Tuesday, December 29, 2015

One Pot Wonder-Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta Bake and Frugal But Festive Ideas to Celebrate New Years Eve

Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta Bake
Cook's notes: This dish really is so easy. You just boil the pasta, drain the water, add the pasta right back to the hot pot. Mix in all the remaining ingredients and give it a really good toss until a creamy, basily sauce forms. It’s like magic. Cooked shrimp or cooked cubed chicken can be added as options.
Recipe adapted from halfbakedharvest.com

  • 1 lb. fettuccine 
  • 1 TB. butter
  • 1 cup chunky basil pesto-(store bought)
  • 1-2 (8 oz.) jars of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 1/3 cup enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, oil drained,patted dry on a paper towel
  • 8 oz. sheep's milk feta cheese, crumbled (may sub regular feta, but the sheep's milk is creamier)
  • 6 oz. fontina cheese, finely diced or shredded
  • 2 oz. low fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup low fat cream 
  • salt + pepper
  • 6 oz. (or more) fresh low fat mozzarella shredded or cheese, sliced
  • handful each of fresh basil and baby spinach
  • tom-tom (grape/cherry) tomatoes, halved, for serving
  • 3 cups diced cooked chicken or 3 cups cooked shrimp (depends on their size) 
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large stock pot or Dutch Oven of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta to al dente. Drain the pasta and add it right back to the hot pot. To the pot add the butter, pesto, pasta sauce, enchilada sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, sheep's milk feta cheese, fontina cheese, cream cheese, heavy cream, fresh basil and spinach. 
  • Season with pepper and a tiny pinch of salt. Using a large wooden spoon toss everything together until a creamy sauce has formed, about 3-5 minutes. Add in shrimp or chicken. 
  • If pot is not oven safe, transfer the pasta to a 9x13 inch baking dish. Place the mozzarella slices (or shredded mozzarella) on top of the pasta.
  • Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.
  • Remove from the oven and top with fresh basil.  Allow to sit five minutes and then serve with fresh tom-tom tomatoes.

there are ways to be frugal yet still be festive for New Year's Eve. 
Visit your local thrift store and buy some inexpensive clocks. You can then gather all of the clocks along with some glitter or gold and silver ball ornaments onto a platter (get a faux silver platter from the dollar store if you don’t already have one). It makes the perfect New Year’s Eve centerpiece.
This New Year’s Eve Party Favor from Create Craft Love (includes the FREE printable) is such cute take on the kissing at midnight thing! To make it part of your decor, you can arrange these in a basket with a large bow to greet guests.
Provide each guest with a bag that has a different time on the front. At the appointed hour a designated bag is opened and an activity is announced. Inside the bag are materials needed for the activity.
Countdown Balloons
Fill several balloons with helium and tie them in a row to help mark the hours as you countdown to midnight. This is especially helpful for a party with kids who keep asking “How much longer?” :-) You could also do these balloons without helium and just tape them to a door or wall. Pop one each hour, on the hour, until midnight!

1 comment:

  1. I love all of these ideas, even if I'm not planning a New Year's Eve party. Several years ago, I fell in love with the artsy look of vintage alarm clocks. I have four in my "collection" thus far...