An adult macaroni and cheese…
Who doesn’t love the combination of pasta and cheese? Think of this recipe like a grown up, healthier version of macaroni and cheese for adults. Our recipe for Cheesy Pasta with Spinach and Chicken loads up on vegetables. This means it provides healthy vitamins and minerals too especially from the spinach (a May Foods of the Month).
In this recipe, we use ricotta cheese, mozzarella, and a little bit of parmesan. Be sure to use reduced-fat ricotta and mozzarella. To balance out the cheesiness, we add a whole onion, as well as a whole package of spinach, plus three chicken breasts. This means that a serving of this Cheesy Pasta with Spinach and Chicken is a complete meal. We know that the reduced-fat cheeses provide important calcium to keep bones healthy. The chicken is full of protein. The onion and spinach are important vegetables that provide lots of Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Spinach is also responsible for a healthy serving of iron and fiber. And, let’s not forget that the whole grain pasta is full of fiber too!
If you love the flavor combination of spinach and ricotta, this recipe is right up your alley. The caramelized onion gives it a smoky flavor as well. We think it’s the perfect blending of flavors that everyone will enjoy!
- 1 package whole grain penne
- 1 5 oz. package fresh spinach (organic if possible)
- 1 yellow onion, sliced thin
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 3 chicken breasts, chopped into small pieces
- 1 15 oz. package part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 8 oz. package part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the pasta according to directions.
- Once the pasta has finished cooking, drain. Add the fresh spinach leaves to the bottom of the pasta pot, then add the hot pasta over the spinach and cover. The heat from the pasta will allow the spinach to wilt while you cook the rest of the ingredients.
- Use a nonstick skillet on medium heat to cook the onion in the olive oil for about 10 minutes, until it begins to brown. Remove onion from skillet and place in a large mixing bowl.
- Cook the chicken in the same skillet that you used for the onion for about 10 minutes, until no pink remains. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Add the ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan cheese to the bowl with the caramelized onions. Mix together until all ingredients are combined.
- Add the cheese and onion mixture to the pasta and spinach. Mix well to combine. Add the chicken and mix again.
- Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!