Leftover chicken in your fridge this week? Let's take that would-be trash, and turn it into a delicious meal.
In an effort to waste less food, I've been making a conscious effort to cook with leftovers and use up dwindling ingredients in my family's refrigerator. I'm not great at just whipping something up without a recipe and a full-blown meal plan (that's my sister's forte), but with high grocery prices, I can't bear the thought of food we've purchased going into the garbage.
A couple of years ago, my sister passed on a great tip for making homemade Alfredo sauce. 'I use cream cheese as my base,' she told me. I gasped when she spoke the words. We're Italian- our ancestors were surely rolling over. 'I can't do it,' I said. 'It's just not right.' 'Okay,' she replied. 'Be like that. But it's delicious, and it saves a ton of time.' I kept on making my Alfredo sauce with a bechamel base, made the 'right way.' Time-consuming, yes. And then one day, I don't know what came over me, but I just so happened to have half of a block of cream cheese in the fridge, and decided to give this easy sauce a whirl. It was so delicious! My husband said it was the best Alfredo sauce we've ever had at home, and asked if I would please make it again. I knew we had a winner. I called my sister to admit to her that she was right, and I've been making Alfredo sauce this way ever since.
When I make Alfredo sauce, it makes a lot of sauce. If you're feeding several people, it'll be just the right amount. If you're only feeding two or three, you'll have sauce left over for another meal. I just pop the leftover sauce into a freezer-safe container and freeze the leftovers. When you're ready to use the frozen batch for another meal, simply pop the container into the microwave and heat it long enough to loosen the edges of the sauce. Next, place the frozen sauce into a skillet, and slowly warm it on the stove. Microwaving the entire thing will likely cause the sauce to separate.
To make a quick dinner, Chicken Alfredo with Pasta is a great choice!
I had leftover plain chicken from earlier in the week when we had fajitas. I always make a few servings of plain chicken for the kiddos, because they don't like fajita or taco seasoning. While the frozen homemade Alfredo sauce was warming up in the skillet, I boiled 1 lb of Fettuccini and steamed frozen broccoli florets in the microwave.
Once the pasta was cooked to al dente, I drained the water and set the pasta aside. When the sauce was heated through, I added the chicken pieces to the skillet and made sure they were warmed through. Next, I added the broccoli and stirred it all together. The last step is to add the pasta to the skillet, and gently toss it with the sauce, broccoli, and chicken.
Dinner is served!
Serve this up with delicious garlic bread or toast, a nice salad, and perhaps enjoy a glass of white wine, and voila- you have a restaurant-quality meal, right at home. There are very few restaurants where my husband and I will drop money for Italian food because we know we can make better food at home. Our favorite Italian restaurants are in New Jersey and New York. Since we can't drive ten hours for extra delicious Italian food, we do what we can to replicate favorite Italian meals for our family at home. Why spend money on sub-par food? Use what you have at home and make yourself a delicious meal this week!
Did you like this recipe? How do you feel about using cream cheese as a base for Alfredo sauce? Let me know in the comments or over on Facebook and Insta!