Foodie Tuesday Recipes: Bowtie Spinach Florentine & Homemade French Bread

Welcome back to Foodie Tuesday! I made an OH-MY-GOSH-THIS-IS-REALLY-GOOD pasta the other night, but didn't have my camera to take pictures! UGH! 
I thought I'd share the recipe with you anyway, along with a few other good recipes I made to go along with it. 

***Bear with the cell phone pics 🙂

Bowtie Spinach Florentine
(I originally found this recipe HERE, but made my own changes to it)

What you need:

  • 1lb pasta (I did Bowtie, but you could really use anything)
  • Olive Oil
  • Chicken, shimp, Italian sausage, or whatever other meat you would like
  • Garlic (3+ cloves – you want a lot!)
  • 1 pint Fat-Free Half & Half (the original recipe called for heavy cream but I used H&H to cut calories. It was just as good!)
  • One 26oz jar spaghetti sauce
  • Fresh spinach, washed and chopped finely (to taste)
  • Mozarella cheese (to taste)
  • Parmesan cheese (to taste)
  • Italian seasonings & spices (to taste) 

How you do it:

  • Cook your pasta in salted water until Al-Dente (still has a firm bite to it; not quite all the way done, about 8-10 min or so).
  • In a large sauce pan heat about 2T olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the meat of your choice and cook until meat is nearly done, then add garlic and cook until garlic is golden.
    • I used one large boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes. It was plenty of meat, actually, the dish is hearty and we ended up having chicken in nearly every bite! You could certainly add more, but one was perfect for us.
  • Add cream to sauce pan
    • (since I used half & half rather than heavy cream, I added a few teaspoons of corn starch to my cream to get it nice and thick. Simply an option.) 
  • Add spaghetti sauce to sauce pan
    • (I just used the jarred stuff)
  • Add chopped spinach
    • (Chop it finely, and don't be afraid to add a lot! It's super healthy, and it cooks down a lot and ends up looking like seasoning. Your family will never know!)
  • Add Italian Seasoning to taste
  • Cook on medium for 10-15 minutes or until sauce thickens.
  • Add chicken, add pasta, toss with desired amount of cheeses.
  • Serve with garlic bread and a great salad. Enjoy!!
    • Note: this makes a good amount. If you need to cut it in half, feel free. It's great as leftovers though, so I recommend making the whole batch!

I served this with homemade french bread. It was so easy! 
Why? 
I made the dough with my handy-dandy thrift store bread maker. 

I threw in the ingredients…
 …set it on the DOUGH setting…
…waited 1.5 hrs, formed into a loaf shape on a pan, baked, and enjoyed. So easy! 

French Bread
(makes 3 small loaves or 2 large loaves)

2.5 C warm water
2T yeast
3T sugar
2T white vinegar

  • Add these ingredients together and let sit until bubbly

Then add:
1T salt
1.3C oil (Canola, Vegetable, whatever)
6C Flour (ish)

  • Knead the dough for 2-5 minutes then put in the oven with a small pot of boiling water to let it rise. 
  • Punch the dough down when it gets to the top of your mixing bowl. 
  • Do this about 2-5 times (as long as you have time to babysit it). 
  • Put the dough on a floured counter top and divide into 3 sections.
  • Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle a thin layer of cornmeal on it.
  • Roll the dough into french bread shapes. Make sure it's the shape you want, it doesn't change much.
  • Slash the tops of the dough diagonally 3-5 times for a pretty look.
  • Brush the tops with an egg wash.
  • Let rise 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
    • Or you could put them in your oven at 170 degrees and wait until they are the size you want. At that point turn up the heat to 375 (don't open the door!) and let them bake until done.
  • Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until done.

Ta-Da!

**NOTE: I had to half the recipe to make it in my bread maker, so it only makes one large loaf. It's so much quicker than having to knead and babysit your bread, so I still recommend it!

**Another NOTE: Bread freezes very well. Make a few batches one day, bake them fully, wrap in tinfoil, and freeze for a quick side when needed.

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