Pasta with Chicken and Vegis – Do You Think the Kids Would Eat It?

I have been on a slow journey towards eating more healthy and working out. One thing I have struggled with is how to introduce more vegetables into my lifestyle and hopefully my families as well. Well, I have a winning recipe that I developed over time that my kids love and it is filled with all kinds of vegetables. I call it Pasta with Chicken and Vegis.

Pasta with Chicken and Vegis

Shopping List

Here is my shopping list for my Pasta with Chicken and Vegis

  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • Vegetables (start with the ones you like or think you will like) I used the following:
    • 2 red onions
    • 2 green bell peppers
    • 2 red peppers (The yellow and orange peppers have too much skin that peels off when cooking)
    • 2 heads of broccoli
    • 1 bunch of asparagus (my kids like this one ok but they prefer I leave it out)
    • 2 zucchiniBegin Chopping
    • 2 squash
  • 16 oz. angel hair pasta (preferably whole wheat pasta)
  • Alfredo garlic sauce (prefer light and consider only using half of the container)
  • Pam olive oil spray (olive oil is also healthy so you could use some of both)
  • Tony Chacheres Creole spice (sprinkle on the chicken breasts)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

A Little Planning

The meal takes about 1 hour to prepare and cook. The most time-consuming process is chopping the vegetables. A food chopper would significantly reduce your prep time. Here are a few food choppers that can really help:

  • Cuisinart food chopper
  • Pampered Chef food chopper (we have this one and love it)
  • KitchenAid food chopper
  • Ninja Master chopper
  • And many others

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and make sure you have the few spices you will need. Next, let’s start putting it all together.

Meal Preparation

Once your oven is heated to 350 degrees, rinse the chicken breast and add the seasoning. I add these seasonings:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Tony Charchere’s Creole seasoning (I’m not sure when or where we heard about this but we almost always add it to the chicken we cook.

I quick note on the chicken. It is best to buy fresh chicken, like Smart Chicken or a similar healthier quality.

Chicken Breast

You will notice at your first glance which chicken breast are the better quality. The two on the left are fresh chicken that doesn’t shrink much during the cooking process and the two on the right, well, those are the frozen kind you find in a bag at any grocery store. I know we can’t always afford the healthier versions but this is one of the exceptions I personally make.
Cook the chicken at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. I flip my chicken over after 20 minutes.

You need to use the largest skillet you have as the vegetable will want to jump out while sauteing them. It’s probably because they know we don’t want to eat them.

Once you start the chicken cooking than it’s time to start chopping. I like to start with the red onions, green bell peppers, followed by the red pepper. None of these are spicy even though I often cry over my onions and yes, I am a sensitive guy.

Vegetables

Red Pepper

Spices
Now Make sure you add some salt and pepper to taste along with the Pam olive oil spray or one that you prefer. You will need to keep adding the spices as you cook as you will be adding additional ingredients.

Onions & Bell Peppers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, chop up your broccoli.

Broccoli

My advice is to chop off most of the stem and only keep the good stuff. We get too much of the stems when we buy bags of broccoli in the stores.

Next is the asparagus. This is a great vegetable but my kids have actually asked me to leave this out even though they still scarf the meal down with it in.

Asperagus

I would recommend you chop the vegetables into smaller pieces as this also keeps them from looking so obvious. This is just one of my little tricks to get focus off the vegetables and onto other things.Stove Top Setting

This is the time when I turn my burner onto medium/high which is 9 out of ten on my stove top. This works best for me.

 

 

Now it’s time to get your zucchini and squash into the skillet.

Zuchinni

You will see if you look closely that I cut the zucchini and squash in half and then in thirds long ways again to keep them bite sizes. You want to keep the vegetables from looking too large as this may turn off your kids.

In the Skillet
The chicken should be finished by now so pull it out of the oven, let it cool then cut them into bite size pieces.

Cooked Chicken
Let’s get the pasta boiling. Our family likes angel hair pasta the best and we have grown use to using whole wheat pasta. The store was out of the whole wheat pasta today so we went back to the enriched pasta for this meal. Many people put some salt in the boiling water but you may want to refrain from that as lower salt is better for your blood pressure.

Start the Pasta Boiling

Place the cooked pasta in a strainer and rinse it with cold water. I believe cooling the pasta with cold water stops the pasta from cooking longer as it sits.

