When it’s a busy night and you have a family to feed, hearty, one-pot dishes can be your saving grace. This recipe, with juicy chicken, creamy sauce and fresh spinach, is sure to please everyone at the table.
My obsession with fast, one-pot meals is a direct result of being the mother of four boys. The “When’s dinner, Mom?” line of questioning would start like clockwork each evening as they arrived home after a very long day of school and sports. Oh, the horror if there was no dinner plan! It’s no fun to try to get a family of six to agree on what to get for dinner when it’s late, everyone is tired, and you have a pack of hungry boys on your hands.
Over the years I began to incorporate more of these simple, practical, weeknight dinners into the rotation. Even on an insanely busy day you can get a hearty, comforting dish on the table in about 30 minutes. If that meal included pasta, my boys were always satisfied … at least until after their homework was done. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could all have the metabolism of a 16-year-old athlete?
If you’ve never cooked a one-pot pasta dish before, you’ll be amazed at the result. Dry pasta is added right to the skillet along with the other ingredients and as the liquid cooks off, you are left with perfectly al dente pasta and the base for a wonderful, creamy sauce. It’s pretty darn fabulous. If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, it reheats beautifully and will be just as tasty the next day — or later that same night when the craving strikes.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 2 1/2 cups (8 ounces) uncooked, dry penne pasta
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 (5-ounce) bag fresh baby spinach
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a 12-inch, deep skillet or saute pan and place over medium heat. Add the chopped chicken and cook, stirring frequently. Sprinkle the chicken with Italian seasoning, a touch of salt and fresh ground pepper, and continue cooking for 3 or 4 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm.
You can find complete recipes of this Chicken and Spinach Skillet Pasta in ehow.com