One night while Jon and I were lounging in the community pool, we were throwing around ideas for dinner. Jon suggested that we don’t often have Cajun food. I agreed with him.
We had discovered our new love of Cajun food when we came across a New Orleans-style restaurant in a neighboring town to us in Indiana…but we discovered it about 1 week before we were moving to South Carolina…wish we would have found it years ago…
When we went to that restaurant, we fell in love with the food. While we were eating, the chef came out and was standing just outside of the kitchen door (in which we were in close proximity). He just stood there smiling for a few minutes, then started asking diners how everything was tasting. We, of course said everything was delicious…it REALLY was. We overheard him tell someone else he just loved coming out of the kitchen to see people eat his food. I loved his passion for food and his caring about the reactions of his guests’ while they enjoyed their meals…that has always stuck with me.
So in honor of our experience, Jon and I came up with our own Cajun inspired meal. The great thing is that it combines Cajun flavors with a cheesy pasta. Come on, now…is there anything more comforting than a cheesy pasta? This dish has a little spicy kick from the seasonings and really goes well with the creamy cheddar cheese.
Here’s what I used:
For the chicken and veggies:
1 lb pasta (your favorite shape and size), cooked
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped bell pepper
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp flour
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken tenders
½ tbsp Cajun or Creole seasoning (I used: Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning, 17 oz (Pack of 2) )
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup heavy cream (that’s been warmed in the microwave for 15-30 seconds, enough to take the chill off)
1 cup milk (that’s been warmed in the microwave for 15-30 seconds, enough to take the chill off)
1 tsp extra of Cajun or Creole seasoning (I used: Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning, 17 oz (Pack of 2) )
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp ground Cayenne
2 cups sharp shredded cheddar cheese (set ½ cup aside)
½ cup pasta water (the water that your pasta was cooked in)
1 tsp dried parsley
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