Chicken pasta bake made with lightened up spinach artichoke dip and whole wheat pasta!
I did a thing. I took my Mom’s spinach artichoke dip…and I turned it into a chicken pasta bake. And I really wish I would have thought to do it sooner, because it’s amazing. It’s creamy, and delicious, and hearty, but not too heavy, and totally satisfying.
I don’t know that I would go as far as to say that it’s healthy, but it’s a lighter version of comfort food for when you need something warm, cheesy, and filling. Just a couple of swaps and add-ins and suddenly one of my all-time favorite dips is an acceptable dinner. [These are the kinds of things I pray for at night people. JK. But really, YUM.] The chicken provides a good low fat protein and whole wheat pasta is a great sub for regular. I also use low-fat sour cream, mayo, and cream cheese to tone down the fat a little bit, but you can use whatever you’d like. It’s got plenty of spinach and artichoke hearts in there so you for sure get a serving of veggies. [See? Healthy.] It’s a perfect family meal and it all comes together in about 40 minutes.
Side note- I also think you should consider adding mushrooms. I made this at my parents house when Paul and I went home for Christmas, and my dad hates mushrooms so I didn’t add any. [Because I’m occasionally nice and because the other recipe I made that day already had mushrooms.] But you should totally add mushrooms.
A couple of notes about cooking the chicken pasta bake…first, make sure you cook your pasta al dente. It bakes for 20 more minutes in the oven so you don’t want it mushy. Second, I felt like when I was eating this, that I cut up the chicken pieces a little too big. Next time I make it, I would cut the chicken up smaller so you don’t get such large pieces. It’s hard to cut raw chicken really small without a good knife, so don’t be afraid to cut it up after it’s already cooked. Last, don’t forget to squeeze the water out of the spinach after you microwave it. The frozen packages come with a lot of water, and you don’t want your chicken pasta bake to be soupy and watery!
- 1 lb chicken breast
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb whole wheat pasta
- 1 10 oz. package frozen spinach
- 8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
- 8 oz. low fat sour cream
- 4 oz can diced jalepenos (optional)
- ½ cup chopped artichoke hearts (from the can)
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- ¼ cup mayo
- 1 cup shredded pepperjack
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- red pepper flakes (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 and coat a 9x13 casserole dish with non-stick spray.
- Boil pasta to al dente following package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Dice your chicken into small pieces. Season with salt and pepper and cook on stove top with 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat until fully cooked then set aside.
- Microwave frozen spinach until thawed. Completely drain the spinach of excess water, squeezing it out.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine your spinach, softened cream cheese, sour cream, jalepenos, chopped artichoke hearts, garlic powder, mayo, and shredded cheese. Stir together.
- Add in your pasta and chicken and stir to combine.
- Transfer food from the mixing bowl to your casserole dish and bake for 20 min.
- When it comes out of the oven you can top with red pepper flakes if you'd like. I also topped with a little extra pepperjack.