As I have mentioned earlier, I am a meal planner. Every weekend I will plan meals for the week and then buy ingredients to ensure I have everything on hand to make each dish. One of the downfalls of this strategy is I often will end up with days worth of leftovers in the fridge.
I know I could build in an occasional pause in the meal plan to eat leftovers, but it is often difficult to predict when that will be needed. I could also eat the leftovers for lunch the next day. My wife rarely eats a full lunch while at work, and my boys rarely pack lunch, so that means it is up to me.
The problem is that I have been trying to eat better and if I can have a lower calorie lunch (salad), I can have a little more flexibility in what I make for dinner. So, leftovers often would mean too much of a good thing.
Some recipes, like the one below, lend themselves to being a good day 2 side dish. Who doesn’t want a scoop of cheesy pasta on the side?
This was a great dish with cheesy goodness!
A huge amount of ingredients.
I had never thought to smooth out cottage cheese. It was very cool.
Cook the pasta.
Saute the veggies.
Add the fresh chopped spinach.
Just about ready for the oven.
Doesn’t that look awesome?
Three-Cheese Chicken Penne Florentine
Makes: 8 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Cooking spray
- 3 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 3 cups chopped fresh spinach
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (16-ounce) carton 2% low-fat cottage cheese
- 4 cups hot cooked penne (about 8 ounces uncooked tube-shaped pasta)
- 2 cups shredded roasted skinless, boneless chicken breast
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
- 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed reduced-fat, reduced-sodium cream of chicken soup, undiluted
Preheat oven to 425°.
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onion, and bell pepper; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add spinach, oregano, and black pepper; sauté 3 minutes or just until spinach wilts.
Place cottage cheese in a food processor; process until very smooth. Combine spinach mixture, cottage cheese, pasta, chicken, 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, milk, and soup in a large bowl. Spoon mixture into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheddar cheese and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.
345 calories 25 % caloriesfromfat 9.7 g fat 5.1 g satfat 3.1 g monofat 1 g polyfat 31.7 g protein 32.9 g carbohydrate 2.1 g fiber 56 mg cholesterol 2 mg iron 532 mg sodium 275 mg calcium