Spinach Chicken Parmigiana Pasta #TakeYourPlace

by Anne Papina on April 8, 2013

Spinach Chicken Parmigiana Pasta by Webicurean

Good food doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive–in fact, over the years I’ve learned that sometimes the simplest meals are the best. Take, for instance, this Spinach Chicken Parmesan Pasta. Literally just a handful of ingredients come together in a superbly flavored dish. Plus, you’ve got at least three food groups going on here–there’s whole grain pasta, chicken for protein, spinach for your veggie… add a glass of milk, and you’ve got just about everything a body needs. Best of all, you probably have most, if not all, of the ingredients on hand. All together, the ingredients cost less than $10, and this will easily feed four, with a little leftover for your lunch the next day.

The fact is, we may not give it much thought, but finding recipes that can fit a tight budget is critical to lots of folks. There are far more people who cannot afford to put food on the table than we care to admit. But the numbers are staggering. That’s why I, along with more than 200 other bloggers, decided to donate a post today to The Giving Table’s Food Bloggers Against Hunger cause. After watching A Place at the Table, it became obvious how much awareness needs to be raised. Sure, the media enjoys a good story about someone abusing the system, but that doesn’t represent the majority who are using SNAP to supplement their food budget–they’re simply trying to get by.

What truly surprised me is that access to good, wholesome foods is out of reach, both physically and price-wise, for so many. We have the lion’s share of farm subsidies going to those producing processed foods (as opposed to fresh produce). And at the other end of the spectrum, we have consumers who have virtually no access to healthy food choices. It’s a multi-faceted problem with no easy solution, but one thing is clear–imminent cutbacks to SNAP will only make matters worse for those who rely on it, especially children and the elderly.

Can one person really make a difference? Well, yes, and the inspiration comes from the daughter of a dear friend, who simply wanted to know why the (homeless) people she saw looked so sad. After her folks explained, Phoebe, who was all of five at the time, realized there was something she could do–rather than keeping the cash from all the cans they turned in each week, what if they donate that money to the local food bank?

She approached her pre-school teacher about her idea to raise $1,000 with recycled cans and bottles, and while the goal seemed somewhat out of reach at the time, her teacher helped her coordinate the can drive. Even at this young age, Phoebe knew that five cents here and ten cents there can add up. And it did. As word got out, cans along with monetary donations started coming in, and by the end of two months, she had raised nearly $4,000 for the food bank, enough to feed about 18,000 people.

But her story doesn’t end there. In fact, news about Phoebe’s project went viral, and donations started pouring in from all over … more than $20,000, in all, enough to feed 90,000 people. Ultimately, Tyson Foods recognized Phoebe as a “Tyson Hunger All-Star,” and it donated 15 tons of chicken to our local food bank.

If one precocious five year old can have that much of an impact, imagine what we can accomplish together. You can read more about Phoebe’s amazing story here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/toan-lam/phoebe-russel-six-year-ol_b_506313.html

So, what can you do? Well, one simple place to start is to fill out this online form asking your local congressman to prioritize funding to the SNAP program and anti-hunger legislation.

Contact your local food bank to find out how you can help, whether it’s by donating food or volunteering your time. As Phoebe has shown, every little bit counts.

Find a screening of A Place at the Table in your local area, or rent it through iTunes, Amazon.com or On Demand.

Now, let’s get cooking.

Spinach Chicken Parmigiana Pasta by Webicurean

Slice the onions and crush the garlic, then set aside.

Spinach Chicken Parmigiana Pasta by Webicurean

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, then sauté in the butter over medium-high heat until the chicken starts to brown.

Spinach Chicken Parmigiana Pasta by Webicurean

Stir in the onions and garlic, then cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Then add in the spinach, salt and basil, cover and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the pasta, drain and toss with the remaining crushed clove of garlic.

Spinach Chicken Parmigiana Pasta by Webicurean

Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the chicken/spinach mixture, cover and let simmer a few more minutes until the cheese is all melty.

Spinach Chicken Parmigiana Pasta by Webicurean

Toss in the pasta, and serve immediately.

