Foodie Friday – Spicy Creamy Parmesan Chicken and Penne Pasta

by Kathy

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Last week, my husband and I were on vacation.  We decided to do a two part vacation.  Part 1 – stay home and relax for a couple of days, enjoying our backyard pool.  Part 2 – get away to Traverse City, Michigan and explore the beauty of this area.  I thought it would be fun to try out this new recipe one of the evenings we were home.  We had a great time preparing it together and then ate it outside on our patio.  We felt like we had gone out for dinner without leaving home.

Spicy Creamy Parmesan Chicken and Penne Pasta

(with spinach, tomatoes, bacon)

 Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning (thyme, oregano, basil combined)
  • 5 medium tomatoes, chopped in large pieces
  • 1 cup cooked spinach (or more if you like a lot of spinach in your dish which I do!)
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. crushed red pepper (if you prefer this dish to be less spicy, use 1 – 2 tsp.)
  • 6 bacon strips – cooked, drained and chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 1/3 cup half and half
  • 1 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, crumbled
  • 10 oz. penne pasta
  • ½ cup Parmesan grated cheese for serving dish

 

Instructions:

  1. In a large skillet, on high heat, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil until hot. Add chicken and cook on one side for 1 minute.(You can choose to lightly dust your chicken with flour before putting it into the oil to cook.  This is what I did for the dish in the picture above.) While it cooks, sprinkle the uncooked sides of the chicken with paprika and Italian seasoning. Turn the chicken over, and cook on the other side for 1 minute. Remove chicken from pan and place in oven on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cook chicken at 375 degrees for 15 more minutes.   While chicken is cooking in the over, continue with the recipe.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium and continue cooking in the same large skillet. Add chopped tomatoes, cooked spinach, garlic, red pepper and ½ of the bacon. Mix it all together.
  3. Add half and half and bring to a boil. Only after the half and half starts boiling, add grated Parmesan cheese. Immediately reduce to simmer and stir. Continue stirring until the cheese melts and the sauce becomes creamy. This should only take 1-2 minutes. Then, immediately remove from heat.
  4. In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to boil.   Add pasta and cook according to package directions.   Drain the pasta. Rinse with cold water and drain again.
  5. Place cooked pasta in a large serving bowl. Pour creamy sauce over the top. Add remaining bacon and stir well.
  6. Take chicken from over and cut into bite size pieces.
  7. You can either serve chicken on top of the creamy mixture or you can toss it into the dish and mix well.
  8. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on top

Have a Grace Full Weekend~

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