Tag Archives: Neufchâtel

One-Pot Creamy Chicken and Asparagus Pasta for Two

21 May
Chicken and Asparagus Pasta for Two

Chicken and Asparagus Pasta for Two

Recently my meals have taken on a “keep-it-simple” theme, which includes finding and making new meals that only use one pot, pan, or skillet. One day I was surfing Pinterest, pondering what to make with some fresh spring asparagus I had bought and came across this delightful food blog that offered just the ticket for a quick and easy meal. I scaled it down for two people as my daughter wasn’t eating at home that night, and also added some Neufchâtel cream cheese to double the creaminess. The meal offered everything it claimed, including only one pot to clean after. And the bonus? It only took a half hour to make! Two thumbs up all the way around!

One-Pot Creamy Chicken and Asparagus Pasta for Two
Adapted from The Nourished Peach, original recipe here

8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
Ground black pepper and Mrs. Dash or salt, to taste
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons butter
4 to 6 ounces asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 cups homemade or low sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup milk, any kind
6 to 8 ounces spaghetti noodles
1/8 cup fresh lemon juice (1 small lemon or 1/2 large)
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan chees
2 ounces Neufchâtel cheese or regular cream cheese
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Season the chicken on both sides with ground black pepper and Mrs. Dash or salt, to taste. Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan over medium heat.

Browning the Chicken

Browning the Chicken

Add the chicken and cook for about 7 minutes on one side, then turn chicken over and cook for another 7 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle. Remove chicken to a cutting board, cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes or so.

Browning the Asparagus

Browning the Asparagus

Meanwhile add the asparagus to the pot and cook for several minutes, stirring to evenly cook it. In the last minute or so, add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Deglaze the pot with a couple teaspoons of the chicken broth and scrape up the yummy browned bits from the chicken.

Pasta and Cooking Liquids

Pasta and Cooking Liquids ~ I broke the spaghetti in half to fit the pot

Add the thyme, additional ground black pepper, chicken broth, milk, and pasta to the pot. Turn the heat up to medium high and bring up to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat down to medium and gently boil, stirring often with a fork to keep the noodles from sticking to each other.

Boiling the Pasta

Boiling the Pasta

Simmer for 8 to 15 minutes (we live at high altitude so pasta takes longer) until pasta is cooked to your liking.

Adding the Chicken

Adding the Chicken

Meanwhile slice the chicken into strips then cut into bite-sized pieces. When pasta is done, add the lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, Neufchâtel or cream cheese, and chicken. Stir to completely combine then top with a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Serve in bowls along with a side salad. So delicious!

Note: This recipe can easily be double or tripled, use size of pot accordingly.

Chicken and Asparagus Pasta for Two

One-Pot Creamy Chicken and Asparagus Pasta for Two

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

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Chile Relleno Chicken Rollups

31 May
Chile Relleno Chicken Rollups

Chile Relleno Chicken Rollups

My husband said I actually made a “blog-worthy” meal last night while eating this! That’s a bit of a relief since I haven’t posted a new recipe in a while due to vacation and other business in our lives. When I first spied this recipe a few days ago, though, I immediately knew I wanted to make it as as soon as possible. Hubby said he’s always wary when I make something completely new (not without reason) but he gave this two thumbs up! (My daughter missed out on this meal since she was at a sleepover. Her loss!)

Chile Relleno Chicken Rollups
Adapted from Chicken Chili Relleno from Lady Behind the Curtain

2 large poblano peppers
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/3 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning mix (or store-bought)
1 egg
1 to 2 ounces Neufchâtel cream cheese
2 ounces Monterey jack cheese, grated
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Red enchilada sauce, for serving (homemade or store-bought)
Sour cream, for serving

Charred Poblano Peppers

Charred Poblano Peppers

Char the peppers on a grill over high heat, turning frequently, until blistered all over. This takes about 10 to 15 minutes. Place peppers in a paper bag and close, then let rest for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove from bag, cut the stem off, then peel the blistered skin. Cut the peppers in half length-wise, then deseed. Set aside.

