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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Chicken Zucchini Pasta

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In December, Ryan will finally finish school and receive his MBA. It’s been a long journey and we are SO excited to get our lives back. Much as this degree is a good thing and a great benefit of our employer, school has been a major time suck, stealing Ryan away for class two nights a week and multiple other hours throughout the week for homework, group projects, and studying. December will be here before we know it though, and I’m sure we’ll then find other ways to be crazy busy!

We ate this pasta on a rare night when Ryan was home recently with no schoolwork to do. Although I honestly don’t mind handling all kitchen responsibilities 95% of the time, I was in major need of a break this night. Ryan to the rescue! I left Ryan with this recipe and ran errands, returning home just in time to sprinkle on the Parmesan and basil, meaning I had a right to post the recipe, right?!

My brother Quinn, Ryan, and I all commented that this was much better than we had anticipated. And, really, doesn’t food always taste better when someone else makes it? The cream cheese gave it just the right amount of creaminess and the touch of red pepper flakes kept things interesting. All three of us went back for seconds!

One Year Ago: Blue Cheese Cheesecake with Pear Onion Jam
Two Years Ago: Blueberry Lime Scones

Chicken Zucchini Pasta
adapted from allrecipes

-1 (12 oz) package whole wheat penne pasta
-1 tsp olive oil
-1/2 onion, chopped
-3 cloves garlic, sliced
-1 zucchini, chopped
-1/2 tsp dried oregano
-salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
-1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
-3/4 cup chicken broth
-1 lb chicken, cut in small pieces and cooked
-1 oz diced roasted red peppers
-3 cups fresh spinach
-3 oz light cream cheese
-1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place pasta in the pot and cook for 8-10 minutes, until al dente. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender. Add the zucchini and season with the oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, until tender.
3. Stir in the chicken broth into the skillet and cook for 5 minutes, until heated through. Add the chicken, roasted red peppers, spinach, and cream cheese. Stir to combine, until the spinach wilts and the cream cheese melts.
4. Mix the pasta with the zucchini mixture and stir to mix well. Top with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese just before serving.