I admit, I’m kind of obsessed with those viral recipe videos that you see everywhere on Facebook. I don’t know what it is about watching an entire meal being made in 30 seconds that is so enticing, but they trap me every time. Every time I scroll my newsfeed and one of those little videos starts to auto-play, it has my full attention. Even the stuff I wouldn’t ever eat or make just because it’s not my kind of food, I still watch them. I think I have every one of those kinds of pages liked on Facebook (like Tasty and Tastemade and Cooking Panda and all the rest) and even the media giants like Food Network and Better Homes and Gardens have even started doing them, so of course I watch those too.
And I am not the only one in my house obsessed with them. Devon’s also entranced by them. We have both saved so many of these links and actually made quite a few things as a result of these. One or two things were a little questionable, but for the most part, it’s all as delicious as it looks. Devon, most notably, made this Birthday Cake Cheesecake several times now and it’s so good. He’s also done this One Pot Chicken Fajita Pasta a couple times and we actually did it once with sausage instead of chicken which was also pretty damn delicious.
Out of the long list of things I still have saved and want to try, I’ve done this Italian Mac and Cheese which is also delicious (but you really have to be a mac and cheese fan to appreciate it) and this Pull Apart Pizza Bread was just so much fun.
One thing that has become a staple in our house since these little videos started is this Creamy Chicken and Bacon Pasta from Tip Hero. I’ve made it a bunch of times because it’s really easy and really good.
Me being me, I’ve tweaked it….just a little, though, not too much just because it’s really good without a lot of tweaking but I like a little something extra. You also really want to be careful with this because you can oversalt it REALLY easily. There is bacon and parmesan cheese already going in it, so salt gently throughout the cooking process.
We have made this before, again, with sausage (we just love sausage) and it was also really good and we’ve also “accidentally” left the spinach out and it was still also just as good. So, it’s really easy to play with and customize to your own tastes. Plus, this gets Devon to eat spinach without giving me side-eye, which makes me happy and in probably about the time it takes you to make the pasta noodles, dinner is done, so it’s a total win.
Most notably I didn’t use smoked paprika like the original recipe called for. With the bacon, I think it was smoky enough without it and the red pepper definitely added enough spice. I also used Beefsteak tomatoes for the sauce. They’re just juicier and create a better sauce, I think than the smaller “regular” tomatoes.
And look at the sauce it creates:
That has no additional liquid added into it; that’s all tomatoes with the spinach and garlic cooking in it.
Then I added the cream to it:
I let it boil on high for a good five minutes after I put the cream in to help thicken it. I also added the chicken and bacon back now (whereas the original recipe has you add it with the pasta) because I wanted to make sure all the flavor was infused into the meat and to make sure the chicken was cooked all the way through. I also think doing it this way made the chicken juicier since boneless skinless chicken breast can be a bit dry sometimes. About two minutes before I tossed the sauce with the pasta, I added about 2 cups of parmesan cheese to thicken it and add a nice cheesy quality to the sauce. And make sure you mix the cheese in well or it can get gloopy on the bottom.
That just looks so inviting to me.
And add a little sprinkle of grated parm over the top and you have dinner!
Creamy Chicken and Bacon Pasta
- 4-5 slices of bacon (whatever you like), chopped in small pieces
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
- 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or a little heavier)
- 6 oz baby spinach
- 5 beefsteak tomatoes, chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups shredded parm
- 12oz penne, cooked 1-2 minutes less than package directions, drained.
- In a large skillet or dutch oven (I prefered my dutch oven) cook bacon until nice and crispy. Remove from pan and drain on a paper towel.
- Add chicken to the same pan (you can remove some of the bacon grease if there is a lot) until brown on all sides and cooked through. Season the chicken with the italian seasonings, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Allow chicken to cook until no longer pink then set aside with the bacon.
- Over medium heat, add tomatoes, with their juices to the pan. Allow then to cook down for about 2 minutes. Add spinach and allow it all to wilt and meld together for about 5 minutes. Then add garlic and cook for about another minute or until the garlic is super fragrant.
- Add heavy cream and turn heat up to medium high/high and allow sauce to come to a boil. Add bacon and chicken back into the sauce and allow everything to simmer together for about 10 minutes.
- Add shredded parmesan cheese to the sauce. Stir thoroughly to thicken and to make sure the cheese is fully melted and incorporated into the sauce.
- Add pasta to the sauce and cook for 2 more minutes to allow the pasta to finish cooking in the sauce and absorb all the flavors. Sprinkle with grated parmesan and serve.
Original recipe credit: Tip Hero