Thursday, June 21, 2012

Spinach Pesto Alfredo Sauce {healthy-ish}

There are certain vegetables my kiddo lurves. But then there are others I cannot get him to eat. Pretty normal, right? Problem is: I don't want cucumbers or broccoli every single night.

Last night (sorry, my husband took my camera) I made tortellini with alfredo sauce BUT!!! I made it healthier. I do not do "super skinny" alfredo, it's just too good when it is fattening... but I do try to make it a little healthier when I can. This time I snuck in some vegetables.

So my {mom's} recipe for killer Alfredo sauce:

1 stick butter (I use half)
1 brick cream cheese (I buy Neufchatel. It is easier if you let it soften.)
3/4 C. real Parmesan cheese (I don't skimp here)
1 to 1 1/2 C. milk (I use skim. I use 1 1/2 for thinner sauce)
Garlic powder (to taste)

Melt butter. Add milk and Parmesan. Whisk. Whisk in Neufchatel cheese and garlic powder. Cook until bubbly and thickened. Serve over pasta or as a dipping sauce with bread sticks.

Here's the thing. I love to cook and I make up my own recipes or alter other people's recipes more often than not. And I never measure (unless I am baking). So my alterations are all approximate. Use the ingredients I add, but add as much or as little as your {family's} taste dictates.

My alterations to make this Spinach Pesto Alfredo are as follows:

1 C. frozen spinach (Of course, of course. Use fresh if you have it)
2 T. {approximately} dried basil (really I just filled up my palm and dumped it in)
1/2 stick butter
3/4 C. Parmesan
1 C. skim milk
1 brick Neufchatel (softened)
Garlic powder (to taste)
Toasted pine nuts (optional)

Blend milk, Parmesan, basil, and spinach in blender until smooth (feel free to add some toasted pine nuts if you want. I didn't have any so I didn't add any).
Melt butter. Pour in spinach mixture. Whisk until warm. Whisk in Neufchatel cheese and cook until bubbly and thickened. Add garlic powder and more basil if you need it.
Serve over cheese tortellini or fettuccine noodles.

If your kids don't mind green food, they won't know they are eating spinach and the lure of tortellini is enough for my picky eater.

Happy Eating!