I believe this was the second recipe I ever learned how to cook, about 10 years ago when I was in high school.  The recipe has completely changed since then and now it's one of my quick and easy go-to meals that uses only a few ingredients that are standard in our household.  This is a an easy recipe to make your own by adding or changing ingredients.  I basically eyeball everything while I make it, so make sure to taste it as you go along and adjust the seasoning to your liking! 

Oh and I know it kind of looks like some green slop, but it's a very tasty green slop! 

  • 2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast 
  • Spaghetti or your favorite pasta (I love rigatoni with this dish but my husband hates it!)
  • 1 bag fresh spinach
  • 1/2 yellow onion, halved or quartered (small or medium onion depending on how much you like onion)
  • 4-6 garlic gloves, smashed with skin removed (can you tell we love garlic?)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for cooking chicken
  • 1 TSP lemon zest, or more if needed 
  • Juice of about half a small lemon 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Make sure to salt the pasta and set aside. 

While the pasta is cooking, cut the chicken into cube or bite-size pieces.  Heat a large skillet with 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the chicken on medium-heat, stirring occasionally. 

While the chicken is cooking, put the onion chunks, whole garlic cloves, lemon zest, and entire bag of spinach into a food processor.  Pulse until everything is f minced and a pesto consistency.  Then, while the food processor is still on, add 1/4 cup of the olive oil to the pesto.  Turn off the food processor, remove the lid and add some salt and pepper and taste.  

After the chicken has cooked, turn the heat down to a simmer and add the pesto to the skillet.  Also add the juice of about half a lemon, or more according to taste.  Stir well to combine the chicken with the pesto.  Simmer the pesto on low heat for about 5-10 minutes so that the garlic and onion cook a little.  Taste the pesto and see if it needs more salt, pepper, or lemon juice.  

Once the desired flavor has been created, add the pasta to the skillet and stir well to combine. 

W-O-W. This was absolutely decadent and delicious! I saw this recipe on Martha Stewart's website and I knew that I could make a diet-friendly version.  Martha's recipe calls for whole milk and butter, both of which were cut out of my version (and not missed one bit!). Honestly, before I took the first bite, I was wary of how it would taste, but it reminded me of the Boston Market creamed spinach, but only better!! I quote my husband, "This is one of the best meals you have made yet." This is definitely going into the regular rotation. Enjoy :) 

Oh and I believe the KEY to this being so delicious is the fat free half and half.  I have been using this lately as a substitute for whole milk and it has worked wonders! 

*Swankers, unfortunately I found out that we cannot eat Land O Lakes Fat Free Half and Half because it contains mono-diglycerides, which is basically another form of hydrogenated oil.  I will attempt this recipe again with 1% milk or skim milk to see if I can come out with the same results!* 

  • 1 pound/1 bag of fresh spinach 
  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil (I used Mazola)
  • 1 large shallot or 2 small ones, minced
  • 1 tbsp of all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of Land O Lakes Fat Free Half and Half
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper

Place the spinach in a large saucepan over medium heat (the spinach will fill up the entire pot) and season with kosher salt.  Cover and cook, tossing occasionally, until wilted, about 4 to 5 minutes.  Transfer the wilted spinach to a colander, and rinse thoroughly under cold water until completely cooled.  Then, put the spinach in a thin towel and squeeze as much liquid out of the spinach as possible.  Set aside. 

In a medium saucepan (I used the same one that I cooked the spinach in), heat the vegetable oil over medium-low heat, add the shallot, and season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring until soft but not browned for 3 to 5 minutes. 

Then, add the flour, and continue stirring for one minute (do not let it brown).  After that, add the 3/4 cup of fat free half and half.  Simmer gently over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, for 1-2 minutes (or a little longer if necessary).  

Remove from heat, stir in the spinach and season with more salt and pepper to taste if necessary. ENJOY!