Peeled and Deseeded Poblano Peppers

Peeled and Deseeded Poblano Peppers

Preheat oven to 375 degrees now. If chicken breast(s) are large, butterfly in half. Pound the chicken to 1/4- to 1/8-inch thickness and set aside

Cornmeal and Taco Mix

Cornmeal and Taco Mix

On a plate, combine cornmeal and taco seasoning mix. Next crack the egg into a a bowl and beat.

Assembly time! On each piece of chicken, arrange the roasted peppers.

Assembling the Rollups

Assembling the Rollups

Spread a thin layer of cream cheese over the peppers, then top with grated Monterey Jack cheese.  Sprinkle the chopped cilantro over the cheese.

Chicken Rellenos Ready to Roll Up

Chicken Rellenos Ready to Roll Up

Starting with the narrowest end of chicken, roll up and then secure with toothpicks. The larger chicken breast was a little more difficult to handle, but I finally wrangled all the filling into it!

Carefully dip the rollups into the beaten egg, then press into the cornmeal mix on all sides. Place the assembled chicken seam-side down into a casserole dish sprayed with oil. Spray the tops and the sides of the chicken with additional oil.

Chicken Chile Relleno Rollups Ready to Bake

Chicken Chile Relleno Rollups Ready to Bake

Place in oven and cook for 30 minutes. Garnish with enchilada sauce and sour cream, and serve with pinto beans and rice.

Chile Relleno Chicken Rollups

Chile Relleno Chicken Rollups

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole

10 May
Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole

Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole

Busy, busy, busy! That’s what I’ve been lately, and when you’re busy it’s so nice to have a fairly quick and healthy casserole to whip together, just like this one. This is even something I wouldn’t mind cooking myself on this Mother’s Day (as long as I don’t have to do the dishes!). And Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there, be it mothers of humans, fur-kids, or nature! I hope you enjoy this recipe, this was a thumbs-up in my family all the way around.

Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

5 ounces uncooked linguine, snapped in half
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup Half and Half, or milk
1 ounce Neufchâtel cream cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 ounces sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1/2 cup frozen peas
2-inch thick chunk French bread baguette, torn into chunks
1 teaspoon oil

Shred that Chicken Breast!

Shred that Chicken Breast!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain, and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt half the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and whisk for a couple of minutes until all combined. Pour in the chicken broth and milk, whisking constantly.

Stirring the Cheese into the Sauce

Stirring the Cheese into the Sauce

Bring up to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. Stir in 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and the cream cheese until combined, then turn off heat and set aside.

Suateing the Mushrooms and Onion

Sauteing the Mushrooms and Onions

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the rest of the butter. Add the mushrooms and saute for 3 to 5 minutes. Then add the onions, garlic, and thyme and saute for 5 more minutes. Add the sherry, then cook for a minute more.

Combining the Casserole

Combining the Casserole

Pour in the saucepan of milk/cheese mixture, the pasta, chicken, and peas. Toss to combine. Spoon the mixture into a 2-quart casserole coated with oil spray.

Casserole Ready for Bread Crumbs

Casserole Ready for Bread Crumbs

Place the torn bread pieces and the rest of the Parmesan cheese in a food processor and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle evenly over the pasta. Bake for 30 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole

Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Lighter Chicken and Leek Pot Pie

21 Jan
Lighter Chicken and Leek Pot Pie

Lighter Chicken and Leek Pot Pie

I’m not a big pastry eater, and even when it comes to homemade chicken or beef pot pie, I typically leave a lot of the soggy bottom crust behind. Then lo and behold, I came across this “skinnified” version of the dish! Yes!

Tons of flavor, not too many carbs, and nary a “cream of” can of soup in sight. My kind of meal! This dinner was inhaled by me and my family. I just loved the fact that I had the crispest of pastry set on top for a nice crunch with almost every bite. No soggy here! This recipe can be easily doubled, as you get two pie crust sheets in a box of refrigerated pie crust rolls.

