I can’t think of a more distracting place than the internet. Especially when I’m writing an essay. When I’m staring at the Word document screen, trying to bust out a few more pages, suddenly everything else in the world seems a million times more interesting and requires my immediate attention. Really the only thing that keeps me going is the thought of the immense relief I’ll feel when I finally do finish the stupid essay and turn it in.
The best part of working long, hard hours on something? Food breaks. Not only do they physically keep you going, a good meal can keep your spirits up. Take this dish for example. It’s creamy, earthy, and every bite takes you away from what’s lurking on your computer screen.
Taste: Savory, earthy, fresh, rich, meaty, slightly spicy.
Texture: The sauce is luscious and creamy while the mushrooms are tender without being overcooked and the chicken is moist.
Ease: Easy and quick enough to be a weeknight meal.
Appearance: Oh so creamy and the spinach adds a lovely pop of color.
Pros: The whole-grains, veggies, and chicken make this meal not overly indulgent. Perfect option for when you need to feed only yourself and don’t want to resort to take-out.
Would I make this again? Yes and yes.
Creamy Chicken Pasta with Mushrooms and Spinach
Yield: Serves 1 but can easily be doubled
1 boneless, skinless chicken cutlet
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
5 medium button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 teaspoons whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup packed baby spinach leaves
3/4 cup dried whole-grain penne, or similar shape, cooked according to package directions and drained
Generously season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add chicken and cook 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from skillet and cover with aluminum foil.
Add garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and mushrooms to skillet; cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Be careful not to burn garlic. Add the butter to the center of the pan, let melt, then whisk in flour. Cook 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and whisk in heavy cream.
Stir in spinach, allowing it to wilt slightly. Stir in cooked pasta. Thoroughly mix together before serving.
Adapted from On the Woodside