Tequila Lime Pasta with Chicken

Lately we've been eating lots of salads and veggie bowls. I don't know about you guys, but whenever warm weather hits my body NEEDS healthy food. I don't know, it probably has something to do with the fact that I can no longer run around town in yoga pants and a long baggy sweater; oh and probably some evolutionary instinct to eat the good stuff and pack on the pounds for winter. 

So, you can imagine my stomach's confusion when I awoke on Friday morning to a gloomy sky and went to sleep to the sound of rain. Not just a little sprinkle, either, this was actual real rain (at least for a little while). My body was confused and immediately wanted pasta.

Yep. Totally normal.

So after leaving Octavian with my mother-in-law yesterday afternoon for the night and spending the entire day on the couch sick, I finally got my pasta this afternoon.

Side Note: Since being a Mom I've only acknowledged being sick, like sick sick, twice. Of course, there have been many other days that I have known, deep down, that I wasn't well, but I never had a chance to stop and rest. It's like I never fully fell sick; instead it was more like I was half sick for two or three times as long. But yesterday, immediately after dropping off my child and turning off mom mode, it hit me. It's like my body and mind knew I had a chance to feel like total crap. Thinking back to college and my Bio degree, I think this has something to do with cortisol (but don't quote me on this). Either way, the timeline was crazy.

Although I am still feeling sick, my stomach hadn't forgotten about pasta. It's no longer raining, but there is still a slight chill in the air, allowing me to walk around in my favorite leggings and zip-up hoodie (which just so happens to be my husbands). 

This pasta is the perfect mix between a healthy compromise and creamy comfort food. Healthy because it is loaded with juicy chunks of Tequila marinated chicken breast and fresh vegetables like bell peppers and asparagus. Creamy and comforting thanks to a rich sauce of half and half (or cream) and Greek yogurt. Of course, you can scrap the yogurt all together and just add cream :) The husband and I topped our bowls with a healthy dose of freshly grated parmesan cheese, cilantro and chopped green onions. 

My husband, who typically isn't a big pasta guy, went bonkers over this dish. You guys, completely bonkers. He is already looking forward to leftovers for dinner.

Tequila Lime Pasta with Chicken

Prep Time: 15 minutes / Cook Time: 30 minutes / Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

For the Chicken:
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup tequila
2 limes, zested and juiced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (cut in half if you prefer less spice)
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
4 Tbsp fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano

For the Sauce:
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 lb. fettuccine pasta (or pasta of choice)
1/2 cup half and half (or cream)
1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp butter
1 lime, zest and juice
2 bell peppers, seeded and sliced into thin strips
1 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed and chopped into 1 inch pieces
3 shallots, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)
Green onions, chopped (for garnish)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all marinade ingredients and 1/4 cup water. Mix well. Add chicken and coat with the sauce. Cover, refrigerate and allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes to overnight.

  2. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and cook pasta according to package instructions. 

  3. Meanwhile, as the water comes to a boil and the pasta cooks, cook the chicken. Prepare according to your favorite cooking method (stovetop, oven or grill). All easy, I prepared my chicken by heating a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add oil to the pan and cook chicken for approximately 8 minutes on each side, or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle. Remove to a plate and set aside. Reserve marinade juices for later use.

  4. In a large wide, deep pan, heat 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the shallot, bell pepper and asparagus and cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove to a separate plate and set aside. Add the reserved marinade to the pan and bring the juice to a boil. Allow it to cook for at least 2-3 minutes, ensuring that all raw chicken juice had been cooked and alcohol has been cooked off.

  5. Add in jalapeno, lime juice and zest, parsley, chicken stock, yogurt, half and half (or full cream) and final tablespoon of butter. Stir well.

  6. Gently mix in the pasta noodles as well as 3-4 tablespoons of reserved pasta water. Coat the noodles with sauce. Finally, add cooked chicken and vegetables. Gently mix.

  7. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and green onion and a generous sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!

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