Cajun Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

Oh, man!  We had an awesome dinner tonight.  I don’t know how it even popped into my head, but while I was trying to decide what to make for dinner I thought back to a delicious pasta dish I had at Chili’s a while back and decided to recreate it.  I didn’t remember exactly what ingredients were in the dish, but I knew it was some sort of Cajun chicken fettuccine alfredo.  So this is my take on it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

boneless, skinless chicken breasts

fettuccine pasta

Emeril’s Original Essence seasoning (recipe below, in case you don’t have the pre made version)

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

roasted red peppers (found on the same grocery aisle as pickles, banana peppers, etc.)

your favorite alfredo sauce (since I was adding roasted red peppers to the dish, I decided on some alfredo sauce with some red peppers already mixed in)

I don’t think you could ask for a recipe with more simple ingredients.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Liberally sprinkle Emeril’s Original Essence on chicken.  If you’re wondering why there is only one large chicken breast while the rest are chicken tenders, it is because when I brilliantly decided to make this dish I didn’t realize that I only had one normal sized chicken breast left until I had already gotten all my other ingredients together.  So the only other option was my chicken tenders in the freezer.  It actually worked out better though, because the chicken tenders chop up quicker. 🙂

Now, if you are feeling extra frisky and spicy, get out your cayenne pepper and pour a little in the palm of your hand.  In case you’re wondering, I did not use this much cayenne pepper.  If I had, I’m pretty sure my mouth would still be on fire.  A little goes a long way with cayenne pepper, so you should pour it in your hand first and then sprinkle it on using your other hand.  That way, you won’t mistakenly dump half the container on your chicken.

This is how much I sprinkled onto my chicken.  You can add more or less depending on how spicy you want it.  Or you can just omit it all together if you don’t like spiciness, like my friend Elizabeth.

Learned that one the hard way.  She and her fiance, Rustin, came over for dinner one night and I made my Jambasta (which is a Rachael Ray Jambalaya recipe using pasta instead of rice).  I did not know at the time that she was not a fan of spicy foods.  Now if you’ve ever had Jambalaya, you know that it is really spicy.  So when we sat down to dinner, she took one bite and that was enough for her.  I had to find her something else to eat quickly, and like an idiot, I gave her our left over Fulin’s Lo Mein from the night before.  But I had forgotten that we had asked for it extra spicy.  Sigh….another fail on my part.  She ended up eating a bagel for dinner.  Not one of my best moments.

Put the chicken in a hot pan seasoned side down.

Season the other side of the chicken the same way as the first side.

Cook chicken on the first side for about 3 minutes.  You want the pan to be pretty hot so that it blackens the seasoning.  Turn chicken over and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Then, place the entire pan into your preheated oven for 8-10 minutes or until chicken is cooked all the way through.

Meanwhile, place the fettuccine pasta in some boiling water.  I used linguine since I didn’t have any fettuccine, but you can use whatever you have.

Pour alfredo sauce into a sauce pan and heat over medium heat.

Place 3 roasted red peppers on a cutting board.  You may want to dry them off on a paper towel first, as they can be quite wet out of the can.

Chop into a small dice.

Throw peppers into a small skillet and heat over medium high heat.

Take chicken out of the oven and let rest on a cutting board.  You don’t want to cut into meat when it is fresh out of the oven, grill, or skillet.  Let it rest for a few minutes to let the juices redistribute.

Drain pasta and toss it into the pan that the chicken just came out of.

Throw the peppers in and mix around so that all the yummy drippings from the pan are coating the pasta.  Talk about flavor!  Why let it go to waste?

Pour heated alfredo sauce over pasta and mix well.

Cut chicken into bite sized strips.  This is why the chicken tenders came in handy. 🙂

Place pasta on a place and lay chicken strips on top.  Doesn’t that look delish!?

If you are feeling especially dangerous… I clearly was…..pour some left over alfredo sauce on top of the chicken.  Yum!  My tummy is happy.  As are my taste buds.  I know yours will thank you as well.

Marinated Top Sirloin (Part 2) + Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

Well, I took a 30 minute power nap on the couch after I finished my last post and while my meat finished marinating.  It was nice, but too short.  Steve woke me up with “Food time, Baby?”  The first words out of my mouth were, “Can you make dinner tonight?”  Ha!  Like that would ever happen.  Steve is good at alot of things, but cooking is just not one of them.  He has surprisingly produced some good eats off the grill, but that’s about his only culinary skill.  I was just so exhausted after 3 full days of gardening that my body did not want to get up from it’s horizontal position on the couch, let alone make dinner AND take pictures during the entire process.  But since I didn’t want to disappoint you all after my last post PROMISING that I would return with the rest of the recipe, I sucked it up and finished what I started.

I’m not going to post these pictures in the order that I took them, because that would just be too confusing since I was making everything at the same time.  So I’ll just keep everything in their own groups and you can determine the timing of everything if you make it all at the same time like I did.

While your grill is heating up, cut up some red skinned baby potatoes.  Don’t you think that red skinned potatoes look like apples when they’re cut up?  Dang it, now I feel like eating an apple.

Put them in a large saucepan and cover with water, then bring to a boil.