The original recipe came from Cooking Light, and then foodie blogger Wendy Weekend Gourmet adapted it, and then I adapted it from her. Sharing the love!

And I decided to get Fancy-Schmancy with my lead-in photo and added a title to the pic. I just happened to have a lot of space at the top of the photo that I typically crop out, and have seen many bloggers add this, so what the heck. I hope you like both the recipe and the photo!

Lighter Chicken and Leek Pot Pie
Adapted from Cooking Light and Wendy Weekend Gourmet’s Skinny Chicken-Leek Pot Pie

Pot Pie Filling:
3/4 to 1 pound chicken breast meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup diced baby carrots
1 cup diced potatoes, any kind
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth, homemade or low sodium
2 ounces Neufchâtel or low-fat cream cheese

Pie Crust Rounds:
1 packaged refrigerated pie crust sheet
Milk, for brushing pastry
1/2 teaspoon dried whole thyme

Chopped and Seasoned Chicken

Chopped and Seasoned Chicken

Mix the cut chicken with the poultry seasoning, black pepper, and a half tablespoon of oil and set aside.

Sliced Leeks and Baby Carrots

Sliced Leeks and Baby Carrots

Add the trimmed leeks to a bowl of cold water to rinse out any grit or sand, then drain.

Cooking the Carrots and Potatoes

Cooking the Carrots and Potatoes ~ A mushroom snuck in there off the cutting board and jumped right into the middle of my photo!

Add a tablespoon of the oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots and potatoes and stir to evenly coat with the oil. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, then cover and steam the mixture for about 10 more minutes, uncovering and stirring occasionally.

Cooking the Chicken and Veggies

Cooking the Chicken and Veggies

Add the chicken, leeks, and mushrooms and cook for another 10 minutes or so, also stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, combine the cream cheese and chicken broth in a large measuring cup and microwave for 2 minutes. After, whisk vigorously until the cream cheese is completely combined with the broth and set aside.

Step away for a second and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

When the chicken is fairly cooked through, evenly sprinkle the flour over it all. Stir well to combine and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Reducing the Delicious Cream Cheese Sauce

Reducing the Delicious Cream Cheese Sauce

Pour the hot cream cheese/broth mixture into the pan with the chicken and veggies and stir well to combine with everything else until smooth. Reduce heat to low, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile (again), line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and unroll the refrigerated pie crust onto it. Use a small ramekin (or other) bowl as a guide to cut four pie crusts.

Cutting the Pie Crust Dough

Cutting the Pie Crust Dough

Brush each round with milk, then sprinkle with the thyme.

Pie Crust Circles Ready to Bake

Pie Crust Circles Ready to Bake

Place in oven and bake until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes, then remove. By now your pot pie filling should be done.

To serve, divide the pot pie filling into bowls or ramekins and top with one of the crispy pie crust rounds. Serve and enjoy a bowl of yumminess!

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Baked Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Spears

19 Apr
Baked Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Spears

Baked Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Spears

A quick disclaimer: These are not easy and do NOT take 10 minutes to make. So there, I said it. This is one of those appetizers that I see all the time on Pinterest being touted as “so easy!” and “takes just 10 minutes!” and other catchy LIES. 😉

Kidding aside, these do present well and were a big hit at our company potluck. There is really not much of a recipe, it is more of a “method” to get these puppies to turn out just right. I think one of the issues I had was I followed some advice to ask the deli to slice the prosciutto “as paper thin as they can.” In theory that’s good since prosciutto is very expensive, but the downside is that it makes it very difficult to work with.

But at the end of the day (a long one at that!) these did turn out beautiful and so very tasty. If you have patience, you will be rewarded. Start to end, this took me over an hour to make.

Trimmed Asparagus

Trimmed Asparagus

Baked Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Spears

1 1/2 pounds thick asparagus spears (about 30 or so)
1/2 brick Neufchâtel cream cheese
1/4 pound thinly sliced prosciutto
Ground black pepper
Lemon wedge and zest

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and spray with olive oil. Wash the asparagus and lop off the woody ends.

