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An Easy Weekend Pasta

May 9, 2011
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After meal planning and cooking all week I’m usually a little burned out on both by the weekend. That’s when it’s nice to have simple meals that come together quickly and don’t require much effort (or much of a recipe!). Here is one that we come back to time and again:

Pasta with chicken, spinach and creamy garlic sauce

This recipe has endless variations. We make it often when we have need of a quick meal and have leftover meat and veggies on hand.

Cook 12-16 ounces of pasta according to the package directions. Here we used whole wheat spaghetti. You’ll want to make sure that you leave it al dente, with a little bit of bite to it and not too soft, so that it holds up to the sauce without breaking to pieces.

While the pasta is cooking make your cream sauce. Melt 3 tablespoons butter or other fat in a saucepan, then stir in 1/4 cup flour. When the flour is dissolved whisk in about 3 cups of milk (you can do half water or chicken broth). Cook this over medium heat, stirring continually, until it thickens. If it thickens too much add more liquid. If it’s too runny reduce it a little longer.

When the sauce is thickened, add your seasonings. I started with a couple teaspoons each of salt and garlic, then added more to taste. We prefer powdered garlic for this recipe, but fresh would be yummy too.

For a cheesy sauce stir in 2-3 cups of cheese (we did mozzarella and grated Parmesan).

After the cream sauce is to your liking crumble in a 10-ounce package of frozen spinach or 2-3 cups torn fresh spinach. Add in 2-3 cups cooked cubed chicken. Pour the sauce over your cooked pasta and toss it together.

Some variations:

Saute a couple of sliced zucchini in the fat before adding your flour. Add in fresh or dry herbs like oregano and basil.

Add in diced ham and cheddar cheese.

Add crumbled bacon!

Frozen peas and a squeeze of lemon instead of garlic.

Instead of the butter and flour roux, reduce a quart of half and half or cream, then add the cheese to it. Yum!

What is your go-to weekend recipe?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 9, 2011 11:00 pm

    This looks completely delicious! I can’t wait to try it!

  2. Mormor permalink
    May 12, 2011 11:16 am

    Yum!!

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