Weeknight Shorts: Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

I know I keep talking about quick meals, but you must understand that it's the beginning of June and my high schooler has about a week of school left in the year, there's a plan for a pretty busy summer lined up, and a lake family vacation to plan and execute by the end of the month. For me, recipes like the one below are sanity savers. So grab a few ingredients, get water boiling for pasta, and be ready to put dinner on the table in about 20 minutes.

This recipe can use any leftover cooked chicken, but my family loves using rotisserie chicken from Costco. We've gotten into the habit of grabbing a couple every time we go. The meat gets used for dinner that night, the rest is taken off the bone and used for fantastic dishes like this one, and the carcasses go into the Instant Pot to make homemade stock. It's a great way to line up meals for quite a while. That said, leftover chicken from the grill or the like will also work well.

Because this dish is packed with tomatoes and spinach, I don't even bother with a side salad unless I'm trying to stretch the main course. This one's just so easy to put together, spoon into bowls, and just dig in. You probably have at least a half dozen things on your to do list and fussing with dinner just doesn't need to be on it.

Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

  • 16 ounces medium shell pasta (or another short shaped pasta)
  • ⅓ cup sun-dried tomatoes - chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil from the drained sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 pound cooked chicken, cut into small cubes (rotisserie chicken works great for this)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain the pasta, reserving about a half cup of the cooking liquid.

While the pasta cooks, add the sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, chicken, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to a large skillet, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, garlic, and spinach to the skillet and cook for another 3 minutes or until the spinach wilts a little.

Add the drained pasta to the skillet along with the Parmesan cheese and the reserved pasta cooking liquid, and toss everything together well. Serve while hot.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes