Monday, November 8, 2010

An Appetizer Inspired Dish...Healthy as you Wish

A healthy meal should always be balanced with lean protein, carbohydrates, and vegetables. I have found that the easiest way to provide this combination is in a pasta dish. While I love all of my tried-and-true pasta recipes, I was in the mood to experiment. I knew that there was a possibility that the results could turn out against my expectations and I would be eating a frozen meal for dinner, but I felt pretty optimistic about this creation. I feel that is pretty common to eat an appetizer as a meal, especially at a restaurant. I have done this plenty of times as restaurant portions are outrageous in size. An appetizer that is available at many restaurants is spinach artichoke dip. I tend to stay away from it at restaurants because it often contains more calories than a meal. But at home, I would definitely eat my spinach artichoke dip for dinner. Based on my recipe, I decided to create a spinach artichoke pasta dish. It would have been just as good as a vegetarian dish without chicken, but I was cooking for more than just myself and my taste-testers requested chicken. Thankfully, the dish turned out fabulous. Everybody loved the fact that it was reminiscent of the dip and I was completely satisfied with my new dish and the nutrition facts that go along with it.

Spinach Artichoke Pasta with Chicken
serves 6

12 oz. Ronzoni Smart Taste pasta (any shape)
1 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz. fat-free cream cheese
1/2 cup fat-free plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup fat-free chicken broth
1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 14 oz. can quartered artichoke hearts
1 10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 tsp. hot sauce (Tabasco)
salt and pepper to taste
red pepper flakes (optional)
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts

  1. Cook pasta until al dente (about 10 minutes). Drain.
  2. Grill chicken until done. Cover to keep warm until sauce is ready.
  3. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute garlic for about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add cream cheese, greek yogurt, and chicken broth. Stir until combined and reduce heat to medium-low.
  5. Add the milk and parmesan cheese. Stir until cheese is melted.
  6. Add hot sauce, spinach, artichokes, salt/pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir to combine.
  7. Cut grilled chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  8. Add chicken and pasta to sauce and toss to coat.
Nutrition: 315 calories, 49g carbohydrate, 27g protein, 3g fat, 7g fiber, 5 weight watchers point



Matt said...

This is a great recipe that looks amazing! I wish my food photography skills were up to par with yours.

I think your healthy meal tip is spot-on, I try to re-create that basic formula in the dishes I make.

If you're interested in some new healthy meal recipes, then you should check out the new eCookbook I made. It's called "How to Have Healthy Eating Habits: 7 Healthy Meal Ideas" and can be download for free here:

Erin said...

How wonderful! One of my favorite dips as an entree yet healthier, will definitely make this for dinner soon. Thank you!

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Nutrition student with a passion for giving yummy recipes a healthy make-over. Future RD on a constant search for the best food finds. And new blogger trying to relay my tasty ideas to everyone else.

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