Creamy Chicken and Spinach Skillet


To me, there is nothing more comforting than a bowl of pasta. Growing up in a large Italian family, pasta has been a staple for me, and something I have enjoyed experimenting with in the kitchen. I've never met a pasta dish I didn't enjoy, and while it's nice to order pasta in a restaurant, I rather enjoy making it at home. In our house, we tend to make pasta dishes on busy nights and weekends. It's easy to make when you're crunched for time, can feed a lot of people if you're in a pinch, and often tastes even better as leftovers the next day.


Sometimes we have pasta on its own- in a simple sauce or just tossed with garlic, olive oil & veggies. My grandmother loved pasta Pomodoro, which I love, as well. My husband is a fan of alfredo sauce, and while there are one or two brands of jarred sauce that we do sometimes purchase and use, we prefer to make our own sauces, if possible. Making homemade sauce- whether red or white, is easier than you might think.



I made a simple white sauce without a recipe. I am trying to be more confident in my cooking and use my own judgment for flavor combinations. My husband has encouraged me more and more to follow my instincts in the kitchen, so I have been following his lead there and having a lot more fun, not being tied to a recipe. The great thing about cooking a pasta dish is that it's really hard to screw it up, and there are so many different things you can do with pasta to make the dish your own.

Adding in a protein and veggie just adds more textures and flavors to the dish. Pasta is pretty bland on its own, so I like to think of it as a blank canvas. I like to throw whatever I have on hand in the fridge in with my pasta. This past weekend, I happened to have chicken which I needed to cook, as well as cream cheese, half and half, and some spinach... all perfect ingredients to throw a simple pasta dish together with.

Creamy Chicken & Spinach Skillet

1 1/2 Cups chicken (cooked and shredded or diced)
*I baked 2 chicken breasts at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.
1/2 Box of Pasta of choice *I used Fusili
2 Tbsp Butter
4 oz Cream Cheese
1 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1 Cup Half and Half
2 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning
1 Tsp Garlic powder
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 Cup chopped spinach


Directions

Cook and drain pasta as directed. I like mine with a little bite, so I undercook it just slightly. Reserve about 2 Tbsp of the pasta water to add in with the sauce.

In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the cream cheese and stir together until melted and blended with the butter. Slowly add in the milk and bring to a low boil. Add in the pasta water a little at a time and stir until incorporated. Add the seasonings.

Add in the Parmesan cheese. Reduce the heat to low and stir constantly to incorporate the cheese until melted. If you need to thicken the sauce, add more cheese. If you need to thin it, add a small splash of half and half. Adjust seasonings accordingly.



Add the cooked chicken, and then the spinach. Fold them into the sauce.




Slowly add the cooked pasta to the skillet. Gently stir the pasta into the sauce.




Plate as desired and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


So creamy, simple & yummy! This spin on a classic Alfredo dish is hearty, but the sauce isn't heavy. The small bites of chicken and mix of spinach and herbs make this a delicious meal to enjoy at home with your family or to share with friends!

What would you add to this dish to make it your own? 

I'd love to hear what else you might like in this type of pasta dish. 
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Enjoy!


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