Next, lay out slices of prosciutto on a cutting board, then spread a thin layer of cream cheese over them. This is one thing I messed up from the get-go, as I cut my first batch into thin strips then tried to spread the cream cheese over. Do NOT do it that way.

Cream Cheese and Prosciutto

What a disaster! Don’t do it this way.

Spread the cream cheese THEN cut it into strips. One by one, wrap the strips of prosciutto around each asparagus spear and place onto the baking sheet. This process takes a while.

Asparagus Ready to Bake

Asparagus Ready to Bake

Grind black pepper over the spears, then spritz the naked ends with olive oil. Place in a preheated 400-degree oven and bake for 15 minutes. At that point, bump the oven to broil and broil for about 5 more minutes.

Remove from oven, and place in a serving dish using tongs. Squeeze the lemon wedge over the dish, then zest the lemon peel over it. At this point you can serve immediately or put in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, warm the dish in the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes.

Baked Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Spears

Baked Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Spears

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Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Creamy Chicken Chili and Beans

6 Nov
Creamy Chicken Chili and Beans

Creamy Chicken Chili and Beans

I slammed this dinner together for the crock pot in less than 15 minutes. It was 1:45 pm, my day to cook, but I had a dentist appointment during my lunch break earlier and didn’t get around to thinking about dinner until after my 1 pm meeting. I knew I wanted something Mexican/spicy-ish. I scoured my recipes and found one where I stated about the chicken breasts, “I put them in frozen.” Bingo.

Amazingly I had every single ingredient on hand. The last time I made it I used white beans and this time I used black beans, which I had wanted to use prior, but didn’t have any back then. I also added more cream cheese to make it creamier, as well as some chicken broth and additional tomatoes because I remembered it was slightly too thick last time. I also mixed up the chile powders as my spice cabinet has increased greatly over the past two years. If you only have regular chili powder, then just use a tablespoon of that instead. (Hint: Chile powder is a pure grind of one chile, chili powder is a mixture of chile powders and other spices.)

Each time I make a recipe again, I strive to improve upon it. (Well, unless it was just perfect to begin with — HA!) We did enjoy this chili more this time around (seconds for the daughter!), dinner was on time, and the husband got to watch his Monday Night Football. Mission Accomplished.

Creamy Chicken Chili and Beans

Creamy Chicken Chili and Beans

Creamy Chicken Chili and Beans

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (can be frozen)
3/4 cup homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
1 10-oz. can Ro-Tel tomatoes or 14-oz. can diced tomatoes and green chiles
1/2 cup additional diced tomatoes if using Ro-Tel
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup canned hominy, rinsed and drained (freeze the rest for future use)
1 teaspoon Ancho (or Pasilla) chile powder
1 teaspoon New Mexico chile powder
1 teaspoon regular chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons Ranch dressing from a bottle
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 brick Neufchatel cheese, or regular cream cheese

Add the chicken and broth to a 3-quart crock pot. Dump in the rest of the ingredients on top except the cream cheese, and mix around until combined, leaving the chicken on the bottom as best you can. Last, add the 1/2 brick of cream cheese to the top. Cover and cook on high about 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

Remove lid and shred the chicken breast with two forks right in the crock pot, then mix around thoroughly to incorporate the cream cheese. Turn down to low/warm until ready to serve. Garnish with cilantro, sour cream, shredded cheese, whatever your heart (and tummy) desires!

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Cheshire Cat Halloween Cheese Ball

30 Oct
Cheshire Cat Halloween Cheese Ball

Cheshire Cat Halloween Cheese Ball

UPDATE! I won first place at my work’s Spooky Halloween Food Contest for this! I was a close contender with some Scary Awesome Teeth Cookies, but won by two votes (and yes one of those was mine.) I now have two movie tickets to go enjoy a night out with my hubby. Yeah!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We are having our annual Halloween potluck at work tomorrow, and I decided to create this spooky Cheshire Cat Cheese Ball for it. It’s not that hard to to make (although my apple carving skills need work), so if you are looking for a last minute Halloween food idea, this might be just what you need!

