I absolutely love to cook and it’s important to me that my family sits down to home cooked meal a few times a week. But, with a two year old and a five year old, it can be tough to find recipes that all four of us genuinely like. For that reason we eat a lot of pasta based recipes. I know that if pasta is involved the kids will probably like it–and so will my husband! And, pasta is quick and inexpensive too. Just another bonus in my book!
To me this is one of those perfect dishes. With just 6 ingredients this recipe is one that comes together quickly. It’s creamy and delicious and I love that my kids eat the spinach in it without asking any questions! Most often I make Creamy Spinach and Chicken Pasta the day after we’ve had roast chicken — or even grilled chicken — because it’s a great way to use up any leftover chicken. And, the best part is that you can do some of the prep ahead of time and then just pop it all in the oven about 30 minutes before you’re ready to feed your family.
- 2 cups cooked chicken, cut into cubes
- 12-16 oz penne*
- 8 oz onion and chive cream cheese
- 1 10-oz package of frozen, chopped spinach, thawed & drained well
- 1 14-oz can of petite diced tomatoes, drained
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Cook pasta to al dente–about 8 minutes. (You don’t want the to be mushy. Don’t worry if it seems a bit underdone. It will continue cooking in the oven later.)
- Spray a 9×13 inch glass baking dish with non-stick spray.
- Once pasta is cooked, put it in baking dish. Then mix in spinach, tomatoes, chicken and salt. Stir to combine.
- Using a tablespoon, place large dollops of cream cheese all over.
- Place in the oven for 7-10 minutes.
- At this point the cream cheese should be melted. Take the dish out of the oven and gently stir to combine all ingredients.
- Spray a large piece of tinfoil with no stick cooking spray and cover.
- Cook pasta mixture for 15 minutes more minutes.
- Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella and return to oven for 8-10 more minutes.
- Serve hot!
*If you want a creamier dish, use 12 oz of pasta. If you’d like to feed more people, go ahead and use the whole box!
If you’re prepping this ahead of time, you’ll want to stop after step 7. Once all ingredients are combined, cover it tightly and store in the fridge. Then, when it’s dinnertime, pop it in the oven to heat it up for about 30 minutes. Then take it out, add the cheese, and put it back in until the cheese is melted.