Sun Dried Tomato Corn Chowder with Crispy Goat Cheese Croutons.

We’re taking corn chowder to a whole new level today. Another summer day, another soup! I don’t know how these soup recipes continue to fall on close-to-100 degree degrees, but if it’s too warm, put this in your pocket for next week. The flavors are incredible, it’s comforting and will make you so, so happy. […]

The post Sun Dried Tomato Corn Chowder with Crispy Goat Cheese Croutons. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

We’re taking corn chowder to a whole new level today.

sun dried tomato corn chowder with crispy goat cheese

Another summer day, another soup!

I don’t know how these soup recipes continue to fall on close-to-100 degree degrees, but if it’s too warm, put this in your pocket for next week. The flavors are incredible, it’s comforting and will make you so, so happy.

corn chowder base

This also must be the summer of sun dried tomatoes and corn for me! I made the lasagna skillet last month and loved the flavor profile so much that I decided to carry it into chowder.

I love how the tomatoes are slightly sweet and tart. And I also adore the texture. These little bits add so much to the chowder that the depth of flavor is wild. 

creamy corn chowder in a pot

A few years ago I made this beer corn chowder with chicken and it is a huge favorite here on the blog. As much as I love eating corn on the cob almost daily come late July, I also love finding other uses for it.

That’s the best right?

And even though Eddie isn’t a huge soup person (unless it’s, like, chili), he does like chowder. This recipe is so good that I’ll use it as a starter to our meals, because leftovers are wonderful. I’ll serve with sliced tomatoes and blue cheese on the side, maybe with some grilled chicken. Or a big house salad! Or of course, it can be your entire meal too. 

Because the toppings are what MAKE the bowl.

crispy fried goat cheese

The base is made with a few chopped sun dried tomatoes. Also, lots of corn and potato cubes too! Then I use my favorite soup creamy method – make a slurry with half and half – and stir that in to bring it all together. 

It’s silky and comforting and melts in your mouth!

sun dried tomato corn chowder

And of course, let’s not forget the crispy goat cheese croutons. I first shared crispy goat cheese here in 2011. I feel like it really had a moment back then – topping salads and even served as an appetizer. Then I forgot about it, like I do with many other trends.

Thankfully I remembered JUST IN TIME for this soup.

The crispy, melty goat cheese is a little extra here. You don’t NEED it, but you need it. You know? It does add another step to the recipe, but it also fancifies things. And since we can barely go anywhere these days or do anything super fun, making fancy goat cheese to put on top of my corn chowder is how I’m making it through. 

Try it! 

sun dried tomato corn chowder with crispy goat cheese

Creamy, comforting summer in a bowl!

sun dried tomato corn chowder with crispy goat cheese

Sun Dried Tomato Corn Chowder

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Sun Dried Tomato Corn Chowder

This incredible corn chowder is made with sun dried tomatoes and topped with crispy, melty goat cheese. It's incredible and perfect with fresh herbs!
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author How Sweet Eats

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup chopped sun dried tomatoes, drain if they are in oil, plus more for topping
  • 2 cups corn kernels, cut fresh from the cob, plus extra for topping
  • 1 ½ cups chopped yukon gold potatoes
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped chives

goat cheese croutons

  • 1 11 ounce log goat cheese (cold, right from the fridge)
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • olive oil, for pan frying

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Stir in the onions and garlic with a pinch of salt and pepper and smoked paprika and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped sun dried tomatoes and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the corn, potatoes and stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce it to a simmer and cover, cooking until the potatoes are fork tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • While the soup simmers, make the goat cheese croutons. Slice the goat cheese into rounds - this can be as many rounds as you want, but I do 6 or so. Place the flour on one plate, the beaten egg on another and the breadcrumbs on a third. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Dip each goat cheese piece in flour, then in egg, then in breadcrumbs. Place it in the hot oil and cook for 1ish minute per side until it’s golden and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper towel to remove excess grease.
  • In a shaker bottle, add the flour to the half and half and shake well until it is combined. Slowly pour it into the soup mixture while stirring. Simmer the mixture for 5 minutes – it should thicken up. Taste and season additionally if needed. Stir in most of the chives, reserving a few for topping.
  • Serve, topping the bowl with extra sun dried tomatoes, fresh corn off the cob and a goat cheese crouton!

sun dried tomato corn chowder with crispy goat cheese

I’ll also take a plate of crispy goat cheese please!

