Creamy Spinach and Sundried Tomato Chicken

Creamy Spinach and Sundried Tomato Chicken

Lol. I'm such a dweeb, but I wear it proudly. I love comics and fantasy, and sci-fi and horror -- pretty much anything that transports me into another reality. I had to do this mash up because I really feel like this dish saves dinner. It's indulgent, it's delicious and it's healthy. But before we get into that, or the rest of this post, I want to let you know the full video is available here. Ok, let's go:

One of the things I love most in this world is dairy. In every, single form. I love milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, curds...and probably even some things I don't know about yet. I just love it. BUT...it doesn't always love me. Particularly soft cheeses and milk. I'll admit, I'm probably a little lactose intolerant, but also, I've realized just how many calories and grams of fat I do consume when eating dairy. This is why I am always on a mission to find new ways to eat dairy "like" things and when I do actually have dairy, it's a lighter version. I know, insert sad face here.

Well, until I created this dish. It's so deliciously creamy and savory and a little spicy with just a *touch* of sweetness, I just love it. I don't even feel like I made some lighter swaps. In fact, I wouldn't let myself acknowledge I did so I could still feel like I was having a cheat meal! The things we do to trick our minds!

The secret to the creaminess here is reduced fat cream cheese. This eliminates 1/3 of the fat and calories vs. using regular cream cheese and surprisingly provides more calcium than regular as well. Another thing I love about this recipe is that once you brown the chicken, you use the same pan with all of the spices and brown bits to cook the onions and incorporate it into your sauce. It's so good and so indulgent, I promise you won't feel like you're eating healthy! Oh and the best part?! IT'S ALL DONE IN ONE PAN!! Easy clean up is my FAVORITE clean up! 

What are your food weaknesses and how do you get your fix?

Creamy Spinach and Sun-dried Tomato Chicken

  • Author: Monique Manning
  • Servings: 6
  • Nutrition (per serving): 314 cal, 19.2g fat, 5.5g carbs, 30.4g protein (based on thighs)

INGREDIENTS

CHICKEN

  • 1 lb chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp dried lemon peel or 1/2 tsp fresh
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

SAUCE

  • 1/4 vidalia onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 8oz package of reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1 cup chicken broth, homemade or reduced/no sodium
  • 1/4 cup parmesan, grated
  • 2oz sun-dried tomatoes (about 5-6), chopped
  • 4 cups baby spinach

 

METHOD

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine spices in a small bowl to create a rub (even distribution of spices). Season chicken on both sides and be sure to rub into the meat. Heat olive oil in pan over medium high heat.

When oil is glossy and moves around pan easily, add chicken to the pan. Cook on each side for about 4 mins, making sure to get skin really crispy (if using skin on). The point here is not to completely cook the chicken, but get some flavor sealed in with the sear. Remove the chicken from pan and set aside.

Drain most of the fat from the pan, leaving only about a tsp worth. In the same pan, add the onions. Toss until they begin to soften and add the garlic. When garlic begins to smell fragrant, add the cream cheese and stir until it melts into the onions and garlic. Add the chicken broth.

Continue to stir to melt the cheese as well as to get the brown bits incorporated into your sauce. Add in the tomatoes and parmesan. Add salt & pepper (or anything else) to adjust for seasonings.

Add the chicken back to the pan, skin side up, and add the spinach to the dish. Allow to bubble thicken for about 2 minutes. Place pan into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until juices of chicken run clear or until an internal temperature of 165 degrees is reached at the center.

If you listen closely, you can hear the sizzle of the bubbling cheese sauce and smell the aroma of the chicken

If you listen closely, you can hear the sizzle of the bubbling cheese sauce and smell the aroma of the chicken

Serve with pasta, rice, potatoes or roasted cauliflower steaks.