fettuccine alfredo with chicken and asparagus

As a teen I babysat a lot. There were a couple of the moms that would hire me to help when they had parties, to prep the food and set up and to clean up afterward. One lovely lady, Alice, entertained often, and I enjoyed helping her out with her party prior to getting the kids to bed before the party started. Her standard party food was marinated flank steak with fettuccine Alfredo. After helping her make this many times, it became my special dish. I never wrote down her recipe, and I still make this from memory. Therefore it’s not authentic, and it may be a bit different each time, but it is always quite yummy!

Over the years I’ve made it for roommates, co-workers, and it was the first dish I made for my husband, on our second date — rumor has it this is the reason he married me.  😉

Sometimes I make it with the traditional pasta, but I also like it with spinach fettuccine, as in the photos in this post. I find the taste is the same. And instead of asparagus, I often make it with broccoli — whichever looks best when I’m shopping at the store that week.

In order to make this not-so-horrible-for-your-health, I often make it with whole milk or 2% milk rather than cream. And I greatly reduce the Parmesan when doing so. But at least once a year (typically New Year’s Eve) I make the full-fat version, because sometimes you just need it the way it was intended to be.

Thanks Alice … wherever you are!

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Fettuccine Alfredo With Chicken And Asparagus

Start by boiling water for the pasta. Cook as directed on the package.

While that’s cooking, heat some olive oil in a large skillet. Cook 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts on both sides (about 3-5 minutes per side) until they’re nice and golden brown. I season them with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Remove the chicken from the pan and put into the pan chopped onion, chopped garlic, and asparagus (cut into 1-inch pieces), along with about 1 tablespoon butter. (*Note: If there isn’t much liquid in the pan from cooking the chicken, add up to 1/2 cup chicken broth or few tablespoons of water if need be.) Cook this over medium heat until the asparagus are just tender.

Turn off the heat and return the chicken to the pan. Add the cooked and drained pasta to the pan as well.

If you haven’t made the sauce yet (if time permits I make mine while the chicken is cooking), cover the pan with the chicken, asparagus and pasta to keep warm while making the sauce.

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To make the Alfredo sauce:

In a small sauce pan, melt 1 stick butter over low heat.

Whisk in 1 cup cream (I use light cream, or sometimes half & half, but it can be made with heavy cream if you are willing to be totally sinful).

Add 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Whisk well.

Keep warm over low heat until ready to serve.

Serve.

baked asparagus

I’ve always loves asparagus. There was a time when I was young that I’d only eat one section but my oldest brother would eat the other section, so we traded and all were happy. As the years went on I grew to love the whole spear.

This recipe is one of my favorite ways to cook them. I’ve had the recipe for over ten years, and have changed it a bit since first finding it. The original was submitted by a mom in a volunteer organization I worked at, for a mom’s cookbook that never got off the ground.

I make this every year for Easter dinner, and quite often when asparagus are in season. Super yummy!

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Baked Asparagus

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 pound fresh asparagus

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 cup finely chopped celery

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, OR, 1/2 cup tomato sauce

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Heat oven to 375F.

Place items in shallow baking dish in order listed.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Serve.

*Notes: When making this for my gluten-free mom, I use gluten free bread crumbs. It doesn’t alter the taste at all. And I’ve made this for a friend who isn’t a fan of onions, so those were omitted, and for a sister who doesn’t eat tomatoes, those were omitted. Both times the results were still yummy. You really can’t go wrong if adjusting the ingredients a little here or there. It also can be halved or doubled without any problem. But if doubling, use a large enough baking dish so that the spears aren’t layered too thickly. If that’s the case, it’s best to use more than one baking dish.