Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Spicy Chicken Penne With Spinach

If I had known that this recipe was going to turn out as delicious as it did, I probably would have taken pictures as I went....

Ever since I tried Pioneer Woman's creamy tomato pasta a few blogs ago, I have been looking for a chance and a way to use the recipe again in a new way.  I found a recipe on Pinterest the other day that used a similar sauce for a spicy chicken dish...Well, me being me, I can't just leave it at the recipe that I'm given...I just have to adapt it.

Of course, I put my own spin on Pioneer Woman's sauce this time too... it was marvelous darling! Simply marvelous!

...really, the picture doesn't do it justice...

Here's what you need to do:

Boil water in preparation for cooking the noodles- I used 1/2 of a 13.25 oz box of whole wheat Penne. Cook according to package instructions.

1 large boneless skinless chicken breast cutlet, partially frozen (this makes it easier to slice)
1/2- 1 TBS red pepper flakes
1 TBS garlic powder (you could use 2 cloves garlic, minced if you want to make it fresh, but I was hungry and wanted dinner without garlic hands...)
1/2 -1 tsp garlic salt (to taste)
1/8-1/4 tsp pepper (to taste)
1 cup fresh spinach, stems removed and chopped (can use frozen spinach if you don't have fresh on hand.)

Slice chicken into thin, bite sized pieces (you want them to be about as thick as a silver dollar.)
Add about a silver dollar sized portion of oil to the bottom of a  skillet and let it heat. Pour in your red pepper flakes and let them cook a bit to release some spice into the oil. They will start to turn slightly brown- this step literally only takes 30-45 seconds (you don't want them to burn). Add the chicken and sprinkle with the garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  Sautee chicken until cooked through.  Add the spinach and toss together. Let the chicken mixture cook until the spinach is slightly wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a separate sauce pan, mix:

1/2 c parmesan cheese
1/2 c milk
1 TBS garlic powder

Let this mixture come to a boil, stirring frequently. It should thicken on its own as it cooks.

Add to this:
1 c of your favorite pasta sauce and cook together until heated through. (I make my own freezer pasta sauce. The last time I made a batch, I made it even more delicious by letting it cook in the crock pot all day long...we've vowed that A) We will never purchase store made pasta sauce again and B) I will forever more make it in the crock pot.... I just added a quart bag of my sauce to the mix instead of measuring out a cup.)

Remember those noodles? They should be cooked by now if you've been multitasking. Drain the noodles. Toss in the chicken mixture first, making sure that it mixes throughout the pasta then add the sauce mix and toss together.

Serve with extra parmesan cheese on top if desired. Pair it with a salad or some veggies and an awesome dessert and you have the makings of a date night if you really want it. Seriously, to us it tasted like something we'd order in a restaurant!

All together, this was a super easy dish to make. I literally had it done in 30 minutes (seriously, I started at 4 PM and it was done by 4:30...I had initially thought it would take longer to come together but I proved myself wrong.)

This is on my list of "make again" things and Jeff is super excited to take the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. (I will have to remember to save some for myself...) It easily made 4 large servings or 6 not so large servings if you're having salad and breadsticks (or just salad if you're watching the carbs like me.), so this will easily feed a large family with small kids.

Bon Appetit darlings...I'm always happy to share my culinary ventures...

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