Happy Cheat Day Friday!
I don’t know about you, but I love dairy. I used to drink milk all the time, put cheese on everything all the time, and drink my iced coffees from Dunkin’s “extra, extra”…all the time. Those days are long gone. These days, I barely drink milk (unless cookies are involved) and I eat cheese occasionally. I also drink my coffee black.
Aside from dairy, I also love pasta, and I’m going to be very honest with you. Even though I do this paleo-ish thing where I allow some grains and dairy, I’ll occasionally cave and have pasta, cake, or bread. You probably know that gluten is very much not paleo – at all, but I’m not perfect, nor do I strive to be. I do my best to avoid gluten because it does make me feel ill if I have too much and I will feel it for days! But in that moment of craving something like pizza or fettuccine alfredo, it seems like a great idea at the time, because it will taste good and it will totally be worth the torture. And I believe that’s true every single time until after I’ve finished my meal. Then I’m just constantly complaining to my boyfriend for days being all like, “Wah! I’m tired and I don’t feel good.” (Sorry, Jason. Love you!)
I’m still learning. And one thing I’ve realized recently is that I don’t miss pasta itself as much as I believed I have all this time – which is what’s led me to cave in a lot of the time. For me, the pasta is simply just a vehicle for tasty sauces.
And that brings me to veggie noodles. They’re kind of amazing and they’re a healthy vehicle! Also, tasty. If you have a julienne peeler – and you should because it’s such a necessary and neat kitchen tool to have, you can turn zucchini, squash, and other vegetables into “noodles” and you’ll be doing yourself a favor because you’re stuffing your face with healthy veggies instead of carby, bloaty pasta. Get hype!
Even when healthy, zucchini noodles are involved, sometimes you have to treat yourself. Fettuccine alfredo is one of my top favorite pasta dishes and the creamy sauce coats over the zucchini nicely. Even though there’s butter, cream, and cheese in this dish, I only make enough to lightly coat the noodles and I always use grass-fed, organic butter and cream. I haven’t made purchasing cheese from grass-fed cows a priority yet, but I do make sure to get good quality stuff.
The secret to making great zucchini noodles is a little bit of patience. You want to salt them in a strainer to sweat them out a bit, otherwise you will have some watered down sauce!
- 1 chicken breast, butterflied and halved
- 1-2 teaspoons blackened seasoning
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 zucchinis, julienned
- kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon organic, grass fed butter, unsalted
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup organic, grass fed heavy cream
- ¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, loosely packed
- Add zucchini to a colander and toss with a generous amount of salt until the strands are lightly coated. Set aside to sweat for thirty minutes.
- In the meantime, prep your chicken and sprinkle generously with the spice blend. Set aside.
- After thirty minutes, rinse the zucchini well and gently squeeze dry with some paper towels. They won't be bone-dry, but you at least want most of the liquid removed.
- Add olive oil to a skillet over medium-high heat and cook chicken six minutes per side or until cooked through.
- While the chicken is cooking, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant; about thirty seconds to one minute.
- Add cream and stir. Once the sauce comes to a soft boil, add the cheese and set the heat to low. Allow the sauce to simmer and thicken, stirring occasionally; about five to ten minutes.
- Add zucchini noodles to another, large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until tender; about five minutes.
- Plate the zucchini and top with chicken and sauce.
- Buon appetito.
1. I preheat the skillet for the chicken and saucepan for the alfredo sauce at the same time. The chicken doesn't need any attention except for flipping after six minutes.
2. When making the alfredo, it only takes a minute or so for the cream to reach a soft-boiling point and thickens shortly after adding the cheese, so I set the heat to the lowest setting at that point to keep warm while everything else continues to cook.
3. I preheat the skillet for the zucchini noodles when I'm ready to flip the chicken.
That's it! Easy peasy.