I love to cook. I remember cooking with both of my grandma’s growing up. Well, one was more baking, but still, those are memories I cherish. I remember canning and making jelly with my mom. I remember watching her make the majority of our meals and thinking how amazing many of those dishes were. We’re not talking gourmet food, but homey, comforting, fill you up, stick to your ribs type food.
When I got married, I was completely prepared to be able to cook for my husband and me. I was able to replicate many of the dishes I had watched my mom make so many times without even thinking about what to do next.
Over the years, I have learned just what a gift this is, because for most things, my mom didn’t use recipes. I remember asking her how she made her sloppy Joes (fun fact: we NEVER ate sloppy Joe from a can…the thought of it makes me shudder and my upper lip curl into my nose because when you weren’t raised on a canned version of something, the taste and thought of it is just all wrong). It went something like this:
Mom: “Well I start with a pound of hamburger, and then a little pickle juice, and a squirt of ketchup.”
Me: “But how much?”
Mom: “Just a little splash and a good squirt.”
Me: “Mom, I need measurements!”
Mom: “I’ve never measured anything. I just keep adding different things until it tastes right.”
It’s funny, because that is exactly how I cook now. I don’t use a recipe for most things. I modify recipes before even making them because I simply know that it would taste better if I only XYZ and if I don’t use XYZ.
I’ve found that now I’m the one trying to measure everything and write/type it so that I have it to remember…especially because I like to share pictures of what we eat to inspire others who deal with food allergies/food intolerances.
Funny how life brings you full circle in so many different aspects of life, isn’t it?
When we were first faced with needing to adapt recipes for our household, I was undaunted because it was something I already did. The only major difference was that now I had to be diligent when it came to ingredient replacement to ensure that no one would get sick.
As I’ve mentioned before, I like to start with Pinterest and then adapt. I rarely, if ever, make something exactly as I found it (unless it’s something I had growing up and is on a recipe card in my recipe file. Only modifications on those are for dietary needs only; those are sacred 😉).
This recipe was adapted from He + She Eat Clean.
Their recipe was already both gluten and dairy free, but it is also paleo. We absolutely could have eaten this as it was written, but in true to me fashion, I couldn’t leave it be.
We don’t use canned soups because it’s impossible to find one that doesn’t contain dairy, so we hadn’t had any type of a creamy, noodly dish in a loooooong time. So when I found this recipe, it was prime for adapting to be a pasta dish.
I’m also all about shortcuts, so my version took considerably less time to make.
So, here is my adaptation…Creamy Chicken Pasta. Jump to Recipe
Before I start cooking, I like to gather all of my ingredients. If you compare what is shown above to the original recipe, you’ll notice a few differences.
- I made my chicken in the InstantPot. I LOVE my InstantPot for things like this because it cooks my chicken from frozen into perfectly shreddable, moist goodness for use in recipes such as this. If you don’t own one, WHY NOT?!
- I am using frozen squash. This cuts down on the cook time considerably. I couldn’t find just butternut squash, so we used winter squash (which from a little bit of might actually contain butternut, but it may also contain other winter squashes; it’s a blend).
- I am not using thyme. I am not a fan of the flavor of thyme and oregano together. And honestly, I don’t think this missed anything without it.
- I am using all of the coconut milk, not just the cream. Since I was adding noodles, I wanted it to be more liquidy to be able to coat the noodles.
- I did not use coconut oil. In all honesty, I’m not sure the purpose it would have served other than to add some additional fat to the recipe.
Ok, now that all of that is out of the way, I started by throwing my frozen chicken into the InstantPot. I added one cup of water to the bottom, threw in my steamer basket, and then tossed the chicken on top. Locked and loaded, then set for 12 minutes on manual, high pressure.
While the chicken was cooking, I threw a shallow pan of water on to boil. This was for the noodles. I have found that when you use a shallow pan the water comes to boiling much more quickly than a deeper one, and I don’t have problems with pasta sticking. Once it came to a boil, I added my noodles and cooked until al dente. I then strained them and rinsed in cold water. That last part is VITAL when cooking gluten free pasta. It stops the cooking and keeps it from getting all gummy (if you’ve ever made gluten free pasta, you know exactly what I’m talking about). I chose to use a Thai rice noodle as they more closely resemble traditional pasta in flavor. Once it was rinsed, I left it sit in the colander so I could use the pan for the squash.
By the time my noodles were done, my chicken was done. I did a quick release on the InstantPot, then dumped the chicken into a glass bowl. I used my hand mixer to shred it. The coconut milk, raw ACV and spices got added and stirred in. This got set aside so the flavors could meld, and so I could get the squash and peas cooked.
I added the squash and peas to the pan I had used for the pasta (this saves on dishes!) and cooked until it was bubbly and heated through.
At that point, everything got added to the chicken mixture and tossed/stirred to coat.
This was hands down one of THE. BEST. MEALS. we have had since needing to ditch gluten and dairy. It’s a wonderful meal that is light enough for warm summer evenings, but filling and comforting enough for cold winter nights.
I promise it will not disappoint! If you give it a try, let me know if you agree in the comments below.
A delicious, creamy, comforting chicken and noodle casserole. Light enough for summer, but comforting and filling enough for cold winter nights.
- 2 pounds chicken tenderloins or boneless skinless breasts
- 1 package frozen winter squash
- 8 ounces full fat coconut milk (NOT coconut milk beverage)
- 1.25 cup frozen organic green peas
- 1 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
Place chicken in InstantPot with one cup of water (chicken can be placed on the trivet or on a steamer basket). Set to manual, high pressure for 12 minutes.
***If you don't have an InstantPot, simply cook and shred the chicken in the oven or by boiling it.
While chicken is cooking, bring a pot of water to boil. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain noodles and set aside, leaving the noodles in the colander.
***I like to use a shallow pan as it helps the water to boil more quickly.
Quick release the chicken, then add to a large bowl. Shred with a hand mixer or fork.
Add apple cider vinegar, sea salt, garlic powder, black pepper, oregano, onion powder, and coconut milk to the chicken; stir to combine.
In the pan that was used for the pasta, add the winter squash and peas. Cook until heated through.
Add noodles and squash/pea mixture to the chicken. Use tongs to thoroughly mix and coat noodles with the sauce.