I have been a runner for years. Throughout those years I have convinced Mike to do many races with me, including a few half marathons and our greatest accomplishment together – a full marathon in Nashville, Tn, last spring. During our training plans we usually try to do our long runs on Saturday mornings so over the years having a big pasta dinner on Friday nights has become something we often look forward to and do out of habit.
A big pasta dinner can be packed with an enormous amount of calories and , of course, carbohydrates. When we’re not putting in large amounts of miles the next morning, it’s not always the best habit to fall into. This last week we were craving a pasta dinner like we used to have but since we’d only be running 7 miles the next morning, compared to the 15 1/2 we would have been doing last year at this time, we didn’t want all the unwanted calories that would come along with it. Mike had a great idea of substituting broccoli for the pasta. Let me tell you, this may be my new favorite thing…what a treat! I didn’t even miss the pasta!
I took an old favorite of ours – Cajun Seafood Pasta, substituted broccoli for the pasta and made a few other minor changes.
While the sauce is by no means low-calorie, I figured it was a fair trade-off since we were eating greens for our “pasta”. This dish was absolutely delicious and may be one of my new favorite dishes. I will warn you, this sauce is “Cajun-style” so it’s not for the weak of tongue.
Here is what you’ll need on your grocery list:
**This recipe makes enough to serve 4 people**
2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
1 tbsp Basil, chopped
1 cup Parsley, chopped
2 tsp Salt
3 tsp Black Pepper
1 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 cup Green Onion, chopped
12-16 oz Chicken Breast, cooked and diced (I actually just bought the prepackaged Tyson’s diced chicken. This made it very easy and quick! I just poured in the chicken when it was time.)
1/2 cup Shredded Swiss Cheese
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 cup Grape Tomatoes, sliced
12 cups Broccoli
Pour cream into a large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it barely starts to boil.
Reduce heat to low and add herbs, salt, pepper, and onion. Simmer 7-8 minutes or until sauce starts to thicken.
While sauce is simmering, begin preparing broccoli. I used frozen broccoli but you can use fresh broccoli as well. Add to a saucepan with a small amount of water. Bring water to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and cover until broccoli is tender.
Add cooked chicken to sauce and cook on low for another 5-7 minutes.
Stir in cheeses until well blended and then add tomatoes and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Dish broccoli evenly onto 4 serving plates and top each serving with sauce.
This is a great dish that you can enjoy without feeling too guilty. I loved the way the creamy sauce complimented the broccoli. I was full, satisfied, and happy after this meal!