Healthier Chili’s Cajun Chicken Pasta

The dinner that is on our weekly rotation is this Healthier Chili’s Cajun Chicken Pasta!

healthier cajun chicken pasta wrapped around a fork.

When I think of my teenage self going to a ✨fancy✨ restaurant. I immediately think of Chili’s. Which is funny to me at 27 years old, but at 16-17 it was the place to be, ok!?

I had a comfortable upbringing, but my parent drew the line at frivolous spending when I was driving age. I could drive the car to and from school ONLY if I could pay for my own gas and spending money (read $20 a month for like a movie or something).

Now of course, my parents bailed me out more often than not with $10 and $20 here and there, but it was a GREAT dose of responsibility for that age where it’s time to learn how the world works.

Kaitlyn is picking up the chicken pasta with a fork.

I say all of this to lead up to, if I went to Chili’s with friends, I was paying for Chili’s with friends. It was understood that I could always eat dinner at home that my mom had prepared, so I pay for it if I’m choosing something else.

I remember many times where my friends and I would go to Chili’s after school and I would order a side of broccoli and fries with a water. We would share chips and salsa. Cheap, filling, and what else does a 16 year old need? 🤪

But if I really wanted to splurge, I was getting the CAJUN CHICKEN PASTA (angelic voices) ✨ It was always such a treat and I always thoroughly enjoyed it because I was paying for it with my hard earned money!!

I haven’t ordered that dish in years, but I still love a good chicken alfredo dinner. My version is healthier since there is no heavy cream AND takes just 40 minutes to make!

overhead view of cajun chicken pasta ingredients

Ok, I’m in! What will I need?

And what else can I make with this Healthier Cajun Chicken Pasta?

I’m glad you asked, you should make –

overhead view of the healthier cajun chicken pasta with fork in the plate as if a bite was taken.

Healthier Cajun Chicken Pasta

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2 people

Ingredients

For the chicken –

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon Tony's
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

For the pasta –

  • 1/2 pound fettuccine pasta or penne to be exactly like Chili’s
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons sundried tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tony’s
  • 1/2 c whole milk
  • 1/3 c pasta water (water from cooking the pasta)
  • 2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese + more for topping
  • Black pepper for topping
  • Roma tomatoes for topping
  • Chopped parsley for topping

Instructions

Prepare the chicken –

  • Heat a large saute pan to medium high heat.
  • Meanwhile, slice two chicken breasts in half to create 4 thin sliced chicken breast pieces. Season with 1 teaspoon Tony's.
  • Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and once hot, add the chicken breast and let cook undisturbed for 5-6 minutes.
  • Flip and let cook for another 5-6 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
  • Remove chicken breast from the saute pan and let rest on a plate. You will use the saute pan for the next step, so do not clean just yet!

Prepare the pasta –

  • Boil pasta according to package and before straining, reserve 1/3 cup of the pasta water.
  • In the same saute pan used for the chicken (with chicken remnants still in the pan), add the butter and once melted, add in the sundried tomatoes. Cook together for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add in flour and with a straight edge wooden spatula, mix until the roux combines and let cook on medium low for 5 minutes.
  • Slowly add in the milk, while continuing to mix until incorporated.
  • Add in the garlic powder, Tony's, pasta water and continuing to mix until incorportated.
  • Bring mixture to simmer and let slightly thicken (only about 3-5 minutes).
  • Turn off heat, mix in parmesan cheese and then add in fettuccine noodles and toss gently to mix. Cover completely and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Plate with fettuccine first, top with sliced chicken and then diced tomatoes, parsley, and black pepper! Enjoy!!

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