Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"You Can Do It Better Yourself" Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

This is the first recipe in my "You Can Do It Better Yourself" series (check out the linked post for information on the series as well as a couple tips to make them even quicker). Not only is this made with real, simple ingredients and fresh vegetables (as opposed to the three dehydrated  flecks of vegetables you find in the prepackaged meals), but it is a great substitute for a traditional alfredo pasta, which although delicious, is a little too heavy on the cream, cheese and butter for me! Omit the chicken, and you have an easy and economical vegetarian dish as well.

Served with a kale and tomato salad from the garden and five of my 100% whole wheat buns (at $.16 each), we had quite a filling meal that's not too terribly bad on the "healthfulness scale" for only $5.89, and it took me no longer than 20 minutes to prepare!

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

6 oz dry pasta or 3 cups cooked
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken, diced
2 cups broccoli florets (be generous if you like broccoli)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup homemade vegetable stock (or any vegetable or chicken stock)
4 oz neufchatel cheese/light cream cheese, cut into cubes
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
Reserved pasta water
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: If pasta is uncooked, begin preparing according to package directions, stopping cooking a few minutes before the recommended time so it doesn't overcook later. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large skillet over medium to medium high heat. Add garlic, chicken, salt and pepper and cook just until chicken is no longer pink on the outside, 5-7 minutes.

Add stock, broccoli and cooked pasta, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until broccoli is tender, about 10 minutes. Slowly stir in neufchatel/cream cheese and parmesan until melted smooth and all other ingredients are evenly coated. If you need a little more liquid to help cheese melt smooth, add pasta water a tablespoon or two at a time. It will thicken after it's removed from heat, but if there is too much liquid, let simmer for a few more minutes, until it reaches desired thickness. Add additional salt and pepper if desired.

Note: If you are using precooked chicken, add it to the pan with the broccoli, stock, pasta and garlic and follow directions from that point.


Chicken (veg-fed/no antibiotics): On sale $4/lb, 1/2 lb = $2.00
Broccoli (organic): $1.88/bunch after sale (Hy-vee) and coupon (Recyclebank), used 1/2 bunch = $.94
Pasta (whole wheat): $1.22/13.25 oz box, used just under half = $.55
Cream cheese (organic): $1.99 per 8 oz pkg, used 1/2 =$1.00
Parmesan cheese: $2.99/5 oz, used 1/5 = $.60
Vegetable stock: Homemade Freebie

Total Cost: $5.09
Four Servings: $1.27 per serving
Six Servings: $.85 per serving


  1. How funny. Just last night my sister decided to make it an easy night and pulled out a frozen entree of pasta alfredo with broccoli. She pulled off the lid and remarked how little broccoli there actually was. I shouted "Misleading bastards" while shaking my fist in the air. She didn't appreciate it but I'm forwarding this on to her. THIS, I think she will appreciate.

  2. LOL--so glad this one is especially relevant for you and your sister! That is one of the things I hate about so many prepared/packaged foods--most of them try to skimp on the good stuff to keep it cheap!

  3. Hi there!

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