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Cooking, Comfort, and Confidence featuring Grilled Chicken and Linguini in Lemon Basil Cream Sauce

There was a time in my not so distant past when I wouldn’t let anyone take a picture of me. This because in the deepest core of my being I didn’t feel like I was “enough.”

Good enough.

Pretty enough.

Thin enough.

Whatever enough.

So that a large part of my now adult son’s childhood was documented as him being motherless (or with me in a variety of uncomfortable poses trying to hide myself). Sadly, this resulted in all kinds of weight gain. My drug of choice has traditionally been the potato – mashed, extra butter, lots of cream and salt, thank you very much – and the more I sought comfort in the uncomfortable – while the waist band of my pants grew ever tighter – the more I began to disappear.

The confident young woman I had once been had been reduced to a life of perceived disappointment while I self medicated with pie crust and Ben and Jerry chasers

Don’t get me wrong, though, my inaugural post is not about weight loss and certainly I’m not now nor will I ever be someone who shops at Abercrombie and Fitch, but the point is, I’m no shrinking violet either. In the year’s since I’ve gone on to a successful career public speaking and writing, am about to have 10 years of my work in youth suicide prevention published in an academic journal, and have extended that success into the world of recipe development.

I also have no problem now having my picture taken.


Because in between my life as a neurotic photo shy crazy with an overwhelming desire for all things mashed, something happened. An epiphany, if you will, that occurred a few years ago while I was at the grocery store shopping for underwear.

You read that right.

There I was, purchasing my plus size unmentionables in Aisle Ten; right next to the peanuts and chips, trying to decide whether to buy the white extra firm panty/girdle, or the beige body shaper with lift and control.

I had just about decided on the white, along with a bra that could best be described as a cross between a flack jacket and a bullet proof vest, when a flash of awareness hit me. A thunderbolt of insight, an Oprah light bulb moment, a … well okay, it was just a stock boy with a flashlight – but still, in that moment as he shuffled through the maternity bras, I realized I no longer wanted to shop at The Real Canadian Superstore for my underwear (by the way, I’m Canadian), and I no longer wanted to hide.

Like Scarlett O’Hara, I backed my cart down the aisle and with fist in the air like Thor’s hammer, vowed: “With God as my witness, I will never wear Playtex again!”

And I learned how to be comfortable with myself.

Which is what has brought me here because it’s true; when you feel comfortable in yourself and your life, you can do anything – and I am living proof of that.

But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves and all self helpy, because, despite the fact that I as a lovably round woman have done some pretty incredible things since that day in aisle ten…

Like win $20,000.00 for a pork tenderloin recipe that pretty much saved my life.

 pork tenderloin

 And just about lost my ever loving mind cooking on a Canadian Reality TV show called Recipe to Riches…


I am still the girl who often feels like she isn’t good enough.

But I’m working on it. And I’m cooking up a storm while I do it! So I hope you’ll join with me as I introduce you to some of my most comforting recipes, tips, and ideas for entertaining, along with honest reflections about my own life as I continue to work toward feeling more comfortable in my own skin.

Today’s recipe is what is helping me get there. Knowing that part of feeling comfortable, for me, is about being healthy, I learned how to develop recipes that are full of flavor and comforting ooey gooey goodness but with less fat and calories than their traditional counter parts and today’s summer comfort classic: Creamy Lemon Linguini with Lemon Herb Grilled Chicken will get raves from everyone you serve it to!

Tender chicken breasts are marinated and grilled to golden perfection (note: you can also bake these).

Grilled chicken

Sliced and served atop a bed of linguini in a lemon cream sauce, this is a dish you will make again and again!  Best of all, its super easy.

Chicken and pasta 2

For the food fetishers among us, I also have a step by step video that will *ahem* satisfy all your food porn needs!

Until next time, here’s wishing you all a CHARMED life! When not engaging in free therapy writing here, I write a daily blog and publish four new videos a week. Those links are in my bio.

