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Lemon Chicken Pasta – Easy Weeknight Dinner Recipe!

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Lemon chicken pasta is a quick and easy recipe perfect for a weeknight meal. This simple dinner recipe is a hit with the family, requires minimal ingredients, but is full of flavor!

lemon chicken pasta ready to be served family style in a blue bowl set on a table near a window

We’ve been all about mastering quick and delicious meals here at the Godmother’s house the past few weeks. Our little one is just over a month old and I’m realizing how quickly she’s growing. On one hand, I’m excited because it means we’ll be able to do so many things together and I’ll get to teach her and watch her discover the world around her. But then, time is passing so quickly. I just want to be sure we’re getting the chance to enjoy each of her stages of growth before they’re gone.

And a good part of maximizing family time means finding recipes that minimize kitchen time. Easy, delicious meals made for weekdays and the busier seasons of life.

This means I plan, a lot, especially when it comes to my time in the kitchen. Pre-baby, you would have probably seen a few more steps to this recipe. I might have made the pasta from scratch even! But now is not that time. I want to spend twenty minutes tops on dinner. From scratch pasta is not in the plan. So as Ina says “store bought is fine”. 😉 And can my fellow mamas just relate with me when I realize how much time I had before kids? So much time.

But seriously though, weeknight family dinners need to be simple. And that means you take whatever shortcuts you need to take to make that work. Want to skip the chicken in this recipe? Buy pre-made. Use another leftover protein. Serve an egg on the side. You do you.

When I make this, I’ve found spaghetti works best. A linguine will work too. I haven’t tried it with something like shells or rotini. Depending on what I’ve purchased, I’ll use either white or whole wheat pasta. I’m pretty sure any not flavored kind will do. Leave the flavored pastas for another dish.

flat lay photo of the lemon chicken pasta recipe. Fresh lemon wedges as garnish and a bit of fresh parsley in the top left corner

I’m loving this dish because the flavors layer so beautifully. You really can’t go wrong with a simple pasta dish. Instead of fussy sauces, we stick to classic ingredients like lemon, garlic, and olive oil.

This lemon chicken pasta has been on the menu twice already in the span of two weeks. I think this may become my new “go to dish” to send to neighbors and friends when they need meals. Or maybe something to keep in mind for a casual dinner party? It’s already earned a repeat spot on our dinner table.

I hope you enjoy this easy lemon chicken pasta recipe, darlings. And if you’re in a busy season of life – for whatever reason – here’s a virtual hug. You’re doing a good job. <3

Lemon Chicken Pasta

Lemon Chicken Pasta

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Lemon chicken pasta is a quick and easy recipe perfect for a weeknight meal. This simple dinner recipe is a hit with the family, requires minimal ingredients, but is full of flavor!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound spaghetti (regular or whole wheat)
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken (breast or thigh) (see notes)
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup white cooking wine or broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided

Instructions

    1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet or grill pan over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then cook in the oil and set aside. Depending on the thickness of your chicken, this can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes. You may do this while you are boiling the water for your pasta to speed up cooking time. Once the chicken is cooked, set aside. When cool enough, slice.
    2. Cook pasta according to the directions for an al dente texture.
    3. In the same pan where you grilled your chicken, add the remaining olive oil and the garlic. Cook 2-3 minutes until the garlic is fragrant. Pour in the wine or broth to deglaze the pan (see notes).
    4. Stir in the pasta, lemon juice, lemon zest, 1/3 cup of the cheese, and 1/4 cup of parsley. Adjust salt to taste.
    5. Place the pasta in a serving dish and top with the chicken or protein of choice. Add extra cheese and parsley if desired. Serve immediately.
    6. Leftover pasta may be stored in the refrigerator up to 5 days. The recipe reheats best within 3 days.

Notes

To make life even EASIER... use pre-cooked chicken strips from the store, or leftover chicken or turkey, tofu, whatever makes your heart happy.

When you "deglaze" a pan, you basically just pour liquid into a hot pan and use a wooden spoon or cooking spoon to scrape up any of the "fond" (tasty brown bits) stuck to the pan. That's flavor we don't want to throw away!

If you are using leftover chicken and don't have a pan to deglaze, just add the broth or cooking wine to the pan and cook for about a minute. Then proceed with the recipe as written.

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