Healthier Italian Recipes: Delicious Chicken And Spinach Penne Pasta

Healthier Italian Recipes: Delicious Chicken And Spinach Penne Pasta


This is a great recipe that came to me on my email from a few days ago and being a huge chicken and spinach fan, I just had to try it out.

I unfortunately did not have several of the ingredients it called for but I was able to improvise and make the recipe turn out in spite of that.

This is a delicious variation of Florentine pasta.

Make your own adjustments to it and see if you don’t agree….this is a fabulous dinner entree!

Of course, you can revamp this just about any way you want and still end up with a delicious dish.  For more ideas, see my suggestions below.

Also be sure and watch the video for another fantastic recipe!

See all 2 photos
Source: Wikimedia Commons



1 teaspoon olive oil (or use more cooking spray)
Cooking spray
3 cups mushrooms sliced thin
1 cup of chopped sweet onion
1 cup of chopped mini peppers (red, yellow and orange combined)
3 cups of chopped fresh spinach (or use baby spinach)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or use 1 teaspoon dried)
Black pepper to taste
2 cups of non-fat cottage cheese
4 cups hot cooked wheat penne pasta (8 ounces uncooked)
2 cups shredded grilled or roasted chicken breast shredded
3/4 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup non-fat milk
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can reduced fat, low sodium cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Spray a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
olive oil or cooking spray in large skillet over medium high and add
mushrooms, onion and peppers. Saute for about 4 minutes or until
tender. Add oregano, spinach and pepper. Cook 3 minutes more or until
the spinach begins to wilt in the pan.
Mix cottage cheese in a blender or food processor until smooth.
together the cottage cheese mixture, the spinach mixture, chicken,
pasta, 3/4 cup of cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Add milk
and soup and combine all to mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture into the
prepared casserole.
Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheddar cheese and the 1/4 cup remaining Parmesan. Add some fresh spinach leaves as well.
Bake at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes until lightly browned and bubbling.

Serves 8 – Serve with a tossed green salad and a crusty loaf of Italian bread.

See all 2 photos


This is definitely a keeper when it comes to healthier Italian recipes. It reminds you of a good mac and cheese but cranks it up a notch by substituting wheat penne pasta as I did and lightening up the milk and cottage cheese.

Try this many different ways such as

Substitute different Italian cheeses for the cheddar
Use ricotta instead of cottage cheese
Use a different mushroom
Try red peppers exclusively as the recipe calls for
Substitute a different kind of pasta noodle – the sky’s the limit on that
Try a different meat or even go meatless
Add some fresh basil and tomatoes for a delicious change
Substitute a different soup such as cream of mushroom or asparagus
Use something other than the can of soup as the ‘base’ or thickener

In short, you can do just about anything with this variation on mac and cheese and have a delicious yet easy meal. Prep the ingredients ahead of time and it really goes quickly!

This dish is also fabulous as leftovers for lunch! The original recipe calculated this out to be 345 calories but I’m sure my version is much less.

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