Friday, March 2, 2012

Chicken Spinach Artichoke Baked Pasta


If spinach and artichoke dip had a pasta relative, it would look like the recipe I'm about to show you. If you are not a fan of spinach and artichoke dip, then feel free to navigate away now :)

A few months ago, I encountered a recipe that was circulating online. I can't quite remember but it probably came to me through Pinterest. Have any of you seen this creamy white chicken & artichoke lasagna from the Kraft foods site? Looks yummy, right?


Then I looked at the recipe and was like whooah! It's got more cheese in it than cheesecake! That's one high-calorie dish. But oh it looked so good, I made it anyway :)

Because I love tasty food and because I like eating balanced meals and healthy foods, I had to alter the recipe a bit when I made it. The recipe needed more vegetables so I added spinach and onions. I also added more artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes. Finally, I added more seasoning by adding some chicken stock. The lasagna came out delicious but I still felt like it was too rich and fattening.

I looked at other similar recipes since then and when I decided to do it a second time, I altered the ingredient list so much that it became a totally different dish altogether. I wanted to make something just as delicious but healthier. According to my husband, he cannot tell the difference and he loves this dish too. I'll call that success :)


I used 2 different types of pasta for the fun of it :)



 

Chicken Spinach Artichoke Baked Pasta
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

2 big pieces of chicken breast, cooked & shredded
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
1 package (10 oz) frozen spinach, thawed & drained
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, sliced
8 oz cream cheese
1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup loose basil, sliced (or 1 1/2 tbsp dry basil)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp dried chicken stock
1 tsp dried red chile pepper
1 1/2 to 2 cups mozzarella, grated (I used skimmed pizza mozzarella)
2 tbsp fresh parsley (or 1-2 tbsp dry parsley)
600 g pasta

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 F.
Cook chicken breast until soft and tender, let cool, and then shred or rip to small pieces.
Cook pasta until just under al dente, drain and rinse with cold water.
In a big pot, use the olive oil to fry the onion and garlic for 3-5 minutes. Lower the heat and add the artichokes, spinach, sundried tomatoes, cream cheese, Greek yogurt, milk, Parmesan, basil, lemon juice, chicken stock, and red chile pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes. Turn off the stove. Stir in about 1/4 cup of the mozzarella. Stir in the pasta and mix well. Pour pasta into a baking dish. Top with remaining mozzarella and sprinkle on the parsley. Bake for about 30 minutes. If you like a slightly burnt top, broil for the last 3 minutes.

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