A few days ago, I was looking for the recipe for basil-parmesan chicken, but couldn’t find it. I tend to write recipes on little pieces of paper and then lose them. So, I went on-line to Best Recipes Ever, a site where I’ve gotten recipes for a few successful dishes and where I thought I had originally gotten the recipe I was looking for. I couldn’t find it but another one did catch my eye. It was one for a healthy pasta called creamy chicken and spinach pasta. It was supposed to be full of potassium and calcium and the sauce was restaurant quality according to one of the reviewers. I was interested because a few days before one of my blog fans (a.k.a childhood friend – you know who you are) suggested that I do healthy recipes. So I decided to try it.
It was not a hit. It smelled good and looked okay, but did not taste good. It was very bland and definitely tasted healthy. I should have suspected this outcome given the recipe didn’t include any salt. I have to say I was missing the basil and cooked the peppers along with the onions and did add some (~3/4 tsp) salt, but I don’t think having all the ingredients and following the instructions exactly would have saved this dish. My “fan” suggested adding some grated cheese, which did help, but I’m thinking that negates the healthiness of this dish. So, here is my challenge for you readers out there: can you make this dish better and still keep it healthy? Until then, my search continues for a healthy, yet tasty recipe.
Recipe (from Best Recipes Ever):
- 1 tsp (5 mL) vegetable oil
- 12 oz (340 g) boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) all-purpose flour
- 1 can (385 ml) evaporated fat-free milk
- 5 cups (1.25 L) whole wheat penne, (12 oz/375 g)
- 1/2 bag fresh spinach, trimmed (10 oz/284 g)
- 3/4 cup (175 mL) diced sweet red peppers
- 1/3 cup (75 mL) shredded fresh basil
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) lemon juice
- 2 green onions, chopped
- In large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; brown chicken. Transfer to bowl.
- Drain off any fat from pan.
- Add onion, garlic and pepper; fry over medium heat until softened, ~5 minutes.
- Sprinkle with flour; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan.
- Add evaporated milk; cook, stirring and without boiling, until thick enough to coat back of spoon, ~5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in pot of boiling salted water, cook penne until tender but firm, ~12 minutes. Add spinach; drain and return to pot.
- Add chicken mixture, red pepper, basil, lemon juice and green onions; toss to combine.
If you don’t have fresh basil, use 1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) dried and fry it with the onions. Add 1/3 cup (75 mL) chopped fresh parsley at the end.
I added 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 pepper to the chicken before browning it. I also added green pepper and used an entire bag of spinach. I used 1/2 whole wheat pasta and 1/2 smart pasta because David is not a fan of whole wheat pasta.