Family · Food

The First Thing I Made for My Husband

My first serious boyfriend loved to eat.  When I offered to make him dinner early on in our relationship, I didn’t realize the anxiety that would simmer and then boil within me as I stood over the stove with his cute face staring at my back.  What if he didn’t like my cooking?  Would that be a deal breaker for him?  This boy who LOVES food??

Thankfully I was making a recipe that had some seriously cheesy charm.  It turned out that he loved it {even though I later found out he doesn’t particularly enjoy a red pasta sauce}.  So now, this recipe isn’t just a go-to.  It’s family history.  That sweet boyfriend eventually married me.  I won’t say my cooking made this happen, but it definitely didn’t hurt.

Three Cheese Chicken Penne


  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Cups Penne Pasta
  • 9 oz. Fresh Spinach
  • 1 lb. Chicken Breast, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 tsp. Dried Basil Leaves
  • 14 1/2 oz. Can Diced Tomatoes, drained
  • 1 3/4 Cups Favorite Pasta Sauce
  • 2 oz. Cream Cheese
  • 1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
  • 2 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese, grated


Preheat oven to 375* F.

Cook penne pasta in a large saucepan for 10-13 minutes. Add spinach to boiling pasta for the last minute. Drain pasta/spinach mixture.

While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a deep skillet over medium/high heat.  Add chicken and dried basil leaves.  Cook for 3-5 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes and pasta sauce.  Simmer on medium/low heat for 3-5 minutes.  Add cream cheese and stir until cream cheese is incorporated {the sauce should change to a beautiful shade of a creamy red-orange}.

Combine the pasta/spinach mixture and chicken/sauce mixture into whichever pot is larger.  Stir until pasta is coated in sauce.  Stir in 1/2 cup mozzarella {and revel in the melting process}.

Use cooking spray to coat a 2 qt. baking dish {we usually use an 8×11 Pyrex dish}.  Spoon or pour everything in and then top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Makes 4-6 Helpings.


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