I love Noodles & Co. Love, love, love. But what I don’t love right now is the cost. Every now and then I want to splurge and go get me some Penne Rosa. But at $9 a pop; I just can’t do it. So I started making my own. I think in total it cost about $15 for about 5-6 servings. Even the “big bowl” at Noodles costs $20, and it only feeds 4-5. I try to make larger batches of these meals, that way TAJ has food leftover for those nights where I am training or out at a TNT event.
What you need:
1 bx of Penne pasta
mushrooms I used 1 container of fresh, but one can will do just fine
1 bag of baby spinach
1 container of cherry tomatoes, or 3 medium Roma tomatoes
1 jar of red sauce- get one that has red pepper in it. That way it will have the “kick” that the Noodles version has.
1 container heavy cream UPDATE: You can also sub 1 small can of condensed milk to cut out a large portion of the calories!!
Feta, or fresh parmesan cheese
Extras: I added some red onion, and a tbs of minced garlic for flavor. If you want more kick- add red pepper flakes! Notice my version is without meat- The Amazing Jeff is not a meat-free boyfriend, so I cooked some chicken for him. Add a chibatta roll and you are set!
The instructions are pretty basic, but keep in mind that I am an “eye-baller” and not too strick in the measurements- cook the desired amount of pasta, I used about 3/4 of the box. In a large pan (I used our wok) saute the mushrooms, I used about half the container, and onions (If desired)in a little bit of olive oil, or non-stick cooking spray. Add the tbs of minced garlic (if desired). Slice the tomatoes, and add to the saute mix after about 5 minutes. Slowly stir in the red sauce- I used about half the jar to start. Reduce heat to simmer the sauce with the mushroom, onion, and tomato mix. Then stir in 1/3 to 1/4 cup of the cream and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add 2 handfuls of the baby spinach and stir. Drain pasta and stir in to the sauce mix. Top with feta or parmesan cheese and serve.
I then used the “left-over” ingredients in a few other pasta dinners. Mostly with Bertoli bag dinners. I froze the leftover mushrooms and tomatoes with my bag of frozen veggies that I always have on hand to add to pasta dinners. In that bag is zucchini, eggplant, peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes. I will grab a handful of that mix to add to bag dinners, or put in a saute pan with a little vegetable stock and a tsp of cream to make a sauce and serve it as a side dish.
I will be making this dish this week- and using the left over sauce chicken, and spinach to make chicken parmesan for TAJ, I will have a soy “chicken” patty. Love Morningstar farms italian herb patties. So yummy.
What is your favorite knock-off recipe? Do you have money-saving tips for getting that dining out experience at home on a budget?