When they are tender enough to break apart easily with a fork, drain them and place back into sauce pan.

Mash with a potato masher.

Heat up some milk.  Don’t you like my Brasil (Brazil) mug?  I got it while on a missions trip to Brazil in the summer of 2006.

Add milk in small increments.  You don’t want to add too much, or your potatoes will be soupy.  Remember that you can always add more, but once it’s in you can’t take it out.  Mash milk and potatoes together.

Melt some butter and pour into the potatoes.  Yum.  Butter.

Add some salt and pepper to taste, then grate a clove of garlic over a microplane.  Watch your fingers, you don’t want to grate those!  I learned the hard way.

If you’re feeling really dangerous, add a handful of cheese.  I was clearly feeling dangerous.  Mash it all together.  The hot potatoes will melt the cheese and it’ll all be nice and ooy gooy.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare your green beans.  Green beans were finally on sale at the grocery store, so I helped myself to some. 🙂

Cut off and discard the ends of the beans.

Blanche the beans for a few minutes in boiling water.

Meanwhile, cut up half of an onion.  If you make small slices one way, then turn and slice the other way you’ll minimize your chopping time and probably your tears as well.

I always have tears pouring down my cheeks while chopping onions.  Normally I have to stop at least 3 times while chopping to wipe my eyes.  Oh how it burns!  It’s a really pretty sight when I’m wearing mascara too.  All kinds of makeup running down my face!  Attractive.

Finely chop some garlic too.  Because onions and garlic love each other.

Throw them both into a pan over medium heat.

Once the onions and garlic have caramelized a bit, drain the green beans and toss together in the pan.  Add salt and pepper.

Heat your grill to medium high heat.

Take your beautiful steaks out of the fridge and bring them out to the grill.  It was dark by the time I grilled these, so I had to use flash on my camera, which I hate doing.  So I apologize if the quality of these photos aren’t as good as the others.  That’s just the nature of the beast.

Depending on how you want your steak cooked you can adjust the timing, but we like our steaks medium, so I grilled these for about 5 minutes on each side.

Look at those beauties!  Oh, and if you’re wondering why there are now suddenly 3 pieces of meat instead of 2 like in my last post, that is because after I had finished placing the meat in the fridge to marinate, Steve decided that he might want an extra piece of steak, so I added it to the marinade and just didn’t tell you about it.  I’m sneaky like that.  And guess what……Steve ate BOTH pieces plus 2 helpings of mashed potatoes and a helping of green beans.  He was a member of the Clean Plate Club 2 times tonight!  Impressive!

What a well rounded meal!  Oh and in case you’re wondering what is in the ramekin, it’s the meat marinade that I strained, added a little water to, and boiled for several minutes to kill any bacteria left over from the raw meat.

Makes a great dipping sauce!  Make this meal.  You won’t be sorry, as evidence of Steve’s double Clean Plate Club. 🙂

Top Sirloin Marinade (Part 1)

Steve and I went to the grocery store today with the sole purpose of picking up some heavy duty trash bags for our demulchification yard project and a case or 2 of bottled water.  As always, when we got there it turned into a full blown grocery store endeavor, where I realized how much we were actually out of. 

“I need to get some fresh veggies, we’re out of bread, you still have cereal at home but no milk, so we should probably get that as well.  Hey, how about some steak?!”

So that is how I came across this meal tonight.  I found this marinade recipe on The Pioneer Woman’s blog, but I tweaked a couple things.  As I type, my meat is marinating in the fridge as it should be.  Normally, I don’t think about the marinade until about 30 min before we’re supposed to eat, so my marinades usually don’t get to soak into the meat like they’re supposed to.  Luckily today I thought ahead!

Here’s what you’ll need:

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup cooking sherry

3 tbsp honey

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

3 cloves garlic

steak of your choice (I used top sirloin….obviously since the title of this post is “Top Sirloin Marinade”)

Start by pouring your soy sauce into a dish that is big enough to house your meat and the marinade.

Pour in the cooking sherry.

Here’s what it looks like for those of you who have never cooked with it before.  You can find it on the vinegar aisle of your grocery store.

Pour in your honey, and if you get some on your fingers, feel free to lick it off.  I won’t tell. 🙂

Next comes the sesame oil.  This is the same ingredient we used for the Teriyaki Chicken & Pineapple Bowls a few days ago.  Give it a good whiff when you open it.  Smells so good!

It’s hard to have a steak marinade without some Worcestershire sauce, so go ahead and throw that on in there.

Add the red pepper flakes for some heat.

I like to grate my garlic on a microplane, but if you don’t have one, feel free to chop it up very finely.

It collects nicely on the back of the microplane while you grate it on top.  If you are a lover of garlic, feel free to add more if you’d like.

Tap your microplane against the rim of the bowl and watch the garlic plop in.

Whisk everything together so it’s fully combined.

Set your steaks in the dish.

Then flip them around on both sides so that they are nicely coated with the marinade.

Cover and pop in the fridge for 2-3 hours.

My meat is still marinating as I type this, so after I finish cooking (and eating) dinner, I will post the second part of this recipe which will include some mashed potatoes and green beans.  Stay tuned!