Cheesy Chicken Pasta (HEALTHY)

I love to eat healthy. My husband? Not so much. He’s a lover of all things considered “junk food.” So there’s an almost daily struggle when it comes to making dinner of trying to find a balance between “comfort food” and “healthy.” So my objective when it comes to this is to create dishes that he thinks are just good ‘ol southern comfort food but that are actually secretly healthy for us. Enter tonight’s dinner. It was SO delicious that Adam raved about to his brothers (a true sign of a good meal coming from a guy perspective, in my opinion) and Marshall even ate the chicken and bacon out of it over his chicken nuggets. WIN.

So if you’re looking for an easy, one pan dinner, chalk full of protein, veggies, and healthy fats, this is for you!! Hope you enjoy! Let me know if you make it and what your thoughts are.

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To preface this recipe, I don’t really have measurements because I just eyeballed it and made enough for us for dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow. I will do my best guess at measurements, but this is an easy dish to customize to your specific needs. The recipe below serves 4.

 

INGREDIENTS:

Boneless, skinless chicken tenders—I used 6

Seasoning of your choice for chicken—I used salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder

1 bunch of kale, destemmed and cut into bite sized pieces

1lb of bacon

1 TBS sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

0.5-1 cup of milk (I used whole because that’s what I have on hand)

Parmesan cheese

Noodles of your choice—I used zucchini noodles

 

HOW TO:

  1. Cut the bacon into bite sized pieces and cook in a large Dutch oven style pan on medium-high heat. Stir frequently so the pieces don’t burn on the bottom of your pan. While the bacon is cooking, season your chicken tenders to your taste. Once bacon bits are done, remove bacon from pan and let rest on a paper towel lined plate. Keep bacon fat in pan.
  2. When the bacon is done, place chicken tenders in pan directly in the leftover bacon fat. This is going to give your chicken a lot of good flavor. Cook for approximately 4 minutes each side, or until done. When chicken is done, remove from pan and place on a cutting board.
  3. Remove all but one tablespoon of the bacon fat. Add kale to remaining bacon fat and stir together well. Place lid on pan and steam kale for 5-6 minutes or until mostly wilted. While kale is cooking, cut chicken into bite sized pieces. When kale is done, remove from pan.
  4. In a separate pan, sauté your zucchini noodles in a tiny bit of olive oil and season to your liking. Sauté for 4-5 minutes until done. Set aside.
  5. At this point you should have a good amount of “char” to the bottom of your original pan. This is the secret to this dish. That “char” is FULL of flavor. So directly to the hot pan, add about 1 TBS sour cream. Add whole milk until you get the consistency that you are trying to achieve. Then add parmesan cheese to your liking. This should create a white sauce. And be sure to scrape the bottom of your pan to get all that good flavor up in your sauce.
  6. Once you have the amount of sauce you want at the consistency you want it, add chicken, most of the bacon, sautéed kale, and noodles to your sauce. Stir to combine. Your end result should be a chicken ,kale, and noodles covered lightly in a cheesy, creamy sauce. Top with remaining bacon pits and sprinkle of parmesan. Serve immediately.

 

So again, this is easy to make to your liking. If you want more sauce, double the sauce recipe. If you wanna use different noodles, go for it! Just be careful to burn the bottom of your pan because that’s where all your flavor is. Don’t be afraid to turn the heat down as needed while cooking, so that your sauce doesn’t burn. Enjoy!!!!

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