Healthier 30 Minute Chicken Spinach Alfredo

ALFREDOOOOOOO. Is there anything better than pasta that’s drowning in butter and cream and cheese and more cheese? I think not. Is there anything worse for that New Year’s Diet Resolution you’re pretending to keep? Probably also not. But hey, I’ve got you (and our TOTALLY REAL, no-I-have-NOT-been-binge-eating-this-pizza 2015 diet) covered.

Healthy 30 Minute Chicken Spinach Alfredo

I lightened up this creamy, cheese-y sauce by nixing the cream altogether and instead using a roux with skim milk. Chicken and spinach add some protein (and other probably-important nutrients, blah, blah) and some color to the mix, and finally we thin the sauce out a bit by recycling some of our nice, starchy pasta water. Creamy? Check. Something green? Check. Hearty and filling? Check. Ready in less time than it takes to accidentally-on-purpose watch JUST ONE MORE EPISODE of Revenge? YOU BETCHA. Lightened-up, still-creamy, even-has-spinach-so-it’s-basically-health-food, 30 minute pasta Alfredo. [Read more…]

Havarti Spinach Mac and Cheese

MAC AND CHEESE! It’s just the best. And I realized the other day that I haven’t posted a single macaroni and cheese recipe since the super-awesome Mac and Cheese Week that happened in 2012. As in, OVER A YEAR AGO. (Whoops). Let’s remedy that, shall we?

Havarti Spinach Mac and Cheese

Havarti Spinach Mac and Cheese
 
COOK TIME
TOTAL TIME
 
YIELD: Serves 4 as a main dish
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 lb. pasta (I used elbow macaroni)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk (I used skim)
  • 2 cups shredded havarti cheese
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Cook pasta in very salty water until it is al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
  3. When butter is melted, whisk in flour to form a roux. Let cook for 1-2 minutes, until roux has darkened.
  4. Add milk a little at a time to the roux, whisking well between each addition to beat out any lumps. Whisk until all milk is incorporated.
  5. Bring sauce to a simmer and cook, whisking occasionally, until it has thickened, about 8-10 minutes.
  6. When sauce has thickened, remove it from the heat and stir in cheese, spinach, salt, and pepper. Stir until cheese has melted.
  7. Toss pasta in sauce and serve immediately. Top with extra havarti cheese and fresh ground pepper if you'd like a bit of garnish.
NOTES
Tip: If cheese ever doesn't melt completely into a sauce or soup, zap it for a few seconds with an immersion blender to work out any cheese lumps and fake a perfect sauce!

I’m making up for my grievous mac-n-cheese oversight with this super cheesy, creamy, even-has-spinach-in-it-so-it-looks-sort-of-healthy mac and cheese recipe. This has actually become one of my favorite go-to mac and cheese recipes (which is saying something, because I think we all know how I feel about mac and cheese). The havarti here just melts so beautifully – it creates the creamiest, most decadent cheese sauce (and with just skim milk, no less!)

Havarti Spinach Mac and Cheese

It’s a nice, mild recipe perfect for sharing. Although it’s also perfect for eating all by yourself straight out of the pot while you stand over the stove. Whatever works for ya.

Havarti Spinach Mac and Cheese [Read more…]

Three Cheese Spinach Tortellini

Have you ever made your own tortellini before? It’s kind of super fun. Also, way easier than it seems. Which is a win.

Three Cheese Spinach Tortellini

Also, I’ve been working on a REALLY exciting project for the last few months, and this Monday, I’m joining forces with some of the best food bloggers around to announce the formation of something awesome. So…you should PROBABLY tune in on Monday to get the skinny and jump in on the fun. Want a hint? Follow my Facebook or Twitter feeds for some sneaky announcements.

Three Cheese Spinach Tortellini

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this tortellini recipe. It’s kind of scrumptious. I kind of wish I hadn’t already eaten it all already so I could have another plate.

Three Cheese Spinach Tortellini

Side note: this tortellini would be AWESOME in a potluck pasta salad at a Memorial Day Barbecue. Just saying.

Three Cheese Spinach Tortellini

Three Cheese Spinach Tortellini
 
YIELD: Serves 4-5
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 recipe Spinach Pasta Dough, rolled into flat sheets (I roll them to a #5 thickness with my pasta rollers)
  • 1 cup soft goat cheese
  • ⅔ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • ⅔ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Lay freshly rolled pasta dough out on a large, lightly floured cutting board.
  2. Mix goat cheese, parmesan, and mozzarella together with some salt and pepper in a bowl.
  3. Use a round cookie or biscuit cutter to cut as many circles as you can out of the pasta sheet. Spoon ½ tsp. of the cheese mixture into the center of each circle.
  4. Brush a bit of water around the edges of each circle, then fold one side over to make an envelope and pinch it closed.



  5. Cook pasta in salted, boiling water for 6-8 minutes or until pasta is cooked through and tortellini float to the top of the water. Serve with butter and parmesan, mushroom garlic sauce, or a simple white sauce.

