Chicken, Asparagus and Goat Cheese Pasta

Asparagus is starting to pop up in grocery stores and fruit stands now and I couldn’t be more excited. I bought a bundle last week without even having a clear intention for them, so I set out to find a good recipe. I wanted something new and different and I wanted to make a main dish with the asparagus, not just put on the side like I usually do.

I stumbled upon an asparagus-goat cheese pasta recipe from Real Simple which looked absolutely to die for.  I wasn’t in the mood to be a vegetarian, so I decided to add some chicken to the original recipe. I also changed the amounts of some of the ingredients, but tried to keep true to the spring time flavors of this lovely pasta!

Chicken, Asparagus and Goat Cheese Pasta Adapted from Real Simple (Serves 6, WW Points+ 11 points/serving)

1 11/4 pounds chicken breast
1 pound asparagus
1/2 pound dry whole wheat spaghetti
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
4 ounces goat cheese
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat a large pan of lightly salted water to boiling over high heat. Trim the ends of the asparagus and cut the stalks into 2-inch pieces.
2. Blanch the asparagus in the boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking.
3. Heat a grill to medium high heat. Season chicken generously with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken about 4 minutes on each side, or until done. Slice into strips, cover.
4. Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain.
5. Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour.
6. Add the broth and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly (make sure to stir constantly!), until the sauce thickens. Blend in the goat cheese and lemon zest.
7. Toss the spaghetti with the chicken, asparagus, sauce, and half the Parmesan. Serve with pepper to taste and the remaining Parmesan.


Roasted Vegetable and Chicken Andouille Sausage Pasta

I am writing this post as I am eating the leftovers of this dish for lunch, it’s almost better the next day! Lately on Weight Watchers, I’ve still been hungry after dinner so I was looking for a creative and healthy way to get more volume into my dinners.

Last weekend one of my girlfriends made fabulous roasted vegetable and chicken enchiladas. I was inspired to turn that into a healthy pasta dish. The amount of vegetables in this gives it the bulk I was looking for, and one serving of the sauce plus one cup of whole wheat pasta came in at 10 points and left me feeling full. If you don’t like my selection of vegetables below, by all means add ones that you like. The addition of the butternut squash made it more hearty, but you can use any squash you like, or leave it out all together. (Forgive my glad ware in the last photo, was too hungry to take a pic last night!)

Roasted Vegetable and Chicken Andouille Sausage Pasta
Serves 4 – Weight Watchers Points+ 6 points/serving of sauce

One pound chicken andouille sausage (I get mine at Trader Joes), cut into small pieces
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
A few glugs white wine (about 2 Tbs)
1 tsp garlic powder
2 medium bell peppers (red, orange or yellow) cut into small pieces
1 medium white onion, sliced and quartered
2 cups cubed butternut squash
4 garlic cloves cut in half
Handful of basil, roughly chopped
Cooking spray
4 cups cooked whole wheat pasta

1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
2. On a foil lined baking sheet, spread out the peppers, butternut squash and garlic cloves. Spray with cooking spray and liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes.
3. Remove baking sheet and redistribute the veggies. Place back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
4. In a large saucepan heated to medium/high heat, add the tomatoes, garlic powder, wine and basil. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer.
5. Remove the veggies from the oven and add the sausage and onions to the baking sheet distributing equally among the other vegetables. Place back in oven for an additional 15 minutes, redistributing a few times.
6. Add the roasted veggies to the tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, then take it down to a simmer (low) and cover for 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.
7. Add sauce to 1 cup of cooked whole wheat pasta and enjoy!