I am not saying this is a recipe you would find on the cooking channel that competes with professional chefs and specialty ingredients. This is a fast, affordable but still delicious recipe. (Leftovers are even better the next day after flavors have "blended") This is a REALITY recipe that busy parents can make fast & on a budget to feed a hungry family. You don't need a bunch of special expensive spices or ingredients. It's a casual recipe. I wasn't posting these super easy dinner recipes on the blog originally because I figured that everyone had these basic recipes and wasn't interested in mine. However, I have been asked by my kids, friends and family to post more of my daily dinner recipes that are fast and economical because that is what they need for their everyday busy schedules and let's face it...most people like pasta...especially kids & it's economical.
I try to use up whatever meat I have in my refrigerator or freezer to go with this pasta Alfredo sauce. My husband prefers shrimp, scallops or langostino lobster tails. My kids prefer chicken. My mom prefers chicken sausages and adding spinach or broccoli. It all works. If you prefer vegetarian then you don't have to add any meat. You can also use this as a side dish. I make it with gluten free noodles (whatever shape I have on hand...it doesn't have to be fettuccine noodles!) but you can use regular noodles if you don't have a gluten allergy. If you prefer using hamburger then it will be like a "hamburger helper" version. It all works. Be creative and use what you have on hand.
This Pasta Alfredo sauce recipe is also a great "sauce" recipe for making a white lasagna. If I am making a chicken lasagna or a vegetarian vegetable lasagna then I like to use this recipe. It has so much more flavor than the super runny store bought versions that taste more like corn starch than Alfredo sauce. I also like to use this sauce as the base for my homemade baked Ziti and for my Macaroni & Cheese recipe. I just add additional different flavor cheeses for a creamy, flavorful sauce. If you want to spice it up a little bit, you can use a flavored cream cheese like Chipotle flavor or Jalapeno flavor. I like to use half Chipotle cream cheese + half regular cream cheese if I decide to add some black beans & corn to the pasta for a "Mexican" flavored dish. Yeah... like I said before...I get creative sometimes because I use what I have on hand. You can add noodles & cheese sauce to just about anything and it turns out yummy! That is why I like quick pasta dishes on busy work nights! ;)
Pasta Alfredo Recipe:
- 8 oz. cream cheese (you can use regular or light cream cheese. If you use fat free then you may need to add 1 additional tablespoon corn starch or tapioca starch to get it to thicken. Be sure your corn starch is gluten free if you have a gluten allergy!)
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 cups milk (you can use any type of milk including vitamin D, 2%, 1% or fat free. I have used them all at one time or another and they all worked. I use whatever I have on hand).
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter. I like to use real, unsalted butter but you can substitute margarine although you may loose some of the rich flavor that only butter can provide.
- 1 tablespoon gluten free cornstarch or tapioca starch
- 1-2 tbs. fresh minced garlic (or substitute 1 tsp. garlic powder, not garlic salt!). I like the flavor of fresh garlic and try to use it whenever possible.
- salt & pepper to taste
- 12-16 oz. pasta noodles, any shape (I used Ronzoni gluten free noodles in my batch today)
- 12-16 oz meat (any type), optional (I used chicken breasts for today's batch)
|Cooking the melted butter, garlic and cream cheese until smooth|
|Cooking the sauce after adding remainder of ingredients|
|Served immediately (sauce will thicken as it sits)|
|Up close view of pasta & sauce|
|Dig your fork in! Time to eat!|
|Another view of chicken & pasta|
|Ready to eat!|
|Up close view of the creamy sauce bursting with flavor|
I hope you enjoy one of my family's favorite quick & easy weekday dinner meals. I love the flexibility of this recipe. I know it isn't "authentic Italian" but it is still delicious. Besides, it is quick, easy & affordable...and I am able to get it to the table in less than 20 minutes which is important to me on busy weeknights.
Feel free to share your pictures or your version of this pasta dish. We all learn from each other and I enjoy hearing your tips & what combinations you do with a basic recipe!
Gluten Free Casually