Ravioli With Pesto Cream Sauce for National Pasta Day

It’s National Pasta Day today and in honor of the occasion, here is an easy recipe for ravioli with pesto cream sauce that I made the other night, which is a true keeper!

I’m always on the lookout for ingredients at the grocery store that I can dress up and make into a low-cost, semi-gourmet meal that the whole family enjoys. This week, I chose a frozen bag of store-brand mini cheese ravioli for about $5. I also grabbed some fresh pesto sauce that I could use with the dish and for other tasty meals and snacks during the rest of the week.

There is something so comforting about ravioli–they’re like mini packages filled with a cheesy surprise inside. And when combined with a creamy, basil and garlic pesto sauce this dish is a satisfying meal sure to please even the pickiest eaters.

I’ve found that mini ravioli is a good choice for the kids. It’s a perfect bite for them and easy to either stab with a fork or pick up by hand to devour. But the best thing about these little pasta gems is that they cook so quickly! I like to add a little broccoli too to this dish to round it out into a complete meal.

This is all you need to do:

Gather the ingredients:
-1 pound of frozen mini cheese ravioli
-3 tablespoons of pesto
-1 cup of broccoli flowerets
-3/4 cup of 2% milk
-1 tablespoon of flour
-1/4 cup of cold water
-Shredded Parmesan cheese
-Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a sauce pot (that coordinates with a steamer pot on top) of water to a boil. Add the broccoli to the steamer and place on top of the boiling water with the lid on top. Let the broccoli steam for about three minutes until it is bright green. Then, remove the steamer pot of broccoli and set aside to combine with the ravioli later.

Add the ravioli to the boiling water, stir and let boil for the recommended amount of time. While the ravioli are cooking, add the pesto sauce to a large skillet on medium heat and allow it to start cooking a bit. Add the flour to the cold water and whisk until there are no lumps. The mixture will be used to thicken the sauce. Next, add the milk to the pesto sauce in the skillet and whisk until combined. Bring to a light boil. Then add enough of the water/flour mixture to the sauce to thicken it to the consistency your prefer. Add salt and pepper to suite your taste. Then all you need to do is drain the ravioli and add it along with the broccoli to the skillet, add a handful of parmesan cheese and toss. Manga!

Flat Bread Pizza In a Flash

Flat bread pizza is a family favorite for us. In fact, when my husband and I feel like a “happy hour” experience on a Friday night but don’t have a babysitter, we head out to a local chain restaurant with the kids and order two or three flat bread pizzas on the cheap and have a Friday night feast (with a little “happy” glass of wine for each of us on the side!).

There is something so appealing and simple about flat bread pizza. Of course, it’s all about the crust. Thin and crispy and so easy to eat for the kids. Topped with simple ingredients such as olive oil, garlic, thinly-sliced tomato and basil, this treat can be eaten for lunch, as a snack or for dinner.

The trick for me was how I would go about making the crust. Until I ran into packaged flat breads at the store! These gems come in all varieties and when I saw them I opted for the whole grain, low-fat, low-calorie kind. They are only 90 calories per flat bread and they’re pretty darn big!

So today, I couldn’t resist making a pizza for lunch. I’m trying to cut some calories, so instead of starting off with basting the whole flat bread with olive oil I opted for spraying both sides with Pam spray to get the crisp I wanted. Here’s what else I did:

-Heat the oven to 450 degrees
-Gather ingredients:
-One Roma tomato, very thinly sliced
-Six leaves of basil from the garden, chopped
-One clove of garlic minced
-A handful of mozzarella cheese
-A sprinkle of shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
-A sprinkle of crushed red pepper
-Salt and pepper to taste

After spraying both sides of the flat bread with Pam spray, I spread the minced garlic evenly over the entire surface of one side of the bread. Next, I sprinkled on the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses in addition to the basil.

Then I placed the thinly-sliced tomatoes around the pizza, sprinkled with salt and pepper and placed it onto a sheet pan in the oven for no more than 10 minutes. Make sure to check often because it bakes so fast and could burn! After removing from the oven I sprinkled some crushed red pepper on top, cut into four slices and indulged in a small piece of heaven! And overall, this lunch was probably no more than 200 calories! That’s what I’m talking about! And now I think we might have Friday night “Happy Hour” at home this week!