Let’s Get Cookin’: Lightened-Up Chicken Pasta Primavera {GF} + a Skinny Suppers Cookbook Giveaway!

by alexandra

Lightened-Up Chicken Pasta Primavera {GF} - A healthier version of a pasta classic that's still every bit as flavorful, loaded with veggies and a spicy kick of pepper.  | www.brighteyedbaker.com

Fact: I ♡ pasta.

And when I say pasta, I mean the creamy, cheesy kind – AKA – the kind that you feel a little guilty eating, but not really, because it’s so so good. Give me a way to make this kind of pasta a little healthier and I’m alllll over it.

For a few years now, I’ve been sharing some of my recipes with Skinny Mom, a healthy-living website started by the very sweet Brooke Griffin. This recipe comes from Brooke’s first book, Skinny Suppers, which is LOADED with lightened-up dinner recipes for healthier twists on classic comfort food. The pages are filled with colorful photography of absolutely amazing-looking dishes, and I knew as soon as I flipped through the book there’d be tons of recipes I wanted to try. But as Greg said when I was choosing the first recipe: “You’re looking through the pasta section, huh?” Either he knows me too well or I’m way too predictable.

Lightened-Up Chicken Pasta Primavera {GF} - A healthier version of a pasta classic that's still every bit as flavorful, loaded with veggies and a spicy kick of pepper. | www.brighteyedbaker.com

I was actually eyeing the mac n cheese (surprise, surprise), but when you have a boyfriend agreeing to help you cook who thinks no meal is complete without some form of meat, you end up cooking chicken pasta instead. And I have to admit, I was a little bit skeptical about his choice of recipe at first, but oh. my. goshhhhh it was good. We tweaked it around a bit to add some spiciness and extra flavor (with onion, tomatoes, serrano peppers, and parsley), plus made a few little switches to keep it gluten-free, and BAM – best chicken pasta primavera ever. It absolutely works as a one-dish meal, and the leftovers are the kind of thing that make you dream about getting home to your fridge every day to eat more.

Lightened-Up Chicken Pasta Primavera {GF} - A healthier version of a pasta classic that's still every bit as flavorful, loaded with veggies and a spicy kick of pepper. | www.brighteyedbaker.com

And guess what? Because you guys need to make this pasta AND everything else in the Skinny Suppers book, we’re giving away 3 copies – right here, right now.  To enter, check out the Rafflecopter box below. There are 15 possible entries per person, and three winners will be chosen once the giveaway ends on Wednesday, May 18th at midnight.

UPDATE: Apologies to anyone who attempted to enter the giveaway the first two days; there was a website error preventing readers from leaving comments. This has been fixed and the giveaway period has been extended through the 18th to make up for it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lightened-Up Chicken Pasta Primavera {GF}

Cook Time: 20 minutes

6-8 servings

Lightened-Up Chicken Pasta Primavera {GF}

A few simple ingredient swaps making this colorful Chicken Pasta Primavera healthier than its counterparts and still every bit as flavorful, loaded with veggies and a spicy kick of pepper.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 lbs diced chicken breast
  • 3 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for pasta water
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided, plus extra for seasoning sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided, plus extra for seasoning sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 12 ounces gluten-free angel hair or spaghetti pasta*
  • 2 cups broccoli florets, chopped and cooked
  • 3 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 serrano peppers, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 (8 oz) container baby bella (cremini) mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 sprigs parsley, minced, plus extra for garnish
  • Alfredo Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free flour (I like Pamela's)*
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free milk**
  • 4 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese**
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Toss chicken breast with 1 teaspoon olive oil, granulated onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and cayenne.
  2. Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sauté just until cooked through. Transfer to a clean plate or bowl and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil with a dash of olive oil over high heat.
  4. Cook the pasta until al dente according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the past water, and set aside.
  5. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil to the same skillet used for the chicken and sauté the broccoli, tomatoes, serrano peppers, bell pepper, mushrooms, and parsley until vegetable have softened, 5-7 minutes. Season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and set aside.
  6. Alfredo Sauce
  7. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Whisk in the flour for about 30 seconds, or until the mixture is smooth and smells nutty, making a roux. Whisk in the milk and bring to a low boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  8. Reduce heat to low and stir in the cream cheese and parmesan. Continue to stir until smooth and slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
  9. Combine the chicken, vegetables, pasta, and alfredo sauce in the pot used to cook the pasta and toss over low heat until evenly combined, adding reserved pasta water as/if needed to reach desired consistancy. Serve warm, garnished with fresh parsley if desired.

