Wednesday, January 19, 2011

3 Cheese Spinach Pasta Bake

i have been on the hunt for healthier meal options for my family. and since i'm counting calories, it has made my search a little more difficult. i have 3 other people in my family, not counting calories, so i need to think of them first. so, Ben & I have decided to go as organic as we can with our eating. but that's a whole other post! =)

i've decided to take each recipe i already have & any new ones i find & make them more healthy! for example, i just switch out spaghetti noodles for whole wheat noodles & pasta sauce for organic past sauce. you get the drift. its a little more expensive this way, but i feel better about what i'm feeding my kids & my husband. its so worth it to me!

anywho. i found this recipe on the kraft foods website. we love pasta around here & i can just tell you that i'm not about to give that up. ha! so, i just went healthy with it & it was fabulous!! we gobbled it up last night & i'm looking forward to the left overs for lunch!

i didn't take pics b/c i just forgot, but you can do it. its really simple. if you don't want everything to be organic, don't worry about it! and i should note that the original recipe calls for chicken but i didn't have any (ooops!) so i just left it out & it was still very filling! next time, i will add it!

3 Cheese (chicken) Spinach pasta bake:

* 12 oz box of wheat penne pasta.
* 9 oz package fresh spinach leaves
* 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces.
* 1 tsp dried basil leaves
* 1 jar organic spaghetti sauce
* 1 (14 oz) can organic diced tomatoes, drained
* 2 oz neufchatel cheese (its the same thing as cream cheese, just with 33% less fat. you can't taste the difference)
* 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
* 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

preheat oven to 375

cook pasta as directed on package, omitting salt & adding spinach to the boiling water the last minute.

(i skipped this next step b/c i didn't use chicken, but i will add it in case you do want to use chicken!)
cook & stir chicken and basil in large nonstick skillet, sprayed with cooking spray on medium-high heat for 3 minutes. stir in spaghetti sauce & tomatoes; bring to boil. simmer on low heat for 3 minutes or until chicken is done. stir in Neufchatel (or cream cheese).

drain pasta mixture. combine with sauce mixture. add 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. spoon into casserole or baking dish.

bake 20 minutes then top with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese & 2 tbsp parmesan cheese. bake 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.

how yum does this look?!

my Jovie girl loved it!!

i promise this is so yummy!!! the spinach gives it a great flavor & its so good for you! i didn't use my entire 9 oz bag of spinach b/c when i added it to the water with the noodles, it seemed like too much. but when it cooked down, it really wasn't much at all. so, next time i'll add it all. i also didn't have basil on hand so i used italian seasonings. i also used a little more than 2 ounces of the cream cheese.

i added up my portion, as best i could. and it came out to about 520 calories. not too bad at all! hope you enjoy it!


just the two of us! said...

the organic kroger brand spaghetti sauce is by far the best spaghetti sauce out there. ryan and i have been buying as much organic as we can too over the past few months and the food tastes so much better! i just made a baked ziti tonight from the biggest loser cookbook that was 350 calories! I'm going to post that recipe soon! i'm proud of you sister! i'm looking forward to your healthy recipe posts!

Brittany said...

sounds delicious!