Sunday, December 22, 2013

Cajun Chicken Pasta Feeds A Crowd!

What's on my Christmas Eve menu?  Among other family favorites, Cajun Chicken Pasta will be one of the main dishes served, and it's ALWAYS a crowd favorite.  It's easy to make, it feeds a crowd, can be made ahead of your event, and it reheats to taste even better than when served just cooked.  

This recipe has been passed to various family members numerous times, and has become a favorite throughout with their own families.  One sister-in-law even freezes it, and says it reheats great that way, too. When serving as I do, in a buffet style, I can fit two of the half-sized foiled containers (11 3/4" x 9 3/8" x 2 3/16" - steam table pans from Sam's, as shown above) right into my chafing dish, and cleanup is a breeze - just toss the foil liners!

It's not too late to run out and get the ingredients for this crowd pleaser!  Recipe takes approximately 1 hr from start to finish:  15 minutes prep, 45 minutes simmering.

Cajun Chicken Pasta

Fast Method
1 box Fettucine noodles (16 oz)
Total 1 lb fast chicken strips, grilled (Louis Rich, Tyson’s, or any other brand, usually in 6 oz pkg, so 3 pkgs)
1 large (32 oz) can diced, petite tomatoes
1 bottle Chef Prudhomme’s Poultry Seasoning
1 Quart Heavy Whipping Cream

Photo below shows ingredients enough for 1.5X the recipe ingredients above - see Notes below for more.
In skillet, pour 2-3 Tbsp olive oil.  Add grilled chicken strips (cut in 1 in pcs), toss with approx 1/3 to ½ bottle of poultry seasoning.  Heat on med for 3 minutes or so, tossing so chicken covers with seasoning.  
Add tomatoes to skillet so that most of the spice will later pour into large boiling pan once noodles are cooked.
Cook fettucine according to pkg.  Drain, and place noodles back into large boiling pan.  Pour skillet of chicken with tomatoes into pan with noodles.  Add whipping cream, rest of poultry seasoning, stir and let simmer (med-low heat) about 45 min (until cream is mostly absorbed by noodles).  Stay with the stirring so the mixture won’t stick to the bottom of pan.
Serve with fresh, diced tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and green onions as garnish, if desired.

This dish can easily be placed into a 13 x 9 x 2 aluminum pan, coated with spray oil (or the half-size pans if using a chafing dish as I do), refrigerated, and re-heated at 350 for approx 45-60 min (covered with foil).  If texture appears dry, you can add some whipping cream and stir, but let it heat up first.  Like any other pasta, it gets better the next day.  This dish can also be frozen and re-heated in 350 – check and stir, may take longer than 60 min. 
Feeds 8-10.
You can 1.5 times the dish by adding another 6 oz pkg of fast chicken, a 14-16 oz can of diced tomatoes, and another pint of whipping cream.  You will also need another half jar of the Prudhomme’s spice.  This makes the 8-10 servings well suited for pigging out.

Slow method calls for fresh chicken strips, cooked in olive oil, tossed with the poultry spice.  Cook 3-4 minutes each side.

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