Freezer Meal: Chicken Alfredo Bake
This one is for my sister.
Who called me one night asking if I possibly had a chicken alfredo recipe I could share with her because she and her family were loving the alfredo bake from Costco, but they were certainly not loving the price. And when you go through a tray of that stuff every night or so, it tends to get rather expensive really quickly!
Now, full disclosure, I’ve actually never tried the chicken alfredo from Costco. Mostly because dairy and I are not friends. And anything drenched in white creamy sauce, no matter HOW rich and delicious, is bound to cause me some grief. (My poor kids have inherited the allergy as well.) So I generally avoid the stuff. You know, self-preservation and all…
But as the amazing and loving and awesome sister that I am, I just couldn’t ignore her plea for help! I mean, come on, she’s family!! 🙂
So I pulled out a couple alfredo sauce recipes I had, and started tweaking.
I did, of course, take one for the team, so to speak, and spend plenty of time tasting this one, despite the ramifications on my digestive tract. And it pains me that it is not something I could eat regularly – curse you dairy allergy! But I most certainly would eat it frequently if I could. It’s good, people. Like REALLY good!
I’m not going to lie. This stuff is RICH! Like probably close to “heart attack on a plate” rich. But oh my goodness, does it taste absolutely divine!!!
And best of all, you can make it ahead of time and keep it in your freezer!
I recommend using grilled chicken for this – it adds an amazing depth of flavor! My favorite is chicken that has been grilled and seasoned with Weber’s Kick’n Chicken seasoning. Despite the name, it is not spicy. But it IS delicious! I just ran out of my last bottle of the stuff, and the store was out as well. So now I’m on a mission to recreate it and make my own. Hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later.
Another option for kicking this up a notch, not that it needs it, but I like to make it with flavored/infused olive oil. Specifically Tuscan Herb flavored olive oil. I get mine from a local farmer who has a market and distributes for Redstone, which is a company here in my home state. I get great oil and get to support not only my local farmer but a Utah company as well, so it’s an awesome win-win-win for me.
There are lot of these local olive oil companies popping up around the mid-West region, and chances are you might have one close by. But I have seen some of these oils showing up in grocery stores as well, so that’s another possible option. There are several companies that sell online, too. But truly, it isn’t necessary for the recipe. You can use regular olive oil, or even leave it out all together.
The recipe makes a fairly large batch, enough for a large casserole dish. But if you’ve got a smaller family, you can split this in two – make half for dinner and freeze the other half in a smaller dish and have a second meal ready to go.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go dream of eating Chicken Alfredo Bake while I go nibble on my dairy-free salad, which it not nearly as satisfying but definitely easier on my insides. 😉
Rich, creamy and delicious, you will never guess this came out of your freezer!
- 16 ounces penne rigata pasta
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (see notes)
- 3 teaspoons minced garlic
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- salt (to taste)
- 2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
- chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)
Prepare pasta per package directions, to the al dente stage. (Pasta will cook further in the oven, so do not overcook.)
While pasta is cooking, melt butter in large saucepan or dutch oven on stovetop over medium heat. Add olive oil as butter melts.
Add the garlic, cream, pepper and 1 cup of the parmesan cheese. Stir to combine and melt cheese.
Allow sauce to simmer for 8-10 minutes until thickened, stirring frequently to avoid burning or scorching. Once thickened, remove from heat.
Add in mozzarella and cream cheese and stir to combine and allow cheese to melt. Add salt to taste (if needed).
Drain pasta then place back in pot. Add in sauce and diced chicken to pasta and stir to combine.
Pour pasta and sauce mixture into a 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese.
Allow to cool. Cover and label, then place in freezer. (You may want to use a disposable aluminum pan for the freezer.)
When ready to use, remove from freezer the night before and allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes, until top begins to brown slightly and sauce is bubbly. Remove from oven, garnish with parsley (if desired) and serve.
I like to use grilled chicken when I can, and Tuscan Herb flavored olive oil. You can use just regular olive oil, or leave it out completely if desired. Or try your own variation with another flavor of olive oil.