Summer is here and I am ready! As a family of educators we endure the crazy schedule during school year knowing that summer is coming. It is amazing how much one can accomplish when there are no papers to grade, concerts to plan/conduct, and of course all the parenting things that go along with having kids in school too! I already have one of my summer projects done with all this “extra” time I have now…cleaning and reorganizing the pantry!
I am happy to be enjoying preparing family dinner again now that I have more time. I love sitting around the table with my family (it is one of the reasons I have this blog!) but honestly as the school year progressed, I dreaded making dinner. I was becoming the queen of “throw down dinners”. You know, the ones you buy in the freezer section and throw into a skillet and about 10 minutes later, dinner is served! We actually enjoyed many of these dinners. The prep and clean-up were easy enough to where I didn’t have to spend an hour or more in the kitchen after teaching all day.
Tonight I made “Creamy Tomato and Spinach Pasta” and it earned four smiley faces! It will definitely make it into our “school-schedule” friendly recipes too as it was quick and easy to put together. I plan to have my girls make it with me the next time so they can learn to make dinner during the school year. It would be easy to double if you need more than 4 servings. Here is how I made the recipe for my family:
Creamy Tomato and Spinach Pasta
Bring a large pot of water to boil and add:
- 2 cups of penne pasta
Cook until tender and then drain the pasta. While the pasta is cooking:
- dice 1 small onion
- mince 2 cloves of garlic
In a large skillet heat
- 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
Add to the heated oil the diced onion and minced garlic and cook over medium-low heat until softened and transparent.
Add to the skillet and stir to combine:
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- ground pepper, to taste
Now add to the skillet and stir to combine:
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup of water
Turn the heat down to low and add:
- 2 Tablespoons of cream cheese
Blend the cream cheese into the sauce and then add
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan
Stir until the Parmesan is melted. Then add
- 4-5 ounces of fresh spinach
Stir the spinach gently into the sauce until it has wilted.
Add the pasta and stir until it is well coated in the sauce.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.
I served it with a fruit salad and we all loved it.
It took me about 30 minutes to make the dish and was easy to clean up after dinner.
I’m looking forward to many relaxing and enjoyable dinners this summer!