Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Spaghetti with Spinach, Lemon and Grilled Chicken

Each week I sit down at the dining room table armed with my iPad, laptop, grocery store flier and my coupons and plan our families meals for the week. I've become increasing bored with the usual family staples we have always enjoyed. Don't get me wrong, they are the first ones I turn to when I want comfort food, but I can't eat like that every day anymore. When I was growing up, our meals always consisted of a meat, a veggie and a starch. When I left home, I just assumed that's what all meals should contain. And when my mother-in-law taught me some family recipes, those where traditional Italian meals.

And in the effort to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle, I am always on the search for new and exciting meals. Meals that awaken the senses and are satisfying without leaving you stuffed. Some I have tried have really brought the house down, others turned out to be just okay. Edible, but not in the rotation.

I came across this recipe on Pinterest and added it to my Healthy Eating board. This week I gave it a try. I did modify it a little to conform to our taste and reduce the amount that I made. You can view the original recipe here.

Things You'll Need

1/2 lb. whole grain spaghetti
6 tbsp. olive oil
8 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
6 oz. bag baby spinach
2 thin sliced boneless, skinless chicken breast
Salt and pepper or additional seasonings for chicken

What You'll Do

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and return to pot. One reason I love whole grain pasta is because you can put the pasta back in the pot without sauce to prevent it from sticking like with regular pasta. I also love the flavor that it brings to the meal, especially when using lighter sauces.

In the meantime, put oil, garlic and lemon juice into a small saucepan and cook until garlic is soft and fragrant. Don't let the garlic start to brown. It will cause it to have a burnt, bitter taste to it and not be very enjoyable. If the garlic is done before the pasta, simply remove it from the heat and set aside. 

I chose to add some grilled chicken to the recipe to add some lean protein to the meal. I used my stovetop grill pan and sprayed it with non-stick cooking spray. I sprinkled each side of the chicken with a little salt, pepper and our new favorite kick-it-up-a-notch spice, cajun seasoning.

 As soon as the pasta is done, add the garlic lemon sauce and toss to coat the pasta.

Then fold in the spinach. I found that tongs worked really well to help mix the pasta and spinach together. 

Continue to fold the pasta and spinach together until the spinach is wilted. 

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. I have a thing with symmetry, so feel free to dice it any way you choose. 

Arrange the pasta on a plate and top with 1 sliced chicken breast.

We really enjoyed this recipe and I even had a little pasta left for lunch the next day. Give it a try!!

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