Don’t be afraid of Alfredo; it’s easy

14 Sep Don’t be afraid of Alfredo; it’s easy

            

Grilled Chicken and Fettuccine Alfredo

   

 A crock pot of Alfredo sauce? Sure, I can bring a crock pot of Alfredo sauce to the spaghetti dinner, I impulsively told my friend Patty when she asked me earlier this summer, buttering me up by saying she thought if any of the basketball team moms could make homemade Alfredo sauce, it’d be me.

                 Truthfully, I’d never made homemade Alfredo sauce before, and well, I didn’t actually have a crock pot, either. Not to worry, though. I could figure out Alfredo sauce, I thought. I could borrow a crock pot. I was game.

                It was as good a time as any to add a new sauce to my recipe repertoire, and with a little research I soon realized this all-too-familiar Alfredo sauce was made of little more than butter, garlic, cream and parmesan-why, some of my all-time favorite ingredients! Making a crock pot of Alfredo sauce was sounding better all the time, especially when I used chicken stock as a healthier base and added less cream, saving fat and calories.

                I found myself in a beginning-of-the-school-year time crunch one busy night last week trying to throw dinner together in a hurry. A snap to stir together using ingredients I often have on hand, it was Alfredo sauce to the rescue! Throwing pasta on the stove to cook and firing up the barbecue to grill the chicken, Grilled Chicken with Fettuccine Alfredo was on the table in matter of minutes. Hooray!        

                Back to school, back to basics- it’s the perfect time to embrace an easy-to-make pasta sauce that can be morphed into a myriad of main dishes throughout the week. One sauce has endless possibilities when you change up the pasta or the protein and vary the vegetables you choose to accompany it.

                It’s always nice to have a go-to basic sauce recipe in your bag of kitchen tricks, or better yet, a batch made up and ready to use for a week’s worth of meals.

                The basic Easy Alfredo Sauce recipe can be made ahead and held in the refrigerator. Rewarm what you need for the next meal, refrigerate the rest. Busy back-to-school days made easy. What a relief! This week’s Special of the day: Back to Basics with Easy Alfredo Sauce and recipes for Spicy Shrimp Alfredo, Grilled Chicken with Fettuccine Alfredo and Spinach Alfredo.

                Easy Alfredo Sauce
                (makes 4 cups)
                ¼ cup butter
                2 cloves garlic
                3 tablespoons flour
                1 ½ cups chicken stock
                1 cup heavy cream
                1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
                Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium high heat.
                Add garlic and cook until soft.
                Whisk in flour until smooth.
                Whisk in chicken stock and bring to a simmer, cooking until slightly thickened.
                Add cream and cheese and stir until smooth.
                Season with salt, to taste.
                Transfer to covered plastic container and refrigerate until ready to use.
 
               

Spicy Shrimp Alfredo

                Spicy Shrimp Alfredo
                (serves four)
                2 tablespoons butter
                1 clove garlic, minced
                16-20 jumbo frozen shrimp, thawed
                ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
                Dash Tabasco sauce
                Dash salt
                4 cups pasta, cooked al dente
                Rewarm 2 cups Alfredo sauce in saucepan over medium heat.
                Melt butter in large sauté pan over medium heat.
                Add garlic and cook until soft.
                Add shrimp and cook just until pink. Turn and cook other side until pink.
                Sprinkle red pepper flakes over shrimp and add Tabasco and salt.
                Arrange cooked pasta on plates.
                Top with warmed Alfredo sauce.
                Arrange 4-5 shrimp on top.
                Sprinkle with additional red pepper flakes, if desired.
                Enjoy!
 

Grilled Chicken and Fettuccine Alfredo

                Grilled Chicken with Fettuccine Alfredo
                Serves four
                4 cups cooked fettuccine
                1 cup Easy Alfredo Sauce, rewarmed
                2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
                2 tablespoons olive oil
                2 tablespoons dried basil
                ½ teaspoon salt
                ¼ cup Parmesan shreds, for garnish
                Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
                Preheat barbecue to medium high heat (about 400 degrees).
                Pound chicken breasts to a thickness of 1 inch.
                Brush both sides of chicken breasts with olive oil.
                Set chicken breasts on preheated barbecue.
                Sprinkle with dried basil to cover.
                Sprinkle with salt.
                Cook for 4 minutes.
                Turn chicken breasts and sprinkle other sides with basil and salt.
                Cook for an additional 4 minutes.
                Let rest for a few minutes before slicing into thin strips.
                Toss cooked fettuccine with rewarmed Alfredo sauce.
                 Arrange on dinner plates.
                Top with slices of grilled chicken.
                Garnish with fresh basil leaves and Parmesan shreds.
                Enjoy!
 

Spinach Alfredo

                Spinach Alfredo
                (serves four)
                2 tablespoons olive oil
                3 cups (packed) fresh spinach leaves
                2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, minced
                ¼ cup Easy Alfredo sauce
                ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
                Heat olive oil in medium sauté pan over medium high heat.
                Saute spinach and basil leaves until wilted.
                Stir in Easy Alfredo Sauce.
                Top with toasted pine nuts, if desired.
                Serve as a side dish or vegetarian entrée.

                Enjoy!  

                Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at  sydnegeorge@hotmail.com .

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