Stained Pasta
Place the chicken into a large bowl or container and mix in the sauce you prefer. I recommend a light Alfredo garlic sauce and try only using half of the sauce. You will get the flavor and your arteries will thank you later.

Add Sauce to the Chicken
Next, add the pasta to the chicken and sauce.

Your vegetables should be cooked by now. Taste it for the consistency and spices you like. I personally like the vegetables cooked down a lot but make sure to stir occasionally and don’t cook them too hot.

Now you’re ready to add your pasta, chicken and sauce to the vegetables and mix thoroughly. Your dish should look similar to the picture below.

Finished Meal
Let’s wrap this up now as my back is aching a little, I’m hungry and tired of cooking.

I recommend placing the pasta into smaller containers. This will help with several things. It will help preserve the food and it may help you to reduce the risk of overeating. It’s also good for those who are counting calories if you want to know exactly how much you are consuming.

Servings

Serve and Enjoy

This is a dish that I “tweaked” over several years and was shocked and pleasantly surprised that it has become one of my kid’s favorite dishes.

I would love to hear your comments and changes you might recommend and any similar dishes that you love.

Please leave your comments below.

 

 

 

 

12 Comments on “Pasta with Chicken and Vegis – Do You Think the Kids Would Eat It?”

  1. Hi Rick, my mouth was watering while reading your article. It is great to see ideas that help please a child’s pallet. I clicked on the choppers you linked to, and as I don’t have one of the first 3 mentioned, and you use one, how easy is it to clean. I would not like to purchase a product only to find I cant get to the blades for cleaning. You just cant find out these things by looking at a photo. Dave

    1. Thanks for leaving a comment Dave. We have the Ninja and those blades are really easy to clean. We also own the Pampered Chef food chopper and those blades are a little more challenging to clean but still easy enough. The Pampered Chef shopper comes apart in four sections and then you can get to the blade. I’m not sure if you’re supposed to put it in the dish washer but we always do and it comes out perfectly clean and has never rusted. I hope that helps.

  2. Thanks Rick for sharing this recipe. I think my family will love it so am giving it a go. Really appreciate the step by step photos and was confused when you had said Pam oil as I thought you meant Palm oil but once I saw the Pam oil in the photo – it explained it all to me. Thanks!

    1. Pictures can really help clear things up. I started using olive oil a lot for cooking about two years ago and absolutely love the flavor plus it helps that it is good for you. I decided to give Pam a try using it’s olive oil spray recently and was surprised that the flavor was pretty close. I still like the liquid olive oil better but I think it helps to not over use it.

  3. Oh wow! This made my mouth water… No wonder your kids loved it, looks absolutely delicious! Liked the detailed pictures and step-by-step guide on how to make this, will 100% try this out next time!

  4. I’m one of those people who can’t cook without guidance from online sites and videos so your inputs are very helpful. I love eating veggies as well, but incorporating it into pasta is a whole new idea for me. I will surely try this and see how it works for me. I’m not sure whether my nephews and nieces would love this, but I’ll see, who knows they might just love this. Maybe, in general, depends whether kids were oriented to eat veggies at very young ages, which I will surely do once I get my own li’l bunnies.

    Your instructions are very detailed, I love it. Most of the time, my challenge in cooking is the chopping thing, I’m often not sure how the ingredients should be chopped. Great post. Looking forward for your other recipes. Keep it up!

    1. My kids were not big into vegetables at all growing up. I was trying this recipe for me since I am trying to become more healthy and reduce my risk of another stroke. My kids were trustworthy enough to try a bite when I told them it tasted great and that’s how it all started.

      One of the main reasons I chop my vegetables smaller when sauteing them is they cook through better than the larger chunks. Take a close look at the pictures to see the size I chopped mine into and then you just need to experiment. The food choppers can be really helpful but then sometimes I just use a knife as I did in the pictures.

  5. Most kids don’t like to eat veggies that’s why it’s important that parents get a little more creative in incorporating veggies with the foods that their kids love.

    Thanks for sharing your recipe for chicken pasta with veggies.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and checking it out Alice. We do have to get a little sneaky at times.

      It has been good that my kids have actually grown to trust me when I tell them something tastes good as I have been write so many times. It helps them trust me to take another bite of something new.

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