Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Feeling Blah About Dinner?

Please, allow me to help, with my second installment of a "kitchen sink" type recipe, when you just pull out whatever veggies you need to cook in your fridge/freezer and go to town.

I was lucky enough to shop at Trader Joe's on my lunch break yesterday, and was inspired by seeing the broccolini and blue lake green beans, two family favorites. (I was also inspired by their hella cheap French wine selection.) But I could just as easily make this without grocery store shopping with the frozen peas, frozen broccoli, and cream cheese that I almost always have on hand.

I hope you enjoy as much as me...please let me know if you do!

This is a very easy weeknight meal, esp. if you use presliced veggies or do prep the night before. If I hadn't had to do the cutting board prep, I could have easily had this meal on the table in 25 minutes.

3 cups penne pasta, uncooked
2 Tbsp. Italian Dressing (feel free to omit and use whatever herbs/vinegar/oil you have on hand)
3oz prscuitto, cut into strips or diced (I roll them to dice easier)
1 bunch broccolini
1 1/2 cups fresh green beans, cut into 2" pieces
8 oz mushrooms (I used presliced baby bellas and rough chopped them smaller)
1 cup fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) Philadelphia® Neufchatel Cheese, cubed
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

(You can sub or add so many things to make this different each time: red bell pepper, asparagus, zuchinni, frozen peas, chicken cubes, any veggie in season or whatever you have in the fridge.)

1.) Cook pasta as directed on package.

2.)Meanwhile, heat skillet over med-high heat and add proscuttio, cooking until crispy. Remove from pan and set aside.

If there is not enough oil leftover to coat the veggies, add a little olive oil to pan. Add vegetables; cook 10 to 12 min. or until veggies are beginning to soften, stirring frequently (you can also cover to let them cook a little quicker after you saute them a bit. The liquid released from the mushrooms will "steam" them.)

3.)Add broth and cream cheese; cook 1 min. or until cheese is melted, stirring constantly. Once sauce starts to come together and cream cheese is mostly melted, add tomato halves and stir just until they start to "wilt".

4.)Drain pasta; return to pot. Add proscuttio and vegetable mixture; toss lightly. Cook 1 min. or until heated through. (Sauce will thicken up standing.)

5.)Top with fresh grated parmesan and black pepper, if desired.

My husband told me that it may be the best thing I've ever made. ::swoon::

The original idea for this recipe should be credited to Rachael Ray, but I took major liberties with the execution, so this is indeed "my" recipe.

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