Last week, I went out of my way to post a recipe that I think would make an excellent Halloween night dinner. Quick and healthy, the Cajun Shrimp Salad is an ideal choice. But what if the idea of salad just isn't working for you and your family? What if seafood makes someone queasy? No worries - I've got another cajun recipe and this one features chicken and pasta.
Not only is this a one pot meal, it can be assembled in under an hour and its creamy, spicy goodness will fuel you and your goblins easily for a night of trick or treating all over the neighborhood. Although I really prefer chicken thighs for a recipe like this since they tend to stay tender and moist throughout the cooking process, you could use breasts instead if that's what you have on hand. Likewise, a blend of grated cheese is perfect, but just about any easily melted cheese or cheese combination will work on this. I like radiatore because it holds the sauce so well, but any short pasta will do. You get the idea.
If you want to toss together a green salad and slice a baguette to soak up any extra sauce, that would be lovely, but this really is a dinner-ready one-pot meal. Feel free to spoon it into bowls, enjoy, and get ready to enjoy Halloween festivities.
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 T. cajun seasoning, divided
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 ripe tomato, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 ½ c. chicken broth
- ¾ c. heavy cream
- 1 lb. short pasta - I used radiatore
- 1 c. grated cheese - I used a blend of cheddar, mozzarella, and gouda
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Season the chicken with half the cajun seasoning (1 ½ teaspoons). In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165° F, roughly 4-5 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.
Add the bell pepper to the pot and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Remove the peppers and garlic and set aside.
Add the chicken broth, heavy whipping cream, pasta, and remaining Cajun Seasoning (1 ½ teaspoons) to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente, stirring once about halfway through.
Remove the lid. There should be enough liquid to melt the cheese and still coat all of the pasta. Add more chicken broth, cream, or milk, if needed.
Add the cheese; stir until melted. Stir in the peppers and garlic. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and toss with the pasta. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Yields: 6 servings
- Preparation Time: 45 minutes