The post Sun Dried Tomato Corn Chowder with Crispy Goat Cheese Croutons. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

During the lockdown, I did what everyone else did: Went through all my kitchen cabinets, cleaning them out, and finding little bits and bags and jars of stuff that I should have used a long time ago, but didn’t. You did do that – right? Mine was quite a purge. I’ve had so many things from travels, friends, food companies, houseguests, strangers, etc. that my…

During the lockdown, I did what everyone else did: Went through all my kitchen cabinets, cleaning them out, and finding little bits and bags and jars of stuff that I should have used a long time ago, but didn’t.

You did do that – right?

Mine was quite a purge. I’ve had so many things from travels, friends, food companies, houseguests, strangers, etc. that my drawers and cabinets were out-of-control. I posted some pictures on social media of the things that I appeared to be running low on, but that I was anxious to use up, and people, kindly, offered to send me more…which would have negated the whole idea of the purge. The time had come to use things up.

Continue Reading Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto...

One Pot Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

Y’all know I love one pot pasta meals, and I know a lot of you do too. They’re quick, easy, and pack a lot of flavor into only one little dish that needs to be cleaned at the end. Creamy one pot pastas, in particular, have become my go-to comfort food. This time I paired […]

The post One Pot Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Y’all know I love one pot pasta meals, and I know a lot of you do too. They’re quick, easy, and pack a lot of flavor into only one little dish that needs to be cleaned at the end. Creamy one pot pastas, in particular, have become my go-to comfort food. This time I paired the tangy flavor of sun dried tomatoes with garlic and Parmesan for a simple but indulgent One Pot Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta.

Originally posted 11-1-2015, updated 5-17-2020.

Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta with Garlic and Parmesan

Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta in a deep skillet with tongs, a bowl with garlic and dry pasta on the side

Changes to the Original Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Recipe:

Many readers were having trouble with the original recipe, so I reformulated it a bit based on my experience creating one pot pastas since this recipe was originally posted (it’s now based on my One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta). In particular, many people were having trouble with their milk curdling or the sauce not coming out smooth. Here is what I changed to create better and more consistent results:

  • The milk is now added after the pasta simmers so the high heat and acidity from the tomatoes will not cause curdling.
  • A small amount of cream cheese is added to the sauce to help stabilize and emulsify the Parmesan into the sauce. 
  • I also added a healthy dose of dried basil for a little more flavor!

If you preferred the original version of this recipe, you can download it here.

Can I Substitute the Cream Cheese?

Cream cheese is great and keeping milk based sauces smooth and to help cheese melt smoothly without clumpig. If you just can’t stand cream cheese, you can replace half of the milk with heavy cream. This reduces the water content in the sauce, which will help the Parmesan emulsify properly.

Can I Add Meat?

Yes, this recipe is extremely flexible and can be made with or without meat. If you’d like to add chicken, you can dice up the chicken and sauté it in the skillet with the garlic in the beginning, or simply add sliced grilled chicken to the finished pasta. Italian sausage might also be great with this sun dried tomato pasta. Simply brown it in the skillet in the beginning with the garlic. Bacon would also be quite tasty. Brown the bacon in the skillet before the garlic, and drain off the excess fat before continuing with the recipe.

Tips for Cooking One Pot Pastas:

Getting one pot pastas just right can take some practice, so if you find you’re having trouble, here are a few tips:

  • Stir every few minutes to keep the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot, or to itself.
  • After the pot has been brought to a boil, turn the heat down to low, or just above low, so the liquid is still simmering. If the liquid is not simmering, the pasta will not cook. The temperature setting can vary depending on your stove top and cookware.
  • Use heavy cookware. Skillets and pots that are thin on the bottom don’t heat evenly and do not yield good results with the one pot cooking method because some areas of the pot will be simmering, while other areas are not.
  • Keep the lid in place at all times when not stirring. This holds in the steam and helps the pasta cook more evenly.
  • Watch the pasta. One pot pastas are a little like riding a bike. You have to observe and adjust as you go. If the liquid is almost all absorbed before the pasta is tender, add a little more water. If the pasta is almost tender, but there is still a lot of liquid, allow it to simmer without a lid for the last couple of minutes.

