Bacon, Chicken, and Spinach Recipe in a Creamy Tomato Sauce
A few weeks ago, I shared a recipe for my Creamy Italian Sausage and Tomato Sauce with Penne Pasta or Zoodles, and while the dish turned out fantastic, it was actually not meant to be made with sausage.
If you don’t know the story, my husband had attempted to share a dish he saw during his travels and mistakenly thought there was sausage in the dish. He later corrected himself, but I had already purchased the items and well, we just went with what we had. As I mentioned, it turned out great and I’ve made it again since then, but I also wanted to try it with the chicken and bacon that my husband was certain was in the dish he once saw. I blame his uncertainty to jet lag… 😉
The next time I went grocery shopping, I found the ingredients, but I forgot the penne pasta…of course. So, this dish was made with spaghetti instead. One day, I’ll finally have all the right ingredients to make the initial dish that led to TWO different recipes…one day!,
Anyway, I used the same homemade tomato sauce recipe from this dish’s “sister” recipe, but keep in mind, you don’t always have to make a homemade sauce. Grab a tomato basil sauce from the grocery store and you just saved yourself time. You’re welcome!
- 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
- 1 Small Onion, Chopped
- 2 Cloves of Garlic, Whole
- A Handful of Basil, Rinsed and Dried
- 1 Can Whole Peeled Tomatoes PLUS 1/2 Cup of the Tomato Juice – Reserve Remainder
- 1 Tsp Salt PLUS More to Season Chicken
- 1/8 Tsp Ground Pepper PLUS More to Season Chicken
- 1 Packet Stevia or 1 Tsp Sugar
- Pinch of Crushed Red Pepper
- 1 lb Chicken Tenderloins
- 4-5 Pieces of Bacon, Roughly Chopped
- 8 Oz Heavy Cream
- Spinach Leaves
- Spaghetti Pasta
- Grated or Shredded Parmesan – Optional
- Crushed Red Pepper – Optional
- If you don’t own an immersion blender, you can use a food processor or other type of blender. Be sure there is an opening for the steam to escape or just don’t seal the lid. Otherwise, it could be a disaster – believe, me, I’ve only made the mistake once (ok, maybe three times).
- Add the reserved tomato juice if the sauce becomes too thick while simmering.
- Throw in a handful of kosher salt to the water before you boil it, to add flavor to the pasta.
- I recommend saving some pasta water because you can always add it if you want a thinner sauce after the spinach is added. The starch liquid will help keep it from becoming ‘watery.’
Tomato Basil Sauce
- Add the oil to a medium-size pot; heat at medium. Add chopped onion and saute until they become slightly transparent, then add the whole cloves of garlic. Saute for another few minutes.
- Add the basil. Once it’s wilted, begin adding the tomatoes (I use a slotted spoon) and tomato juice, leaving the remaining liquid in the can.
- Add the four seasonings and bring the heat down to low as you mix everything together.
- Using an immersion blender, remove the pot from the heat, and pulse the blender until you get the desired consistency. Keep the blender handy because you may want to blend it again later.
- Simmer uncovered. I like to cover the pan with a splatter screen to avoid those occasional explosions of sauce.
Once your sauce is made or if you use one that is pre-made…
- Heat an oven to 375° and place your chicken tenderloins on a baking pan. Season with salt and pepper.
- While the oven is preheating, place a pan on medium heat and add the bacon, frying until it’s brown and crisp. You can remove from the pan and get rid of any excess grease.
- Bake the chicken tenderloins for 25-30 minutes making sure your meat thermometer reads 165°.
- While the chicken is baking, boil the pasta, following the instructions on the bag or box.
- Place the bacon back in the pan and add your homemade or pre-made tomato sauce to it.
- Slowly stir in the cream, adding more if desired. Just remember you want to avoid diluting the flavors with too much liquid. I think it is a perfect amount when it’s a creamy orange. Simmer until the chicken and pasta are done.
- Fold in the spinach and then add in the cooked and drained pasta so all the ingredients are in one pan.
- Top with sliced chicken, parmesan cheese. and crushed red pepper before serving.