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Make-Do-Mama and the Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

January 10, 2014

P1040843Our office has themed potlucks for lunch once a month. Most of us love them because it beats the old brown bag and for me, gives me an excuse to experiment with making something I’ve never maybe made before. My “Easy Stromboli Sandwiches” post a few months back was one of those.

Our theme this month was “Italian” (and yes I could have repeated the Stromboli but what’s the fun in that). I figured there would be plenty of lasagna (vegetable and regular, check) and while my family always loves mine, (featured in Whatever Happened to Dinner?) I wanted to make a dish I enjoyed when my youngest daughter lived at home and made it for a couple years after college, Chicken Alfredo. She always used a jar of prepared Alfredo sauce which is yummy but I wanted to make my own. Kind of.


So I checked three sources: Fix It and Forget It Big Cookbook; an unidentified print out (which I probably got online at some point) called Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo; and one of those “Great American Recipe” gorgeous huge recipe cards for “Creamy Fettuccine Alfredo” they send you free in the mail trying to get you to subscribe for more cards. That one called for 2 sticks butter, 2 cups whipping cream and 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, and 1 lb. box of fettuccine. It weighed in at a whopping 1,467 calories per serving (the recipe said it would serve 4). ‘Nuff said. More on that later.*

The Fix It and Forget It recipe called for a 16 oz. jar of Alfredo sauce, 4-6 boneless chicken breast pieces, 8 oz. fettuccine noodles (or other), 4 oz. can of mushroom pieces and stems, and 1 cup shredded mozzarella or ½ cup grated Parmesan. In a slow cooker. I nixed that one since I didn’t have the Alfredo sauce.

The unidentified source called for a cup of fresh or frozen broccoli flowerets, 1 lb. skinless boneless chicken breasts cubed, ½ c. milk, 1 can of cream of condensed mushroom soup, ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, and 6 oz. fettuccine noodles. While some cooks steer clear of any condensed soups, I figured if I didn’t add any salt and I had it on hand, it couldn’t be any worse or more caloric than the jar of Alfredo sauce or 2 sticks butter PLUS whipping cream PLUS 2 cups cheese.

So …. being a make-do-mama who is inclined to use the things I have on hand and comfortable with invention, here is the combined recipe I used. At least one potluck goer pronounced it “delicious.” It seemed to warm quite a few bellies that day that started out near 0 degrees F. Note there was no garlic in any of these recipes, nor in mine. It could probably use a nice clove or two but with an otherwise highly seasoned potluck, for me it was a nice respite since garlic and spice sometimes sets me off into a headache.


Chicken Alfredo Fettuccine – Melodie Davis original

2 cups chopped chicken tender pieces
1 cup Vermont aged cheddar cheese (any white-ish cheese will do, I happened to have some on hand)
8 oz. fettuccine noodles
½ cup half and half (or milk)
½ cup grated Romano and Parmesan cheese (or just Parmesan)
8 oz. frozen broccoli pieces
1 10 oz can condensed cream of mushroom soup
2 Tb butter
1 Tb olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh chopped basil or dried, as desired

Boil noodles according to package directions; add broccoli for last 4 minutes to lightly cook.
Sauté chicken in butter and olive oil until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove from heat. Add cheeses, half and half (or milk), condensed soup. Stir lightly.
Drain water from noodles/broccoli. Add the noodles and broccoli to chicken/cheeses/soup mixture. Garnish with basil as desired.
Bake in 2 1/2 quart greased casserole dish for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until heated through. Serves about 8.

You might guess I’m a little pleased with my concoction, but not so proud of the pictures I didn’t get (potluck not a great environment for getting great pictures of servings), but here’s a photo of my plate when I enjoyed leftovers that night at home.


It’s real food, not faked up by a food artist.

*It’s also quite high in calories, do I need to mention? You’ll only want about a one cup serving of this baby to not wreck your diet, weighing in at about 371 calories per one cup serving.

Yeah, that’s not so bad, unless you eat the whole 4 cup serving of a typical, generous restaurant dish. Just saying.

P1040842This is about a one cup serving.

And in case you wonder, like I did, what “Alfredo” refers to, (I wondered if it was Italian for “with cheese” or something), it apparently was just named for a chef who made it for his pregnant wife. It was subsequently Americanized with the “unnecessary addition of heavy cream” according to the above website.

So there you go. Now we know why the dish is crammed with milk and cheese and so high in calories.


What’s your favorite winter comfort food?

Do you stick to recipes or combine and invent as you go?

I’d love to share a recipe you’ve concocted, if it was successful! Make the dish, send the recipe and a photo, and allow me to post it as guest post here, and I’ll send you a FREE copy of Whatever Happened to Dinner? Contact me by email if you have a recipe to share. melodiemillerdavis at gmail dot com


Stay tuned next weekend when I hope to bring you another great winter comfort food: our traditional basic chili soup.


From → Family Life, Food, Recipes

One Comment
  1. Caro - Claire Wiles permalink

    Sounds like an easy one to attempt .
    We go to a senior’s pot luck every month but now that we have move away , it is over an hour’s drive and I have shied away from taking a hot dish and just stick to my old favorite ambrosia salad and a dessert.
    I enjoyed your blog here though because along with the recipe that I now have to save, I enjoy your story line that goes along with it.
    Thanks again.

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