I have always known leafy greens were full of nutrients and should be consumed several times a week. Unfortunately, they are not my favorite things to eat, and I have been known to avoid them. Aware of this weakness, I am continually on the lookout for recipes that put a delicious spin on produce I usually relate with tasteless health food. The idea of putting six cups of fresh spinach in a delicious meal is one of the appealing things about this dish.
Imagine my delight when, after serving this dinner to my family, everyone asked for seconds. My husband even remarked that Tuscan Garlic Chicken was something he would happily eat once a week. The only other meals he has made similar comments about involved steak or pizza. His being so positive about a poultry and vegetable dish is a rare occurrence.
It is preferable for peppers and spinach to be fresh, and purchasing them from the local farmers market facilitates this goal. Not only does the market help make grocery shopping more enjoyable, but merchants can also be queried regarding how their produce was grown, if pesticides were used, and how recently purchases were picked. After all, if I am going to eat my leafy greens, I want to make sure they have as many vitamins as possible. To find a Utah farmers market near you, see this list or search for one at Utah's Own online at www.utahsown.utah.gov/farmersmarkets.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
¾ cup all purpose flour
½ tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons olive oil
Sauce and pasta:
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips or chopped
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
6 ounces fresh spinach
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups low-fat milk
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound fettuccine noodles
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the flour, salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Butterfly chicken breasts and dip each in the flour mixture and coat well.
In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil until hot. Carefully place the breaded chicken in the oil until each side is golden brown. Do not cook all the way through.
On a cookie sheet, line with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Place the chicken breasts on the cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes until cooked through. Set aside until ready to use.
While the chicken is cooking, in a large pot cook the fettuccine noodles according to package directions. Wipe the skillet with some paper towels and add 4 tablespoons olive oil. Cook the chopped red pepper and garlic for about 2-3 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture used for breading and stir constantly for one minute.
Add the chicken broth and bring to a light simmer while whisking constantly until it starts to thicken. This takes about 3 to 4 minutes.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the heavy cream and cornstarch. Add the spinach, cream and milk to the skillet. Bring this to a simmer and continue to cook until spinach starts to wilt. Stir in the Parmesan cheese.
Add half the sauce to coat the cooked and drained fettuccine noodles. Top with breaded chicken and spoon more sauce on top. Enjoy!
Elizabeth Reid has bachelor's degrees in economics and history. She has worked in retail, medical billing, catering, education and business fields. Her favorite occupation is that of wife and mother. She blogs at www.gelatoandchocolate.blogspot.com.