Close up of tongs picking up a clump of creamy pasta from the skillet

 
Overhead view of creamy pasta twirled around the tongs in the skillet.
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One Pot Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

This incredibly fast and easy Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta cooks in 30 minutes and uses just one pot. The perfect quick and satisfying weeknight dinner! 
Total Cost $4.22 recipe / $1.06 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 387.6kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • ½ cup sun dried tomatoes $1.66
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.26
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.16
  • 8 oz. fettuccine $0.67
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil $0.05
  • Freshly cracked pepper $0.05
  • 2 cups chicken broth* $0.26
  • 2 oz. cream cheese $0.30
  • 1 cups whole milk $0.37
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan $0.44

Instructions

  • Chop the sun dried tomatoes into small bite-sized pieces.
  • Add the butter and garlic to a deep skillet or Dutch oven. Sauté the garlic over medium heat for about one minute, or until it is very fragrant.
  • Add the fettuccine, dried basil, some freshly cracked pepper, and the chicken broth to the skillet. If needed, break the fettuccine in half to make sure it lays flat in the skillet and is submerged in broth.
  • Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to high, and bring the broth to a boil. As soon as it reaches a boil, give the pasta a good stir, replace the lid, and turn the heat down to low or the lowest setting that maintains a simmer.
  • Let the pasta simmer in the broth for 7-10 minutes, or until most of the broth is absorbed and the pasta is tender, stirring every couple of minutes and always replacing the lid.
  • Keeping the heat on low, cut the cream cheese into chunks and stir it into the pasta. Once the cream cheese has melted, add the milk and stir until a smooth sauce forms. Finally, add the grated Parmesan over top and stir until it has melted into the sauce. Serve with extra freshly cracked pepper, if desired.

Notes

*I use Better Than Bouillon soup base to make my broth.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 387.6kcal | Carbohydrates: 51.9g | Protein: 13.5g | Fat: 14.68g | Sodium: 651.33mg | Fiber: 2.75g

Scroll down for the step by step Photos!

Overhead view of creamy pasta twirled around the tongs in the skillet.

Try These Other Creamy One Pot Pasta Recipes:

How to Make Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta – Step by Step Photos

chopped sun dried tomatoes on a cutting board

Chop about ½ cup sun dried tomatoes into small bite-sized pieces. You want a little bit in every bite, instead of a few larger pieces throughout. I used dried, non-oil packed sun dried tomatoes for this recipe because I find them easier to work with and the leftovers easier to store (no refrigeration needed).

Butter and Garlic in a skillet

Add 2 Tbsp butter and two minced cloves of garlic to a deep skillet or Dutch oven. Sauté the garlic over medium heat for about 1 minute, or just until the garlic is a little softened and becomes really fragrant.

tomatoes, basil, pasta, and broth added to the skillet

Add the chopped sun dried tomatoes, ½ tsp dried basil, some freshly cracked pepper, 8oz. fettuccine, and 2 cups chicken broth to the skillet. If your skillet or Dutch oven is not wide enough for the pasta to lay flat and submerged in the broth, you’ll want to break the pasta in half so it fits (I ended up breaking mine in half just after this photo).

Cooked pasta in the skillet, tongs pulling the pasta aside to show the sauce in the bottom of the skillet

Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to high, and bring the broth up to a boil. As soon as it reaches a boil, give the pasta a good stir, replace the lid, and turn the heat down to low, or the lowest temperature that maintains a simmer. Continue to simmer the pasta for 7-10 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes (always replacing the lid), or until the pasta is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. If the pasta dries out while it cooks, add a little more water. There should be a little bit of thick saucy liquid left in the skillet once the pasta is cooked.

