Chicken Alfredo Recipe
Have you ever tried Stouffer’s frozen chicken alfredo? Its delicious, but even in the family size package, you’re paying a lot for some pasta, some sauce, and a small amount of chicken – pretty inexpensive ingredients. There’s a lot of packaging waste, and it takes 45 minutes in your oven to heat it! This recipe is quite similar, but better, its a fresh, one pot meal, and you can have dinner on the table in half the time, and for a fraction of the cost!
8 ounces (225 grams) dried pasta, egg noodles or fettuccine
1 – 15 ounce (425 grams) jar of Alfredo sauce
1 cup (fresh or frozen) precooked chicken (dice into ¼” squares, then measure)
2 teaspoons chicken base
1 tablespoon roasted garlic
½ tsp. coarsely ground pepper
Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
Electric pressure cooker
12″ silicone tipped tongs
Colander or strainer
PRESSURE COOKING TIP: The amount of water / steam released during pressure cooking can vary from pressure cooker to pressure cooker. If you have a jiggle top machine, it will likely release more liquid during the cooking process, and you may want to add an additional ½ cup to 1 cup of water.
- Dice cooked chicken into approximately ¼” size pieces. Measure 1 cup for use, return rest to refrigerator.
- If using spaghetti or fettuccine noodles, break noodles into thirds. Add pasta, 2 teaspoons chicken base and 2 cups water to pressure cooker bowl.
- If using frozen chunks of chicken in this recipe, add chicken to pressure cooker pot as well. (If using fresh chicken, don’t add until after pressure cooking.) Pressure cook at HIGH PRESSURE (10 PSI) for 2 minutes using QUICK PRESSURE RELEASE. Once pressure has been released, turn off the machine.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of roasted garlic into the jar of alfredo sauce.
- Once pressure has been released, unlock and remove the lid, holding it at an angle to release residual heat and steam towards the back. Stir the pasta and cooking water briefly. If needed, remove the pot and drain excess cooking water.
- Add the alfredo sauce/roasted garlic mixture, chicken (if it wasn’t already added prior to pressure cooking), and coarse ground pepper to the pasta. Mix well. Garnish with a small amount of grated parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.
ALFREDO SAUCE: The regular price charged for pasta sauces, especially alfredo sauce, is ridiculous. I refuse to pay full retail for sauce. Outside the sale season, your best bet price wise is probably buying in “bulk” (several jars together) at Costco. But the best time to get a good deal on commercial alfredo sauce is late spring and summer — tomato season. My theory is sauce manufacturers like to make and sell large amounts of spaghetti sauce when domestically raised tomatoes come into season, and they don’t have to pay to import tomatoes from South America. At that point, they have an incentive to move older inventory still in stock, and their costs for producing new jars of sauce also decrease. The supermarkets will put pasta and pasta sauce on sale, and coupons for pasta sauce will show up in the Sunday circulars. THAT’S when you’ll get your best deals, because the sales are often on “selected varieties” of sauce, often including the white sauces as well. Last summer, I got jars of alfredo sauce for $1 each, and at one point, I got them for $1 each, plus a free box of pasta with every two jars purchased.
Just be sure and check the expiration dates on each jar before placing them in your cart: I found one jar that expired in a month, several in three months, the rest expired much later. Don’t assume that all the jars will have the same expiration date, and remember, alfredo sauce apparently doesn’t have the same shelf life that regular spaghetti sauce does.
PASTA: You can buy pasta in bulk at Costco, but if you want to purchase smaller amounts, the best time to get a deal on pasta is when spaghetti sauce goes on sale. My personal goal is to get the price under $1 a box, significantly under if I can. Often, the supermarkets will offer a combination deal, giving you a special deal if you buy a jar of sauce and pasta together, or the best deal I got last summer was buy two jars of pasta sauce, get 2 boxes of the store brand of pasta for free. (Given the sauce was heavily discounted, it was a really good deal.) Just remember, if you don’t have unlimited storage space, shaped pastas like fusilli, bowtie pasta, etc. take up more storage room. I prefer flat pastas like fettuccine because they take up less room and can be tucked into small spaces in kitchen cabinets.