Notes

*If you're not concerned with keeping this recipe gluten-free, healthy alternatives for the pasta and flour would be high-protein pasta and white whole wheat flour.

**While this recipe is intended to be a "lightened-up" version of pasta primavera, you can of course feel free to use low-fat or whole milk and full fat cream cheese instead.

Recipe adapted from Skinny Suppers

http://www.brighteyedbaker.com/2016/05/09/lets-get-cookin-lightened-up-chicken-pasta-primavera-gf-a-skinny-suppers-cookbook-giveaway/

Lightened-Up Chicken Pasta Primavera {GF} - A healthier version of a pasta classic that's still every bit as flavorful, loaded with veggies and a spicy kick of pepper. | www.brighteyedbaker.com

Disclosure: A big thank you to Brooke for providing me with a copy of her book to make this post possible. All opinions are, as always, 100% my own. 

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{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

fran May 11, 2016

The way I lighten things up is by adding lots more vegetables than suggested.

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Becca May 11, 2016

I try to cut the amount of sugar and salt I put in recipes!
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Brittney House May 11, 2016

We like to serve larger portions of veggies to fill us up at dinner time.

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Gretchen Luper May 12, 2016

we use a lot of plain yogurt to replace sour cream in recipes

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Kimberly Camille Tiu May 12, 2016

adding more greens

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Sherril McGann May 12, 2016

I lighten up pasta dishes by swapping pasta half and half with “zoodles” zucchini noodles.

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Nadine s May 12, 2016

I never add salt and add cooked quinoa to everything I can.

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Jenny S May 12, 2016

Instead of using a bun with burgers my family has been using an avacado slice or tomato slices in place of the burger bun. It cuts carbs by a lot.

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Jessica Rose May 12, 2016

My tip for lightening up is to cut out the animal products!

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Steph May 12, 2016

I purée some of the veggies into the stew to thicken it without cream

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Pat May 12, 2016

I lighten up by using plain yogurt instead of mayo or sour cream.

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Cindy Peterson May 12, 2016

I use Greek Yogurt in place of sour cream in recipes. Also, my favorite hamburger bun are baked port0bello mushrooms. Yum! And I use ground turkey for the patty.

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Bailey Dexter May 12, 2016

I will sub whipping cream with yogurt for most of my cream sauces to lighten it up!

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shannon fowler May 12, 2016

one of my favorite things to make is protein pancakes. we use pumpkin and protein powder mainly with some egg white, greek yogurt, and almond milk. so much healthier than normal pancakes

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Robin Miller May 12, 2016

I sub condensed milk sometimes for cream.

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raychg May 12, 2016

I substitute apple sauce for oil.

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mary anderson May 13, 2016

we do not cook with salt

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marla cole wieringa May 13, 2016

I am cutting back on the gluten/wheat products. Not because I have issues, just because they are yummy and are much lighter.

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Grant D May 13, 2016

I try to use olive oil instead of butter when cooking

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scotti May 13, 2016

i try to add more vegetables to fill it up

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Dana May 13, 2016

I only use half the bun and always sub Greek yogurt for sour cream

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latoya May 13, 2016

I cut down on salt and butter.

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Mary M> May 14, 2016

I use low fat or no fat version of sour cream, whipped topping, and cream cheese.

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Denise E. May 14, 2016

I lighten up my recipes by adding greek yogurt in place of creams or mayo. I also make most of my own “cream-of…” soups. I hardly ever salt anything (unless I taste it first).

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Liberty May 14, 2016

Using light dressings in salads and pasta salads.

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Elicia P May 14, 2016

I will cut back on the sugar and the oil in recipes or I will find subs for both.

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Penny Snyder May 15, 2016

I use tortillas instead of bread/buns for sandwiches!