Cream cheese added to the pasta in the skillet

Cut 2 oz. cream cheese into chunks, then stir it into the pasta until it has melted (still over low heat). Adding the cream cheese before the milk helps stabilize the sauce and prevent curdling.

Milk being poured into the skillet full of pasta

Once the cream cheese has melted into the pasta, add 1 cup milk and stir to combine.

Grated Parmesan being sprinkled over the skillet

Finally, sprinkle ¼ cup grated Parmesan over the pasta, and stir until it has melted into the sauce (the pasta is still over low heat).

Finished creamy sun dried tomato pasta in the skillet

And now you have a deliciously creamy and slightly tangy sun dried tomato pasta in cream sauce!

Overhead view of the finished sun dried tomato pasta, dry pasta, sun dried tomatoes, and garlic on the side of the skillet

Season the pasta with more freshly cracked pepper, if desired, and serve!

The post One Pot Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

The Tortellini Salad that We Can’t Stop Eating!

Just going to say it: this cilantro lime tortellini salad is life changing. This tortellini salad is my new favorite thing. Out of all the favorite things right now. And it’s going to be your new favorite thing! I realize that’s a bold statement, but coming from someone who has a new favorite thing every […]

The post The Tortellini Salad that We Can’t Stop Eating! appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

Just going to say it: this cilantro lime tortellini salad is life changing.

This cilantro lime tortellini salad is loaded with flavor! Served warm or cold, it has pepitas, sun dried tomatoes and crumbled feta. It's ridiculously good!

This tortellini salad is my new favorite thing. Out of all the favorite things right now. And it’s going to be your new favorite thing!

I realize that’s a bold statement, but coming from someone who has a new favorite thing every few days, I figure it’s fine. And expected.

But you are going to love it!

cilantro lime vinaigrette

Okay so you want to know something embarrassing? This is another recipe I’m making inspired by lunch from Nordstrom Cafe. I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW. This might be the fourth recipe on this blog that I made based on a meal there?

And what’s even worse – it’s not even in the cafe. It’s sold at the E Bar in our Nordstrom! The grab and go place!

p.s. this is obviously not sponsored and Nordstrom has no idea who I am, aside from the fact that a few months ago Max knocked over a mannequin while we were shopping and I wanted to crawl into a hole and disappear. 

cheese tortellini

I’ve rambled approximately ten million times about how we still love to go to the mall. We still love it! My mom, aunt and Mother Lovett would take Lacy and me every Friday when I was growing up and it’s a fun tradition that we like to try and hold on to every now and then. We don’t go every week, but when we do go, it can turn into a marathon day. My kids are just used to it by now!

See also: I get them a cookie from E Bar to bribe them into enjoying our marathon shopping day.

See also again: that’s where we first learned of the cilantro lime tortellini salad!

I love it so much. 

This cilantro lime tortellini salad is loaded with flavor! Served warm or cold, it has pepitas, sun dried tomatoes and crumbled feta. It's ridiculously good!

Lacy actually had the salad first and straight up RAVED about it. Then I grabbed it for lunch a few weeks ago when I took my dress (for her wedding!!) to get alterations. I can’t even BELIEVE how delicious it is. I had to create it the moment I got home. 

Cheese tortellini has never been a staple in our meals, so I rarely think of it. But this salad? I was obsessed from the get go. I AM in love. I.am.living.for.it.

This cilantro lime tortellini salad is loaded with flavor! Served warm or cold, it has pepitas, sun dried tomatoes and crumbled feta. It's ridiculously good!

Here are just a few reasons why:

First, it’s incredible. Tastes so, so good, has crunch and texted and creaminess. I love it.

Second, it’s better served cold. At least, I think so. This makes it a perfect make-ahead meal, whether it be for lunch or for a big party. Make it ahead of time. Transport it to where ever you need to go. It works! 

Third, it works as meal (for me, sure!) or a side dish. It can be your lunch tomorrow or a side to your dinner tonight. 

Finally, it has kale in it. It’s good for us. And sun-dried tomatoes. It’s red and green and kind of festive, so it’s perfect for the holiday season and all those potlucks.

This cilantro lime tortellini salad is loaded with flavor! Served warm or cold, it has pepitas, sun dried tomatoes and crumbled feta. It's ridiculously good!

