned oil and cook for a couple minutes on each side, or until the outside is browned. The chicken does not need to be fully cooked through at this point.
Add the diced onion and peppers to the skillet and continue to sauté for a few minutes until the onion and peppers soften. Next, add the diced tomatoes (with the juices) and chicken broth to the skillet. Note: add a touch of water to each can and rinse around then add to skillet. Use the liquid to scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Then add the pasta and stir until everything is evenly combined. Place a lid on top and allow the liquid to come to a boil.
Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the pasta simmer for about ten minutes, stirring every couple of minutes, until the pasta is tender and the liquid is thick and saucy. Do not overcook as the pasta will get gummy.
Once pasta is cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed, add the sausage back into the pan and add the cream cheese in chunks, then stir until it has melted into the sauce. Top the pasta with fresh green onions or parsley and serve.
Keep leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer. Just have a little extra chicken stock for reheating. Tip: freeze leftover stock in ice cube trays, pop out and store in a resealable bag for later use. You can also freeze leftover cream cheese for later use in mashed potatoes, dips, or pasta dishes.