Recipes

Creamy Ranch Chicken Pasta: A Weight Watchers Recipe

I made a good one tonight, folks! Keep on reading if you’re game for a delicious recipe that disguises itself as a fatty-full-of-carbs dish.

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This recipe was inspired by the Chicken Bacon Ranch pasta recipe on LaaLoosh today. You can read it here.

Before I say this, please don’t call me a bacon hater… but I thought this recipe could be done without bacon, and that it could be made to be more filling. Sure, a 1-cup serving might be enough for you but I wanted something more!

With that being said, I nixed the bacon from this recipe. Instead, I added sauteed veggies. Lots of them! I thought adding veggies would be a good way to extend the serving without increasing the points plus value.

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts (thawed), boneless and skinless
  • 1 box of whole wheat penne pasta (any pasta shape will do)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Chopped veggies of your choice (I used: 1/3 c yellow onion, 1/2 medium zucchini, 3 baby bell peppers, 1 small roma tomato)
  • 1 cup low-fat or fat free milk (I used 1% because I had it handy)
  • 1 packet Hidden Valley Original Ranch Mix
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese (I used the WW brand mexican blend)

For the Chicken:

  • Heat 1 T of olive oil in a skillet.
  • Once it begins to shimmer, at chicken breasts.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook 3-5 minutes per side, until golden brown.
  • Remove. Let it rest on your cutting board.
    (I used a well-seasoned cast iron skillet for this. If you choose not to multi-task, you can make this a one pan meal.)

For the sauce:

  • Begin by heating 1 T of olive oil in a non-stick skillet. It is also a good idea to begin boiling water for the pasta at this point.
  • Add onion and zucchini.
  • Cook the onion and zucchini down for a couple minutes before adding the bell pepper.
  • Finally, add tomato.
  • The onions, zucchini, and peppers should be lightly browned and the tomato should begin to “melt”. Transfer this veggie mix to a bowl.
  • In the same non-stick skillet, pour in 1 teaspoon of the grease remaining after cooking the chicken (if you’re doing this one pan style, you’ll need to reserve this.)
  • Add milk and ranch packet. Stir continuously while bringing it up to medium high heat.
  • As the milk slowly thickens, add cheese and reduce to low heat. Continue stirring. The sauce should thicken fairly quickly at this point.
  • The sauce is finished when you’ve achieved the consistency of gravy. Add in the cooked vegetables and stir.

Putting it all together:

  • Create your bowl: Add 1 cup of pasta, a scoop of sauce, and a few pieces of sliced chicken breast for one delicious meal!
  • Here’s where it gets confusing… I’m not so sure about the points plus value for this dish, but I will do my best to explain why I gave it a 6 pp, just like the LaaLoosh recipe.
  • Serving size: 1 cup of pasta, 1/2 of a chicken breast, and approximately 1/4 cup of sauce.
  • By omitting the bacon, I figure that I am okay to use the 1% milk versus fat free without changing the points value. (only 1 point difference between the two for a 1 cup serving)
  • Also, adding vegetables doesn’t change the points value which is another reason I’m keeping it at 6.
  • If you have any ideas or suggestions on how to better calculate points, let me know!

So there you have it, another scrumptious meal. I had no idea eating healthy could taste this fabulous! After making this, I have 3 or 4 servings to have for lunch or dinner this week. Give it a try and let me know what you think. This recipe would work great if you have a few vegetables going bad and need to use them up in one dish. I wish I would have had baby spinach on hand. I think it would have made this recipe even better – and even more nutritious!

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