Tuscan Garlic Chicken


The other day, Joel mentioned something about how he liked fettuccine alfredo but wouldn't be upset if he never had it again because of how unhealthy it is.  Then, I found this recipe on Prevention RD, adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe and More of America's Most Wanted Recipes.  This recipe is a lot less unhealthy than alfredo sauce is, and honestly, more delicious!  It made for a pretty quick weeknight meal, and great leftovers for lunch the next day.

1/2 cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Dried Basil
1/2 teaspoon Dried Oregano
5 (4 ounce each) Chicken Breasts
3 tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
1 tablespoon Garlic, minced (4-5 cloves)
1 Red Bell Pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup Vegetable Broth
6 ounces Fresh Baby Spinach
1/2 cup Half and Half
4 teaspoons Cornstarch
2 cups Milk (I used almond milk)
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
10 ounces Linguine or Fettuccine Noodles

In a shallow pie plate, combine the flour, salt, pepper, basil, and oregano.  Dip each piece of chicken in the flour mixture until both sides are well coated.  In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat until the oil is hot and shimmering.  Carefully place each of the chicken breasts in the pan, cooking them for 2-3 minutes on each side until they are golden and browned, but not cooked all the way through.  Remove the chicken to a foil-lined, lightly greased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, until the chicken in completely cooked through.  Set aside and tent with foil until ready to use.  While the chicken is cooking, heat a large pot of water to a boil and add the noodles, cooking until they are al dente.  Additionally, wipe the skillet with a paper towel and return to medium heat, adding the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  When the oil is hot, add the garlic and bell pepper, sautéing for 2-3 minutes.  Stir in 1 tablespoon of flour and stir constantly while cooking for another minute.  Add the broth to the skillet and simmer, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes.  In a small liquid measure, whisk together the corn starch and half and half.  Add the spinach, milk, and corn starch mixture to the skillet.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach has wilted and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 2-4 minutes.  Stir in the parmesan cheese.  When the pasta has finished cooking, drain and return it to the pot.  Toss the pasta with the cheese sauce.  Place the pasta on each plate and top with breaded chicken breast.  Spoon some of the cheese sauce over the top of the chicken breast and serve immediately.