Garlic Chicken with Spinach over Whole Wheat Pasta

dinner recipe, garlic chicken, spinachWHAT YOU NEED:

-6 garlic cloves, minced-1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (*This doesn’t add spiciness – just the right amount of flavor)

-6 tablespoons olive oil

-2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound) (*Exclude chicken for a vegetarian meal option)

-Salt and pepper to taste

-1 pound penne pasta (*I used angel hair whole wheat pasta.)

-1 (5-ounce) bag baby spinach (*You can always use half a bag if you do not normally eat spinach; I easily adjusted to liking it and so did my daughter!)

-1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried

-6 tablespoons juice from 2 lemons

-1 cup grated parmesan cheese (*optional or use a half cup)

1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Meanwhile, combine garlic, pepper flakes, and oil in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave until garlic is golden and fragrant; about 1 minute.

2. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces or however you would like. I often prefer to boil the chicken and shred it in advance for the recipes that I will make during the week that require chicken.  Season with salt and pepper. Transfer 1 tablespoon of the garlic/red pepper oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat until oil is rippling. Add chicken and cook until well browned and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil.

3. Cook pasta accordingly and then drain pasta and return to the pot. Stir in chicken, spinach, basil, lemon juice, Parmesan, and remaining garlic mixture, adding reserved water as needed. Season with salt and pepper.

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