But let me know, where are you on your own journey toward feeling okay? Did anything in my story strike a chord with you? If so, I would really like to hear about it. When we can be honest about our struggles that is the first step to overcoming them!

And, of course, let me know how much you loved the pasta!!!


Lyndsay ~The Kitchen Witch

Grilled Chicken and Linguini in Lemon Basil Cream Sauce                            

Visit the Printable recipe here: Grilled Chicken and Linguini in Lemon Basil Cream Sauce 

Chicken Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of one whole lemon
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts


  1. Place the chicken into a ziplock bag.
  2. Marinate the chicken 8 hours or overnight.
  3. Grill breasts on an oiled grill starting at 400 and then reducing to 350 for 7 to 8 minutes on each side flipping every 3-4 minutes

Linguini in Lemon Basil Cream Sauce


  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • zest of one lemon
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 3 cups chopped baby spinach
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup Philly Light cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded asiago or parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp coarse black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 300 grams dry linguini (about 1/3 of a 900 gram package)
  • sea salt


  1. Saute the garlic in a large non-stick pan over medium high heat just until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add the spinach and continue to saute just until it begins to wilt.
  2. Add the chicken stock, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Simmer until the broth has reduced by half.
  3. Add the Philadelphia Cream Cheese and stir until it melts and incorporates into the sauce. Add the asiago cheese and stir until it blends into the sauce.
  4. Add the black pepper and turn to low, letting the sauce stay warm on gentle heat, stirring occasionally.
  5. Bring a large deep pot of water to the boil. Just as it starts to boil add a generous amount of sea salt (about a tbsp) and add the linguni. Boil for 7 and a half minutes, just until al dente and drain.

To assemble

  1. Remove about a third of a cup of the sauce from the pan to use as a drizzle.
  2. Place the cooked linguini into the sauce and toss, stirring well to fully coat the pasta. Don’t worry if the sauce seems thin, the pasta will “drink” it in. Add the chopped basil and pine nuts and distribute evenly onto four plates.
  3. Slice each chicken breast thinly and place on the linguini.
  4. Drizzle the chicken with the sauce you set aside.




Facebook Comments


9 Comments on Cooking, Comfort, and Confidence featuring Grilled Chicken and Linguini in Lemon Basil Cream Sauce

  1. Lyndsay, I absolutely LOVE you! Your writing is amazing, you have courage like no other, and that chicken – oh, I’d LOVE to have that chicken for dinner tonight! Fabulous!

    • Awww… thanks so much Jeanine – and thanks for popping by! We Canadian Cookies are a fierce bunch and I am proud of you right back 😉 I love a lemon cream sauce over chicken. Mr. Kitchen Witch loved this one too.

  2. Theresa Bollman // July 12, 2013 at 4:29 am // Reply

    Hi Lyndsay, I must first say that I agree totally with everything Jeanine said; your courage is inspiring. So many of us have felt as you have, but have missed the opportunity to share our experiences with those we might have helped or encouraged. I know I have, but I feel myself getting more brave, thanks to you.
    Now Lyndsay, I had a great belly laugh over your underwear epiphany in the “big box Store”. I too remember the day I turned in my “B52” card and liberated my poor abused bosoms. Now when I turn a corner, my breasts and I enter at the same time. Remarkable! 🙂
    I’m so glad I found your site and blogs; it’s a bright spot I look very forward to.
    I’ll e doing your chicken soon…wish me luck. xo, Tess

    • Hi Tess 🙂 Thanks so much for following me here to Sweatpants and Coffee! I always enjoy hearing from you. And thank you for a good laugh – you are a gem. Good luck with the chicken – I think you’ll really love it.

  3. Também conhecidas como hipocromia em galanteio,
    essas manchas brancas podem ser irreversíveis, só voltando a repigmentar
    por outros métodos como coloração sintético, sinal,entre muitas outras.

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