Mealtime Monday: Alfredo Chicken Bake

You know what I love about cold weather? Comfort food. Rich, creamy sauces, pastas, and bread are my go-to's when I need something to help me feel all warm and fuzzy. Today was such a cool, windy day (and man, did it rain last night!) that this chicken alfredo bake seemed like the perfect thing for Mealtime Monday's recipe. This recipe is super versatile and can be tweaked as needed, and it's definitely delicious. My family ate it up and asked for seconds!

Alfredo Chicken Bake

Ingredients: 2 chicken breasts (or 4-6 tenderloins) 1/2 stick of butter (salted or unsalted, your choice) + 1-2 tbsp (for sauteing chicken) 2 cloves of garlic, minced or chopped (or 1 generous teaspoon of minced garlic - or more!) 3 tablespoons all purpose flour 2 cups milk (I used whole, but you can also use skim. Or to make it even thicker, 1 c. milk, 1 c. heavy cream) 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper 1 tbsp. Italian herbs (parsley, oregano, or whatever you like!) 1/2 cup sour cream 1 cup (give or take) of your favorite cheese (typically parmesan or mozzarella) + 16 oz. mozzarella for topping 1 box penne pasta (or whatever kind of pasta you prefer)

Go ahead and get your water boiling while you do these first couple of steps. Multitasking is the fastest way to get anything done, after all. *wink*

Cut up your chicken in cubes and use the 1-2 tbsp of butter (or cooking oil, your choice) to saute it up. I spiced mine with Trader Joe's 21 Spice Salute, but you can season it however you'd like.

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Next, take half a stick of butter and melt it in a decent sized skillet. Throw in your garlic and cook until the garlic is browned. Don't let it burn, though! Once it's got a nice golden hue, move on to the next step.

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Next, add in your flour. For ease of mixing, put your flour in a sifter first. I had to deal with a few chunks in mine, and it took a few to tap them out. I didn't grab a picture of this step because I was concentrating on getting it mixed in well. Next, add your milk and stir until it's combined. Cook, stiring frequently, until the sauce has thickened up.

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Once the sauce has thickened up, stir in the half cup of sour cream. I know this sounds odd, but trust me - it makes this so amazing. Honestly, if you don't want to add cheese after this step, you really don't have to. It's good on its own with the salt, pepper and spices (which you'll also want to add now.

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Next, add about a cup of cheese. I used parmesan only because when I made this sauce last time, I put too much mozzarella in it (if that's even a thing), and it made the sauce so thick that I had to backpedal some and thin it out. If you want to add mozzarella, do it in small handfuls until you get a good consistency, but it's still easy to stir.

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Add everything together! I didn't do it this time, but this is where you can also saute up some broccoli or spinach and add it in. I haven't experimented with other vegetables in Alfredo sauces, but I know those two go amazingly well together. I also have it on good authority that broccoli dipped in this sauce is beyond perfect.

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After you've mixed everything together, fold the mixture into a baking pan that's been liberally greased up or sprayed, cover it in cheese, and bake for about 20-25 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and melted. Or, eat it just like this - the option is yours!

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Dish it out and serve it along a nice salad and a glass of wine. Or chocolate milk. Maybe even sweet tea. Whatever you prefer, really!

Have you tried this recipe? We'd love to hear feedback in the comments!