Into to Cooking: Quick Chicken Florentine Pasta
There is something about Fall that makes me crave pasta. Maybe it’s the fact that temperatures are cooling down, I’m wearing more clothes that in the summer, and the holidays are coming up. Or maybe I just really love pasta. Either way, I’m always looking for ways to make pasta dishes healthier, and this is one I dreamed up after enjoying a delicious (but calorie-heavy) Chicken Florentine at a restaurant.
Spinach is one of the “superfoods” out there that is all benefit and no consequence. However, I’ll be the first to admit that spinach is also not the tastiest food I can think of! Sometimes, it can taste a little bit like dirt. To jazz it up, I like to wilt it down and add it to things – jarred spaghetti sauce, taco meat, pizza pockets… you name it, I can probably find a way to hide spinach in it. It instantly ups the healthiness factor without affecting calories and without having to choke down a bag of spinach.
The best part about this quick Chicken Florentine Pasta is that the cream sauce is not full of empty calories – there is no butter used here. By using the already flavorful Philadelphia Cooking Crème (a new product that I’m obsessed with), you save several steps of making your own sauce and calories by avoiding using half-and-half or heavy cream and lots of cheese.
● 1-2 chicken breasts
● 1-2 cups of pasta (cooked)
● about ½ bag of baby spinach
● salt and pepper
● 1 tablespoon of olive oil
● about 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
● ½ onion, chopped
● about 3-4 tablespoons of Philadelphia Cooking Crème (whatever flavor you like – I like Savory Garlic)
● 1-2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
How to make it
Start by getting a pot of water boiling for the pasta. Use a lid so it will boil faster.
On a plastic cutting board, chop up chicken into bite size pieces. Place a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil. On a separate cutting board, chop up the onion and garlic (you can also use pre-minced garlic if you like). Add chicken and onions to the skillet. Once the chicken is starting to look almost done, add the garlic. (Garlic burns really easily, so I like to add it later!) Cook until the chicken is completely done and onions are translucent.
Be sure to season the onions, chicken and garlic with salt and pepper as they cook.
At this time, you can probably add your pasta to the water. I like using linguini for this recipe, but any shape works!
If needed, add a little more oil to the skillet. Add about ½ a bag of spinach to the skillet and cover with a lid, allowing the spinach to wilt. This doesn’t take long – a minute or two! Stir everything together. Finally, you can now add the Philadelphia Cooking Crème. (You can also use cream cheese or jarred Alfredo sauce, if you can’t find this.) Stir completely to create a thick sauce – feel free to add milk or more crème to loosen it up. Add the Parmesan cheese at the end and stir.
Keep the skillet over low heat until the pasta is finished cooking. Using a slotting or toothed spoon, scoop the pasta directly into the skillet and toss.
Serve with garlic bread. Enjoy!
Note: This recipe serves about 2-3 people. If you have leftovers, they are good for about 2 or so days if stored in an airtight container.