Everyone falls off track once in a while, right? Whether it’s work, exercise, sleep, or something else, there are times when we don’t do what’s best for ourselves. For me, lately it’s been cooking meals at home. The thought of making my own food has been unappealing, and instead I wanted to eat out all the time. And not just eat out, but to order some of the least healthy items on the menu.
This was all fine and dandy until last week, when I made chocolate cookies and a cheesecake, ate many delectable things in New York (the chicken liver and foie gras mousse at Balthazar…oh my God), and consumed a sandwich bigger than my face that was entirely covered in melted cheese. It got to the point where one morning, I had trouble finishing my Valrhona chocolate doughnut from the Doughnut Plant. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I powered through. But guys. This has never happened before. Not being able to finish a doughnut? Who was I?!
In all seriousness, after that week I felt physically unwell. I’m not just talking about tight pants, I’m talking about feeling lethargic and not being able to concentrate on anything. I really do believe that when I eat poorly my energy levels go down, so I decided to start cooking again. And it helped. But because I was so used to eating rich foods, my taste buds were still demanding that sort of stuff. So I made this pasta, which is creamy but not too full of fat due to the use of cream cheese instead of heavy cream. And thanks to the large amount of spinach, mushrooms, and asparagus that go into it, you’re getting a decent serving of vegetables as well. So here’s to getting back on track, feeling peppier, and (hopefully) looser skinny jeans!
P.S. Check out the pumpkin tree I got at Trader Joe’s. I am simultaneously in love with it and a little weirded out by it.
Creamy Mushroom Spinach Asparagus Pasta
Adapted from Shutterbean
This is a pretty flexible recipe, so feel free the change things up according to your taste. It’s also easy to make it lower-fat by using light cream cheese and skim milk, which is what I did.
8 oz. whole wheat penne or other short, ribbed pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
3-5 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1/4 lb. asparagus, chopped into 2-inch segments
4 cups spinach
4 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package instructions.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are softened, about 5 minutes. Add asparagus and cook 2 more minutes. Add cream cheese and milk and cook, stirring often, until boiling. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Drain pasta and pour over sauce. Mix to combine. Serve immediately.
Note on reheating: Creamy sauces tend not to reheat well in the microwave, which usually separates the sauce into an oily mess. I would reheat this over medium heat on the stove. If you must reheat this in the microwave, do it in 30-second increments.