Rather than feeding three friends for good samaritan's sake (and because Mondays are more appropriate for Dancing with the Stars on the couch than they are for dinner parties) I made one serving of this for myself to eat, intending to cheat and multiply the cost by 4. Well, too much math, but I did end up with a simple, easy-to-throw-together meal that has plenty of protein, fiber and even a serving of veggies. And it has ricotta cheese. Score!
The best part of this meal is that if you can boil water, you can cook this. And if water-boiling is truly as far as you're willing to push yourself, most grocery stores sell perfectly delicious pre-breaded chicken patties for your microwaving convenience.
Parmesan Baked Chicken with Spinach Ricotta Penne
4 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, scalloppine style
2 oz. uncooked whole wheat penne pasta
1 slice whole wheat bread, toasted and crumbled into thin breadcrumbs*
1 Tbsp. parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. parsley
1/4 tsp. fresh black pepper
1 egg white
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1. Toss bread crumbs with parmesan cheese and spices in a small bowl. In another bowl, beat egg white.
2. Dredge chicken through egg white, then bread crumb mixture and bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.
3. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package direction. Once pasta reaches al dente (or 1-2 minutes before end of cooking time), toss spinach in with pasta and cook until spinach is wilted. Drain pasta, reserving about half a cup of pasta water. Add ricotta to pasta pot and stir unitl combined.Use remaining pasta water to thicken sauce, if necessary. Add fresh pepper to taste.