I’m running Grandma’s Marathon in Minnesota on Saturday. This means three things:
1. I have what’s called “taper madness”, so even a 4 mile run seems like the hardest run I’ve ever done, which makes me think there’s no way I’m prepared for 26.2 miles this weekend.
2. Everyday I am convinced I have a new injury. One day it’s a stress fracture in my foot, the next it’s patellar tendinitis. Today, I’m pretty sure I have trochanteric bursitis.
3. I am eating every carb I lay my eyes on.
Now, I know that it isn’t doing my body any good to “carb-load” 4 days in advance, but it’s what I’m craving and I’m just going with it. My body wants carbs, so I’ll feed it carbs. Piece of zucchini bread? I’ll have two. Cobbler for dessert? Yes, please. Next up: pasta. Creamy pasta. This is a little strange because I usually tend to prefer tomato based sauces on my pasta, but I went with my craving and created my version of fettucini alfredo…with quite a few changes.
First off, I didn’t use a whole stick of butter as most traditional recipes do. In fact, I only used one tablespoon. Next up, I cut the heavy cream and used skim milk instead. I would have used 1% if I had it, but I don’t keep 1% on hand. Lastly, I didn’t have any fettucini so I used whole wheat spaghetti. Okay, I guess that wasn’t the last change, because I also threw in some spinach to add some green (and Vitamin K!) and chicken to add some protein to my Plate ‘O Carbs. So instead of being a fettucini alfredo, it turned into more of a chicken florentine pasta dish, hence the name change. Whatever it’s called, it was delicious! I loved that I could enjoy the pasta knowing it wasn’t completely loaded with butter and fat, and even though it wasn’t, it still turned out pretty darn creamy!
Chicken Florentine Spaghetti
adapted from Honey, What’s Cooking?
2 tbsp olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ pieces
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic
3 cups milk, divided
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan Cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 (13 oz) box whole wheat spaghetti
3 cups fresh spinach
Drizzle 2 tbsp olive oil in large skillet, and heat over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces, Italian seasoning, and salt to taste, and stir to evenly season chicken. Cook chicken until done, about 7-10 minutes. When chicken is done, set aside.
In large pot, bring water to boil for spaghetti. When water is boiling, add spaghetti and cook as directed on box.
Meanwhile, in another pot, melt butter and add garlic over medium-high heat. Saute 2 minutes. Add 2 cups of milk. In small bowl, combine remaining cup of milk with cornstarch, and stir to combine. Add milk and cornstarch mix to pot with butter and milk. The cornstarch helps thicken the sauce. Stir continuously for a minute.
Add Parmesan cheese. Keep stirring. Lastly, add chopped parsley and salt and pepper. The pasta may still be cooking at this point, as the sauce does not take long to come together. If pasta is not done, turn heat to low to keep sauce warm.
When pasta is cooked, drain it and return to large pot. Add cream sauce, spinach, and cooked chicken, and toss to combine. Let pasta sit about 10 minutes, as the sauce will thicken up and the spinach will wilt. You will need to toss the pasta quite a bit in the warm sauce to get the spinach to wilt.
To serve, sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese, and enjoy your carb-licious bowl of pasta!