Three Cheese Spinach Tortellini

Homemade Spinach Fettuccine

I seriously can’t say enough about my love for my new pasta rollers. I make a ton of fresh pasta every two weeks-ish now, which is amazing. I used to have to plan an entire Saturday for pasta-making because my little hand crank took so long, made such a mess, gouged a hole in the bottom of my table with the screw-attach-y-thingy, and hurt my back from bending over the crank. Me and my old pasta roller could totally be in one of those infomercials as the miserable scene in black and white before the new, cool thingamajigg arrives. And then this new pasta roller comes in, and everything turns to color a la Wizard of Oz, and suddenly my life is GOLDEN. But seriously. Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore. PLUS, I crank my mixer’s speed up super high and the pasta basically flies through the rollers. It takes me less than ten minutes to roll and cut a whole batch.

Spinach Fettuccine

Side note: speaking of Toto, if you follow me on Pinterest you may have guessed that I am completely smitten with puppy fever. I want one SO. BAD. But I just want it for the cuddly cutesy best-friend part. Not for the shedding and the high maintenance and  the vet visits and the expensive pet food. So Kyle says we can’t have one until I can be a grownup about it. WHATEVER.

Spinach Fettuccine

My friend Maddie (Hiiiiii, Maddie) just got the cutest dog EVER. Which totally doesn’t help curb my give-me-a-puppy-right-now affliction. But, see, even if we did get a dog, we’d have to fight over a million names for it. Kyle really wants a dog named Ramekin. You know, like the ceramic baking dish. Totally serious. He also wants a dog named Odysseus. His reasoning is that those are really good names to yell into the wind. “RAMEKIIIIIIINNNNNNNN!!!!!” You get my drift. Very “SPARTAAAAAA” a la 300. Personally, I’d also like to have a teacup pig. Because 1. pigs are the coolest and 2. they are cute and small (even though apparently they get kind of big eventually- WHAT) and 3. I could get it little rain boots. And we could have a dog named Ramekin and a teacup pig (his name will be Snake, because he’s tough and cool and would probably have tattoos and a motorcycle if he was a person) and they could be best friends. These are the dreams I have for my life. Yup. I’M THE COOLEST.

Spinach Fettuccine

Anywho. Maybe I should talk about this pasta a bit. It’s super good. You can taste the spinach, but it’s nice and subtle rather than overpowering. Also, the pasta is this GORGEOUS green color. How fancy.

Spinach Fettuccine

I also saved some of this spinach fettuccine dough for a batch of cheese-filled spinach tortellini, which were kind of amazing. That recipe will be coming later this week, so stay tuned! In the meantime, you can wolf down some of this fettuccine and, if you’re anything like me, google cute puppy pictures while you make a mental list of all the things you should be doing instead. Because WE ARE THE COOLEST.

Spinach Fettuccine

Spinach Fettuccine
 
YIELD: Serves 4
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 recipe simple white sauce or mushroom garlic sauce (or whatever sauce you’d like! Be creative)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Boil 4-6 cups of water in a medium-sized pot. When water has come to a boil, add a pinch of salt and toss in the spinach. Cook for 3-5 minutes until spinach is wilted and bright green. Drain the water (I actually just pulled the spinach out with some tongs) and place the spinach on a paper towel or tea towel to cool off and dry a bit (about 10 minutes).
  2. When spinach is cool enough to handle, toss it in a food processor with salt, pepper, and the flour. Pulse a few times to chop up the spinach, until the flour turns a light green color.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, pulsing for a few seconds in between each addition. When all eggs have been added, stream olive oil in while the processor is running. The mixture won’t totally come together in the food processor – it should be a bit mealy, but when you pinch the dough together it should stick!
  4. Pull dough out of food processor onto a lightly floured cutting board. Knead it with your hands for two or three minutes until the mixture comes together and forms a smooth dough. (Note: if your dough is too dry, knead in a bit of water to help it come together. Too wet? Knead in a few teaspoons of flour!)
  5. Put one handful of the dough at a time through a pasta roller, starting on the thickest/widest setting and working your way down to a thinner setting, until it reaches your desired thickness. I use a KitchenAid pasta attachment and roll my dough until it’s a #5 thickness. (Side note: I actually can’t believe how much I’m in love with this electric pasta roller. I’m making pasta every two weeks instead of every few months because it is just SO quick and easy. Plus, cleanup is a breeze. Kyle, you are the best gift giver ever! I don’t think I can ever go back to a hand crank after this attachment).
  6. Once you’ve rolled the dough to your desired thickness, run it through the fettuccine cutter attachment on your pasta roller (if you have one). If you don’t have a pasta roller, roll the dough out with a rolling pin and slice it into strips with a paring knife.
  7. Cook the pasta immediately for 5-7 minutes in salty, boiling water and top with a sauce of choice. I like to cover it in this simple white sauce…YUM. If you don’t want to eat right away, let the pasta dry for a few hours on the counter or freeze it for a quick meal anytime!

Spinach Fettuccine

Parmesan and Spinach Orzo

When I was little, I always gave my mom a hard time about making orzo. I picked a fight every time we ate it because “it’s not pasta, it’s rice!” and would have to sit there and (un)patiently listen to her tell me that it is, in fact, pasta. It was a whole big thing. But I’m over it (sorry, Mom). Even though it still LOOKS a lot like rice. Just saying.

Parmesan & Spinach Orzo

Anywho, my mom sent me some rice orzo in a care package awhile back, and I recently discovered the last half of the package sitting in my pantry. “Eureka!” I thought. “I’ll make some orzo!” [Read more…]