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Quick Weeknight Chicken Penne Alfredo {Skinnier, too!}

Two words ~ fast & flavorful.  Which make this Chicken Penne Alfredo, with fresh carrots and broccoli, just perfect for a quick weeknight meal.  Another bonus?  It's a skinnier version of Alfredo, too!
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Two words ~ fast & flavorful.  Which make this Chicken Penne Alfredo, with fresh carrots and broccoli, just perfect for a quick weeknight meal.  Another bonus?  It's a skinnier version of Alfredo, too!

It seems I'm always running ragged with trying to keep up with our family's schedule.  Add in squeezing in some extra fun as we near the end of summer, and starting to get ready for back-to-school, and I've needed to rely on quick and easy recipes lately {or take out!} to get meals on the table.  Fortunately, this Chicken Penne Alfredo is ready in a flash, and definitely qualifies in the quick and easy category.

When it comes to dealing with all the craziness of life, I'm guilty of turning to grabbing a lot of take-out when we're crazy-busy.  Because that certainly makes it easy to get a meal on the table for the family.  But you know what? ... A person can only 'take' so much take-out!  {ha, ha ... pun totally intended}.

So I'm glad to have this quick and easy Chicken Penne Alfredo dish in my recipe box.  Loaded with fresh broccoli and baby carrots coated in a creamy sauce, two words describe this tasty dish ~ fast & flavorful.  Which make this just perfect for a quick weeknight meal.  

Another bonus?  It's a skinnier version of Alfredo, too!

Fast and flavorful describe this quick-to-prepare Chicken Penne Alfredo, making it the perfect weeknight meal.

What makes this dish so quick and easy, you ask?

Well, to start with, you cook the pasta, carrots {packaged baby carrots that are all ready to go}, and broccoli florets all in one pot at the same time ... in the pasta cooking water.  Score!  How quick and easy is that??

Quick Weeknight Chicken Penne Alfredo {Skinnier, too!}

If you want, you can even buy the packaged pre-cut broccoli florets, saving the step of cutting up the head of broccoli.  Yes, I know it's not super tough to cut up a head of broccoli.  But hey, if you're totally pressed for time and looking to save every  moment possible, then this is one or two more moments that can be saved.  Packaged pre-cut fresh broccoli florets is certainly a shortcut I take full advantage of.

And if you use precooked rotisserie, leftover, or packaged chicken instead of sauteing boneless chicken, you can cut out even more time!

The Alfredo sauce in this dish is super quick and easy, too ~ taking advantage of light flavored cream cheese spread {we like chive-flavored the best} and low-fat milk to make a skinnier, lower fat, fast and easy version of Alfredo sauce.

Once the pasta, broccoli, and carrots are cooked and tossed with cooked chicken, simply stir a tub of light cream cheese spread, some milk, and grated Parmesan into the pot to form the creamy sauce.

Making Quick Weeknight Chicken Penne Alfredo

Yes, making this delicious and satisfying dinner dish is truly that simple.

Which makes it just perfect for a weeknight.  Or for those crazy-busy times in life we all seem to have from time to time.

Here's to hoping I get through this  crazy-busy time!  Quick Chicken Penne Alfredo may just be on the menu quite a bit for a while to help.

Easy dinner ideas ~ quick weeknight Chicken Penne Alfredo image
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Quick Weeknight Chicken Penne Alfredo
Source:  Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Eat Well Lose Weight magazine
(Printable recipe)
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 c. dry penne pasta {I use whole wheat}
  • 2 c. baby carrots {from 'the package' ~ already peeled & ready}
  • 3 c. fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 lb. boneless chicken breasts OR about 2 1/2 c. chopped fully-cooked chicken
  • 1 (8 oz.) tub light chive-flavored or garden vegetable-flavored cream cheese spread
  • 1/2 c. 2% or skim milk
  • 1/3 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 T. olive or canola oil
Directions
  1. In a large pot, cook pasta and carrots in salted water according to pasta package directions. When 6 minutes of pasta cooking time remain, add broccoli florets to the pot. Drain pasta and vegetables; return to the pot.
  2. While the pasta and vegetables cook, cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and season with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Heat oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken and saute until cooked through.
  3. Stir cream cheese, milk, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and cooked chicken into the pasta mixture. Stir over low heat until the cream cheese is melted.
  4. If desired, sprinkle individual servings with additional Parmesan.

Enjoy!

13 comments

  1. A delightful quick and easy Afredo and all the other dishes look wonderful too. Blessings, Catherine

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  2. Omg this looks soooo yummy...my hubby doesn't like pasta and I can't understand it. I'm bookmarking this to make for myself when he is gone. Thanks for the recipe~~

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    Replies
    1. I'm with you, Gina ... can't understand not loving pasta!!

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  3. Two words - I love it. OK, I guess that's three, but I do. Anything that's fast & flavorful fits the bill for me. I found your delicious recipe today on The Weekend Potluck link party, I think it looks wonderful and I am hoping you would bring it or one of your other delicious creations to my link party The Yuck Stop Here. You can find us this week until Sunday evening at 8pm ET at http://mommasangelbaby.com/the-yuck-stops-here-10/ or starting next Tuesday at 8pm ET at http://mommasangelbaby.com/?p=2628. Hope to see you there! Thanks for sharing & HUGS

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  4. Looks delish! What a wonderful summer pasta dish! Thanks for linking with us at The Yuck Stops Here. Hope to see you next week! Chrystal @ YUMeating.com

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, ladies, for inviting me over!

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  5. Love chicken penne alfredo...heck I love almost everything alfredo. :) This looks very delish!

    Thanks for sharing!

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  6. WOW!, I'm getting side tracked by all your yummy pictures/recipes!! pinned & followed & found you from the Yuck stops here :) Michelle

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  7. What a delicious chicken pasta dinner! This looks so good, I wish I had a big bowl of this for dinner! It looks amazing!

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  8. Yum! Love Alfredo but have never made it- I will be trying this method! Thanks!!

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  9. I have been wanting to add in more broccoli dishes and this looks great!

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  10. I love the Chicken and Penne Alfredo for a great meal! Hope you are having a great weekend and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday this week.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

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  11. It's so nice to have a tasty recipe like this up your sleeve for very busy days! Your Chicken Penne Alfredo looks so colourful, wholesome and tasty. Pinning and sharing on the Hearth and Soul Facebook page later today. Thank you so much for being a part of Hearth and Soul. Have a lovely week ahead!

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