CHICKEN: Its fairly easy to get a good deal on chicken. For one thing, always buy bone-in chicken – pressure cookers make it is so easy and quick to cook chicken parts, and they make the meat tender and easy to pull off the bone. My price to beat is Costco, which at the time I write, sells whole chickens and chicken thighs for $1.19 a pound, but I can often beat it. Every few weeks like clockwork, Smart and Final puts Foster Farms split chicken breasts on sale. Vons / Safeway also has regular sales on whole chickens (limited quantities per customer). If you prefer natural or organic chicken, Sprouts / Henry’s advertises natural chicken thighs periodically, and both they and Vons/Safeway sell organic chicken as well (sign up for the latter’s Just for You program, buy an “Open Nature” organic chicken, and periodically they’ll offer you a special “Just for You” sale price on organic chicken.
GARLIC: Never buy roasted garlic at the store. Instead, I buy garlic in bulk in bags for cheap at Costco, and then I roast it myself. I use an adaptation of Hip Pressure Cooking’s method (I readily admit – alas — I did not think of this myself). Place a cup of water, a trivet and your whole garlic heads in the pressure cooker, cook at high pressure for 6 minutes, and then I pop them in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, often in combination with tomatillos I need to roast. (Don’t roast garlic in the same oven as say, a birthday cake!) Then I remove the soft, roasted garlic, add a little salt, and store in small jelly jars in the fridge and freezer.
- 8 ounces (225 grams) dried pasta, egg noodles or fettuccine
- 1 – 15 ounce (425 grams) jar of Alfredo sauce
- 1 cup (fresh or frozen) precooked chicken (dice into ¼” squares, then measure)
- 2 teaspoons chicken base
- 1 tablespoon roasted garlic
- ½ tsp. coarsely ground pepper
- Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
- Dice pre-cooked chicken into ¼” size chunks, measure out 1 cup to use for this recipe, return leftover chicken to your refrigerator.
- If you’re using fettuccine or spaghetti, break the dry pasta into halves or thirds. Place pasta, 2 teaspoons chicken base, and 2 cups cold water into the bowl of the pressure cooker. (You might want to add more water if you have a jiggle top pressure cooker.)
- If you’re using frozen diced chicken, add it to the pressure cooker. If you’re using fresh chicken, don’t add it until after the noodles have been cooked. Cook at HIGH PRESSURE (10 PSI) for 2 minutes using QUICK RELEASE. When timer beeps, use tongs to move pressure valve to “pressure release”. Turn off the “keep warm” setting.
- Stir 1 tablespoon of roasted garlic into the jar of alfredo sauce.
- Once pressure has been released, remove pressure cooker lid, tilting it to direct any remaining heat and steam away from your face. Stir pasta briefly in its cooking water. Remove pressure cooker bowl and drain cooking water as needed.
- Return pasta to bowl. Add chicken (if not already added), alfredo pasta sauce and coarsely ground pepper. Stir, garnish with shredded parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.
Chicken Alfredo with Peas and Prosciutto. Peas and prosciutto are a classic pairing with pasta. Add frozen peas before pressure cooking; add fresh ones after. Dice prosciutto into small pieces or shreds and add after water has been drained. A delicate onion, such as lightly sautéed onions or shallots, or perhaps even pearl onions, would also work well with this variation.
Alfredo with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Red Pepper. (This would probably work even better if you used the Classico Sun-Dried Tomato Alfredo Sauce or Classico Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo Sauce.) Add chopped sun dried tomatoes and diced and sautéed red bell peppers to the cooked pasta (if using sun dried tomatoes stored in oil, you may want to dab some of the oil off the tomatoes with a paper towel before adding to the noodles).