6 bacon strips
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound boneless and skinless chicken (thick in size, such as chicken breasts)
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon butter
3 garlic cloves (minced)
4 small tomatoes (diced)
2 cups spinach
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (more, if desired)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1.5 cup heavy cream
1 cup Parmesan cheese shredded (more for garnish)
10 oz. penne pasta
2 tablespoons parsley (chopped)
BACON: Add bacon strips to the skillet and cook until crispy. Transfer cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined platter that will absorb extra grease. Chop into 1-inch pieces.
CHICKEN: Paper towel dry the chicken and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Then set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large deep skillet. Add chicken breasts and cook on each side on medium-high heat for about 4 minutes per side (for a total of 8 minutes) until nicely browned. If chicken is still pink in the center, reduce heat to medium and cook covered for several minutes until no longer pink in the center. Remove chicken from pan and slice it.
Add butter to the hot pan and once it melts, add chopped garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes on medium-high until tomatoes release their juices. Add fresh spinach and cook until it wilts. Reduce the heat and season with paprika, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes, and salt. Mix.
Next, add heavy cream and slowly add Parmesan cheese – until the cheese melts and makes the sauce creamy.
PASTA: In the meantime bring a large pot of water to boil, add pasta and cook it according to instructions. Drain the pasta, but do not rinse.
Add sliced chicken, bacon, and pasta. Next, add chopped parsley. Stir until fully coated in sauce. Season with more salt if necessary.
TO SERVE: Serve with additional shredded Parmesan and red pepper flakes, if desired.