Friday, January 11, 2013

Pasta with Chicken, Spinach, Tomatoes and Feta Cheese

Did you make any New Year's resolutions?

Typically there is a resolution in there about eating healthier.  My motto this year is "eat well".  To continue on the journey of healthy eating, (with a few treats thrown in) is a way of life.  Not a diet...but a life style change in which I've been working toward for the past several years.  Each year, gets better and better.

I saw this dish in a BHG specialty magazine for low calorie dishes.  The look of it caught my eye.  It's actually a pasta salad with added chicken.  It's light on the carbs and heavier on the protein so the balance is pretty good.  Low in calories, this mix of pasta, veggies, and chicken is just perfect.  And it tastes even better.   I will say that the dressing, with the addition of orange zest and juice is the bomb.  Do not skip this as it adds such a great freshness to the salad.  Plus, with navel oranges being in season right now it is just perfect for this time of year.  

I made this into a deconstructed salad for a great visual effect.  Deconstructed means that each ingredient is separated and laid out next to each individual ingredient.  Makes for a nice presentation.  However, you can just place it all in a bowl, and toss it up.  It's just as beautiful.

This is easy to whip up on a weeknight.  Don't be surprised if there isn't any left, and if there is, it tastes excellent cold for lunch the next day.  Trust me I know.

Here's what it looks like all tossed and plated pretty.

Enjoy and Eat Well!

Pasta with Chicken, Spinach, Tomatoes and Feta Cheeseslightly adapted from BHG

serves 6 

4 ounces dried whole grain or whole wheat penne pasta Nonstick cooking spray 
1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
3 tablespoons canola oil or olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon canola oil or olive oil
1 pound grape tomatoes, halved (3 cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced
10 ounces fresh baby spinach
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese or goat cheese (chevre) (3 ounces)
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. 

2. Meanwhile, lightly coat the an indoor grill with cooking spray. Preheat grill. Place chicken on grill.  Grill until chicken is no longer pink (170 degrees F). About 12 to 15 minutes, turning once halfway through grilling. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces.

3. For dressing, in a small bowl whisk together 3 tablespoons oil, vinegar, orange peel, orange juice, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper; set aside.

4. In a large skillet heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and garlic; cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.

5. In a bowl add spinach and top with warm tomatoes so spinach slightly wilts.  Add pasta and chicken making a deconstructed salad.  Add feta cheese and pine nuts and drizzle with dressing.  Serve.


  1. This looks so delicious! So many yummy ingredients ans so pretty too! Thank you for sharing.

  2. OH MY ! does that look good, i am getting hunger just looking at this beautiful dish.



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