Healthy and tasty

We’ve been busy the last little while and have been eating poorly as a result – a lot of eating out (fast food) or easy dinners (frozen pizza, instant noodle, etc).  Because of this we haven’t been getting enough veggies and fibre and eating too much meat.

I was looking in our fridge and cupboards to see what I could make with what we had, which was extra chicken from making congee and leftover penne from making the healthy, not so tasty pasta.  I decided to try the healthy pasta again, but a different version of it from epicurious.  I modified it with suggestions from readers of my healthy, not so tasty pasta post and from the reviewers of this new recipe.  I loaded the pasta with veggies – zucchini and roasted peppers – in addition to the onion and spinach that was already in the recipe.  I roasted red and yellow peppers (instead of buying a small jar for $5-7) following this video, which was really easy to do (aside from setting off the smoke detector a couple of times) and added a smoky flavour to the dish.

I made the sauce with lemon juice and chicken stock, a bit of chili flakes and omitted the cheese, which made the dish light and fresh with some kick to it.  This pasta was so easy to make and I’m happy to say it turned out much better than my first attempt.  I will definitely make this again!

Recipe (adapted from epicurious):

Penne with spinach and chicken

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon peel
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 large skinless boneless chicken breast halves, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 10-ounce packages ready-to-use spinach leaves
  • 12 ounces penne pasta, freshly cooked, 1/2 cup cooking liquid reserved
  • 1 2/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese (about 5 ounces)
  1. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion, garlic, lemon peel and rosemary.
  3. Sauté until onion softens, about 7 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
  5. Add chicken to pot and sauté until just cooked through, ~4 minutes.
  6. Add half of spinach and toss until beginning to wilt, ~2 minutes.
  7. Add remaining spinach and toss until all spinach is wilted but still bright green, ~3 minutes longer.
  8. Mix in pasta, then 2/3 cup cheese.
  9. Moisten with reserved pasta cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if mixture is dry.
  10. Season with salt and pepper.
  11. Serve, passing remaining 1 cup cheese separately.
Notes and Tips:
I used 5 cloves of garlic, grated lemon peel from 2 lemons and 3 sprigs of fresh oregano instead of rosemary.  I also used 3 boneless chicken thighs (chopped and seasoned with ~1/4-1/2 tsp salt and pepper grindings) instead of chicken breasts and only 1 10-ounce bag of spinach.  I sauteed 1 chopped zucchini along with the onion, garlic, lemon peel and oregano and added 1/2 tsp chili flakes before adding the chicken.  While cooking the chicken, I added chopped roasted red and yellow peppers as well as juice from half a lemon.  I used ~2/3 cup chicken broth instead of pasta cooking liquid and also did not add cheese, opting to just sprinkle the cheese on top before serving.  For extra fibre, I use “smart” pasta.

6 thoughts on “Healthy and tasty

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s