Somebody Stop Me! (Low carb spinach and artichoke chicken casserole)

I needed to stop myself.

I allowed myself off the normal healthy eating train I normally ride sometime around Thanksgiving. Mostly because I wanted to allow myself to enjoy the full experience of the French Laundry (boo) but also because, hello, it is the holidays.  Well that allowed me to gain 7 pounds.  Isn't being a woman over 30 awesome?  I need the pounds to go stat.  I need to replace jeans because they were stolen not because I need to size up!

I was looking for little to no carb recipes that could use up some stuff I had at my house. Enter Budget Bytes.  I have always looked to Budget Bytes for recipes.  And we shop at the same grocery stores apparently (Rouses #29 and the Whole Foods on Broad, I need to meet this lady, we probably live in the same neighborhood!) I saw her recipe for chicken with artichokes and tomatoes on Instagram and I had to make it, but with a few changes.  I decided to make it a one pot wonder without need for a side and added spinach, which I had on hand for my smoothies keeping with the theme of things around the house.  I also had to add onions and garlic since I love them.  And I always use boneless thighs instead of breasts.  

The changes made it delicious, but I am sure it was just fine the original way too.  I let my coworkers try this leftover and they were hooked.  It was way better hot and fresh out of the oven.  A lovely flavor combination, filling with nary a purposeful carb and just damned delicious.  You should for sure make this.  And if you are not a fan of garlic, leave it completely out, it is prevalent. I love garlic so I did not mind. Full recipe to follow the montage. 

Yay new camera!  Look at that melty goodness!

Such a pretty dish!  And so yummy.

The simple fresh cast.  I needed it!

Prepping some of the additions I made.  Delicious additions, thank you!

I love it when a plastic bag gets to do double duty.  

My additions!  A salad side without dirtying extra dishes!

Layer spinach mixture then artichokes.

Add the pounded chicken and some garlic.  Or not if you are not a fan like me.

I really liked the coverage of the sliced mozzarella but by all means use shredded to make it easier!

And after some time in the oven, now isn't that just gorgeous!?

I added some green onions for color.

I just wanted to tell you how saucy it gets.  Sauce is good, add it to your plate, you did not mess up!

And plate.  I may have had seconds!

Spinach and Artichoke Chicken bake (Adapted from Budget Bytes)

2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp salt
Freshly cracked pepper
½ Tbsp lemon juice
3 cups fresh baby spinach
1/2 onion sliced into half moons
3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 lb. total)
Pinch of salt and pepper
14oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts
1 cup shredded mozzarella
one large tomato, sliced
one green onion, sliced for garnish

Drain the artichokes, but over a bowl to keep the juice you need it!*  Place the chicken on a cutting board and cover them with a sheet of plastic wrap. Use a mallet or rolling pin to carefully pound the chicken  to an even thickness and then season each side with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Place in a plastic bag and pour the liquid from the artichoke hearts over the chicken and set aside to marinate while you prep the rest of the ingredients.  Preheat the oven to 400ºF.  In a medium bowl, combine the spinach with the olive oil, lemon juice, onions, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper. Stir well, then set aside.  Roughly chop the artichoke hearts into smaller, bite-sized pieces. Place the spinach mixture in the bottom of a casserole dish.  Cover that with the artichoke pieces and then lay the chicken pieces over top. Sprinkle the garlic over the chicken and top with mozzarella cheese.  Place tomato slices on top evenly and bake, uncovered, in the fully preheated oven for 20 minutes. Switch oven's setting from bake to broil and broil the dish (on the middle rack) for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and browned. Serve immediately.

Happy Cooking!


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