Thursday, 7 May 2015

CHEESY SALMON PASTA: A realistic 15 minute dinner for a busy school night

Now I'm definitely not an amazing cook but I do try and family life has taught me that sometimes you need to be clever and be able to come up with a family dinner in 15 minutes flat.

I don't think I have mentioned before but I am a SAHM who also works part time in the evening so our schedule can be a little crazy some week nights.  It's a tag team affair but dinner has to be simple and above all fast!

I thought I would begin to share with you some of our everyday family favorites that are budget friendly, can be whipped up in no time and always give me smiley happy kids (and Daddy) with full tummies.

I'm telling you, ANYONE can make this meal, its very easy and is done in 15 minutes flat.

Salmon and Cream Cheese Pasta (aka 'Cheesy Salmon Pasta' in our house)

What you will need:
2 Salmon fillets
About 250-300g of pasta shapes
A 200g tub of cream cheese with garlic and herbs
Around 150ml of milk
Green vegetables, ideally broccoli and green beans
Dill (optional)

First things first, I whack on the kettle to boil the water for the pasta.  Pop it in the pan to cook as soon as the water is boiled as the rest will be ready by the time the pasta is done. About half a standard 500g bag or so should do and we use twists or shells but it doesn't matter.

Next I chop a head of broccoli into a microwaveable dish and add a handful of trimmed green beans or sugar snap peas (or any other green veg).  Add a tablespoon of water and cover with cling film ready to steam for 2.5 mins in the microwave on full (ours is 800 watt).

Then I grab a pan and add a few glugs (maybe 150ml) of milk and a whole tub of garlic and herb cream cheese.  I use a light Aldi variety but any would do.  Careful, as this is the tricky (ish) part.  This needs to be warmed on a low to medium heat so that the cheese melts into the milk.  Please don't let it get too hot or boil or it will split and look bad (still tastes good though)!

Now put 2 Salmon fillets into a microwaveable tupperware (with a lid) along with a tablespoon of milk and a sprinkle of Dill (if you have it).  Microwave on full for 1.5-2 mins (yes that really is long enough) with one corner of the tub slightly open.  Being totally honest I think those tubs you can get with Chinese takeaway in work best for this.

Grate some cheese, about 100g I think and add half to the cream cheese sauce, remove it from the heat and stir in until it has melted.  I also add some black pepper here.  The rest of the cheese is what my kids refer to as 'sprinkle cheese' for the adding at the table.

Finally drain off the veg and snip into small pieces with scissors.  Drain off the pasta and mix with the veg back into the pasta pan.  Pour over the cream cheese sauce and mix.

Then pop your cooked salmon fillets out onto a board, gently remove the skin (trying not to burn yourself) and chop up.  Add this to the pasta pan and give it one last stir.

Now call the hungry troops to the table, you're done! 

This feeds our family of 2 adults and 2 children with a leftover portion to go into the fridge.

I made this last night and we happened to have lightly smoked salmon fillets (as they were on offer) and I have to say it was really lovely and a must try, plus a also added a handful of sweetcorn to the sauce to mix it up.

I also have to make a teeny apology for the pictures as I took them of our leftovers the next day and not our initial dinner (due to the need for speed factor on the night I forgot).  The actual dinner is very saucy and creamy and gorgeous but as with all pasta dishes the leftovers loose a bit of their sauce factor.

I hope you give it a try and let me know how you found it.


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