Mom’s Baked Chicken & Spinach Pasta

Mom's Baked Chicken & Spinach Pasta

For the past couple of months, Tom and I have been training for the A1A (Beach-front avenue!) Half Marathon and Sunday was the Big Day. For me, training was both exhilarating – you feel so accomplished when you’ve run a 10K before breakfast – and painful – patellar tendinitis isn’t particularly fun. Training made me hungry, made me hobble around like an old lady, made me stop drinking beer and wine on Saturday nights (the worst part by far) and made me actually stop wearing heels.

On the Big Day, we woke up at 3:30AM and had some homemade power bars and bananas and were on our way. The weather was great – 60 degrees – and we started our run heading east toward the most beautiful sunrise over the ocean. I didn’t have my best run, but Tom ran with me (almost) the whole way and my official time was 2:05:15. We crossed the finish line with our families cheering us on and then celebrated with a nice, big breakfast of French Toast, Eggs, Bacon and Bloody Marys. All in all, a wonderful, completely exhausting day.

Mom's Baked Chicken & Spinach Pasta

So, what does all that have to do with Baked Chicken & Spinach Pasta? Well, it was all part of our pre-race meal. This dish is one of those things my mom made all the time when I was growing up and my brother and I loved like crazy. It’s a super simple recipe: sauteed chicken with lots of garlic, olive oil, spinach and white wine all tossed with pasta, covered with cheese and baked. Delicious. So, I made a batch and my mother-in-law made Tom’s favorite spaghetti and meat sauce and we all carbo-loaded on Saturday night before the Big Day. Perfect pre-marathon food, but good pretty much all the time.

And now, I’ll happily return to beer and wine on Saturday nights, heels at work and a lot less pasta recipes on the site.

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46 Comments

  1. Congratulations on your run! My son is a marathon runner so I can appreciate your carbo load up the night before, and your family cheering you on! Quite an accomplishment!! Congrats.

  2. Congrats on your race!!!!

    And this dish looks delish!!!

  3. Congrats on your marathon! The dish looks great – simple and satisfying.

  4. Ah, you say you’ll give up those things…until you get that urge to run another half–or maybe a full!! :)
    This really does look perfect for carb loading (or just for dinner tonight)! I’ll have to save it and try it before my next race.

  5. LOVE it! I am also training for a 1/2 marathon so I will definitely be utilizing this recipe before the big as well as during training!

  6. Thanks everyone!

    Sarah – I know. We’re already talking about doing the half at the Miami ING next year. I don’t think my knee will ever be able to handle a full though :) Next up, a series of 3 sprint triathlons this summer!

    morgan – Awesome! When’s your race?

  7. With all those ingredients it has to be good! Unfortunately I’m not a runner but I will definitely be making this anyways!

  8. yay for your half!! This looks really tastey….I’m a runner as well and always looking for new pasta dishes. And I cannot WAIT to try out your homemade powerbars! happy to have found your blog!

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  10. Congrats on your run! Just stumbled on your blog and love it! Although, I have no idea how you ate that much after! After my half marathon I couldn’t even think about eating!

  11. This looks amazing! I love the baked and bubbly cheese on top-my mouth is watering just thinking about this dish so it looks like I will be making these for dinner one night this week :)

  12. That sounds delicious…I love your gratin dish…I have it in flame.

  13. Funny, I’ve been to your website before, but was just browsing TasteSpotting in search of a recipe to make for my boyfriend, who is running the LA Marathon next weekend. And lo and behold, I find this perfect recipe. I will be trying this out pre-race, thank you for your always wonderful recipes and beautiful photos!

  14. Made this the other night for my bf and I….we are are coming up on our first 1/2 marathon next Sunday! We downed this fantastic recipe. I added some chopped up sun-dried tomatoes for an extra flavor kick….or perhaps i prefer sun-dried tomatoes with EVERYTHING.

    Also did your candy-cane cookies over Christmas…what a hit, brought back alot of memories for the older folks in the room.

  15. Congratulations! What a fantastic accomplishment!!!

  16. Congrats on your run, and thanks for this recipe! I’m training for the Boston Marathon, and I fueled up for my 20-miler tomorrow morning on this pasta. Delicious! I’m looking forward to leftovers for the rest of the week!

  17. Hi Danielle and Kevin, Enjoyed your visit yesterday. We really are not interested in your product. I still didn’t get hold of Paul, but will. Ronnie drank the remainder of my open can last night and this morning his sugar was way out of line. I kind of new that would happen. He also told me his doctor told him to not drink energy drinks!!Ya think he would have asked me first what was in the can?? Men! Anyway, was so nice to talk with both of you. Thanks again, Aunt Sharon

  18. It truly is awesome to discover innovative inspiration for tasty recipes along with straightforward approaches to fix them. My husband and I cooked this dish for our supper at the weekend. Everybody enjoyed it, most definitely I’ll be preparing it regularly now.

  19. This looks amazing. Bookmarked and will definitely be trying it out for the family. Such picky eaters but this will go down nicely. I think! Wish me luck. Thanks. :)

  20. Hi, I just found your site and I love it!

    This is funny because I also ran my first half marathon this past spring and went through the exact same thing. Kudos to you!

    Will be trying the recipe along with the other wonderful ones found here… thank you!

  21. Bland. Casseroles generally have a liquid component. Not this one. Dry, plain, don’t bother.

  22. i completely disagree, joe. this was delicious. ive made it a couple times now and loved it. thinking about attempting some kind of marinara spin off…

  23. I’ve no time for those who eat like pigs after which look for magic pills, diets and programs. If you eat too much, you will be fat no mater what. And i am not particularly slim but I actually do run and feel healthy, without feeling hungry at all times. Get a grip folks!

  24. My husband and I LOVED this. Thank you so much for sharing! (totally disagree with Joe’s bland comment, also)

  25. Printed it out and am making it tonight, thanks!

  26. This sounds phenomenal. I’m trying to find delicious meals to cook next year when I move into a house with my roommates for school and this sounds like a perfect recipe. Congrats on the race!

  27. Next time I think I’ll add a light sauce. It was good, but just a little bit bland for my tastes. Thanks for the recipe!

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  31. Just put my plate in the sink after making and eating this casserole. It was really fun and easy to make but its missing something. We just added salt but next time we will test out some different spices and i personally love spinach so will add more of that too. Thanks! GREAT recipe

  32. Hi – your recipe was a super success! I had to make dinner for 12 Bunkettes and everyone went back for seconds and thirds! Even my picky son and husband snuck several helpings! I doubled all the ingredients but not the garlic — it was wonderful — THANK YOU!!!!

  33. Hi! I made this for my family tonight and it was a huge success! I cut the recipe in half and still have plenty for leftovers. Thanks for sharing, this will be going in my dinner favorites!

  34. Hi! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone 4! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the superb work!

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  36. This was nasty. Very dry and a waste of ingredients.

  37. Pretty good with homemade alfredo mixed into the pasta shells prior to baking.

  38. Simple and delicious recipes

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  42. Three of us here. All saying dry and tasteless. Will have to come up with a sauce to save this dish. Otherwise, a waste of time and money.

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