Delicious Chicken pasta in a lighter creamy garlic sauce. Made with penne pasta, tender chicken breast and fresh wilted spinach. A perfect any night of the week meal.
Creamy Garlic Chicken
Who doesn't love a creamy chicken dish, especially when it has heaps of flavour and is combined with pasta for a filling comfort meal in a bowl.
One of my favourite easy go to pasta recipes on Slimming Eats is this Creamy Garlic Pasta, so simple but really flavoursome and delicious. We as a family love creamy pasta dishes, but days like today when I need a filling meal, some added protein is a must and thats when dishes like this Creamy Garlic Chicken with Spinach and Penne Pasta are perfect.
Can I use Chicken Thighs instead of Chicken Breast?
I used chicken breast as it was what I had on hand and it's also super quick to cook, if you want to use thighs instead then you can definitely make the swap. Just ensure you brown until lovely and golden and make sure it is cooked through before serving, as it will take slightly longer than Chicken Breast.
If you slice up into slightly smaller pieces, it will be much quicker to cook.
Also don't forget chicken thighs will add slightly more calories to the overall recipe too.
Can I use a different type of protein in this recipe?
Sure!! I wouldn't recommend beef as it will be a bit too rich in this sauce, but some great alternatives would be slices of pork or bacon or you could even choose some seafood and add some shrimp (prawns).
If you are vegetarian you could just add some other vegetables of your choice or use a meat replacement like quorn.
Can I use a different type of pasta?
I used penne as it was what I had in but any shape pasta will work, so just go for what you have, no need to go and source out Penne just for this recipe. Most have a bag of penne in the cupboard though. It's probably one of the more popular shapes along with Fusilli.
What Light Cream Cheese do you use?
For the light cream cheese, I use Philadelphia, but store own brands are fine for this two.
If you are following Slimming World - cream cheese is not including as a healthy extra, so if you want to swap for a cream cheese that does qualify like laughing cow or primula you can certainly give it a try. I haven't tried it with these types so can't say what the final result will be like, I would defintely try and stick to the same ratios.
Can I use Quark instead of Cream Cheese?
This is a comment I get quite a lot when I use cream cheese and while quark will work okay in some dishes, I do not recommend it for this recipe.
You just won't get the same creaminess, as quark is more sour tasting than cream and quark really needs to be added right at the end otherwise it can have a tendency to split and spoil your sauce.
Substitutes for Parmesan Cheese
Not everyone likes the strong taste of parmesan cheese, but it is not overpowering in this recipe. If you really hate parmesan though a swap for some mature cheddar is a great alternative.
Just ensure when you pick a different cheese you don't use one which you buy already grated. Cheeses which come ready grated are coated to prevent it sticking together and it doesn't melt as well in sauces. You need a block of cheese which you grate yourself.
What stock can I use for this recipe?
I prefer to use fat free chicken stock that comes in a carton when I don't have some homemade on hand, it just tastes so much fresher.
Stock cubes and bouillon are perfectly fine to use too if that's what you have. Just a couple of things to bare in mind. Stock cubes vary by brand in how much stock they make, so you need to check the packaging to ensure you use the correct amount, otherwise your sauce could end up too salt or may not have enough flavour.
For example one Oxo cube generally makes 190ml of stock, some other cubes can make double that, so you can
Sides for Creamy Garlic Chicken with Spinach and Penne Pasta
Wondering what to serve this with? You can enjoy it just as it is, as it has all that lovely iron rich spinach in the recipe. But if you want a more filling plate of food a simple side salad will pair well with this or some other vegetables of your choosing.
Some suggestions are:
- Green Beans (sauteed or roasted)
- Broccoli (steam or roasted)
- Asparagus (sauteed or baked)
- Cauliflower (steamed or roasted)
- Courgette (Zucchini) (sauteed or grilled)
More Chicken Pasta Recipes
Looking for some other chicken pasta recipes to enjoy? Check out these:
- CREAMY CHICKEN MUSHROOM TOMATO PASTA BAKE
- BAKED FETA PASTA WITH CHICKEN (TIKTOK RECIPE
- SLOW COOKER CHICKEN MEATBALL PASTA BAKE
- CREAMY CAJUN CHICKEN MEATBALL PASTA (GLUTEN FREE AND DAIRY FREE)
- FAJITA CHICKEN PASTA
- CHICKEN BACON AND TOMATO PASTA BAKE
- CREAMY CHICKEN AND MUSHROOM PASTA
or head on over to the FULL RECIPE INDEX where you will find over 900 delicious Slimming World and Weight Watchers friendly recipes all fully searchable by meal type, ingredients, syn value and smart points etc
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- 500g (17.5oz) of boneless and skinless chicken breast (raw) sliced into small strips
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 250g (9oz) uncooked penne pasta
- 1 cup (240ml) of chicken stock
- 250ml of semi skimmed (2%) milk - 1 HEa
- 100g (3.5oz) of light cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch (can also use arrowroot or tapioca starch)
- 300g (10.5oz) of fresh spinach
- 30g (1oz) parmesan - 1 HEa
- salt and black pepper
- olive oil spray
- Heat a deep frying pan over a medium high heat with olive oil spray.
- Season the chicken with some salt and black pepper, add to the pan and sear the pieces of both sides until lightly golden, remove and set aside.
- Spray with a little more olive oil spray, add the minced garlic and fry for a couple of minutes, gradually add in a ½ cup (120ml) of the stock and reduce down around the garlic so that it becomes lovely and softened (do not burn).
- Add the pasta to a saucepan of salted boiling water and cook until al dente, before you drain reserve ⅓ (80ml) of the pasta water.
- Add the remaining stock, milk and cream cheese to the garlic and simmer until the cream cheese is all melted (I whisk as it heats to melted).
- Mix the cornstarch with a little water to make a slurry and add this into the sauce.
- Add in the spinach and chicken and continue to simmer until to the spinach is all wilted, chicken is cooked through and the sauce is lovely and creamy.
- Add in the pasta, reserved pasta water and parmesan and and stir until the parmesan melts into the sauce.
- Season with salt and black pepper.
- Serve and enjoy!!
This recipe is gluten free, Slimming World and Weight Watchers friendly
- Slimming World - ½ HEa and 2 syns per serving
- WW Green Smart Points - 13 per serving
- WW Blue Smart Points - 11 per serving
- WW Purple Smart Points - 11 per serving (4 if you use brown rice pasta or similar)
- Gluten Free - use a gluten free pasta and stock
OPTIONAL: add some more grated parmesan on top when serving as part of your HEa
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SUITABLE FOR FREEZING - I recommend fully defrosting in the fridge and then heating in the microwave or a pan (you may need to add a little liquid to loosen the sauce)
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Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1 SERVING
Amount Per Serving Calories 506Total Fat 11.6gSaturated Fat 5.3gCholesterol 5.9mgSodium 507mgCarbohydrates 57.9gFiber 4.1gSugar 5.9gProtein 45.3g