Though I will always be a sucker for dessert, I usually try to feed my family healthy meals. Our meals are typically filled with whole grains and veggies and are low in fat.
My blogging friend Jey, from The Jey of Cooking, is very passionate about heart health. She is hosting a heart healthy blog hop to raise money for the American Heart Association in honor of her mom, who received a life saving heart transplant last March. She will donate $1 to the American Heart Association for every heart healthy post received between now and March 25 (so there’s still time if you’d like to participate, check out the rules here). And don’t forget to check out the Heart Healthy blog hop on March 30!
Today’s recipe is a Heart Healthy Alfredo. How can Alfredo possibly be heart healthy, you ask? This Alfredo is made with low fat milk instead of cream. It is served over a veggie enriched pasta with all sorts of veggies. And our protein in a small portion of boneless, skinless chicken, pan seared in just 1 teaspoon of olive oil. This recipe proves that you can be heart healthy (and kid friendly) while still enjoying your favorite meals.
*While Fettuccine is typically the pasta of choice when serving Alfredo, I chose wagon wheels for two reasons; first, wagon wheels are more kid friendly, and second, these particular wagon wheels were enriched with a full serving of vegetables!
*For a more heart healthy meal, I recommend using either a whole grain or vegetable pasta.
Heart Healthy Vegetable Alfredo with Pan Seared Chicken
Adapted from Cooking Smart for a Healthy Heart
12 oz pasta (see note)
24 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
8 oz carrots, peeled and cut into coins
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 large red or orange bell pepper, cut into strips
2 cups broccoli florets (1 large crown)
2 cups low fat milk (I used 2%)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp black pepper
2 tbsp flour
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and place into a large serving bowl.
Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with a dash of sea salt and black pepper and cook for about 5 minutes. Flip the chicken, and cook on the second side another 5-7 minutes or until done.
While the chicken cooks, heat the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in a second skillet over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and the peppers and stir fry for 3-4 minutes. Add the peas and broccoli and stir fry of an additional 2-3 minutes or until the vegetables are tender-crisp. Pour into the serving bowl with the pasta.
As the vegetables cook, heat the milk in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in the salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Once the milk is warm (but before it boils), slowly whisk in the flour. Bring the milk to a low boil, whisking continuously, until the sauce thickens, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the parmesan, stirring until the cheese is melted and smooth.
Pour the sauce in the serving bowl over the pasta and vegetables and toss to combine. Serve in bowls with 4 ounces of seared chicken on top.