Wait. What just happened. This Skinny Chicken Alfredo just took the place of anything and everything I have ever loved in this world because it is that good. Like…fo reals. This pasta is my love language. If you want to make me happy, make me this pasta. Or make this pasta for someone else so they can become as obsessed as me. It will be like the “Pay it Forward” of Alfredo. I mean…I think it’s a pretty good idea.
I promise you I am not exaggerating when I say that I could probably eat this meal every evening for the rest of my life and be a happy camper. Well, I guess that’s not 100% accurate. Allow me to amend my previous statement: I could probably eat this meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the rest of my life and be the happiest camper in the camp. << Much better.
Also, never ever ever ever making a “regular” Alfredo sauce again after tasting this one. You can tell the difference ZERO percent between this recipe and a recipe that uses cups of parmesan cheese and cups of heavy cream. I pinky promise.
So, how in the world do we make a recipe that is traditionally made with pasta, a bunch of cheese, and heavy cream “Skinny”? I’m glad you ask. Let’s talk about the various little tricks we use here to lighten this baby up (while keeping it just as delicious).
- Whole wheat pasta. A super easy step to make this meal healthier. You really can’t tell the difference. By the time it is perfectly coated in your mouthwatering Alfredo sauce and tossed with some yummy chicken, you won’t notice that you are eating whole wheat.
- Less cheese. Waaayyyy less cheese. Just one half cup of Parmesan for the entire dish. Out of seven servings, that’s….like….I don’t know, I don’t feel like doing math – but it’s not much, let’s leave it at that. And now I am going to let you in on a CRAY cray trick that makes your sauce taste way cheesier than it is. Are you ready for this? Garlic powder. Don’t ask me why, because I don’t know, but when you add a tiny bit of garlic powder to your sauce, it makes it taste exactly like a cheesy, traditional Alfredo sauce. If you don’t believe me, try your sauce before and after adding the garlic powder. It makes a huge difference!
- No heavy cream. Zero. Zilch. Throw it away. Actually…don’t throw it away. Make whipped cream with it. Or ice cream. Can you tell I’m hungry? Anyway, no heavy cream in this dish, at least. Our sauce is made with two percent milk instead, which has a WAY lower fat content but still gives you a delicious, creamy sauce.
- No butter. You need to make something called a “roux” to thicken your cream sauce, which is essentially fat and flour mixed together. Traditionally, you melt some butter and then whisk in your flour. But in this skinny version, we use olive oil instead. Thickens everything just as nicely, but is better for your tummy.
And that’s it, people! A mind-BLOWINGLY delicious Skinny Chicken Alfredo that is under 500 calories per serving. Speaking of servings, we need to talk about that part, too. Though we are using whole wheat pasta, less cheese, no butter, and two percent milk, that still doesn’t mean it’s okay to give yourself a serving size that could feed six people. Portion size in America is just crazy – when you get Chicken Alfredo at Olive Garden (or similar restaurants), it comes in a plate that could easily feed at least two or three people.
And guess how many calories it is for Chicken Alfredo at Olive Garden? Right around 1,500 calories. Apart from the fact that they add heavy cream and a crazy amount of Parmesan cheese, it is also a WAY bigger portion than it should be.
So, my point in saying all of this – despite the fact that we are choosing some lighter options in our recipe here, we also need to be smart about our portion size. The nutrition info accounts for one cup of this Chicken Alfredo per serving, which actually ends up being more than it sounds like. It fills me up all on it’s own, but ideally it would be good to pair this with a salad or veggie side.
With our one cup portions and our lightened up ingredients, this recipe ends up being about 460 calories per serving, which is way better than 1,500 – don’t you think?? I think. And guess what – it tastes just as good. It actually, seriously does. You won’t miss one bite of that heavy cream and parmesan packed version of this dish. You’ll believe me once you try it ?.
If you read this post a few days ago, you know my husband recently got home from his deployment! It has seriously been beyond-words amazing. We have gone out on a few fun dates since since Sunday – coffee, sushi (oh my gaassshhhhh, sushi. It’s been too long), driving all over town for like five hours trying to get new passports…oh wait. That wasn’t a date ?…passports = strug.
Okay, but the other thing we have been doing in the evenings if we aren’t on a date = How to Get Away with Murder. (It’s a show, for those of you who don’t know and are possibly lightly concerned at this moment about our evening activities.) If you haven’t seen this show, DAAANNNNGGG. It’s cray. Shonda Rhimes, you know whatchu doin’, girl. Her shows rock.
Whether we are going out on fun dates or relaxing and watching TV, it is so nice to have my man back ???!
SKINNY CHICKEN ALFREDO. This needs to be in your life. Like…tonight. Right now.
- 1½ pounds chicken breast
- 1 box of whole wheat pasta (I used rigatoni)
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cups 2% milk
- ½ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Bring a large pot of SALTED (it should taste like the ocean) water to a boil. When it's boiling, add your pasta and cook until al dente (follow package instructions). Drain in a colander and set aside
- Meanwhile, season your chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat with a bit of olive oil
- Add your chicken and cook until done (no longer pink in the middle). Set aside
- In the same pan your chicken was in, add your flour and olive oil - whisk together
- Let this cook for about a minute, whisking often
- Add your milk, whisk to combine. Bring this to a simmer and let it cook until your sauce has thickened slightly
- Remove from the heat. Add your cheese and garlic powder
- Season to taste with salt and pepper
- Slice your chicken up, and add the chicken and pasta in with your sauce. Stir to combine and serve!
Nutrition information is for 1 cup servings.
If you make this or any of my other recipes, be sure to Instagram it and hashtag #thegarlicdiaries!
In the mood for more yummy pasta recipes? Check these out: