Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Chili’s Knockoff

I'm clearly not a fancy food kinda person.  I mean, I love the occasional fancy meal, but they're not my favorite.  For heaven's sake, Chili's is one of my favorite restaurants!!  I'm pretty much a fan of anything on their menu, but their Cajun Chicken Pasta is one that I could eat over, and over, and over again.  When I found this copycat recipe, I couldn't wait to try it.  I went in with low expectations thinking that no way could this even come close to Chili's masterpiece, but I'm happy to say I was WRONG!!  Now, it's not a dead ringer by any means, but it comes pretty dang close!!!  And the fact that I don't have to spend $9 to eat it, makes it that much better :)



2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4 tsp. cajun seasoning {I used Tony Chachere's}

4 tbsp. butter

3 cups heavy whipping cream

1/2 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. black pepper

1/4 tsp. garlic powder {garlic salt would be good here, too!}

1 pkg. penne pasta

Roma tomatoes, chopped

Shredded parmesan cheese

Green onions {optional}

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Slightly moisten chicken with water and place in a large Ziplock baggie.  Add cajun seasoning, seal baggie, and shake it up.  You want to get the chicken nice and coated with all the cajun seasoning.  I didn't have any baggies {shocker}, so I used a Ziplock container instead, coating one breast at a time.  Worked like a charm.  I'm resourceful like that.


In a large skillet, saute chicken in 2 tablespoons of butter, turning when necessary.  I probably cooked mine for about 10-15 minutes.  Can't really remember.  However, I do remember cutting the chicken open to make sure it was white throughout.  {I had a terrible incident of cooking chicken for a date one time in college, and when he bit into the chicken, it was RAW.  Dangit.  I don't want a repeat, so I always cut into my chicken to see how it's cookin'}.


While chicken is cooking, grab another pot and combine cream with 2 tablespoons of butter and remaining seasonings {salt, pepper, garlic powder, lemon pepper}. 


When the cream mixture starts to bubble, turn off heat and pour over cooked pasta.  Toss to coat evenly.  When the chicken is all cooked, remove from heat and transfer to cutting board.  Slice chicken into strips. 


Spoon pasta onto plate & top with several strips of chicken.  Top with tomatoes, green onions, and sprinkle with parmesan. 


HELLO!!!  Does that not look amazing?!?!

Let's do a little side-by-side comparison...my version to Chili's.


Pretty dang close if you ask me :)  Like I said before, not a dead ringer, but dang close to the original.  Mr. Spouse was a HUGE fan and said it was even yummy as leftovers.  As I was cooking the sauce, I *might've* gone in and added extra spices...a little more pepper, a lot more salt,  another dash of lemon pepper & garlic powder, and I even tossed in a little cajun seasoning.  You'll wanna serve this little number with a slice of garlic bread...and if you really wanna feel like you're dining at Chilis' fix yourself a nice schooner full of Presidente Margarita and do the happy dinner dance :)


  1. This is my favorite at Chili's! Your version looks just like it!

    Can't wait to try!

    Third Grade Experience

  2. I love this recipe the 1 thing I do differently is when my cream mixture is done cooking I poured it into my chicken pan so it can pick up on the rest of the Cajun seasoning it's so delicious