Everyone in this house loved it. The salad has crumbly cheese and roasted pepitas too, so the flavor is just over the top. You can add as much or as little dressing as you’d like. And the Nordstrom version also has corn and poblanos, which I left out her because they felt slightly summery to me. If you’re feeling it, I suggest throwing in a ⅓ cup of sweet corn, because the sweetness really complements everything. 

Yes yes yes!

This cilantro lime tortellini salad is loaded with flavor! Served warm or cold, it has pepitas, sun dried tomatoes and crumbled feta. It's ridiculously good!

I’m sharing this today because I know in this crazy season, we all need something incredible to take to a gathering. Bring this dish if you’re looking for something different to share, something that everyone would love. Something that can be made ahead of time and something that can be made in a big batch for a group.

Promise it’s a hit every time.

This cilantro lime tortellini salad is loaded with flavor! Served warm or cold, it has pepitas, sun dried tomatoes and crumbled feta. It's ridiculously good!

Cilantro Lime Tortellini Salad

Cilantro Lime Tortellini Salad

This cilantro lime tortellini salad is loaded with flavor! Served warm or cold, it has pepitas, sun dried tomatoes and crumbled feta. It’s ridiculously good!

  • 1 pound cheese tortellini, (cooked)
  • 1 jar sun dried tomatoes, (drained and chopped)
  • 3 cups baby kale. (coarsely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled cotija, ((or feta!) cheese)
  • 3 tablespoons roasted and salted pepitas
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro

cilantro lime vinaigrette

  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves, (minced or pressed)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. Boil the cheese tortellini according to the package instructions. Once drained, toss the tortellini with the sun dried tomatoes and kale. Drizzle on a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette and toss.

  2. Add in the cheese and pepitas. Drizzle more dressing if desired. Toss in some fresh cilantro. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed. Serve.

  3. This is amazing served warm or cold. I prefer it cold and it's even better after it sits for a few hours!

cilantro lime vinaigrette

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine the lime juice, honey, garlic, cilantro salt, pepper, pepper flakes and olive oil. Blend until combined an

This cilantro lime tortellini salad is loaded with flavor! Served warm or cold, it has pepitas, sun dried tomatoes and crumbled feta. It's ridiculously good!

Totally making it for lunch today.

The post The Tortellini Salad that We Can’t Stop Eating! appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta

This One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta was inspired by those little packets of powdered pasta sauce mix I always see in the grocery store. While those little packets are probably great for camping, stocking a bomb shelter, or keeping in your emergency hurricane supplies, I think regular weeknights call for something better. Better but […]

The post One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta was inspired by those little packets of powdered pasta sauce mix I always see in the grocery store. While those little packets are probably great for camping, stocking a bomb shelter, or keeping in your emergency hurricane supplies, I think regular weeknights call for something better. Better but not harder. This Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta comes together in about 25 minutes, is super luscious and creamy, and uses just a few simple ingredients. ;)

Overhead view of a skillet full of one pot creamy pesto chicken pasta with a wooden spoon in the side.

Chicken, Spinach, and Tomatoes Optional

This recipe idea started as just pasta and sauce. Because sometimes that’s all you need to be satisfied. But I like to rummage through my pantry, fridge, and freezer to find leftover ingredients that can be added to whatever I’m cooking. So I ended up with this creamy pesto chicken pasta, with spinach and sun dried tomatoes. But I ate it as just pasta and sauce during testing and it still made me do the happy chair wiggle.

What Type of Pasta Should I Use?

I used penne pasta, but bowties or rotini would also work well. Because this pasta to broth ratio is very important in one pot pastas I can’t vouch for alternative pastas like gluten-free, rice, chickpea, or even whole wheat pasta. They absorb broth differently than semolina pasta and may not work the same in this recipe.

