I guess it should be no surprise that one of my favorite meals is pasta, I mean, I am Italian. But sometimes pasta can get boring and blah….so I always try to make something different that everyone loves! As much as I love pasta it’s not always the healthiest of choices. So I always try to have somewhat of a balance when I make such a carb heavy dish. With this particular dish I added chicken and some veggies, with a light cream sauce. I also replaced the regular white pasta with whole grain pasta, a little less carbs and more fiber. So this is a great well rounded dish and the best part……EVERYONE loves it! And we all know how impossible it is to feed our picky eaters, so this is a big mom win!
I always love to serve my pasta with a crispy piece of toasted bread, so you can soak up all of that yummy sauce! But this dish is perfect as is you can serve bread or not serve it and it will still be a winner!
So pour yourself a nice glass of red and grate some fresh parmesan and dig in!
3 tbsp olive oil
2-3 c chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 package of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups of fresh spinach
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 crushed red pepper flakes
4 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped
1 1/3 cups of half and half
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese
1 box of penne, cooked according to the box
Heat oil on medium heat. Once the oil is hot sprinkle half of the paprika and Italian seasoning on chicken snd place chicken spice side down in the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then flip the chicken and season the other side with remaining paprika and Italian seasoning. Cook for additional 3 minutes then cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Remove chicken, and cut into smaller chunks, set aside.
Add chopped tomatoes, spinach, garlic and red pepper flakes to the pan that the chicken was cooking in and toss to coat. Cook for a minute and then add the chicken back to the pan and cook on medium.
Add in bacon and toss.
Add in half and half and bring to a boil. Once the mixture begins to boil add in your parmesan cheese.
Reduce heat to low and stir.
Once the cheese has melted and the sauce is thicker you can add in your pasta. Make sure you toss the pasta well so that its all coated with the creamy sauce.
I always sprinkle on more parmesan once I plate it. More cheese is always a bonus, but if you are watching your waistline you can definitely skip the extra cheese.
This pairs nicely with a sweet red! Enjoy!