Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Chicken Pasta
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Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Chicken Pasta – Imagine spinach and artichoke-flavored PASTA spiked with juicy chicken, red peppers, and TWO types of melted cheese!! A family favorite big-batch COMFORT FOOD PANTRY RECIPE that’s great for meal prepping!!
How Does The Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Taste?
If you like spinach and artichoke dip, you’re going to be a big fan of this easy comfort food that’s hearty, satisfying and tastes so darn good.
Even though there are a few different steps, while one thing is going like boiling the pasta, you can be working on the next step like sautéing the chicken, so that the final dish is ready in 30 minutes.
Juicy bites of chicken, spinach, artichokes, and fire-roasted red peppers are nestled within al dente bowtie pasta before being layered with both Monterey Jack and Parmesan cheese.
I loved how the melted cheese draped over the artichokes hearts and those bites reminded me of spinach and artichoke dip, minus any gloppiness because there’s no sour cream or mayo in this recipe.
What Kind Of Artichokes To Use?
I used a 12-ounce bag of Trader Joe’s frozen artichoke hearts that I allowed to thaw and drained the minimal amount of water that was released after they came to room temp.
You could also use oil-packed artichokes which are typically marinated in salt and seasonings. The frozen artichokes that I used are plain Jane and super healthy but use what you prefer and can find.
I kept the artichokes whole for a couple reasons. First, because I wanted to both see and chomp down into big hearty bites of artichoke since I love them so much.
And secondly, when you halve artichokes like the ones I used, they immediately start to fall apart, akin to halving a Brussels sprout and the layers just keep unraveling. Since I wanted big hearty bites of artichoke, I knew that keeping them whole so that they didn’t fall apart into little fragments was best for my goal.
However dice them into smaller pieces if you prefer.
Also for people who don’t like artichokes like my daughter? They can pick out the artichokes very easily if you keep them whole.
What Kind Of Red Peppers To Use?
I used a 12-ounce jar of fire-roasted red peppers, also from Trader Joe’s, that I drained and diced small.
If you can’t get your hands on fire-roasted red peppers or want to use a fresh red bell pepper, that’s fine too. I would use half of one, diced small, and saute it with the chicken.
As an aside, I also bought the olive oil, pasta, chicken, fresh spinach, and both kind of cheeses at Trader Joe’s. Pretty much the whole meal. This is not a sponsored post or endorsement for them.
I’m simply stating that if you have one in your area that’s somewhat well-stocked, this recipe is one-stop shopping trip to your local TJ’s, and it’s very budget-friendly too considering how much food this makes.
Fresh or Frozen Spinach?
I used fresh and one thing I see pretty consistently are the big bags of fresh spinach and that’s what I recommend.
However, if all you can get your hands on is frozen, go ahead and use it. Thaw and drain it very well first, and add it to taste.
A Big Batch Recipe To Feed a Crowd or Meal Prep Recipe
This is a great meal prep recipe because not only does it make 12 servings, you can freeze them for later.
Having a freezer stash can save dinner on those unforeseen really hectic weeknights.
Or thinking about the future here, make this for your next big family dinner, entertaining event, party, or potluck. This is a slam dunk family-favorite type recipe between the pasta, chicken, and cheese.
It tastes just fine being served at room temp so it’s a great party dish that people can graze by and help themselves, again and again.
- 1 pound bowtie pasta, cooked according to package directions and drained (rotini, fusilli, penne, ziti, small shells, or a small-shaped pasta may be substituted)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if necessary
- 1.75 to 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, diced into bite-sized pieces
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, or to taste, plus more if desired
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
- 5 ounces fresh baby spinach (about 4 heaping handfuls)
- 12 ounces artichoke hearts (I used previously frozen that I thaw, drain, and keep whole; dice them if you prefer)
- one 12-ounce jar fire-roasted red bell peppers, drained and diced small (another red pepper variety may be substituted or use half of a fresh red bell pepper diced small and cook it with the chicken)
- 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (Pepper Jack or mozzarella may be substituted)
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- fresh parsley, optional for garnishing
- Preheat oven to 400F, spray a 4 1/2 quart casserole dish (or something that is equivalent to least a high-sided 9x13-inch baking dish because this makes a lot of food) with cooking spray, cook pasta according to package directions, drain, return pasta to pot; set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, to a large skillet add 4 tablespoons olive oil, chicken, generously season with salt and pepper, Italian seasoning (I call for 1 tablespoon not teaspoon because this is ultimately flavoring a big recipe but reduce to taste if desired), and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, or until chicken is done; stir and flip intermittently to ensure even cooking.
- Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant; stir nearly constantly.
- Add the chicken and any cooking juices to the large pot with the pasta, and add the spinach, artichokes, red peppers, and stir to combine. Drizzle in more olive oil, as necessary, if it seems at all dry. Spinach will begin to wilt momentarily. Taste mixture and if desired, add more salt, pepper, or Italian seasoning.
- Turn mixture out into prepared casserole dish, evenly sprinkle with the Monterey Jack, and bake for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is just beginning to turn light golden brown.
- Remove casserole dish from the oven, evenly sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake for another 5 to 8 minutes OR broil on High for 2 minutes, or until cheese is as golden browned as desired; keep a very close eye on it if you're broiling so you don't burn it.
- Optionally garnish with fresh parsley and serve immediately. Extra will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 341Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 83mgSodium: 271mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 33g
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