One-Pan Skinny Chicken A La King, a creamy comfort dish that is light on the hips!
I’ve always been enamored by Retro Recipes. You know, the type you find in a worn turn of the century junior league cookbook, in the back of a used bookstore.
Or even those hand written recipes on index cards in grandma’s heavy script… When she was sporting A-line dresses, gogo boots, and a bouffant hairstyle.
Have you noticed these vintage recipes call for ingredients that often no longer exists?
Many have to be converted with modern-day grocery items, in order to live on another generation.
These sort of recipes tell a story of the past… What was popular, what was important, what was available at the time.
They let us know how far we’ve come, yet leave us craving simpler times. If there ever really were simpler times.
Over the years I’ve collected an abundance of weathered retro cookbooks from garage sale, book stores, and even some my dad has collected for me.
One thing I’ve noticed is that they all, almost without exception, have a recipe for Chicken à la King. A dish lost in this modern age of low carbs and unprocessed foods.
This makes we sad for two reasons…
One, Chicken à la King is delicious. It is reminiscent of the inside of a chicken pot pie, yet heavy on mushrooms and sherry.
Two, Chicken à la King can be easily transformed into a healthier low carb variation.
Let’s bring it back, shall we?
Today’s Skinny Chicken A La King recipe is lean and mean with only 252 calories per serving.
We’ve accomplished this by removing the comforting, but unnecessary, toast or puff pastry often accompanying this chicken dish.
We’ve also removed the cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, or just heavy cream in most recipes, and replaced it with a little low fat cream cheese to offer a similar creamy consistency, without all the fat and calories.
These two major changes do not effect the flavor and appeal of traditional Chicken A La King in the least bit.
Yet they do make it a healthy mid-week meal you can feel good about feeding your family as often as you like!
Skinny Chicken A La King Tips
Do you want to know the key to making this light version of Chicken à la King taste amazing?
Layer (or add) the ingredients at just the right time, so the chicken and peppers are not overcooked, but the mushrooms and onions are soft and silky.
It is a complete one-pan meal, for easy clean up, but don’t just dump everything in all at once!
How to Make Chicken A La King
Start by sautéing the onions and mushrooms until they are caramelized.
Then add the chicken, followed by the peppers, herbs, and spices just a couple minutes later.
Finish cooking the chicken as the broth, sherry, and the low fat (or nonfat) cream cheese simmers and mingles into a thick creamy base.
I recommend eating all the Skinny Chicken A La King on day one, as it does not make the best leftover. As lovely and cozy as it tastes right after cooking, it’s not so great later on.
Some recipes just aren’t.
If you are desperate for the carby topping found in most old school recipes, yet are trying to stick with a low carb diet…
This Skinny Chicken A La King recipe just goes to show you can teach an old dog new tricks, and it’s definitely worth it to try!
Skinny Chicken A La King
- 1 tablespoons butter or oil
- 1 pound boneless chicken breast
- 2 cups chopped bell peppers, any color
- 12 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 6 ounces low-fat cream cheese (could be low-fat)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
Cut the chicken into 1-inch, bite-size pieces and chop all the vegetables.
- Set a large cast iron skillet (or sauté pan) over medium heat. Add the butter, mushrooms, and onions. Sauté the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until they release their moisture and dry out again. They should start to caramelize around the edges, 5-8 minutes.
- Push the mushrooms and onions to the sides of the pan and add in the chicken. Salt and pepper generously, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring once or twice.
- Add in the bell peppers, thyme, paprika, and nutmeg. Stir and cook another 2 minutes. Then mix in the cream cheese, chicken broth, sherry, and peas. Stir and simmer until the cream cheese melts into the liquid creating a smooth sauce. (If you use nonfat cream cheese, you may need to whisk it a bit so it incorporates into the sauce.)
- Turn off the heat. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice. Then taste, and salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately.
NOTES: Chicken A La King is traditionally served with toasted bread or with puff pastry. This lean version skips the extra carbs, but you could certainly add them back in. Also, this dish does not make a great leftover. Eat it up the first day.