Creamy Spinach and Tomato Tortellini

IMG_0738For me, there is nothing like having a full day of free time.  Why? Because on days like that, I can cook. I can spend the day in my kitchen, dancing around to Miley Cyrus’s Party in the USA and cooking.

Other than Christmas morning or spending the day at Disney Land with all the people you love…what is better? The answer is nothing.

So, this weekend when I had a free day I decided to break out my crockpot so that I could multitask and bake a cake while also making something cheesy and yummy for dinner.

The recipe I selected? A creamy spinach and tomato tortellini. Here’s the deets:

Creamy Spinach and Tomato Tortellini

  • 1 bag of Barilla 3 cheese tortellini
  • 1 small bag of spinach
  • 2 cans of diced Italian tomatoes
  • 1 block of low-fat cream cheese
  • 1 box of vegetable broth

Like most crock pot recipes, the instructions go a little something like this: dump all the ingredients in the crock pot, turn it to low, and leave it alone for 5 hours. Bing bang boom. Done.

Now, I will admit something to you. I have an itty bitty crockpot. Perfect for one. Usually that’s not a problem. Unfortunately I didn’t think of this before dumping everything into the pot. Basically, the ingredients filled my little crock pot all the way to the top. So, knowing that pasta expands to double its size during the process of cooking, I knew that the crock pot wasn’t going to work.

IMG_0736Luckily, I have a large stock pot that I transferred everything into. Then, I just put my stove on its lowest setting (I have a gas stove so this meant “make the fire as small as possible without turning it off completely” for me). Then I put a lid on it and walked away.

Of course, since a metal pot is a little different from a crock pot, it cooked a little differently. It only took 2 hours or so and I had to make sure to stir it every once in a while to keep it from sticking. But, it still didn’t require much effort, which was nice.

The end result was delicious. Creamy and cheese-a-licious; plus the tomatoes gave a nice little sweetness to the meal. I thought it was cool that the meal didn’t have any seasonings in it and was still really flavorful. It’s magic!

I will admit that I left mine in a little too long and the pasta got a bit too far past al dente, but I’m sure this would be resolved by using the crock pot or just taking it off the stove a little sooner.

Oh, and by the way – this wasn’t as horribly unhealthy as it may seem. When you use low fat cream cheese it’s not too bad. I’d say it makes 6 good-sized servings and is only about 280(ish) calories per serving. That ain’t too bad!

Happy eating!

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