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doug gerard May 15, 2016

use half water and half milk in cream soups instead of all whole milk

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Laura May 15, 2016

I like to lighten-up a lot of recipes by substituting water for milk. I also like to use more veggies whenever I possibly can! :)

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Julie Waldron May 16, 2016

I use low sodium and/or low fat ingredients.

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Melanie May 16, 2016

I substitute light sour cream for regular. Daisy brand is my favorite because it’s just lightened up with skim milk, not a bunch of chemicals.
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susan smoaks May 16, 2016

to lighten up my favorite recipes i eliminate the cheese and meat. it works for us.

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Eva May 16, 2016

I use Greek Yogurt in place of mayo and sour cream in recipes

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Daniel M May 16, 2016

always add more veggies

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Crystal Sell May 16, 2016

I use lower fat dairy when possible and bulk up on the veggies. I love cooking and experimenting to find healthy and delicious meals!

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Stephanie Liske May 16, 2016

I use fat free milk.

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Sarah Cool May 16, 2016

use olive oil instead of butter because its better for you

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Tina May 17, 2016

I use sunflower oil instead butter when I’m making cookies or cakes

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Ashley C May 17, 2016

I try to substitute greek yogurt for at least a portion of sour cream in recipes!

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Hafsa May 17, 2016

wonderful recipe! I will try it soon Thanks for sharing

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Kristen Patton May 17, 2016

My husband and I love pizza. I like to make cauliflower crust for a healthy alternative! We also love cauliflower garlic “mashed potatoes”!

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lisa May 17, 2016

Whenever I use meat in a recipe, I pretty much steam it. i throw it in a pot with the lid on. As it cooks, it creates steam and I don’t need extra oil. If I use meat in a crockpot dish, i don’t even cook it. I just throw it in the crockpot and it turns out great everytime.

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Deborah May 18, 2016

I don’t have many tips…that’s why I should read this book!

I cut down on added sugar.

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Amy Tolley May 18, 2016

i add fresh fruits and veggies and decrease the salt and fatty foods..

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Nancy May 18, 2016

You can double up on the amount of non-starchy vegetables you use in almost any recipe.

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Morrighan Crowe May 18, 2016

I lighten it up by saying no to gmo’s, additives and colorings. Fat is not the problem, it is chemicals.

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Connie Kline May 18, 2016

Baked instead of fried – I like my chicken this way even better now – and using herbs instead of salt for flavor. I love to try the seasoning blends available in the grocery store and eating better is the perfect excuse to add each new one to my list!

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Terry Cross May 18, 2016

I use lower fat products in recipes

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Fiona N May 18, 2016

I love vegetables and fruits, so I always try to add them more in my recipes
Thank You

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Michele Baron May 18, 2016

I substitute plain greek yoghurt for sour cream

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Katy Emanuel May 18, 2016

I will often replace sugar and oil with applesauce or zucchini un recipes.

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Jennifer Mays May 18, 2016

I use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream and mayo

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Claire May 18, 2016

Greek yogurt instead of sour cream

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Natalie May 18, 2016

I never add salt to anything and always use lie fat ingredients

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Shakeia Rieux May 18, 2016

I use olive oil instead of cooking oil, and I add more veggies to my dishes

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Lynne May 18, 2016

If a recipe calls for either sour cream or mayo I will use low fat versions.

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Michelle H. May 18, 2016

I have been shredding vegetables such as carrots and zucchini to put in my spaghetti sauce.

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Marnie G May 18, 2016

One of my favorites is making Philly Cheesesteaks — but instead of piling it on bread, I bake it in a green pepper so it is essentially Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers.

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alexandra May 19, 2016

Love this idea!!!

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Leah Shumack May 18, 2016

We add a salad to eat at the beginning of our meals to fill up a little more! Plus we’ve switched over to olive oil for a lot of our cooking!

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Sand May 18, 2016

I substitute Greek yogurt for recipes that call for sour cream or mayonnaise.

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Angela Saver May 18, 2016

I lighten up recipes for cakes and muffins by reducing the amount of sugar, as well as substituting applesauce or Greek yogurt for the oil/butter.

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Leela May 18, 2016

Using less oil.

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