Hang in there, it's almost Friday! I don't know about you, but it's been quite a week for me. I guess every week has its challenges in one form or another, but this week was over-loaded! If your week has been tough, too, here's a recipe for you that is so quick and easy (and of course, cheap and healthy!) that dinner will be on the table in two shakes of a goat's tail and then you can relax for the rest of your evening. Yes, I said goat's tail.
I found this recipe for Creamy Lemon Pasta with Chicken in the magazine All You , which is available only at Walmart. You should check it out sometime if you already haven't because it's very practical for people like me (and presumably, you, if you're reading my blog) who like to enjoy life but don't like to spend a lot of money on it. Even the clothing recommendations are from places like Target, Walmart, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, etc. See why I like it?
I'm glad I found this recipe because I had some goat cheese in my fridge that I wanted to use before it went bad. I was SOOOO excited when I went to my local warehouse store a couple weeks ago and found an entire pound of goat cheese for $4.49!! Usually, a tiny 4oz little chub costs that price, so it was an awesome deal. Goat cheese and other goat dairy products are prohibitively expensive most of the time, but I would love to include more of them in our diet.
It is said that goat's milk is easier to digest than cow's milk, meaning that it's easier on your digestive tract and also that its nutrients are more easily absorbed and used by your body. People who are lactose intolerant or allergic to cow's milk can sometimes have goat's milk as a healthy substitute. The majority of peoples in the world, by the way, have a goat-based dairy system, unlike our American cow's dairy system. I imagine that has more to do with practicality and cost than health concerns, but it's still interesting.
I actually didn't change anything in the recipe other than substituting carrots for the peas. I chopped the carrots and added them in to cook with the pasta. That way, they were just the right tenderness for a pasta salad: neither crunchy nor mushy. If you don't have goat cheese on hand, you can try Feta cheese, Greek yogurt (Greek yogurt is considerably thicker than regular. To make your own, strain regular plain yogurt through a strainer lined with cheesecloth or paper towel.) or cream cheese. The cream cheese won't be as flavorful, but it will be the right creamy consistency.
I used Wacky Mac (vegetable spiral pasta) for the pasta, but you can use any sturdy short pasta noodle. I love how the Wacky Mac adds a lot of color I also topped the pasta with some freshly grated Parmesan Cheese, which added a touch of extra flavor, and also made it elegant enough to serve at a dinner party or special event.
This recipe is so QUICK, it could even make it to Rachael Ray's 30-minute meals show! Make the sauce and dice the chicken while the pasta cooks, mix it all together and you're done. You can make it a complete meal by adding in some more vegetables (tomatoes would be yummy!), or serving it with some type of bread and fresh slices of fruit.
This is an EASY recipe: if you can boil pasta, you can do it! If you use frozen vegetables, no peeling or chopping is involved. Shredding the chicken will take a few minutes, but that's the most labor involved here.
Mine was CHEAP because of the great price I got on the goat cheese. Check out your local warehouse and see if they have the same deal. If they don't, try Trader Joe's, which has a great selection of cheeses at very reasonable prices. I know I have bought goat cheese there before. And I like to buy Wacky Mac when grocery stores have triple coupon sales, because there are often $0.75 coupons are available, which usually makes the pasta free (or incredibly inexpensive).
As for HEALTHY, I've already detailed the benefits of goat cheese. Now that I know a good inexpensive source for it, I'm going to be on the lookout for more goat cheese recipes! You might balk at the cream, but 1.)I don't believe cream is all that bad for you (another post for another day), and 2.) it's only 1/4 cup spread out over many servings, so each individual serving has a minimal amount. I could use a healthier pasta, such as Barilla Plus or whole wheat, but at least the Wacky Mac has trace amounts of vegetable in it!
This recipe is part of the Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life as Mom . Check out all the other quick fix dinners for more inspiration!