Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Chicken Bacon Artichoke Pasta Bake ( w/freezer meal option)

Well, since I've kept you waiting for a new post for such a long time...I'm going to do 2 posts today! Bonus!

Not only that but my first post is really two recipes! My sister-in-law sent me a new cookbook for Christmas. This cookbook features recipes from the website: Our Best Bites. While I haven't checked out their website yet, I plan to do that soon based on the yummy recipes we've sampled from their cookbook! Click on Our Best Bites to check it out!

My husband loves Alfredo! I do too but feel pretty guilty about the giant calorie intake associated with it's deliciousness. So when I found this Guiltless Alfredo Sauce recipe in their book I had to give it a try. And while it's not totally guiltless (It still has a bunch of delicious parmesan) it is significantly better than regular Alfredo recipes. Subbing low-fat milk for cream and reducing the butter significantly make this recipe great!

I've made the sauce twice now, once we just had it over noodles and once I used it in their Bacon Artichoke with Penne Bake. Both were delicious! In the penne bake I considered putting spinach in. I still think it would be yummy but decided that having artichokes and spinach in the same dish might send my family over the edge. It was a good thing I decided against it too...because even though I chopped the artichokes into tiny little pieces my husband still spent the night picking them out of his pasta. Even though I love artichokes, I tried this recipe again subbing 1 1/2 cups peas for the artichokes and my husband and kids were thrilled with the change so I will probably do that from now on. Anyway, without further ado, I give you Guiltless Alfredo Sauce and Bacon Artichoke with Penne Bake courtesy of Our Best Bites!

Bacon Artichoke Penne Bake 
(Adapted from Our Best Bites)
1 lb. penne or farfalle pasta
2 jars Alfredo sauce or 1 recipe Guiltless Alfredo Sauce (below)
3 Chicken breasts, grilled and chopped
5-8 pieces cooked bacon, chopped
1 (14 oz.) jar artichoke hearts (they suggest using marinated but I just used plain. Also, you can substitute peas for picky eaters...aka...husbands!)
3-4 green onions, sliced
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, prepare guiltless Alfredo. Drain pasta and toss with sauce and remaining ingredients (setting aside 1/2 cup Mozzarella for later). Season to taste. Place pasta mixture in an 8x8 dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and bake for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly!

Freezer Meal Prep Instructions:
Cook pasta and chicken. Slice or chop chicken. In a medium bowl toss pasta and chicken with sauce, bacon, artichoke hearts, green onion and 1 cup of the mozzarella.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place pasta in a disposable 9x13 pan.  Top with remaining mozzarella. Cover with a double layer of foil. Label and Freeze.

Freezer Meal Cooking Instructions:
Place pan on a large baking sheet and remove foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 90 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Guiltless Alfredo Sauce 
(from Our Best Bites)
4 cups low-fat milk (I used skim and it worked fine)
2/3 cup (6 ounces) low-fat cream cheese
4 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 T. butter
3 tsp. minced garlic
2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I had leftover shredded Parmesan and it melted down fine)

Blend milk, cream cheese, flour and salt in a blender until smooth. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and add garlic. Saute garlic 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add milk mixture to the pan and stir constantly until it comes to a simmer (about 5 minutes). Keep stirring until sauce thickens (about 7 more minutes). Remove sauce from heat and whisk in Parmesan. Cover immediately and let sit 10 minutes. Serve immediately in your favorite pasta dish.


  1. Oh, I'm glad you're enjoying the cookbook! I like it, too -- and this is one of our go-to, emergency-dinner recipes, actually. Admittedly I take a lot of shortcuts with it ... I use the jarred alfredo sauce (though their recipe doesn't look too intimidating; I should try it). We have artichoke issues over here too (what is it with husbands not liking artichokes??), so I just omit them. I've been known to even leave out the chicken and call it a side dish. Good stuff!

  2. Yes, it's a great cookbook! Thanks so much! Other than the artichokes Alex loved this recipe. The sauce isn't too hard to make and it tastes really good!