Cooking 101 with Selema: Creamy Chicken Bacon Pasta

Okay, so this one is kinda hard. If you can get two people to help you, do that. Plus, it makes a lot of food so… 

Things you need: and I am actually kind of including measurements here 

  • Bacon: a few strips, approximately five , but add more or less if you want 
  • Chicken: a pack about a pound, whatever you want. 
  • Penne pasta – or anything not noodle-y: half a box or so maybe a bit more. Boxes come in 16oz  
  • Baby spinach: 3-5 ounces. I promise it isn’t as much as it looks 
  • Cherry tomatoes: buy a pack and do as many as you feel like
  • Heavy cream: the real recipe says 1 and a half cups, but I buy the smallest carton and use maybe half of it. 
  • Mozzarella and parmesan cheese: There is not a such a thing as too much cheese, but there is almost too much cheese. Add with caution.  
  • Minced garlic 
  • Seasonings, whatever you like. 

Of course, you can add and subtract things as well, I changed it from the original recipe a bit too. I will put the og recipe at the bottom if you want to look at it. 

I am going to try to write this in the most efficient way I can for oneperson cooking, but it gets to be a lot all at once for a bit. If you have helpers I will tell you what they should do when too.  

Get cozy, turn on some good music, go to the bathroom, whatever. You are going to be here for a while. 

After you’ve washed your hands! You need to rinse the tomatoes and spinach. If you have a helper make them rip or chop up the spinach and cut the tomatoes in half and put them in like a big bowl. I promise the spinach isn’t as much as it looks. Your first helper will probably be doing that the whole time. While they do that put the pasta water on to start boiling and start cutting the chicken, bite size or squares like I’ve been doing. 

If no helper, get the spinach and tomatoes done first, but it takes a while, move it to the side. Once that is done put the water to boil and start cutting the chicken. 

When the water boils put the pasta in. 

Once you have all the chicken chopped up nice you put that to the side as well. Get the bacon ready to be made. 

For the bacon, you get your pan, you put it on the stove and turn it on to medium-high heat. Wait for the pan to warm up a bit then put bacon in—you can cut it in half to make it a little easier. You don’t want the strips to overlap in the pan. Wait for the bacon to get darker/cook, then flip with tongs or a spatula if you must. If the bacon starts sticking to the bottom of the pan you should lower the heat and maybe move it around a little, this should only be a problem for the first round or two. Kinda crispy because you are going to cut it up. Then repeat until you are done. Oh, and watch for the grease splatters. 

Once the bacon is made you can drain some of the grease but you will use it to cook your chicken (if you don’t want to use bacon you can still make this) How much do you want it to taste like bacon? Put the chicken in the pan and season/cook it normally 

(If you need instructions find them in here, second and third paragraph after the picture). You shouldn’t need to cover it because the pan isn’t dry.  

Helper number two! You thought I forgot about you, but I didn’t. So ha! Once the bacon has cooled enough your job will be to chop or tear it into little pieces. Think bacon bits. You don’t have a ton of time. If you don’t have a helper try to do this while you cook the chicken, and then take the chicken off the heat when it is done if you aren’t done with the bacon yet. 

Oh, you should probably check the pasta, oops. But I doubt it is done yet. I swear penne takes forever. What does the box say? 

Anyways, if you don’t have room in the pan and/or you feel like wasting another dish you can take the chicken out of the pan and put it somewhere else while you cook the spinach and tomatoes. Hopefully Helper is done by now. Lower the heat, like medium for chicken, low-ish for this. 

I just leave the chicken in and just add more as the spinach just like disappears. Feels free to chop up more and put it in now that you realize it isn’t that much. I throw some minced garlic in here about now. Just buy the jar and refrigerate it (picture below). Add the bacon Helper 2 I told you that you didn’t have a lot of time.  

If the spinach and tomatoes seems pretty well cooked you can add the cream. Okay, like honestly, just use your best judgement. You can always add more, but you can’t subtract. Put the stove to actually-low heat. Oh, and your pasta should be done by now, I don’t know I’ve lost track of time, oops. Take one out and munch it (after a few seconds) that will tell you. 

Anyways mix together the cream and all the oil/grease in the pan. Drain the pasta if it is ready. You can have a helper do that if you want, but the sauce will be fine on its own of a few seconds. Put the drained pasta in the pot. Add the cheese to the sauce as you want. Remember you can’t have too much cheese, but you can definitely have almost too much cheese. 

Once the sauce is warm, bubbling, a decent thickness, and the cheese is melted you can decide if you want to cram the pasta in the pan as well, or try to put the sauce into the pot. Oh, and the chicken if you took it out do something with that. It is much easier to mix it up in the pot that the pan, but it is easier to dump the pasta than the sauce. I prefer the pot. 

Get all that mixed together nicely, pasta all coated in the sauce, cheese all stringy. I am making myself hungry. Grab a bowl and a drink and go eat it. I really hope you were able to make it well because it is so good. 

I recommend finding some friends to feed, or you are going to be eating it all week, it is also pretty filling so it doesn’t take a lot of it to feed you. If I remember correctly, last time I made this I had a bowl, my roommate had two, and then I ate it as leftovers for lunch two or three times and there were probably a couple servings left (that I forgot existed).   


Original Recipe: 


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