Here's my recipe for Sun-dried Tomato, Spinach and Feta Pasta with Chicken.
(This one has been on the blog for awhile but I am re-posting it because I realized it was at the very end of a long post about some birthday parties and was rather hard to find. Plus, it's so good. You need to be reminded about it.)
I found a recipe online a while back for some tomato and feta pasta salad. It looked soooo good and so I made it and loved it, but I thought it'd be better with sundried tomatoes rather than canned tomatoes... and I loved that so much that the next time I added mushrooms... then chicken... then spinach... then Parmesan cheese... then I totally changed the order in which I cooked everything... then I added red pepper flake the 47th time I made it... and so on. So I feel like I can finally call this recipe MINE now that I've changed all the ingredients, the cooking methods, etc. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! I literally make this once or twice a week and we eat if for days! It can be served hot, and is great that way - the cheese is all melty and gooey. Or if you want, you can eat it as a pasta salad the next day, and the next, and the next. It's just as good cold!
Here are the ingredients:
1 box of pasta, shells or bowtie is best (I like Barilla brand, because it cooks in 6-7 minutes!)
1 package boneless, skinless chicken tenders, cut into bite sized pieces
3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped (you can use the refridgerated minced garlic too)
1 8oz package of sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 jar sun dried tomatoes in oil
1 large bag fresh spinach leaves
Red pepper flake
1 box crumbled feta
Kraft shredded Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 of the container.)
salt and pepper
First, generously salt your boiling water, cook your pasta and drain. While your pasta is draining, cook your other ingredients in your pasta pot. It's probably best to have a pot with pretty tall sides. Oh, and it's also important that you season things with each step. Just sprinkle with a little salt and pepper as you add each ingredient, and you'll be sure to get great flavor!
You'll want to turn your heat from HI (since you were boiling water) down to MEDIUM or just below MEDIUM. First, open your jar of sun dried tomatoes and pour about half of just the oil into your pot. I buy these sun dried 'maters at the WalMart and they are around $3.50, and can be found with the canned tomatoes, usually on the top shelf. But remember, just the oil for this step.
Let that get hot, and then put in your chopped garlic. Now, if your pan is too hot, you'll notice the garlic will start to turn brown, so if that happens, remove your pot from the heat and let it continue to cook without burning. Burnt garlic = yucky dish. When your garlic has cooked for 3-4 minutes, add your red pepper flake and your chicken. Cook until the chicken is done or very near done.
Add in your mushrooms. They'll go from this color...
to this color...
in no time. I usually let them sit and cook for around 4-5 minutes. Just to get all that good flavor. If you are not a mushroom fan, you do not have to add them. Sometimes I leave them out, because I'm a fair weather mushroom gal myself.
When your mushrooms are good and brown, add in your sun dried tomatoes and your spinach. Yes, the whole bag of spinach. It will fill your pot to the rim, but will quickly go from this...
Next, add your cooked pasta back to the pot, as well as your feta and your Parmesan cheese, and stir it all together. Do this while it's still on the heat so that the cheese gets good and melty. Yum. Is your mouth watering?
And wah-lah! You're done! Aren't you proud of my food styling abilities? She's a pretty dish, ain't she? Now GO EAT!