I have been on a slow journey towards eating more healthy and working out. One thing I have struggled with is how to introduce more vegetables into my lifestyle and hopefully my families as well. Well, I have a winning recipe that I developed over time that my kids love and it is filled with all kinds of vegetables. I call it Pasta with Chicken and Vegis.
Here is my shopping list for my Pasta with Chicken and Vegis
- 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
- Vegetables (start with the ones you like or think you will like) I used the following:
- 2 red onions
- 2 green bell peppers
- 2 red peppers (The yellow and orange peppers have too much skin that peels off when cooking)
- 2 heads of broccoli
- 1 bunch of asparagus (my kids like this one ok but they prefer I leave it out)
- 2 zucchini
- 2 squash
- 16 oz. angel hair pasta (preferably whole wheat pasta)
- Alfredo garlic sauce (prefer light and consider only using half of the container)
- Pam olive oil spray (olive oil is also healthy so you could use some of both)
- Tony Chacheres Creole spice (sprinkle on the chicken breasts)
- Salt and pepper to taste
A Little Planning
The meal takes about 1 hour to prepare and cook. The most time-consuming process is chopping the vegetables. A food chopper would significantly reduce your prep time. Here are a few food choppers that can really help:
- Cuisinart food chopper
- Pampered Chef food chopper (we have this one and love it)
- KitchenAid food chopper
- Ninja Master chopper
- And many others
Heat the oven to 350 degrees and make sure you have the few spices you will need. Next, let’s start putting it all together.
Once your oven is heated to 350 degrees, rinse the chicken breast and add the seasoning. I add these seasonings:
- Tony Charchere’s Creole seasoning (I’m not sure when or where we heard about this but we almost always add it to the chicken we cook.
I quick note on the chicken. It is best to buy fresh chicken, like Smart Chicken or a similar healthier quality.
You will notice at your first glance which chicken breast are the better quality. The two on the left are fresh chicken that doesn’t shrink much during the cooking process and the two on the right, well, those are the frozen kind you find in a bag at any grocery store. I know we can’t always afford the healthier versions but this is one of the exceptions I personally make.
Cook the chicken at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. I flip my chicken over after 20 minutes.
You need to use the largest skillet you have as the vegetable will want to jump out while sauteing them. It’s probably because they know we don’t want to eat them.
Once you start the chicken cooking than it’s time to start chopping. I like to start with the red onions, green bell peppers, followed by the red pepper. None of these are spicy even though I often cry over my onions and yes, I am a sensitive guy.
Now Make sure you add some salt and pepper to taste along with the Pam olive oil spray or one that you prefer. You will need to keep adding the spices as you cook as you will be adding additional ingredients.
Now, chop up your broccoli.
My advice is to chop off most of the stem and only keep the good stuff. We get too much of the stems when we buy bags of broccoli in the stores.
Next is the asparagus. This is a great vegetable but my kids have actually asked me to leave this out even though they still scarf the meal down with it in.
I would recommend you chop the vegetables into smaller pieces as this also keeps them from looking so obvious. This is just one of my little tricks to get focus off the vegetables and onto other things.
This is the time when I turn my burner onto medium/high which is 9 out of ten on my stove top. This works best for me.
Now it’s time to get your zucchini and squash into the skillet.
You will see if you look closely that I cut the zucchini and squash in half and then in thirds long ways again to keep them bite sizes. You want to keep the vegetables from looking too large as this may turn off your kids.
The chicken should be finished by now so pull it out of the oven, let it cool then cut them into bite size pieces.
Let’s get the pasta boiling. Our family likes angel hair pasta the best and we have grown use to using whole wheat pasta. The store was out of the whole wheat pasta today so we went back to the enriched pasta for this meal. Many people put some salt in the boiling water but you may want to refrain from that as lower salt is better for your blood pressure.
Place the cooked pasta in a strainer and rinse it with cold water. I believe cooling the pasta with cold water stops the pasta from cooking longer as it sits.
Place the chicken into a large bowl or container and mix in the sauce you prefer. I recommend a light Alfredo garlic sauce and try only using half of the sauce. You will get the flavor and your arteries will thank you later.
Next, add the pasta to the chicken and sauce.
Your vegetables should be cooked by now. Taste it for the consistency and spices you like. I personally like the vegetables cooked down a lot but make sure to stir occasionally and don’t cook them too hot.
Now you’re ready to add your pasta, chicken and sauce to the vegetables and mix thoroughly. Your dish should look similar to the picture below.
Let’s wrap this up now as my back is aching a little, I’m hungry and tired of cooking.
I recommend placing the pasta into smaller containers. This will help with several things. It will help preserve the food and it may help you to reduce the risk of overeating. It’s also good for those who are counting calories if you want to know exactly how much you are consuming.
Serve and Enjoy
This is a dish that I “tweaked” over several years and was shocked and pleasantly surprised that it has become one of my kid’s favorite dishes.
I would love to hear your comments and changes you might recommend and any similar dishes that you love.
Please leave your comments below.