Chicken Florentine

Since my dad’s passing, I’ve been wondering what I can do to help my mom. She lives a few hours away, but with our crazy work schedules, it is hard for us to go visit.

One thing about my mom is that she hates to cook. Always has. She had been doing all the cooking for herself and my dad, without much joy. I’ve been worried about how much cooking she’ll do now that it’s just her. I have horrible visions of canned soup and frozen dinners every night. So, I decided to start freezing meals for her. I’ve been setting aside a dinner-sized portion of meals that I have made. We are planning on meeting up once a month or so to deliver the meals.

This chicken florentine is right up my mom’s alley. She loves chicken, vegetables, and anything remotely Italian. Two bags of spinach may sound like a lot, but it’s amazing how much it shrinks down. The lemon added brightness and the cheese added richness to the sauce.

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
Light and Healthy, 2010

Chicken Florentine

Chicken Florentine


2 Tbs canola oil
12 oz (2 bags) spinach leaves
1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
Salt and pepper
½ small white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic, minced
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
2 c chicken broth
1 c milk
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
¼ c grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Position an oven rack 5 inches from the top coils; Heat the broiler.
  2. Heat 1 Tbs oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the spinach and cook, stirring frequently, until wilted. Transfer spinach to a colander and press with a large spoon or a spatula to remove excess liquid. Pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining 1 Tbs of oil in the skillet. Lay the breasts in the skillet and brown on both sides. Transfer the skillet to a plate and loosely cover with foil.
  3. Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the flour. Slowly whisk in the broth, scraping up the browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add the milk. Return the chicken breasts and any accumulated juices to the pan. Cook until the thickest part of the breasts reach 160 degrees, flipping the breasts halfway through. Transfer the chicken to a plate and tent loosely with foil.
  4. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until thickened and reduced to about 1 ¼ c, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the lemon zest and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cut the chicken breasts crosswise into thick slices. Arrange in a broiler-safe casserole dish. Scatter the spinach over the chicken in an even layer. Pour the sauce over the spinach. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top and broil until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Watch carefully so cheese doesn’t burn. Serve.


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