The Family Home Blog

Back to School Weeknight Dinner

Sep 12, 2016
Alison Lewis

Hard to believe, but school has already started here in the south. Our lives are in full swing now with back-to-school preparations, work, after-school activities and homework. During this busy time, this easy weeknight dinner recipe — pasta with chicken and spinach — is my go-to staple. From start to finish, it only takes 30 minutes to make. My trick is to purchase a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and chop up the meat, or I like to use leftover grilled chicken. If we grill out over the weekend, I always make a point to throw some extra chicken on the grill to use later in the week in recipes like this. Feel free to use any of your favorite vegetables in this recipe. My kids love spinach and mushrooms, and I love that this recipe incorporates protein, vegetables and carbohydrates in a one-dish meal. Serve with a salad, and dinner is ready to go!

To prepare this dish ahead of time, combine the pasta with the sauce mixture in an 11” x 7” inch baking dish and refrigerate. The next day, just sprinkle with shredded cheese and bake in the oven. Store leftovers in a Ziploc® Brand Container for up to five days.

penne pasta and chicken

Pasta with Chicken and Spinach

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 (12 oz.) package whole wheat penne pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (8 oz.) package sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 (5 oz.) package baby spinach
  • 1 (24 oz.) jar marinara sauce
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) package diced tomatoes with basil and oregano
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • Freshly chopped basil and oregano (optional)


Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta, and set aside.

Heat oil over medium heat in a large, nonstick skillet and cook onion and garlic until onion is tender. Add mushrooms and spinach; cook 5 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Add marinara sauce and tomatoes, and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low. Add chicken and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

If serving immediately, stir in the pasta and top with fresh herbs and cheese, if desired. Serve immediately

If preparing ahead of time, combine the cooked pasta and sauce mixture in an 11” x 7” inch baking dish and refrigerate. Before serving, sprinkle with cheese and bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes.

Store in Ziploc® Brand Container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

What’s your favorite easy weeknight dish?

Photo courtesy of Alison Lewis.

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