*Spicy Penne (Chicken or veggie)

This recipe was sooooo easy!  I know most pasta recipes are pretty simple, but the great thing about this one was all the great veggies and low-fat protein!  I always enjoy a good pasta dish where the noodles aren’t the star of the show.  This pasta is so hearty and super simple to pull together.  Seriously, I was only able to take 3 photos…that’s how fast the recipe was.

Remember our rolled chicken from last week?  If not, you can see it here:

Stuffed Chicken and Couscous Salad

Well, I ended up having several chicken breasts left over.  Since they were already stuffed with spinach and cheese, I wanted a recipe where this could be included.

The very first thing to do is get the penne started.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  (You should be able to start the water and have the rest of the recipe done by the time the penne is done cooking).

Next, I ran the left over chicken through a food processor.  Feel free to cut your chicken any way you like.  If you aren’t using left over chicken and are using fresh chicken, you can just shred the chicken once cookedphoto.

Tip:  The best method for poaching chicken is to put your chicken breast in a large stock pot and cover with cool water.  Place the stock pot on the stove over high heat.  Bring to a boil.  Once it boils, reduce the heat to low and partially cover the pot.  Let simmer for 20 minutes.  This cooks the chicken all the way the through and leaves it very moist.  Season with salt and pepper when done.

For the veggies, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet.  Add the garlic, shallots and spinach.  Cook until the spinach is wilted.  Set aside.

Tip:  Keep an eye on the garlic as it will brown fast.  Add the spinach quickly to help prevent the garlic from burning.

Heat another tablespoon of oil in the same skillet.  Add the artichokes and cook until they brown slightly.  Set aside.

Melt the butter in the same large skillet.  Add the flour and whisk until smooth.  Then, slowly whisk in the milk.  Cook for a few minutes until the sauce thickens.  Add the parmesan cheese and whisk until smooth.

Season the sauce with salt and pepper.  Add red pepper flakes to taste.

Drain pasta once done.  Add sauce, spinach and artichokes to the noodles.  Divide into bowls and add mozzarella cheese on top.

photo1

This recipe is done in under 30 minutes and makes around 10 servings of food!  It reheats well so you can refrigerate your leftovers and eat on it for a couple of days!  What could be better???

photo2

(I know there are only 7 containers here….we ate a few….)

Ingredient Summary

  • olive oil – 2 tbsp
  • butter – 2 tbsp
  • garlic, minced – 4 cloves
  • shallot, minced – 1
  • baby spinach – 2 bags
  • artichoke hearts, quartered – 2 cans
  • flour – 3 tbsp
  • salt and pepper – to taste
  • parmesan – 1/8 cup
  • mozzarella – 1/2 cup
  • penne – 16 ounces
  • crushed red pepper – to taste
  • chicken – 4 breasts
  • milk, skim – 2 cups

Servings: 10

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