Valentine’s day is less than 2 weeks away. I’m still not sure how we got to February so quickly but here we are. Every year on Valentine’s Day my husband prepares a delicious dinner for me and this year will be no different. My favorite Valentine’s Day dinners usually always consist of pasta and cheese. Who the first person was to prepare pasta and cheese together deserves a Nobel Peace Prize. Okay, well maybe not a peace prize, but they deserve something! Pasta and cheese are two of my food weaknesses and they’re two stars of this Bacon Kale and mushroom pasta.
If I could cut cheese and pasta out of my life I would have lost all the weight I still want to lose years ago. Ha! But who needs that type of negativity in their life? Who wants to live in a world without cheese and pasta? Exactly. Which is why I bring you this delicious and equally easy Bacon, Kale and Mushroom Pasta recipe. Of course the base is cheese and pasta but I added some kale and mushrooms to balance it out. Ok well maybe not balance the dish but you will feel less guilty if you decide to eat a serving or five.
This Bacon Kale and Mushroom recipe came about on accident if I’m honest. We were sitting around and having one of those nights where we just scavenged around the house for dinner since I hadn’t planned anything. Dinner time rolled around and everyone had eaten except for me. I raided the refrigerator and the pantry, and came back with foods to make this pasta. As I’ve stated earlier you can’t really go wrong with cheese and pasta. So once I realized I had these two items I knew I would be able to make at least a basic pasta dish that would satisfy my hunger for the evening.
What I ended up throwing together that night is now one of my favorite quick meals to make for myself. I haven’t made this dish for my family yet because my husband hates mushrooms and I make it spicy which means my little ones can’t eat it yet. Sure I could remove the mushrooms and the spice but who wants to live that life either? Just kidding! It’s on my meal plan to make this upcoming week with the modifications.
My favorite part about cheese and pasta dishes are you can really adjust it to any way you see fit. If you don’t like mushrooms, kale, or bacon? No problem! Just substitute these veggies and protein for whatever veggies and/or protein you do like. Either way, it will be an enjoyable dish.
Another tip for those of us who are looking to watch our weight and eat a little better these days: add more vegetables. If your dish consists of at least 50% vegetables then you know you’re keeping the cheese and pasta intake a little lower. It’s a great way to enjoy your food and not feel guilty for enjoying it so much afterwards. As if I haven’t sold you enough on why this dish is a favorite did I mention it takes less than 30 minutes to make? The longest part is boiling your noodles and baking your bacon.
This Valentine’s Day impress you significant other with this colorful, flavor packed, Bacon Kale and Mushroom pasta recipe. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Bacon Kale & Mushroom Pasta
A quick and delicious recipe packed with tons of flavor.
- 2 cups Penne pasta (dry)
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil (separated)
- 3-4 Bacon Strips (cooked)
- 1/4 cup Red Onion (diced)
- 4-5 White Mushrooms (sliced)
- 1 handful Kale (roughly chopped)
- 1/2 cup 5 Italian Cheese (shredded) by Sargento
- 1/4 cup Chicken Stock
- 3 Tbsp Half & Half (or heavy cream)
- salt *to taste
- fresh black pepper *to taste
- red pepper flakes *to taste
Pre-heat your oven and bake your bacon according to the package instructions. (Baking your bacon makes it crispy instead of rubbery)
Fill a medium sized pot with water, add a tbsp of olive oil and pinch of salt to the water. Turn the heat to med-high. When the water starts boiling add your pasta to the water. (Your pasta will cook for about 5-7 minutes or until al dente)
In a frying pan, heat your other tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat, and sautee your diced onions and sliced mushrooms in the pan for 3-4 minutes or until your desired softness.
Throw your kale into the frying pan with your onions and mushrooms for the last minute or two so that it remains semi crisp. Add your seasonings to the vegetables in the pan and adjust to your taste.
Once your pasta is done cooking drain all of the water, add your pasta back to the pot, add your chicken stock, half and half, and cheese to the pasta. Turn your pot on very low heat and continuously stir your pasta to melt all the cheese and avoid burning.
Add your sauteed veggies to the pasta pot and mix to combine the ingredients well.
Take your cooked bacon strips, break them into inch sized pieces and mix into your pasta.
Adjust any seasonings you would like to add to the dish and enjoy!