Spinach Chicken Parmigiana Pasta by Webicurean


5.0 from 2 reviews
Spinach Chicken Parmigiana Pasta
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The combination of spinach, chicken, Parmesan cheese, and pasta blend wonderfully in this budget-friendly dish.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine
  • 12 oz frozen chopped spinach
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp dried basil leaves
  • 8 oz whole grain pasta
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Peel the onion, cut in half, and thinly slice, set aside. Crush 2 of the garlic cloves, set aside.
  2. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Then, in a large skillet, melt the butter over moderately high heat. Add the chicken, and saute until the chicken starts to brown. Add the onion and garlic, then reduce heat, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Uncover the skillet, and add the frozen spinach, along with ½ teaspoon of salt and the basil. Cover and simmer 15 minutes longer, stirring once in a while.
  4. Meanwhile, get the pasta going. Bring 4 quarts of water along with about 1½ teaspoons of salt to a boil. Add in the pasta, and cook for the recommended time on the package, stirring occasionally. Drain thoroughly, then toss with the remaining clove of crushed garlic.
  5. When the timer on the chicken goes off, remove the lid, mix everything thoroughly. Sprinkle the ¼ cup Parmesan cheese on top, cover and simmer about 5 more minutes or until chicken is done.
  6. Toss in the pasta until well coated. Serve immediately with additional Parmesan cheese for garnish.


Take a moment to visit other participating bloggers and see what they cooked up:

2 Hungry Hearts
1840 Farm
A Couple Cooks
A Fork in Hand
A Little Something to Nosh On
Allergic Girl
The Allergic Kid
A Nasty Bite
an organic process
Anna Dishes
An Edible Mosaic
An Unrefined Vegan
A Raisin & A Porpoise
A Stack of Dishes
Auburn Meadow Farm
Autumn Makes and Does
Bake and Destroy
Bakeaway With Me
The Balanced Platter
Barefoot Essence
Bare Root
Barnes and Hoggetts
Brighton Your Health
Brooklyn Locavore
Buttercream & Roses
By: Sarah Rae
Cake ‘n’ Knife
Canned Time
Characters Pub
Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Clean Eats Fast Feets
Cooking with Anne
Cooking with Michele
Corbin in the Dell
Cre8tive Compass
Crepes of Wrath
Crispy Shipley
Curiosa di Natura
Custom Cuisine
Daily Deliberations
Delightful Crumb
Democracy is Delicious
The Devil’s Food Advocate
Diet Starts Twomorrow
Dine with Pat
Dinner with Laura
Eat. Drink. Smile.
Eat For Equity
Eat This Poem
Eat What’s On Your Plate
Eat When You’re Hungry
Eating Rules
Edo Ergo Sum
The Enabling Cook
Erin’s Food Files
Everyday Maven
Everyday Ramblings of my Life
Everyday True Food
Farm Fresh Feasts
The Faux Martha
Fed Up With Lunch
Feeding Big
Feed Yourself
Fifth Floor Kitchen
Food Deserted
Foodie Yoga Girl
The Food Poet
From Belly to Bacon
Frugal Foodie Mama
Garnish with Lemon
Getting Inside My Head
Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps
Gimme Some Oven
Good. Clean. Food.
Good Food Matters
Good Things Grow
Growing Days
Grow It Cook It Can It
Happy Food Happy Life
Happy Fool
Harmonious Homestead
Haute Mealz
Heather’s French Press
Home Cooking Memories
Home Maid Simple
Hot, Cheap & Easy
The Hunger and Undernutrition Blog
Hungry in the Hub
Icebox Farm
Inkling Media
Inherit the Spoon
In Pursuit of More
In Your Face! – New Jersey Cuisine
I Run for Wine
It Takes a Kitchen
Jackie’s Joie de Vivre
The Jew and the Carrot
Juanita’s Cocina
Kate in the Kitchen
Kettler Cuisine
Kitchen Apparel
The Kitchenista Diaries
Kitchen Treaty
Kristin Wartman
KY Healthy Kids
La Aguatate
Learning to Eat
Leslie Eats
Life À la Mode
Life is Fare
Life With the Lushers
Listen, Learn, Act and Reflect
Local Appetite
Local Belle
Love & Lemons
Loves Food, Loves to Eat
The Lunch Box
The Lunch Tray
Mama’s High Strung
Margarita’s in the Rain
Meal Planning Magic
Me, Redone
Merlot and Monkfish
Meshell in Your City
The Midnight Baker
Mince and Type
Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
Mother Nature Network
Munching in the Mitten
My Family Table
My Inspiration
My Mad, Mad, Mad Gourmet Adventures
My Mama Rhythm
Naturally Ella
North Shore Locavore
Nourish Your Future
The Nosh Pit
Not Just Baked
Now Things Are Cookin’
On Sugar Mountain
Oshkosh Area Community Pantry
Our Lady of Second Helpings
Passports & Pancakes
Pepper Lynn
Pinot Mom
Plums in the Icebox
Poor Girl Gourmet
Potato Chips Are Not Dinner
Queen of Quinoa
Rachel’s Table
The Real Deal Marin
Recipes for Sustenance
The Redhead Baker
The Red Lentil
Robyn Straley
Sacramento Vegan
Salmon Squad
Salted Plates
Savory Simple
Seditious Joy
Shared Appetite
Simple Living and Eating
Simply Sugar & Gluten Free
The Slender Kitchen
Smart Eating for Kids
Solid Gold Eats
Spice and Dice
South Jersey Locavore
The Sunny Side Up
Sustainable Pantry
Tampa Uncorked
Taste Love and Nourish
That Skinny Chick Can Bake
That’s What I Eat
There and Back Again
This Homemade Life
The TV Dinner
Turnips 2 Tangerines
Vegan in the Freezer
V is for Vegetables
The Veggie Nook
The Verdant Home
The Weekend Gourmet
We’ll Eat You Up
What’s Cookin??
What’s Cooking Good Looking
Would John Eat It?


