Fast and Easy Cheesy Enchilada Stove-Top Pasta
Seems like “busy” and “dinnertime” have become best friends lately. We are rushed from appointments to lessons to practice to complete assignments and tweak projects. Throw in some pretty weather that keeps you outside more than in and the ever present desire to stare at a blank wall for a few moments when life starts to become too packed ((oh that’s just me?!?)) – and dinnertime with a home-cooked meal can become nearly impossible.
For me life is about multi-tasking and shortcuts. If I am not doing at least two things at once, then that can mean only one thing – I am sick. You know exactly what I mean, I am sure. Life is busy, good, fun, sometimes stressful – BUSY. Cooking “good” food often feels like a luxury that just never seems to fit into the day. Sometimes pizza delivery or drive-thru tacos really are the only option ((the kids LOVE it when that happens, ha)).
I have found the key to surviving this daily dinner dilemma is just a bit of purposeful pantry preparation ((how do you like my alliteration?!)). I always try to have
- jarred tomatoes,
- dried pasta,
- jarred salsa,
- block cheese,
- cream cheese,
- some fresh herbs,
- celery and
- fresh meat it always a bonus
One of my favorite mealtime shortcuts is keep some pre-made seasoning blends on hand. I make a few batches of taco seasoning and enchilada sauce mix on a rare day that is less than crazy and keep them in jars. That little activity is a life saver. Coincidentally, this recipe is the result of that preparation!
This recipe comes together really fast — like in the amount of time it takes to boil pasta ((about 15 minutes)).
While the pasta is boiling, mix together the enchilada sauce ((the complete recipe can be found HERE — or you can look for me at the upcoming Farm Girl Fair ((9/24 — Norman)) and buy some pre-made mixes. Once the sauce thickens and is at a low boil, add a block of room temperature cream cheese and stir until it melts. ((If you didn’t have time to bring the cream cheese up to room temp, that’s okay! Cube the cheese and stir it in anyway, it just may be a little clumpy.))
By this time, the pasta should be finished cooking to that perfect al dente. Drain the pasta, return it to the pot and pour the cream cheese enchilada sauce over the steaming hot pasta.
Sprinkle with some shredded Monterey Jack cheese and stir to combine.
If your pantry cooperates – you may be lucky enough to have the ingredients for some fresh pico! If so, chop up some fresh tomato, onion and cilantro ((I left out the jalapeño – because this sauce is spicy enough on it’s own)). Sprinkle with a little extra salt & pepper to taste, give it one last stir and serve!
With this meal on the dinner table, it appears — and tastes — as though you had all the time in the world. Oh and you look like a rockstar to your fam!
- 1 pound of dried pasta, I used mezzi pacchetti - cooked according to package instructions
- 1 batch of homemade enchilada sauce, made according to the recipe*
- 1 8 oz block of cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 c Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
- 1 c fresh pico**
- s & p to taste
- Starting with a saucepan of homemade enchilada sauce ((see recipe link)) & cooked pasta, bring the sauce to a low boil. Add cream cheese to the enchilada sauce, stirring until blended.
- Pour the cream cheese enchilada sauce over the drained pasta, add Monterey Jack cheese and pico. Sean with salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir to combine & serve.
- Serves 8
- * The recipe can be found through the clickable link attached to this recipe or in the body of this post - or substitute two 10 oz cans of enchilada sauce
- ** 2 diced roma tomatoes, 1/4 c diced white onion and 1/4 c chopped cilantro -- s & p to taste