SkinnyDecadent Chicken Carbonara




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This is such a popular dish in most Italian restaurants. I personally never order it since it’s loaded with fat and calories.
One order of Olive Garden’s Carbonara has a whopping 1,144 calories and 88 grams of fat…Gulp!  Happily, my skinny version is still loaded with flavor and absolutely delicious! It will come together pretty quickly, if you get it all prepped and out on the counter ready to go. Each skinny serving has 388 calories, 8 grams of fat and 10 Weight Watchers SmartPoints. This one bowl meal is gourmet enough for special occasions but makes a lovely weeknight dinner too.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes


Ingredients for Chicken Carbonara:

4 slices bacon, see shopping tips

1 cup (~6 ounces) raw chicken breasts or chicken breast tenders, diced

3 ounces dry whole grain or whole wheat spaghetti

½ cup frozen peas

3 tablespoons white wine or reduced-sodium chicken broth

3 tablespoons reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons Parmesan, grated

1 egg, I like using Egg-land’s Best eggs

3 tablespoons fat-free milk

¼ teaspoon salt

Black pepper, to taste


Ingredients for Topping:

2 teaspoons Parmesan cheese, grated, optional


Instructions

1. Place bacon on a microwave safe plate lined with paper towels. Cover top with more paper towels and cook in microwave 2 minutes.

2. In a large nonstick pan, add bacon and continue to cook until crispy. Drain on paper towels. Cool and crumble.

3. To the same pan with bacon drippings, add chicken; sauté about 3 minutes per side until cooked. Transfer cooked chicken to the plate.

4. While the chicken is cooking, cook spaghetti in pot or pan of boiling water until al dente (not overcooked) Drain pasta into a colander with the frozen peas. Shake pasta to remove excess water.

5. In the same pan the chicken was cooked in, deglaze the pan with wine, broth, and juice, scraping up any bits on the bottom. Reduce a little, about 30 seconds to 1 minute over low heat.

6. In a large bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, egg, milk, salt, and pepper.
In this same bowl, combine the crumbled bacon, chicken and deglazed sauce with this egg mixture. Add hot pasta and toss well to combine and coat. If not hot enough zap entire bowl in microwave for 1-2 minutes.

7. Divide among 2 plates. Sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings (each serving, 1.5 ounces pasta, 3 ounces chicken, 2 slices bacon and sauce)


Food Fact

Chicken Carbonara is an Italian pasta dish featuring chicken cooked in a creamy sauce. Most recipes for the dish include bacon or pancetta, cream, eggs, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper. The chicken and bacon are usually cooked first, mixing the sauce separately, and combining all of the ingredients just before serving with spaghetti.


Healthy Benefits

I cut the calories and fat way down from a traditional, full fat dish by cooking the bacon in the microwave first to drain fat onto paper towels. Using fat-free milk instead of cream and just a small mount of Parmesan cheese. In addition, serving with a whole grain, high fiber spaghetti. Each serving of my skinny chicken carbonara has 6 grams of fiber!


Shopping Tips


I’ve combed the supermarket shelves looking for one of the leanest regular bacon choices and Oscar Meyer Center Cut Bacon is my favorite, compared to most regular bacon. It’s much lower in fat and calories, 3 slices contain 70 calories and 4.5 grams of fat. Once cooked on paper towels, most of the fat soaks into the paper, not in the bacon, so the fat is further cut down.

In addition, I discovered a fantastic bacon. Its called Applegate Farms Natural Sunday Bacon. Its low in fat and calories, uncured and contains no nitrites! Many supermarkets carry this brand. I bought it at Vons/Safeway and Whole Foods. Heres the link to their website: http://www.applegate.com/products/natural-sunday-bacon

Whenever a recipe calls for using eggs, I LOVE Egg-land’s Best eggs! They have less saturated fat, less cholesterol, more Vitamin D, more Vitamin E and double the Omega 3 than regular eggs. Most supermarkets see them in the egg aisle.

 

Weight Watchers SmartPoints 10
Weight Watchers Points Plus 9 (w/out 1 tsp cheese topping)
Weight Watchers Points Plus 10 (with 1 tsp cheese topping)

SKINNY FACTS: for 1 serving (w/out cheese topping)
388 calories, 8g fat, 4g sat. fat, 142mg chol, 39g prot, 39g carbs, 6g fiber, 621mg sodium, 4g sugar
FAT FACTS: 1 dish of Olive Garden Chicken and Shrimp Carbonara
1,144 calories, 88g fat, 82g protein, 80g carbs, 9g fiber, 3,000mg sodium