April 25, 2013

Cream Cheese Lasagna Skillet

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I don’t know about you, but most of my recipe adventures in the kitchen happen most often when I’m out of an ingredient.  Such was the case when I came up with this recipe.  I had promised my family lasagna one evening.  Normally, I always have the ingredients for lasagna on hand—lasagna noodles, tomato sauce, cottage cheese, and mozzarella.  On this particular day, I thought I was all prepared to go into the kitchen that evening and start on the lasagna for that night’s dinner.  Lo and behold, I was out of both lasagna noodles and cottage cheese.
Darn.

I really didn’t want to have to come up with something else for dinner because
a.) I already had everything else out that I needed to make lasagna
b.) I promised and wanted to deliver, and
c.) I REALLY didn’t feel like coming up with a different plan for dinner.
So I began looking around my fridge, freezer, and pantry to find either something else for dinner, or a possible substitute for the ingredients I was missing.
As always, I had a variety of pasta.  I figured I could just mix the sauce with some other type of pasta, top it with cheese and call it a day.
Then I noticed I had some cream cheese in the freezer.
Hmmm…
Could it be possible to replace cottage cheese with cream cheese?
I figured I’d give it a whirl.  And since I didn’t have flat lasagna noodles, I just decided to turn it into a skillet lasagna. 
Once I had it all together, I served it up to critical acclaim (ha!)  The kids loved.  My husband loved it.  I enjoyed it as well.  It turned out to be a successful lasagna-like dinner, and I think everyone appreciated my efforts to keep our menu as close to what I had planned as possible.
Ingredients:
  • 1 pound of your favorite uncooked pasta—I used rotini.  Penne would work well too.
  • 1 pound of ground beef or turkey browned and drained
  • 28 ounces of your favorite spaghetti sauce—I use my spaghetti sauce recipe
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 8 ounce package of cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
Instructions:
  1. In a large skillet, combine the pasta, spaghetti sauce, meat, and the water.  Bring it to a boil and cook until the pasta is tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the cream cheese, garlic powder, and parmesan cheese and whip together for about two minutes until the cream cheese is whipped and the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  3. Add dollops of the cream cheese mixture evenly on top of the pasta mixture.  Top with the mozzarella cheese.
  4. Cover and heat until the mozzarella melts.  I place my skillet into the broiler for a couple minutes to brown the top a bit. 
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