Cheshire Cat Halloween Cheese Ball
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

3 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 8-ounce packages Neufchatel or regular cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons milk
2 large green onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
2 teaspoons minced garlic
Several dashes of hot sauce (I used Sriracha)

For the assembly:

1 cup crushed blue tortilla chips
2 triangular blue tortilla chips
2 triangular white or yellow tortilla chips
1 square wheat cracker, split into a triangle
3 pieces dried spaghetti, snapped in half
10 to 15 whole almonds
1 green apple

Bring the cheese and butter to room temperature. Reserve about two tablespoons of the cream cheese and set aside. Add the cheeses, milk, green onion, Worcestershire, garlic, and hot pepper sauce to a large food processor and blend until combined

Shape the mixture into a ball then roll it in the crushed tortilla chips. Press the tortilla chips in at the top for ears and the wheat cracker in for the nose. Stick in the spaghetti for whiskers. Press in the almonds in a semi-circle for the teeth. For the eyes, make two indentions and put balls of the reserved cream cheese in them. Slice out two wedges of the green apple, then peel away the skin except for vertical sliver. As you can see my cat’s eyes are kind of funky. Press the apple slices into the cream cheese balls. Voila! Refrigerate until ready to serve. Remove from refrigerator for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Spicy Spinach Alfredo Pasta

30 Mar
Spicy Spinach Alfredo Pasta

Spicy Spinach Alfredo Pasta

I made this as a side dish yesterday, but by doubling or tripling the ingredients this can easily be turned into a meatless main. Add some artichokes, broccoli, or asparagus — and — Bada Bing! Dinner! However, this time around it was served as a quick and easy side paired with a store-bought lemon-seasoned tilapia baked in parchment paper. No credit for the fish goes to me, because all I did was turn on the oven to bake it. However, I will take credit for this easy-peasy spinach pasta dish. As usual, I way over-estimated the amount of pasta, and I bow down to anyone who can guestimate how much dried pasta should be used for X amount of people. Last night it was just hubby and I, and pasta for two is still eluding me.  Am I the only one with this issue?

This is another by-the-seat-of-my pants dish. I knew what I wanted to put in it, but just didn’t know the amounts, pasta aside. My brain told me I should add a “pinch” of crushed red pepper flakes, but my hand had a mind of its own and threw in three large pinches. Note to self: Do NOT add equal parts of red pepper and garlic to your recipe, as plainly noted in my photo below.

Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes

Do NOT add this much red pepper flakes. I am not leading by example with this. 🙂

I saved the day by adding another ounce of cream cheese and a splash of milk to tone down the heat factor, which I can tolerate but was worried the husband might not like it. Well he sure proved me wrong! “Wow, this is spicy!” Pause. “I like it!” Thank you, thank you. And another thing I was thrilled about with this recipe is it was ready to serve EXACTLY at the same time the fish had to come out of the oven. No lie. I was completely bewildered by this simple fact.

This recipe feeds two people as a side, and we had a serving leftover, due to my poor pasta estimate. Adjust as needed.

Spicy Spinach Alfredo Pasta

Angel hair pasta
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (a pinch, OK?)
1/4 cup white wine (or chicken broth)
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 ounces fresh spinach
2 to 3 ounces Neufchâtel cream cheese
Splash of milk, if necessary
Black pepper, to taste

Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. While that’s coming up to speed, gather all your ingredients and get them all measured out and ready. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta, then add the olive to to a skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and red pepper flakes, and saute for just about a minute. Pour in the white wine, lemon juice, sprinkle in the nutmeg. Bring to a simmer, then start adding the spinach by handfuls, stirring occasionally, until spinach is wilted. Add the cream cheese on top, just like this:

Spinach and Cream Cheese Brick

Spinach and Cream Cheese Brick

Plop. Then smoosh it down and start incorporating it into the spinach. It looks all weird and clumpy and grainy and not very appetizing at first, but just keep stirring around and mixing it up, and suddenly it turns all creamy and yummy looking. At this point, add a splash of milk or more cream cheese if you think it needs it. Then grind black pepper all over it. By now your angel hair pasta should be done, so drain and then add to the skillet of spinach sauce. Toss to coat, and serve. Quick and easy and yummy good!

And for those who celebrate, Happy Easter! I’ll be off to a friend’s house with a dish of au gratin potatoes in hand to go with the ham.

Spinach Alfredo Sauce

Spinach Alfredo Sauce

Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Angel Hair Pasta

17 Feb
Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Angel Hair Pasta

Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Angel Hair Pasta

What’s not to love about a thick, cheesy sauce filled with spinach and artichokes? Well, maybe the fat content but I reduced it down as much as possible to still give you an awesome meal without meat! I can’t believe I pulled it off. I was worried, I tell you. I don’t serve meatless meals that often in this household, but it was rich enough to sate even my husband’s carnivorous appetite. While shopping for my list of food for this, I was specifically looking for  some Neufchâtel in the cheese aisle and when I started peering closely at labels, this more than helpful stocker asked if he could assist me. When I told him what I was looking for, he pointed it out and said “Neufchâtel is the original cream cheese, and has 1/3 less fat than that other stuff.” Well I was one not to argue since I knew that already but thought I’d throw that out there for you in case you didn’t. He also informed me that they have various forms of  Parmesan cheese in no less than four different locations in the store, and five if you counted the fake-shake stuff by the jarred spaghetti sauce. I think this guy really knew his cheese. Thank you, sir.

Moving on, I’ve mentioned before that if you use spinach,  always think of lemon and crushed red pepper flakes. That combination just can never go wrong. In fact, just go off right now and cook up some fresh spinach with a little butter and lemon juice and red pepper flakes, and tell me what you think? OK. We have an understanding. Before I lose too many carnivores in this post, you can always add some cooked chicken at the end to this. I was tempted. But I resisted.

Please do not be intimidated by my long post below, as this actually comes together in about a half an hour. I just had lots of  words to share with you!

Adding Spinach to Creamy Cheese Sauce

Adding Spinach to Creamy Cheese Sauce

Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Angel Hair Pasta

8 ounces Angel Hair pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 brick (8 ounces) Neufchâtel cream cheese
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 6-ounce bag fresh spinach
1/2 to 1 cup low-sodium homemade or boxed chicken broth, as needed
More Parmesan cheese for serving

Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. In a deep cast-iron or heavy bottomed skillet, heat the olive oil to medium, cook the garlic a minute or so, then add the brick of cream cheese. Once the cheese starts melting a bit,  add the milk (I used 1%)  and light sour cream. Using a spatula or back of large spoon, smoosh the brick of cheese all around and get it to mix with the liquid. Just keep smooshing and stirring and cooking and finally it will start looking creamy. I know, I had my doubts on this. It does eventually happen.  Once the mixture starts looking creamy enough, add the 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese, then stir until combined. Grind a bunch of black pepper over it all, to taste. I add lots, usually. Now add the lemon juice, pepper flakes, and artichoke hearts and stir and stir around to combine nice and good.

At this point, you better put your Angel Hair pasta into the water that’s probably boiling by now. Now it’s time to start adding the spinach into the sauce. I just grabbed a handful of spinach and tore it up a bit and started adding it to the creamy sauce handful by handful and stirring it in. This is where the chicken broth comes in. As the sauce starts to get too thick, stir in a bit of chicken broth, maybe a quarter of a cup at a time, stirring all the while. Add more torn spinach, stir, simmer, add more, stir simmer. Too thick? More chicken broth. You get the picture. Finally all the spinach will be in and wilted, and you will be very hungry now because it looks and smells so good. OH! Drain that now-cooked pasta, heap a mess on a plate, then spoon the delicious creamy yummy spinach artichoke sauce over it. Top with more shredded Parmesan cheese to taste. Whoa! This is goooood. Real good.

Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Angel Hair Pasta

Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Angel Hair Pasta Ready to Eat

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