Speedy Pasta & Cheese (with Bonus Vegetables!)

By Jeannette Ordas of Everybody likes Sandwiches

Sometimes all you want after a hard day is to crawl into a gigantic bowl of macaroni and cheese and stay there. What? Is it so wrong to find comfort in something so rich and cheesy? I didn't think so. But if you want the good kind of mac and cheese, it involves some serious prep and bake time along with a huge calorie count. Your other option is the kind of pasta and day-glow cheese powder that comes from a box.

But there is another option! And it's a quick and super simple way to have your mac and cheese cravings met while sneaking in some good-for-you vegetables at the same time. I use low fat cream cheese and Parmesan, which provides the rich flavour and creaminess. The prep time is almost nil and you can be chowing down on your dinner about 5 minutes after your pasta has cooked. Yup, it's a keeper.

I like to think of this as a dumbed down version of mac and cheese and there's nothing wrong with that. This meal is super quick if you have leftover vegetables to throw in, but it's also really easy to throw in some raw broccoli, cauliflower, kale or brussels sprouts into the pasta water while the pasta cooks. Two birds with one stone. Easy.

Super Quick Creamy & Cheesy Pasta
500 g pasta (short or long will be fine)
1/4 cup reserved pasta cooking water
your favorite cooked vegetables (leftovers are fine)
1/4 cup milk
1-2 tablespoons light cream cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt & pepper
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of garlic powder

Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. If you are cooking something like broccoli or cauliflower from its raw state, cut it into florets and add it to the pasta 10 minutes before it's done. This way the pasta and veg cook together. When the pasta is al dente, remove all but 1/4 cup of water from the pot (I use my pot lid to drain my pasta and just eyeball the amount of water I leave in the pot).

Return the pot to the stove and turn the heat down low. If you are using leftover vegetables, add them in now, along with the milk, cream cheese and parmesan. Give everything a good stir and season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and garlic powder. Stir again so that everything is coated and heated through. Serves 2.

Jan Halvarson


Jane Cardie said...

This look delicious and so simple to make, may try it later if I get home in the snow :(

k said...

definitely saving this, maybe even for tonight :)

Gingiber said...

yummmm. i am so hungry now! making this tonight!

mysterymoor said...

I'm such a big fan of quick & easy recipes :)

JWK said...

Definitely cooking this tomorrow night!!

streetlight stars said...

Yum, this looks great!

Rowena said...

yesterday, i wanted something quick and I made my kid's annie's mac and cheese. It was revolting. I should have done this. would have been just as easy.

Our Rural Life (aka Cornbread Fed) said...

This looks so good, it feels almost sinful! :)

michel said...

I just finished harvesting green beans (baby) + padron peppers. Looks like a pasta dish is in my future. Great inspiration as always.

michel stong said...

I just finished harvesting padron peppers from my garden and some baby green beans. Looks like pasta and veggies are in my future. Thanks for the inspiration.