One pan: Creamy Lemon Chicken Penne

It’s been a while since our last post…we’re on day 25 of strep throat in our house so there have been no kiddos allowed in the kitchen for a while! IMG_7015But we’re back (yay for the the third antibiotic!) and this one is a goodie!

Before we moved into Minneapolis proper we used to visit a great little restaurant much closer to our old house, Ingredients Cafe. It is an unassuming place in a strip mall but it has some great food – including a Lemon Caper Chicken Penne dish I love. This attempt to recreate is soooo close…but we failed to add the capers (I know…if only “capers” had been in the name of the recipe we were trying to make! Oh…). Next time they will be a must!

Our oldest boy was happy to hop back into the kitchen…minus his shirt (why you ask? I can’t say. I can tell you they have been stripped off and left in various places in his play areas every day for the past week…and it’s still 30 degrees outside). Here we go!

One pan: Creamy Lemon Chicken Penne

Makes about 4 servings…or 2 bigs, 1 kid and 1 good lunch leftover (that your husband eats without offering to you…)


  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp butter [kid job!]
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic [kid job!]
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can low-sodium chicken broth [kid job!]
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 10 oz. penne pasta [kid job!]
  • 1 lb. thin stalks asparagus, tough ends trimmed, remaining cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese, cut into eight pieces [kid job!]
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice [kid job!]

Next time we will add

  • 2 Tbsp capers
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes
  • Prep your ingredients:
    • Cube your chicken and salt and pepper well
    • Measure out your pasta (not the full box!)
    • Cut your butter and cream cheese (challenge your kiddo to cut 8 pieces and let them figure it out!)
    • Mince your garlic
    • Measure out your chicken broth
    • Grate your parm

Get cooking! Note: make sure you use a pan that has a well-fitting lid!

  • Heat olive oil in a 12-inch saute pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken, season with salt and pepper to taste and cook until golden brown on bottom, about 4 minutes then rotate and cook until cooked through, about 4 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm, set aside.


  • Melt butter in now empty skillet, add garlic and saute 20 seconds. Next, add broth and water, while stirring to loosen any browned bites from bottom of pan. Add pasta and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and allow to boil until fairly tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 – 9 minutes.
  • Gently place asparagus over top of pasta (don’t stir), cover and allow to boil 4 – 5 minutes longer until asparagus and pasta are tender (note that there should be some broth/water left even once it’s finished cooking, this will be part of the sauce. If needed you can add more broth).
  • Add in cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and lemon zest and stir until melted. [If adding in capers and/or sun-dried tomatoes throw those in here too!]
  • Stir in chicken and remove from heat. If you’d like the sauce to thicken a bit, cover and let rest a few minutes to allow it to soak into pasta.


  • Enjoy!


Recipe source: Cooking Classy


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