Mr. Prevention and I in CostCo is a very scary thing.
When we were in Chicago the trip before last, Mr. Prevention ventured out for a break from “family time” and made his way to CostCo. He returned with a ton of light bulbs which he proudly announced were some insanely low price.
This impressed my father…a man who is ALWAYS up for a good deal. (For you long-time readers, remember when he bought the corned beef hash from the dollar store and tried convincing me that it was so economically savvy of him to do so?)
So on our most recent trip to Chicago, we hit up CostCo again because our membership expires this month. While Mr. Prevention was perusing the light bulb section (again), even though our stock is bountiful, I headed straight for produce. And seafood. CostCo carries some awesome seafood!
Knowing that I had several spinach recipes on my menu the week following Thanksgiving (that being no coincidence, folks), I purchased a huge, 2.2 pound (that would be 1 kilogram) bag of baby spinach.
I had every intention of making Green Monster smoothies in the morning, but with my terrible habit of running late, that never happened. But I am proud to report that my 2.2 pounds of spinach was nearly all gone, especially after this recipe.
I’ve been wanting to make this recipe for-ev-er. Since bacon was also a steal at CostCo, I stocked up for our last hoorah before our membership had come to an end.
I used half and half in place of cream, as well as whole wheat pasta. The spinach is packed in this and adds great color, texture, and of course, nutrition. For a meal under 450 calories (for a VERY generous portion!) you’ll think you just hit the jackpot. The best part is, this reheats beautifully.
Don’t make the mistake I made – don’t halve the recipe!
1 lb dry whole wheat penne pasta
1/2 lb (~8 pieces) bacon
1 tsp dried parsley
3/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, diced
2 cups half and half
6 oz baby spinach
1 (14.5 oz) can no salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup (2 oz) Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil; add pasta. Cook pasta 10-14 minutes, until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Cook bacon by layering the slices between a stack of paper towels and microwaving on high in 1-2 minute increments. After several minutes of microwaving, check every 15-20 seconds to be sure the bacon does not burn. Continue cooking until bacon is crisp. Allow to cool, then crumble.
In a small bowl, combine parsley, pepper, salt, garlic powder, onion powder and thyme.
Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for 3-4 minutes, or until softened and translucent. Add garlic and saute 30-60 seconds, until fragrant. Add tomatoes, saute 1 minute. Add half and half and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and add seasoning mixture; stir. Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until slightly thickened and reduced.
Add the spinach to the skillet and stir to encourage wilting. Once wilted, add the pasta and toss to combine. Add half of the bacon, reserving the rest for topping. Serve hot.
Yield: 7 servings (about 1 1/2 cups each)
Nutrition Information (per serving): 441 calories; 17.4 g. fat; 39 mg. cholesterol; 654 mg. sodium; 50.6 g. carbohydrate; 6.1 g. fiber; 18.6 g. protein
Result: This was really good! I regretted halving the recipe as there wasn’t but 1 serving leftover, so I posted the recipe in its entirety above. Just be sure you use a LARGE skillet (a pot would be fine, to0). The spice combination works so well (don’t forget the black pepper!) and I love the tomatoes and spinach in this. I was amazed at how well this reheated — I actually think I preferred it as leftovers after the half and half mixture had time to seep into the pasta. Delicious!
December 5th…seriously? Hard to believe…especially given the spring-like weather! I guess the only think I’m looking forward to as the days pass by is 12/8 when my cell is due for an upgrade and I have my eye on the Droid Razr Maxx HD — I heard the battery life is as good as they say…maybe even better. Any feedback on that phone?