Dear reader, as you know, one of the things that I love to do is find new recipes to try, to “paleofy” and fiddle with. My husband is a huge fan of Reddit and follows all sorts of different Paleo/Keto/Health subreddits, and often we find some GREAT recipes there. The base for this recipe was just that — a great link sent to me by hubby as an “I think we should try and make this sometime.” Here is the link to the original Zucchini and Chicken Alfredo. The first time I made this, I followed the recipe to the letter and it was very good. This is the picture of the finished product, first time around:
Personally, I’ve never been the biggest fan of Alfredo Sauce, as I find the jarred stuff too tart and chemical tasting and when we eat out I am drawn to pesto, which is my favorite. This meal was super quick and easy to make, and the jarred sauce DID deepen and became richer in flavor after cooking with the chicken and squash in it. After making it, though, I was still convinced I could make a version with a homemade sauce that I would like even more. Challenge accepted!
Before this evening, I’d never made my own Alfredo Sauce, so I googled it and came across many recipes from which to choose — Alton Brown, Paula Deen, Giada, fake Olive Garden sauce. You name it, it was out there…..I didn’t like all of the ingredients in some of those sauces and found a pretty simple recipe to use as my base, here.
If you’ve made any type of a sauce in your kitchen before, you know that it usually requires that you use flour combined with butter to create the roux, or the base of the sauce. I have no problem with roux, and have made many in my day. The issue now is that we are eating Paleo and have cut out white flour from our diets…..is there a solution? Or am I totally screwed on this one? Nope, all is well. Many people are unaware that there are a bazillion and one options for using flour that does not contain gluten and that is made from a variety of other bases…..coconut flour and almond flour are two of my favorites. I’ve used them in baking many things since going Paleo and gluten-free and things taste even better. This evening, I had to fiddle with the amount of coconut flour to use (and ultimately increased the amount called for in the recipe) in order to get the consistency in the roux that I needed. Without further ado, I give you Fatty Girl’s recipe for Paleo friendly, gluten free Chicken Alfredo with Zucchini and Yellow Squash!
Ingredients for the chicken and veggie part:
- 4-5 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2-3 Zucchini (I tried to get bigger, so I had longer noodles and more of them)
- 2-3 Yellow Squash (Again, try to get bigger, so that you have longer noodles)
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- Italian Seasoning
- Kosher salt
- Ground black pepper
1. Ready? Set? Go prepare your chicken! I sliced the chicken breasts into strips (think fajita size) and then cut the bigger pieces in half so that they were all the same size for even and quick cooking. Sprinkle kosher salt, ground black pepper and italian seasoning onto the chicken (both sides) and you can set aside in the fridge for a little bit if you’re doing advance prep. Personally, I prepped my chicken about 5 hours before I started making dinner and just put the plate with saran wrap in the fridge. Or, you can cook right away.
2. Next step? Prepare your zucchini and yellow squash! This is super easy and until this woman’s recipe I hadn’t thought to make faux pasta using zucchini. Armed with the veggie peeler, and a cutting board, I got down to work. Just start peeling and don’t stop until you hit seeds on all sides of the zucchini. Repeat with the yellow squash. This will leave you with a gorgeous pile of vibrant, thin “noodles” and the smell of fresh veggies is intoxicating. (Note: after you’re done peeling the veggies for this recipe, you still have a lot of both squash left. I chopped mine up and put into the fridge for use in stir fry or scrambled eggs — last weekend’s yellow squash and zucchini scrambled eggs were DELISH!)
3. Grab the pan of your choosing….you could use a cast iron skillet, a regular skillet, or your dutch oven. I made this in our Le Cruset dutch oven because I knew it would have to stay warm until hubby arrived home late. Over medium-high heat, melt the butter (2 Tablespoons) and cook the chicken. Mine cooked up in about 4 minutes on each side. So as not to crowd the pan, I cooked the chicken in two batches.
4. Once the chicken is fully cooked, remove it from the pan and set aside on a plate. Grab all your noodles and toss them into the dutch oven and cook them over medium heat. You want them to get tender and brown a little bit, but you don’t want them to burn or fall apart. Once the noodles are cooked, turn off the heat to the pan, toss the chicken back into the pot and mix it into the noodles. Oooh, and best part, don’t forget to add the chicken juices from the plate. They will taste really good.
Next up? The sauce. The sauce was very quick and easy to whip up, but because a roux based sauce with cheese requires some babysitting on the stove, I made it after I had finished the chicken and veggies so I didn’t have to babysit multiple pots and grow about 8 arms to make it all happen.
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 3 teaspoons coconut flour (we use Red Mill brand)
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups Parmesan cheese
- Salt and Pepper to taste
1. In your favorite saucepan (I used my purple Le Cruset sauce pan with the lid — one of the best gifts I’ve ever received for its versatility), melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the minced garlic and sautee it quickly until the garlic is a very light brown.
2. Immediately add the 3 teaspoons coconut flour and whisk it into the butter and garlic mixture, until you don’t have any clumps and you’ve created a slightly thick sauce. A roux should be thicker than regular liquid, without clumps, and requires constant whisking.
3. Pour in the heavy cream and whole milk and whisk it until combined with the roux and thickened a bit.
4. Add in the Parmesan cheese and stir until it is fully melted.
5. Now comes the really fun part — taste testing. Grab your spoon and taste the sauce so you can add salt and pepper to your individual palette. I found I just needed about two pinches of salt and a little pepper and the sauce was divine. This is a picture of the sauce that I made, before adding it to the chicken and veggies:
Note: this sauce is not a shocking white like most alfredo sauces you see, due to the fact that I used coconut flour. If you make your sauce with almond flour, or white flour, chances are it will be lighter in color. But what it lacks in traditional color, I can tell you this sauce makes up for in richness and depth.
6. Pour the sauce into the pot with the chicken and veggies and warm it over medium heat and serve. Or, cover the pot up and wait to serve it later! Whatever floats your boat. This recipe also made great leftovers and didn’t make it past the following lunchtime in our fridge.
The final product: