Saturday, February 9, 2013

Creamy Herbed Chicken, Rigatoni & Spinach

I recently came across this recipe from Saving Money, Living Life on Pinterest, and even though it resembled a casserole (I have casserole issues), I thought it sounded pretty decent. My only reservation about the recipe was that you are supposed to cook it in the oven for 45 minutes, after you've cooked it in the pan. This is one of my casserole-type-food-issues. I hate taking the extra time to bake something that's already fully cooked. If you want to melt some cheese on the top, pop it in a hot oven for 5 minutes.

I followed the recipe almost exactly except I bought the wrong cream cheese. I bought the Philadelphia Cooking Cream, instead of the regular bagel-type cream cheese in a tub. It was still really good, and I'll use the Cooking Cream again the next time I make it. But if you can't find the Cooking Cream, or would rather use the other type, it is an option for you.

The other thing I changed was the extra 45 minutes in the oven. I left everything in the pan (oven-safe skillet that I removed the silicon handle cover from beforehand), sprinkled on the cheese, and put it in the oven to melt. Took 5 minutes. If I'd wanted to have a prettier presentation, I could have transferred the mixture to a casserole dish before putting it in the oven, but I still would have only put it in for a few minutes to melt the cheese (maybe a little longer than 5 minutes, since the casserole dish wouldn't be hot, and it might cool down the lovely food a bit). So you can do that if you want it in a nice-looking dish or don't have an oven-safe skillet. I was looking for quick with the least amount of dishes possible--and all my pretty casserole dishes are still packed in storage--so I left it in the skillet.

This recipe was really easy and fast to put together. I made it even faster by using a rotisserie chicken I got on sale. But you could easily bake chicken to use, cut up raw chicken and cook it in the pan before adding the onion, or even use canned chicken. I added a light sprinkle of cayenne before severing it for a little extra spicy flavor, but it's totally up to you if you use it.

As I type this up, I find myself wondering how this would be with chopped fresh spinach. And maybe another can of tomatoes. I may also try the reduced-fat version of the cooking cream. I'll have to experiment and let you know the results.

NOTE: Please remember to use extra caution if you use an oven-safe skillet. The handle will be very hot and you may automatically want to put your hand on it to move the skillet around after taking it from the oven. Yes. It hurts very much when you forget. I keep a hot pad draped over the handle to remind me. And remind anyone else in the kitchen that it's hot.

Creamy Herbed Chicken, Rigatoni & Spinach (lightly adapted from here)
printable recipe

8 oz uncooked rigatoni
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, diced (about 1 cup)
8 oz frozen chopped spinach (from bag, no need to thaw)
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano, undrained
1 10-oz tub Philadelphia Italian Cheese & Herb Cooking Cream
2 cups cubed, cooked chicken breast
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 to 1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
ground cayenne pepper, optional

1. Heat your oven to 425.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the rigatoni according the package directions until just tender. Reserve a bit of the cooking water before draining the pasta well and setting it aside. Don't rinse the pasta.

3. While the pasta cooks, heat a 12-in, non-stick, oven-safe skillet (handle cover removed if necessary) over medium heat until very hot. Add the olive oil, and then the onion. Cook the onion, stirring often, until softened and starting to brown. Add the frozen spinach and diced tomatoes, and cook, stirring often, until the spinach is heated through and the mixture is bubbly.

4. Add the Piladelphia cooking cream, chicken, salt, and pepper, and stir well to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is bubbly and heated through, 3-4 minutes. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and gently mix it in until it's fully incorporated. If the mixture seems really thick, you can add a bit (no more than 3 tablespoons) of the pasta cooking water to loosen it up. I used about 1 tablespoon this time.

5. Sprinkle the mixture with the mozzarella cheese and put the skillet in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper if you want some extra spiciness, and serve.

Makes 6-8 servings.

With 1 cup mozzarella:
Per 1/6th recipe: 444 cal; 19g fat; 37g carb; 2.5g fib; 36g pro; 12 Weight Watcher's Plus Points
Per 1/8th recipe: 333 cal; 14g fat; 27g carb; 2g fib; 27g pro; 9 Weight Watcher's Plus Points


  1. This looks delicious and I will most definitely be trying it out this week:D

    BTW...I have nominated you for the Liebster Award

  2. So sorry...The last few days have been a bit crazy. Thanks for the sweet nomination :) I'll be sure to follow the requirements this weekend :) Thanks again!


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