Creamy Chicken Taco Pasta

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on June 4, 2010

Multitasking.

I usually don’t have trouble with multitasking. I can chat on the phone with my mom about the latest while sprinkling Critter Ridder powder all over my garden. (Pesky chipmunks.)  I can be uploading photographs of dinner while reading a story to the boys.  I can read emails while waiting in the drop off line at school (parked, and car turned off). I set up conference calls for those times that I know I’ll be in the car and less likely to be interrupted by the little people. I manage to whip up a batch of muffins with a fussy baby in the sling. (I don’t go near an open oven with him in the sling. I can just hear the panic stricken comments, so let me stop you before you get started.) But I will say, pouring muffin batter into the muffin wells with a baby in a sling isn’t all that pretty. In fact, it was quite messy!

I get how to multitask. I do it all the time. BUT, there are occasions when multitasking is not a good idea.

Making Homemade White Sauce is one of those times.

You see, making white sauce from scratch requires focus and attention. Everything happens very quickly. Once you start to melt the butter, there’s not even time to grab the milk from the fridge or some spices from the spice rack.

When I set out to make this pasta, my goal was to have a pasta dish that seemed like it was cheesy.

I miss cheese. (And I’m too cheap to pay for Vegan cheeses.)

So, I’ll just have to trick myself. I made a dairy free white sauce, using dairy free margarine and rice milk.  And I added some of my homemade taco seasoning to give it some yellow-ish/orange-ish/redness to it. You know, like cheese!

Creamy and tasty it was!

I had no intention of adding the pinto beans to this pasta. But after tasting it, my tongue was on fire. I’m not terribly sensitive to spicy foods, but the sauce had a nice ZIP to it. And I knew that it would not fly well with the little people.  So I short-order cooked.

(Is that a verb? And I sure hope my high school English teacher isn’t reading this. She might ask my school to dig out my transcripts and change my A to an F. Hi Betty. Yes, we are on a first name basis now.)

I RARELY do that…but I didn’t mean for this to turn out with such ZING. So they had spaghetti. And we will eat the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

So back to the beans…they really did help take an edge off the sauce’s heat. Here’s the formula.

SPICY SAUCE + bland beans (with a little chicken and pasta)= PERFECT DINNER

At least my tongue thought so.

And finally, the recipe.

Ingredients

3 Tbsp butter or margarine ($.30)
3 Tbsp flour ($.05)
3 cups milk ($.30)
1 small white onion, chopped ($.30)
2 cups chopped green peppers ($.44) Used half bag frozen chopped green peppers
1 Tbsp homemade taco seasoning ($.05)
Salt and pepper
1 box elbow pasta noodles ($.50) Only have 1 of my $.50 boxes left!
2 cups cooked chicken, about 1 1/2 chicken breasts worth ($1.50) Leftover from last night’s Teriyaki Kebabs…recipe coming next week.
2 cups cooked pinto beans ($.40)
1/4 Watermelon ($1)

Directions

1. Make the white sauce using the butter/margarine, flour, milk, salt and pepper (Video here).  Stir in the chopped onions, chopped green peppers and taco seasoning once the sauce is bubbling and slightly thickened.

2. Cook pasta as directed. Drain and add to large mixing bowl. Mix in the leftover cooked chicken and cooked beans.

3. Pour the creamy taco sauce over the pasta, chicken and beans. Toss.

4. Serve Creamy Chicken Taco Pasta with Watermelon.

Cost $4.84

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Mercedes June 4, 2010 at 5:23 pm

I can’t believe you paid for taco seasoning! that thing is free every other day LOL

Mercedes

Reply

A Hahn December 29, 2010 at 2:30 am

I know this reply was months ago, but I couldn’t help but comment because it was just so snide.
She didn’t pay for taco seasoning – if you read the post, it says she used her own. She is simply stating that for the cost of ingredients to make her own taco seasoning and the amount she used, it came out to about $0.05. Making a rude comment insinuating how stupid it is to pay for taco seasoning when she didn’t makes you look…well… stupid. Think before you post critical comments.
(And yes, I did think before I posted this one. Mainly that people need to be a bit less rude in general!)

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Terri June 4, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Not sure if this trick would work with your non-dairy ingredients, but I won’t make a basic white sauce any other way. Put your milk into a microwave-safe bowl and whisk in the flour. Add the butter. Micro on high for 1 min, whisk. Repeat until thickened. SO EASY and no lumps.

Reply

Debbi Does Dinner Healthy June 4, 2010 at 11:35 pm

This looks so good! Nice save on a too-spicy-could-have-been dinner!

Reply

Regina June 5, 2010 at 8:59 am

MMM…looking at the picture, I wonder if this would be good served as a cold dish as well?
Especially with the leftovers.

Reply

patty June 7, 2010 at 9:52 am

how do you get your sauce to thicken using rice milk. My son is dairy free and I can never get the sauce to thicken properly. Wonder what I am missing.

Reply

Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom December 29, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Patty,

Sometimes I add a touch of cornstarch if it doesn’t thicken. This sauce can be made on the thinner side, so I didn’t use any cornstarch. :)

Erin

Reply

Jessica June 10, 2010 at 8:50 am

When I click on your link for homemade taco seasoning I get sent to homemade babyfood – am I missing something? :)

Reply

Melissa March 16, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Have you ever tried to freeze this dish or do you think it would freeze well in your experience?

Reply

heather March 31, 2011 at 5:34 pm

The taco seasoning link takes me to a baby food post????

Reply

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