Friday, January 10, 2014

Unexpectedly Delicious: Spinach Alfredo with Chicken

I am a New Years resolution maker.  When I set out to make my resolutions for 2014, spending less & saving more was near the top of my list.

Food is one of our biggest expenses; both Andrew & I love cooking, eating out & of course, buying the 'good stuff' veggies, imported cheeses, the big bags at Costco, bottles of wine we've never tried, etc. etc.  

So one of the ways I'm trying to curb spending is by going to the grocery store less.  The more I can keep myself out of the store & make do with what we have, the better.  Earlier this week, I had a craving for pasta.  Like, one of those 'if I don't have pasta for dinner TONIGHT I'll die' kind of cravings.  

I had originally wanted pasta with gorgonzola cream sauce, sautéed onions & steak.  Or maybe pasta with Alfredo sauce & peas.  Well, we were out of gorgonzola, regular onions, frozen peas & steak.  Hmm.  Both of those ideas where out.

We did have 1/2 a box of bow tie pasta, 2 leftover balsamic grilled chicken breasts from the night before, a box of frozen spinach & a bunch of well as a large container of heavy cream.  Close enough to satisfy my need for a carbs in a creamy sauce, right?  

Below is what I ended up making for dinner.  I wasn't sure how scallions would work, but they softened & 'melted' into the sauce beautifully.  This dish was definitely a success and definitely something we'll be making again.

Spinach Alfredo with Chicken

Spinach Alfredo with Chicken   

Serves 4

2 Cooked chicken breasts, thinly sliced (I used leftover balsamic vinegar marinated, grilled breasts)
1/2 Large box, bow tie pasta
1 Small box frozen chopped spinach
1 1/2 TB Unsalted butter
1 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 Scallions, chopped 
2 TB Flour
Large container whipping cream
Large handful grated Parmesan cheese (I used the kind in the green container)
Salt & pepper to taste

Optional Toppings
- Toasted pecan or walnut pieces
- Freshly grated Parmesan

Start water boiling in a large pot for the pasta & cook pasta according to directions.  Begin defrosting spinach in a large colander, using a little cold water to help break it up.  

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat, add olive oil.  Once butter is melted, sauté scallions for a minute or two, just until softened.  Add in flour, whisking in to the butter/oil/scallions.  Let cook for a minute or so, until you san see the mixture bubbling.  Whisk in container of cream.  Let sauce simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened; stirring often.  Incorporate large handful of Parmesan & add salt & pepper to taste, continuing to stir often.

Once the pasta is cooked, pour over the spinach in colander to warm the spinach & drain pasta.  Incorporate pasta, spinach & chicken into skillet with sauce.  Keep heat on for a few minutes to allow everything to heat through.  Garnish with toasted nuts & freshly grated Parmesan if desired.  


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