Monday, September 26, 2011

Bacon Artichoke Alfredo Penne Bake

There are so many good things goin' on in this!  Bacon...artichokes...alfredo...pasta...grilled chicken...DELICIOUS!!  Another thing I love about this recipe is that you can make it healthier & lower in fat and calories than a regular Alfredo dish!  Use whole wheat pasta, turkey bacon, and low-fat cream cheese and skim milk.  Believe me it is still wonderfully delicious without all the fat and calories!

Bacon Artichoke Alfredo Penne Bake
Recipe from Our Best Bites

(This picture is with whole wheat penne, turkey bacon & low-fat alfredo sauce!)
16 oz. Penne Pasta (whole wheat pasta is YUMMY!)
1 recipe Alfredo Sauce (below)
2 chicken breasts, grilled and chopped (about 2 cups chopped)
6 ounces (1/2 package) cooked bacon, chopped (use turkey bacon for lower calorie)
1 (14 oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained & chopped
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
salt and pepper

Alfredo Sauce:
2 cups milk (low-fat or skim work well)
1/3 cup cream cheese (can use low-fat)
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare pasta according to package directions. 

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the alfredo sauce.  For the Alfredo sauce, blend the milk, cream cheese, flour and salt in a blender until smooth and set aside.  In a large non-stick saucepan, melt butter on medium high heat and add the garlic.  Saute the garlic for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly.  Add the milk mixture to the pan.  Stir constantly for 3-4 minutes until it just comes to a simmer.  Keep stirring and let it cook for a few more minutes until the sauce thickens, about 6-7 minutes.  Remove from the heat.  Whisk in the cheese and immediately cover the pan.  Allow the sauce to stand for 10 minutes before using.  It will continue to thicken upon standing.

When the pasta is done, drain and then add the sauce together with the pasta.  Toss pasta mixture with the chopped chicken, bacon, artichoke hearts, green onions, and 1/2 cup mozzarella.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Transfer mixture to a 9 x 13 baking pan and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is bubbly.  Serve.

This is really good with Twisty Breadsticks or Garlic Bread.  Also serve with some greens of some sort...we like some freshly steamed broccoli!
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