So I was craving some alfredo sauce this evening, but unfortunately, the problem with alfredo is that it generally has a lot of calories since it’s based in heavy cream, butter, and cheese – all very fatty things. Also I didn’t have any. So, to solve this problem, I decided to take a crack at making my own.
I know, it doesn’t look very appetizing, but bare with me for a moment cause it was actually pretty good. If it helps, it looks much better this way:
I looked up a few different recipes for this one as a reference, but ultimately ended up making it about how I thought I would. I used it for just me, but the amount I ended up making probably would have been more appropriate for two people (or four ounces of pasta, instead of two).
I started off sautéing some garlic in butter, then added in a cup of milk, a bit of flour, and a packet of chicken Ramen flavoring (the recipes said chicken broth, but I didn’t have that, and I did have ramen packets, so I improvised). It was a bit too chickeny, so in the future I think I’d use less flavoring – probably starting with half a packet and then adding more to taste, if needed. Then I threw in some freshly grated parmesan (probably not enough, so I included more in the recipe), and about a teaspoon of italian seasoning, and voila! A lower calorie alfredo sauce. In recipe form:
Low Calorie Alfredo Sauce
1/2 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup skim milk
1/2 packet chicken ramen flavoring, or equivalent (add more to taste)
1 Tbsp flour (to thicken)
1 oz freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp italian seasoning
1) Melt butter in a small saucepan on medium high heat, then add garlic and stir until it softens a bit
2) Add milk, flour, and chicken flavoring to pan; stir to combine (as best you can – the flavoring kept floating to the top in mine until I added the cheese)
3) Stir in parmesan cheese until melted, then let allow the sauce to boil down to your desired thickness
4) Stir in italian seasoning, then pour over pasta and serve immediately
This recipe would produce two servings, each at about 150 calories (this will depend on what chicken flavoring you use), which is much lower than your typical alfredo, and also has healthier ingredients. With two ounces of pasta (I used whole wheat spaghetti) it’s still only at 350 calories. This would also be pretty good if you added actual chicken, which is 100 calories per 3 oz, or about the size of a deck of cards.
You may be wondering about the broccoli I have mixed in in the picture up there, and that’s a different story. It was originally intended to be a separate dish, which was garlic cashew broccoli, but I messed it up quite a bit and so decided to just mix it in instead. Here’s what it looked like before I put it in the pasta, but after I’d already eaten about half of it:
If I hadn’t messed it up, I actually think it would have been pretty good, but I accidentally boiled the sauce down way too much cause I was anxious to get started and didn’t plan ahead. I used frozen broccoli, so next time I try this recipe I think I will just take the broccoli, pour the sauce ingredients over it, and mix it all together. I haven’t tried it yet, so I have no idea if it’s actually good or not, but here’s what the recipe would be:
Garlic Cashew Broccoli
10 oz bag of frozen broccoli
1 1/2 Tbsp teriyaki sauce (I used Le Choy teriyaki marinade because it’s only 10 cal/Tbsp)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 oz cashews
Black pepper, to taste
1) Heat broccoli in microwave, then put it into a bowl
2) Pour teriyaki sauce, garlic powder, cashews, and pepper over broccoli and mix
So at least it’s super easy. This version would be 280 calories (the cashews add a lot), but could also probably be split into two servings at 140 each.
However, if you’d like to add it to the pasta, I’d probably just go ahead and throw the cooked broccoli and raw cashews in there as is. Maybe put the cashews in right after the cheese so they’re in there while you let it boil down and they can soften up a bit. Even with the teriyaki (kinda sorta), mine tasted fine. The cashews were a good addition.
So yeah. Cooking adventures gone slightly wrong tonight, but still ended up with a decent dinner and good ideas for future improvements.