With the more rhythmic and scheduled fall season taking hold, Nate and I are starting to be more mindful about having meal time together with the kids. It's bittersweet to bid goodbye to summer. I love slushies in the sand and floating in a shimmery pool, but there's something so comforting about the deep wood of our oversized dinner table, the smell of rich seasonings in a pan and the feeling of a sweater on my shoulders as I cuddle up by the fireplace. It feels familiar. It feels like family.
My husband recently asked what my favorite comfort food was, and this is exactly the image that came to mind. My favorite people surrounded by a simple but wholesome and hearty meal. Something quick and easy for weeknights, but timeless and classic. Something like what our parents and grandparents made, with one caveat: life has gotten busier as the years have gone by, so I find a couple shortcuts. I have groceries delivered and cut back on the number of pots and pans needed for a given recipe. I keep the spirit alive while keeping the work minimal. That's the new idea of comfort food, to me, and that's how our spinach bacon chicken came to be. Years of tweaking and evolution eventually merged the much-loved creamed spinach-and-chicken meal into a single dish and added some bacon flair. Voila! A new family favorite is born.
- 6 chicken breasts
- 6 slices uncooked bacon
- 8 cloves garlic, diced
- 2 bunches spinach, washed and lightly chopped
- 1/2 cup cream cheese
- 3 Tbsp jarred diced pimientos
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Press garlic into chicken and wrap each breast with a piece of bacon.
- Cook chicken in a heavy-bottomed, oven safe pan over medium heat 3 minutes per side.
- Remove chicken temporarily and place spinach in the pan with the bacon grease. Cut cream cheese into pieces on top of spinach and stir over medium heat until blended and spinach begins to wilt, about 2 minutes.
- Place chicken on top of spinach-cream cheese mixture, top with pimientos and cook in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper, garnish with any remaining fresh spinach leaves and serve hot.
For us, feel-good meals are more than just hearty. They feature local, fresh and premium quality ingredients. When I was a kid, my mom would buy almost all of her groceries from the farmer next door. We don't have a farmer next door, but I do my best to raise my own food and supplement with the healthiest options I can find at the big stores down the hill.
Then I take some of her favorite tips – like using cream cheese for everything – and make them my own, too! Melting the cream cheese directly into the pan with the spinach saves a step. No need to mix together beforehand and dirty another bowl.
Add some pimientos for color and depth, and we're ready to eat!
Nate's schedule doesn't always allow for family dinners together, but lately the stars have collided and we've magically found ourselves gathering at this space in the late afternoon every single day.
Since I'm running from school pick-up to activities to mealtime, it means a lot to me that I can figure out how to get a wholesome meal on the table in 20 minutes flat.
I can't say we've perfected the family dinner just yet, as the kids play musical chairs and everyone prefers to eat off of dad's plate, but its our own style and it feels good.
Tastes good, too.
The feel-good meals of today feature local, fresh and premium quality ingredients for a meal that leaves everyone feeling truly satisfied.
Have you ever updated an old family fave like spinach bacon chicken?