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Carbonara is traditionally an Italian pasta dish made with eggs, pancetta, garlic, black pepper, and parmesan cheese. Today, I share my easy aka lazy weeknight Chicken Carbonara inspired dinner using frozen crispy chicken strips (leftover chicken works too) bacon, eggs, garlic, and cheese.
Lazy Weeknight Chicken Carbonara
Looking for an easy, affordable, and extremely satisfying weeknight dinner that the entire family will love?
Spaghetti Carbonara has always been one of my favorite frugal weeknight meals simply because it’s so easy to make and the ingredients are pretty basic and minimal too.
We always seem to have everything we need on hand to make this dinner so it’s a no brainer that it often finds its way onto my weekly meal plans.
As a busy mom, (especially with all of this distanced learning) I’m all about finding ways to jazz up seemingly easy dinners while making them a little bit more exciting and easier on myself.
So, today I am sharing with you one of our family’s favorite go-to weeknight meals.
Need more dinner inspiration? Check out my weekly family meal plans! Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6
1 lb spaghetti noodles
3 eggs whisked
1 cup reserved pasta water
4-6 slices of cooked bacon
1 cup parmesan cheese
2-3 cloves of garlic or 1 tsp jarred minced garlic
1.5 cups of cooked crispy chicken strips or leftover chicken of choice
parsley for garnish (optional)
Time/Money Saving Recipe Hacks
One of my favorite ways to cut down on time in the kitchen is to have bacon precooked and ready to go in the freezer.
Once a month I will cook a pound of bacon to add to the freezer for later recipe use. Think pasta, casseroles, soups & more!
In addition to precooking the bacon the easiest, quickest, and mess-free way to cook it is in the oven. If you have never cooked bacon in the oven before you are missing out. This oven bacon pan is my absolute favorite.
While using fresh garlic often tastes better don’t be afraid to use “jarlic” aka jarred minced garlic. I always keep a jar in the fridge for those lazy nights. Plus side – it lasts a really long time and pretty inexpensive especially if you pick it up at Costco.
Use leftover (leftover fried chicken is especially delicious in this) or rotisserie chicken to this recipe instead of frozen chicken strips to save additional time and money.
Additional Cooking Notes
When adding the egg mixture to the pasta it’s important to slowly incorporate the hot pasta water into the dish. Adding hot liquid too quickly will cause the eggs to scramble.
You can also temper the eggs before adding them into the pasta by adding the hot water to the bowl of eggs. Continuously whisk the eggs as you add in the water. You don’t need to use the entire reserved amount, just enough to bring the eggs up to the same temperature as the water.
This dish is also best served immediately.
- 1 lb spaghetti noodles
- 3 eggs whisked
- 1 cup reserved pasta water
- 4-6 slices of cooked bacon
- 1 cup of parmesan cheese ( I use any shredded cheese I have on hand.)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic (If using jarred minced garlic you will need about 1 tsp)
- 1.5 cups of good quality cooked chicken strips. (you could also use any leftover cut up chicken)
- Parsley for garnish (optional)
- 1. Wisk eggs and cheese together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- 2. Cook crispy chicken strips according to the package instructions. I typically use around 3-5 strips depending on the size. Once cooked cut up chicken into small bite-sized pieces.
- 3. In a large pot of salted boiling water cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
- 4. In a skillet over medium heat cook 4-6 slices of chopped bacon. ***See above for my time saving hack for using bacon in recipes.
- 5. Drizzle olive oil in a clean skillet and add garlic.
- 6. Saute garlic until fragrant.
- 7. Add pasta into a pan with garlic and toss to combine.
- 8. Remove pan from heat and egg/cheese mixture on top of pasta. Continue to toss until all ingredients combined.
- 9. Slowly add small amounts of the reserved pasta water to the pasta until you reach the desired sauce consistency.
- 10. Add chicken to the pasta and combine. Serve immediately.
- Instead of using crispy chicken strips, you can use any leftover chicken that you would like including rotisserie chicken.
- By precooking bacon at the beginning of the week you can cut down on cook time with this dish.
- It is important to add the reserved pasta water slowly to the pasta and egg mixture to prevent the eggs from scrambling.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 538Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 210mgSodium: 832mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 34g