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie ( A Fork in Hand) April 8, 2013 at 5:43 am

Thank you for sharing Pheobe’s beautiful story. What an inspiring young lady!


Anne Papina April 8, 2013 at 7:31 am

Thanks! I can’t wait to see what she does when she grows up!


Rebecca E. Parsons April 8, 2013 at 12:23 pm

lovely food…it looks delicious. thank you for joinin us today!!!


Anne Papina April 8, 2013 at 1:28 pm

You’re welcome–it was my pleasure!


Julie @ Texan New Yorker April 8, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Fantastic post! I linked to it on my blog today. I’ve been under the weather with a migraine so I missed what today was and thus didn’t have a post prepared. So I adapted my usual post to talking about this issue and linked to your post and others, hoping to spread the word. Thanks again for writing about this!


Anne Papina April 8, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Thanks, Julie! Sorry to hear about the migraines–I know what it’s like to be out of commission a few days because of them!


Paula Kiger April 8, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Well – Phoebe – WOW! And your recipe looks delicious (as well as affordable). And, lastly, thank you for including a link to my blog among the other Food Bloggers Against Hunger posts. Tomorrow my coach turns back into a pumpkin and I will be a plain old life blogger again. 🙂


Anne Papina April 9, 2013 at 7:48 am

You’re welcome! I imagine Phoebe will be doing great things in her lifetime!


Liz April 9, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Great to join you in raising awareness for this important cause. Your pasta looks both tasty and nutritious. And I’m loving your beautiful daffodils! Spring has sprung…finally!


Anne Papina April 11, 2013 at 9:29 pm

Thanks, Liz! The daffodils were so pretty, I just had to work them into the picture!


Kim Beaulieu April 12, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Love when bloggers join together to do good things. Plus there’s great food involved which is a total bonus.


Catia January 25, 2018 at 5:35 am

This sounds lovely. Going to give this a go. thanks for sharing this recipe.


Anne Papina January 25, 2018 at 9:03 am

Enjoy! It may not look pretty, but it sure is tasty!


Leave a Comment

Rate this recipe:  

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: