Saturday, March 30, 2013

"Made Up" Pasta Bake

Recently Jeff and I started a little weekly supper club with two dear friends, E&E. We alternate which couple hosts and cooks. The "visitors" bring the wine. We eat, talk, laugh, and have a wonderful time. This week we were hosting and I decided to make pasta. I figured it would be pretty good, but I didn't expect everyone to absolutely devour it! Mr. E was so impressed that there was no recipe, I just made it up as I went along. I'll do my best to describe it, but I'm sorry if I leave something out!

First, I cooked a package of ground turkey in a skillet. I seasoned it with a little bit of dried onion and some tuscan sea salt with herbs I got as a Christmas gift but save for "special" foods. I figured this was special enough! I drained the meat and wiped off the pan.

Next, I added one package of frozen spinach that I had defrosted and drained to the warm pan. I added a little bit more onion along with about 2 Tbsp of light garlic and herb cheese spread and a jar of light alfredo sauce along with a little bit of nutmeg (trust me, nutmeg with spinach or white sauce is awesome!) I didn't add garlic because the garlic & herb cheese was pretty strong, but if you just have garlic and cream cheese it would probably be pretty similar. I also stirred the meat back in with everything else.

Next, I cooked 1 lb of farfalle pasta and mixed it with all of the sauce. I dumped everything into a big casserole dish and topped it with a little bit of shredded 2% milk mozzarella and baked it until the cheese was melty. Basically I just stuck it in the oven and let it hang out while the oven pre-heated and I baked the rolls (for about 10 minutes). Everything was already cooked so it was just a good way to keep it warm until everyone got there. That, and I'm a sucker for melty cheese. It would still be super-tasty (and probably save a few calories) if you leave the cheese off the top.

The whole thing came together in probably 40 minutes. It probably could have been quicker but I wasn't in a rush (and I may or may not have been singing into my spoonula at points) I have a sneaking suspicion this would be an easy one to throw together the night before and then head up in the oven before serving. It might even freeze well, although I am not sure.

This should make about 8 servings and, according to the My Fitness Pal recipe builder, has 405 calories per serving. Not bad for a very tasty and filling meal. It's the perfect thing for spring time as it starts to warm up because it's still filling but not super heavy. Next time I might add some roasted red pepper. The spinach and turkey would probably also make a great filling for stuffed shells or lasagna rolls, too.

Do you have any "make it up as you go along" favorites? If so, please share. If you give this one a try, let me know, especially if you have any improvements!

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