There are not many instances that I can recall when I was dining at a restaurant with nachos on their appetizer menu and I ordered a different appetizer instead. I do know with utmost certainty that when these rare occasions do arise, spinach and artichoke dip was quite possibly what won that round. The glorious spin-dip that has become a house favorite at many establishments is what inspired this recipe I am going to be showing you here. Basically I decided that chicken would be really good smothered in a spinach artichoke sauce. Turns out, I was right. This spinach artichoke chicken recipe is absolutely going to become a house favorite at your humble abode as well.
This recipe is the total package. It is a reasonable balance between healthy and not. It really is not that hard to execute. The cooked chicken is tender and juicy. The sauce has just enough spice. And your friends and family will not believe that you made it all from scratch. Even though, secretly, you will have done it with ease. But I am not here to judge. So feel free to tell them a stretched version of the truth and let yourself look like the rock star chef this recipe is sure to make you resemble!
This one will not make your house smell awesome while it is slow cooking. Slow cooked spinach is not, nor will it ever be, a candle fragrance for a reason.
Do not let the smell of the slow cooking spinach deter you from this recipe though! Crack a window or light a candle (I’m a big fan of hazelnut) because I assure you, your final product does not taste the way that it smells. Plus, slow cooker users are typically not home while their meal is percolating anyway, right? So the horrible smell shouldn’t matter. And my dogs think everything smells good so they were unphased 😉
Creamy, cheesy, deliciousness.
I originally added about half the amount of Parmesan and cream cheese as I ended up using for the recipe when it was all said and done. I am a strong advocate of tasting your food as you go, as explained here. So there I was, adding the cheeses. Tasting, Adding a bit more cream cheese. Taste. Add some parm. Taste. And just a titch more. Taste.
You get the picture. There is some serious cheese happening in this sauce. But it makes for such a robust, savory flavor!
Not just for the chicken.
This recipe makes a bit more than what you will use just for the chicken. I recommend buying some crostinis or French bread to have on hand to dip into the leftover sauce. Something this tasty does not deserve to just get thrown away. Get creative with the leftovers!
What did I do with my leftovers? We used some tortilla chips for dipping. And then I baked some potatoes the next night and poured the spinach artichoke sauce on them instead of using the usual baked potato toppings. If you are a potato lover like I am (I am guilty of living in Idaho), then this is definitely something worth trying out with your leftovers too!
Add some pizzazz.
As if the spinach artichoke sauce isn’t enough to satisfy, I am encouraging you to add just a little extra umph when you plate this one up to serve. I’m a big fan of a little bit of heat in my meals so of course I am adding some spice on top of mine. I added some crushed red pepper for heat this time because it goes so well with the savory flavor you get from Parmesan (hence why you always get crushed red pepper and Parmesan when you order pizza.)
I’m not done yet. Artichokes and sun dried tomatoes go hand in hand. Therefore, I am going to chop up a few of them and sprinkle them on top of my plated chicken. Such a small addition is going to give us, not only flavor, but also texture and color. A little bit of presentation can go a very long way if you are trying to impress someone. Just saying 😉
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Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 6 hours
Makes about 5 servings with chicken, plus extra sauce for snacking later
Ingredients to slow cook:
1.5 lb frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts
7 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 cup water
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp seasoning salt
2 tsp ground pepper
Ingredients to add after it’s done slow cooking:
5 tbsp cream cheese, softened
7 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp grated pamesan
1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Optional for plating:
Sun dried tomatoes, chopped
Crushed red pepper
To slow cook:
1) Spray the pot.
2) Place frozen chicken in crockpot.
3) Add water, seasonings, garlic, and onion to crockpot.
4) Add spinach to crockpot.
5) Cook on low for 6 hours.
When it’s done slow cooking:
6) Remove chicken breasts from crockpot, leaving the spinach sauce.
7) Add artichokes, cream cheese, shredded Parmesan, and grated Parmesan to crockpot.
8) Stir until the cheeses have melted and mixed thoroughly with the sauce. The sauce will become creamier as the cream cheese and Parmesan melt and blend together.
9) Place one of your chicken breasts on a plate and spoon some creamy spinach artichoke sauce over the chicken.
10) Add a pinch of crushed red pepper on top for an added flavor element.
11) Sprinkled the chopped sun dried tomatoes across the chicken.
12) Finish your plating with a little bit of shredded Parmesan to make your meal a little prettier (and cheesier).
I know the recipe seems long. But once you get going, it is all rather quick and easy to accomplish. That’s why this spinach artichoke chicken recipe is so wonderful! It is one that really makes it seem like you know what your are doing in the kitchen (even if you have never drained and chopped a can of artichoke hearts before in your life.)
I think the flavor is totally worth the house smelling like boiled spinach for a few hours;)
What would you do with your leftover sauce?! Tell us your ideas below!
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