The goals for dinner last night were:
1. Fast and easy. I didn't really have time to be cooking.
2. Uses only ingredients already in my kitchen. This wasn't much, since I just got back from a stint out of town and have not found the time for grocery shopping yet. I certainly didn't want to swing by the grocery store just for this recipe.
3. Something full of carbs, preferably pasta. I had chicken breasts in the freezer, but wasn't really feeling the chicken thing.
An ingredients search on allrecipes.com yielded http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/PHILLY-Shrimp-in-Love-Pasta/Detail.aspx, which seemed to fit that criteria. Not a lot of ingredients, not a lot of preparation, no chopping or dicing. I had shrimp in the freezer and diced tomatoes and an unopened box of linguine in the cupboard, and I always have cream cheese in stock. I didn't have spinach, but it didn't look that important for this dish.
To save on ink in my printer, I figured I'd give that new app a try. Still, I almost never take a recipe from that site without writing down some recommendations from reviewers, so I decided to do that on a post-it note since I don't think the app will let you do that.
My only real modification was to saute some garlic in butter before adding in all my ingredients. I was surprised that there was no garlic in the original recipe and didn't hesitate to add it in.
Next, I thawed some shrimp that I had in the freezer begging to be used.
The recipe said to saute the shrimp (already cooked) with a can of diced tomatoes (I used Italian style) and cream cheese spread. That isn't exactly what I had:
Too bad. Wasn't about to back down now! Some reviewers said that their sauce was too thick, so maybe this would be a good thing. Cream cheese is my favorite secret ingredient so I was pretty curious to see if whipped cream cheese worked just as well.
It looked pretty nasty in the pan at first, at least while the cream cheese was solid and the water from the tomatoes was getting in everything, but it didn't take long before I had a beautiful, creamy mixture.
I was supposed to mix in some spinach at this point, but I didn't have any. So I went ahead and tossed it with my linguine and served it with some broccoli that I'd boiled briefly in the leftover pasta water and then sauteed with olive oil, garlic, salt, and some red pepper flakes.
The end result:
The flavor was soft and subtle, but it was definitely there. And I made an interesting discovery: my second helping was better than the first, since letting the food cool off a bit allowed the sauce to thicken and become creamier. I will definitely make this again for myself sometime, but I'm not sure I'll make it for hubby because something tells me that he wouldn't be a big fan of this meal.
Well, what do you know. I accomplished all three of my goals. Fast, used what I had, and lots of carbs. Definitely a success.
Even better, I have leftovers for lunch.
Recipe to appear in my Tastebook shortly. Click on the widget on the right to check it out.