Creamy Chicken Carbonara
Remember that time we talked about how I worked at Applebee's for a really long time? No? Alright, here we go...
Once upon a time I was 16, nearly in my prime, 100 lbs soaking wet, beautiful, long, non-dry shampooed hair, perfect butt, no under eye bags, very rested, you get the picture. My first job was at Applebee's and I worked there for 10 years. The staff was literally my second family. I stayed through college, real Monday through Friday jobs and finally had to say my goodbyes two years ago, when my littles were starting to get into sports and dancing and all the things that you can't have a part time job through. I made lifetime friends, met the kids biological dad (see my public service announcement) and learned to cook my ass off!
Realistically, I actually didn't learn how to cook by the foods that they offer on the menu, but from the people I spent more of my time with at work than home. Once I learned the basics of handling food in my own kitchen, in my actual house, I considered all the little tricks and recipes I took with me from work and applied it to a TON of the meals I made. Lots of mistakes, only one stove fire, and four years of not just taking home food from the restaurant, I took a serious liking to making things that people loved to eat.
BUT, I can't skip giving credit where credit is due, so I give you... this pasta dish ;)
The basis is the plate I served at Applebee's years ago. Alfredo dressed pasta, crispy bacon, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, peas, I think some red onion and grilled chicken. Now that I can move around seasoning cabinet with my eyes closed, I decided to step this up a notch.
I like really, really creamy Alfredo sauce because if I'm having cheese and carbs, I'm having CHEESE AND CARBS. Once I mastered what I believe to be the best homemade Alfredo recipe, I made so many of my restaurant favorites at home. On a Tuesday evening I realized that I had no plan for dinner (big surprise) and needed to make something quick and easy... and I had frozen peas.
I mean, everyone in the house, myself included, hates peas so I needed to use these before they went bad and I was like IDEA!
(that really looked like IKEA and got my hopes up in places my wallet says they shouldn't be)
I recalled that I once had a pretty decent Chicken Carbonara at Applebee's and low and behold there were peas in that baby!
I made Alfredo first, that can sit and simmer for a while, while my chicken marinated in some salt, pepper, garlic powder, a chicken grilling seasoning from Market Pantry and olive oil. Cook the chicken low and slow in a pan with the lid on, and then the bacon in a separate pan. I will warn you this is not a single pan situation, and there will be dishes, but it will be worth it.
Onto the veggies, once the bacon is done, drain the grease and toss in the frozen peas. Lid on if they are frozen like mine were. Add in the cherry tomatoes, and a LITTLE BIT of crush red pepper. This is a what's in the kitchen dish, so if you like the real deal roasted red peppers, make them ahead of time and toss into the pan to reheat, otherwise go easy on the crush red peppers, it'll get too spicy.
Fill up a large pan with water to boil the pasta and and get that cooking. I prefer fettuccine but any kind will do. Salt the water once its at a rolling boil and then follow the box directions. Keep an eye on the Alfredo, stirring every 3-5 minutes. Chicken will be finished cooking, so remove from the pan, cut into strips and add to veggie mix to get a little char on the outside. Dice bacon into small pieces and set aside.
Drain pasta, and add into the deep frying pan of Alfredo sauce. Toss that around until it's completely covered. Nest pasta into a plate or large bowl, top with veggie and chicken mix and then sprinkle some crumbles of bacon pieces. Finish with parmesan cheese and stuff your face.
Proof reading this has me craving it. Also makes a phenomenal leftover.
4 chicken cutlets
1 LB of fettuccine pasta
1 CUP of frozen peas
1 CUP of halved cherry tomatoes
3 strips of bacon
salt & pepper to taste
2 TSP of chicken seasoning by Market Pantry
jar of Alfredo sauce of choice OR this recipe
1/2 TSP of crushed red pepper
drizzle of olive oil
pad of butter
1 minced garlic clove
1. Start by marinating the chicken cutlets in the salt, pepper, chicken seasoning and olive oil for 30 minutes
2. If you are making the Alfredo sauce, follow the recipe above and then let it simmer on LOW, or begin cooking the jar Alfredo on LOW at the 30 minute marinating mark
3. Sear the chicken on LOW/MEDIUM in a pan with a pad of butter and one minced garlic clove, lid on
4. In a separate pan begin cooking the bacon, also on LOW
5. Turn chicken between 10-15 minutes, the slow cook with the lid on will keep it juicy
6. Once bacon is done, remove from the pan, set onto a dish or cutting board on a layer of paper towel to absorb the excess grease, and let cool
7. Fill a large pot with water and heat on HIGH to a boil, once boiling salt, then add fettuccine, follow boxed instructions
8. Toss peas into a pan with a drizzle of olive oil, let cook 5 minutes on MEDIUM
9. Toss the halved cherry tomatoes into the pan with peas, let cook 5 minutes
10. Sprinkle in crushed red pepper and toss around, let cook
11. Remove chicken from heat, let rest a minute or two, then cut into strips
12. Toss cut chicken strips into the veggie mix, let cook for 2-3 minutes to ensure it is completely done at 165 degrees
13. Drain pasta and toss with hot Alfredo sauce, nest into a bowl or plate
14. Top with chicken and veggie mix
15. Finish with parmesan cheese, enjoy xo