The one Recipe that got me through my first postpartum month: Chicken Spinach Artichoke Pasta Bake

This postpartum recipe is crazy easy to make and can be frozen months in advance.

I was about 8 ½ months pregnant when I briefly considered preparing a few dishes to freeze for the certain chaos that comes after delivery. The idea of preparing food wasn’t urgent at all to me. When Camille finally made her debut, she was a dream baby who slept 5+ hours a night, so if I had to pinpoint the one thing that was the most challenging in the first few months it would be having to prepare food for myself. In my naïve mind, I was going to pop out a baby and keep it trucking. Dead wrong.

I didn’t anticipate how exhausted and overwhelmed I’d feel.  A month after having Camille I was 21 pounds lighter than I was before getting pregnant – which was a dream.

I’m sure my baby blues paid a role in this, but I had no desire to prepare food – like at all. Just the thought of having to prepare food multiple times a day was energy draining. I started to worry because my milk production was getting really low (it was never super high to begin with). It didn’t matter what I’d do, I could pump for well over an hour and at most only get 7 ounces.

I certainly wanted to make sure that baby ate, so like any good New Yorker, I became bffs with Postmates. To be exact I used Postmates, UberEats, Caviar, Seamless, GrubHub & DoorDash. Yep, all of them. At that point I re-discovered my appetite and I ordered delivery everyday, for every meal, for the rest of my maternity leave. It should come as no surprise that I quickly regained those 21 lbs. & then some.  

A friend shared with me a casserole recipe that she got off of the back of a box of pasta – and I made it. I was desperate, y’all. She claimed that the recipe was super easy and I could make large batches and freeze it. She didn’t lie. So I forwarded it to Jo to make. 😂  He doctored up the recipe under my guidance, and it hit the spot! 👌🏽

So without further adieu, here is the doctored up version of the recipe. Super easy to make & super delish. You really can’t mess this up.

Chicken Spin-Art Pasta Bake – 1 h. 25 m.  – Note: This is for one dish. I usually double the ingredients so that I can make one to eat right away and one to freeze for later.

Ingredients 

Elle Jupiter, recipe

  •      20 oz. of boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (cut into bite sized pieces)
  •      10 oz. bag of frozen spinach (thawed & drained)
  •      1 Tbsp. butter
  •      14 oz. can of artichoke hearts (drained & coarsely chopped)
  •      ½ tsp. Crushed red pepper flakes
  •      1 cup sour cream
  •      1 cup milk  
  •      salt & pepper to taste
  •      1 cup grated parmesan cheese  
  •      2 cup Monterey cheese
  •      2 1/3 cup of fusilli pasta noodles
  •      ¾ cup mayo
  •      ½ cup yellow onion, diced
  •      1 Tbsp. of olive oil
  •      3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  •      1 red bell pepper, chopped  

Elle Jupiter, recipe

  1.     Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with butter. In a pot, boil and salt water and cook pasta as directed on package.
  2.     In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Season chicken with season salt, and pepper and cook chicken until no longer pink. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside. Reduce heat to medium and briefly sauté onion & garlic for about 2-3 minutes.
  3.     In a large bowl, beat mayo, sour cream, & milk with a whisk. Stir all remaining ingredients; stir until well combined. Transfer mixture to greased baking dish.

 

Elle Jupiter, recipe

4.    I always like to sprinkle a little extra cheese on the top. Cover dish and bake for 45 minutes or until cheese is melted & casserole is heated through.

Note: If freezing, do not bake, rather allow mixture to chill overnight in the refrigerator and then transfer uncooked pasta bake to 13 x 9 dish that is lined with plastic wrap. The plastic wrap will allow for the pasta bake to easily come out of baking dish. Freeze for about 8 hours and transfer frozen casserole to a 2-gallon freezer bag. When ready to cook, remove plastic wrap and allow pasta bake to thaw completely in fridge (~24-48 hours). Heat oven to 350 degrees, cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake 50-60 minutes.

Elle Jupiter, recipe 

If you make this recipe (especially if you make some tweaks), be sure to tag @ellejupiter because I would love to see it! Enjoy! 

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