It's almost embarrassing how much I have been making this lightened up Cajun chicken pasta lately. We just can't get enough of the creamy, spicy, smoky sauce and pasta - it's like a bowl full of comfort. Plus you can make it in about thirty minutes with ingredients you probably already have at home. Perfect for a busy weeknight. This dish was inspired by the many restaurant versions of this dish, except...it's not a heart attack in a bowl. If you want to be scared for a minute, do a quick Google search. Some of these restaurant versions have up to 1500 calories and 75 grams of fat. Luckily it's not that hard to make a delicious and healthier version at home with under 400 calories.
In terms of making this recipe your own, there are lots of delicious and easy ways to modify the recipe depending on what you have at home and how spicy you like things. You could easily add mushrooms to pack in more veggies, switch out the chicken for shrimp, or make a vegetarian version with all veggies or some black beans. In terms of spice, if you prefer a less spicy version use less Cajun spice and add some extra paprika and oregano for flavor. Now if you love spice, you could add some cayenne pepper, adobo sauce from canned chipotles in adobo, or use poblano or jalapeno peppers instead of the green bell pepper. Anyway you mix it up, it makes one delicious and easy meal.
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Creamy Cajun Chicken Shells
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- 8 oz. high fiber shell pasta (or whole wheat)
- .75 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks
- 2 tbsp. Cajun seasoning, divided
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 U red pepper, sliced thin
- 1 U green pepper, sliced thin
- 1/2 U red onion, sliced thin
- 4 U cloves garlic, minced
- 14 oz. canned fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup reduced fat cream cheese
- 1/4 cup scallions
Prepare the pasta according to package directions. Drain.
Toss the chicken with half of the Cajun seasoning. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a skillet. Add the chicken and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring often, until cooked through. Set aside.
Add the vegetables to the same pan and cook for 6-8 minutes until tender. If they begin to stick, add 1-2 tablespoons of water.
Turn heat down to low and add the diced tomatoes (undrained), cream cheese, and remaining Cajun seasoning. Cook until cream cheese melts and the sauce is formed. Taste and season if needed.
Stir in the chicken and pasta. Serve with scallions.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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