Cajun Jambalaya Pasta

Cajun Jambalaya Pasta

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This recipe was inspired by the #1 pasta dish at Cheesecake Factory, Cajun Jambalaya Pasta. Their menu describes it as “shrimp and chicken sautéed with onion, tomatoes, and peppers in a very spicy Cajun sauce.” What it doesn’t say is that the dish is as rich in oil, calories, and carbs as it is in Cajun flavor.

With just 1/3 of the usual calories (and 7 little Smart Points), this tasty makeover lets you enjoy the same crave-worthy ingredients and spicy flavor for a mere fraction of the fat and calories – now that’s something worth celebrating!

(Psst….LOVE crave-worthy food, but not the calories? You’ll find lots of easy restaurant inspired drinks and dishes in my Eat What You Love Cookbooks. ).

Makes 4 servings

6 ounces linguine
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
5 teaspoons Cajun spice blend, divided
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 medium red or yellow bell peppers, sliced into strips
1/2 medium red onion, sliced into strips
8 ounces large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup canned diced tomatoes, with juice
¼ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons butter
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

1.  Cook the pasta according to the package directions and set aside.

2.  Place the chicken pieces into a medium bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon Cajun spice. Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes or until cooked about halfway through. Add the peppers, onion and shrimp and sauté another 1 to 2 minutes or until the shrimp are pink.

3.  Reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic, black pepper, remaining 2 teaspoons Cajun spice, tomatoes, and chicken broth to the skillet and gently stir. Cook for 5 more minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked and vegetables tender.  Swirl the butter into the sauce.

4. Place the pasta in a large bowl, toss with the sauce, and garnish with chopped parsley.

Dare to Compare: An order of the Cajun Jambalaya Pasta at the Cheesecake Factory serves up 1,070 calories, over 50 grams of fat, and almost 100 grams of carbohydrate.

Nutrition Information Per Serving (1 3/4 cups)

Calories 325 | Carbohydrate 38g (Sugars 5 g)    Total Fat 6g (Sat Fat 1g) | Protein 30g | Fiber 6g | Cholesterol 115mg | Sodium 810mg | Food Exchanges: 3 Lean Meat, 2 Starch, 1 Vegetable

Carbohydrate Choices: 2 1/2 | WW Point Comparison: 8 Smart Point Comparison: 7

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