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These easy-to-make chicken breasts with spinach and mushroom are coated in a creamy parmesan cheese based sauce and can be made easily in 30 minutes in only 1 pan.
We all know we should try to eat more healthy meals, but it’s tough. One excuse many of us make for not eating healthy is how difficult it is to cook those kinds of meals versus throwing together some hamburger helper. Another excuse is how healthy meals take up so much time.
There is also the excuse of not having the “right” cookware. Well, you can take all of those excuses and toss them out of the window because we’ve got a healthy recipe that solves all those problems while delivering a hot, delicious, healthy meal for the entire family!
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This dish is perfect for those work nights when you can’t be bothered to cook a whole feast. It pairs perfectly with mushrooms, rice, potatoes, and even pasta so any base really.
How to purchase chicken breasts for this dish
We recommend at least 4 large and thick chicken breasts, you won’t need any specialist or specifically organic chicken breasts. If you have 4 large breasts then you can split each breast and end up with 8 individual portions.
This doesn’t only apply to this dish but it can apply to all chicken breast dishes. Halving your chicken breasts; especially if large decreases cooking time and increases flavor penetration.
How to prepare the chicken breasts for this dish
As we stated, halving your chicken breasts increases the portion size and reduces the cooking time. If you don’t need to halve your chicken breasts and want to have larger portions then you can still butterfly the chicken breasts to reduce cooking time and increase flavor penetration.
To do so, run the edge of your knife parallel to the chopping board halfway up the chicken breast laterally. This will produce 2 slices of chicken breast of even thickness. As we said this makes it easier to cook the chicken breast through, but you should make sure to cut the slices as evenly as possible.
The thickness of the chicken breast also lends to the overall moisture levels. Most people who find chicken breast boring are right to think so, they most likely haven’t experienced well seasoned, moist chicken breasts.
With paying proper attention to the thickness of your chicken breasts you’ll ensure you get crispy edges and succulent white meat.
This combination of usually boring ingredients come together in this dish to complement each other and make something that tastes absolutely heavenly.
Which mushrooms to use
With mushrooms you can use almost any type, we recommend a lower moisture mushroom as you’re going to be sauteing them in the fonde created by the chicken. Cremini mushrooms work very well in the dish because of their flatter, more subtly umami flavor.
You can use Oyster, Shiitake, or even Chestnuts for the dish as they all have fairly baseline flavors that aren’t overstated or that clash with others. You can use most common mushrooms just ensure that any liquids that are secreted from the mushrooms in the pan/skillet are cooked off.
Basic concept of this dish
As with most fat based sauces, a major component to the balancing of the flavor is in the searing/browning of the meet.
The browning of the meat adds some textural variety that increases the quality of the dish and adds a layer of flavor achievable in most vegetarian dishes because of the lack of muscle proteins that can caramelize.
As chicken breast has very little fat in it (major reason for ‘dryness’) you’ll need to use some sort of butter or oil to ensure proper crisping and moistness.
We like to use either unsalted butter or vegetable oil but if you’re trying to be a bit more health conscious, feel free to use a healthier fat like olive oil.
In searing your chicken, it is best to leave it untouched so that a proper crust can form, this takes roughly 4 minutes on a medium-high heat. Feel free to lift one corner/edge of the breast to check its doneness but don’t flip it until a decent golden-brown crust has formed.
A great byproduct of searing meat is the fond that forms on the bottom of the pan, these excess sugars and broken down proteins that caramelize are packed with flavor.
You can utilize these little flavor bombs by deglazing your skillet with a liquid or high liquid ingredient to incorporate them into your eventual sauce.
With this dish we’re first going to be deglazing the pan with the mushrooms and then your butter and garlic. Once you saute the mushrooms and they’ve picked up some color from the fond, set them aside with the chicken.
Add in the oil/butter and your garlic, cook these down for about a minute or until the edges of the garlic start to brown; LIGHTLY. Don’t let your garlic burn, burnt garlic makes any dish taste horrendous. You’ll know the garlic is ready when the air is filled with its lovely aroma.
We’re going to be making a roux with the liquids so add your flour into the liquidy garlic concoction in the pan and stir vigorously to break down any large clumps.
Once the flour, oil, and garlic have combined into a golden brown roux, add the rest of your liquids to the pan with about ¼ of a cup of parmesan cheese to aid in thickening the sauce. Lower your heat to low and cook for a couple of minutes.
Add your dry ingredients in the form of the salt, pepper and some garlic powder to really enforce that garlic taste. You can taste and season the sauce here to your liking. Add the spinach on top of the sauce and allow it to wilt before mixing to incorporate it.
Reintroduce your chicken breasts and mushrooms to the pan and cook for a further 2 minutes to heat through and incorporate the sauce into the chicken.
This is a fairly simple dish and really shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes total to prep and cook.
We recommend using a stainless steel or non stick pan for this recipe as a cast iron one can easily overcook the chicken making it dry and leathery. Always heat your pan before adding in the oil as this works best for making a stainless steel pan non-stick.
Creamy Spinach and Mushroom Chicken
- 2 Tbsp Olive oil (divided)
- 4 Tbsp Butter (divided)
- 4 Chicken breasts halved crosswise
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 10 oz Cremini mushrooms (1 package) sliced
- Creamy Parmesan Sauce
- 4 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 Tbsp Wheat flour
- 1 cup Chicken broth
- 1 cup Heavy cream
- 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp Black pepper
- 1 Cup Spinach
- Halve your chicken breasts laterally and season them with salt and pepper liberally, set aside and place your stainless steel skillet onto a medium-high heat.
- Add 1 tablespoon of butter and olive oil to the hot pan and allow them to melt/come up to heat.
- Once heated through and the oils are shimmering and moving around the skillet freely, add your chicken breasts and allow them to sit.
- Cook your chicken breasts for 4 minutes on each side undisturbed or until a golden brown crust has formed on each side. Remove browned chicken breasts from the heat and set aside.
- Add the mushrooms to the hot pan with another tablespoon of oil and butter and use any juices secreted from them to partially deglaze the skillet.
- Saute for up to 5 minutes or until the mushrooms have a light brown color to them. Remove from the heat and set aside with the chicken breasts.
- Moving onto the sauce, add your remaining butter to the skillet alongside your garlic. Lightly cook your garlic making sure not to burn it.
- Once the garlic has picked up a little bit of color and is fragrant add your flour to the skillet and stir vigorously to make a roux. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the skillet to properly deglaze now.
- Once the roux is a lovely golden brown, slowly stream in your chicken broth and heavy cream.
- Bring to a simmer and add the parmesan cheese to thicken the sauce.
- Season the sauce with salt, pepper and garlic powder to your liking and then add the spinach to the top of the sauce and allow it to wilt.
- Add the mushrooms and chicken to the sauce and allow them to heat through and incorporate for a further 2-3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and serve immediately with whichever carbohydrates you want.