Tips for Success with “one pot” Pastas

One pot pastas can be tricky for some because the pasta is cooked in a much smaller amount of liquid than traditional pasta cooking methods. Here are a few tips to make sure your one pot pasta cooks evenly and to the right texture:

  • Make sure you’re using quality cookware. Use cookware that is thick, heavy, and transfers heat evenly. Thin cookware will leave some pasta overcooked and some pasta undercooked.
  • Use a burner that is close in size to your cookware. This will help the pot heat evenly and cook the pasta evenly.
  • Make sure the broth maintains a strong simmer throughout the cooking time. If it’s not simmering, the pasta will become mushy.
  • Stir every few minutes to prevent sticking and make sure the pasta cooks evenly.
  • Keep the pot covered to trap steam, which will help cook the pasta.

Close up of One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta in the skillet with a wooden spoon.

 

One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta

This super lush and Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta is perfect for busy weeknights. Everything cooks in one pot and is done in under 30 minutes! 

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast ($5.56)
  • 2 Tbsp butter ($0.26)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1/2 lb. penne pasta ($0.40)
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth ($0.20)
  • 1 cup milk ($0.32)
  • 3 oz. cream cheese* ($0.29)
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto ($0.73)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan ($0.44)
  • freshly cracked pepper ($0.03)
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper ($0.02)

Optional Add-Ins

  • 3 cup fresh spinach ($0.90)
  • 1/4 cup sliced sun dried tomatoes ($1.10)
  1. Cut the chicken breast into 1-inch pieces. Add the butter to a deep skillet and melt over medium heat. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook over medium heat until the chicken is slightly browned on the outside.

  2. While the chicken is cooking, mince the garlic. Add the garlic to the skillet with the chicken and continue to sauté for one minute more.

  3. Add the uncooked pasta and chicken broth to the skillet with the chicken and garlic. Stir to dissolve any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high, and bring the broth up to a boil.

  4. Once the broth comes to a full boil, give the pasta a quick stir, replace the lid, and turn the heat down to medium-low. Let the pasta simmer over medium-low heat for about 8 minutes, or until the pasta is tender and most of the broth has been absorbed. Stir the pasta briefly every two minutes as it simmers, replacing the lid quickly each time.

  5. Once the pasta is tender and most of the broth absorbed, add the milk, cream cheese (cut into chunks), and pesto. Stir and cook over medium heat until the cream cheese has fully melted into the sauce. Finally, add the grated Parmesan and stir until combined.

  6. If using, add the fresh spinach and sliced sun dried tomatoes. Stir until the spinach has wilted, then remove the pasta from the heat. Top the pasta with freshly cracked pepper and a pinch of crushed red pepper, then serve.

*Cream cheese usually has markings on the outer wrapping showing lines for each ounce. Use this as a guide to cut three ounces from the block.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Close up of one pot creamy pesto chicken pasta in a shallow bowl with a black fork.

Love one pot pasta? Check out my One Pot Meals category for more! 

How to Make Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta – Step by Step Photos

Browned chicken pieces in a deep skillet

Cut one pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast into 1-inch pieces. Add 2 Tbsp butter to a deep skillet and melt over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces and sauté until the chicken is slightly browned on the outside. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic and sauté for one minute more. (I’m using an OXO 4-quart covered skillet)

Uncooked pasta and chicken broth added to the skillet

Add 1/2 lb. uncooked penne pasta and 1.5 cups chicken broth to the skillet. Stir briefly to dissolve any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.

Lid being placed on the skillet with uncooked pasta and chicken

Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the broth to come up to a full boil.

Cooked pasta in the skillet with a spatula pulling the pasta to the side to show no broth remains

Once the broth comes to a full boil, give the pasta a brief stir, replace the lid, turn the heat down to medium-low and let it continue to simmer for about 8 minutes, or until the pasta is tender and most of the broth absorbed. Stir the pasta every two minutes or so as it simmers, replacing the lid each time.

Milk being poured into the skillet with chunks of cream cheese and pesto.

Add 3 oz. cream cheese (cut into chunks), 1/3 cup pesto, and 1 cup milk to the skillet. Stir and cook the mixture over medium until the cream cheese has fully melted and the sauce is creamy.

Finished creamy pesto pasta sauce and pasta in the skillet

Once the cream cheese has fully melted in, add 1/4 cup grated Parmesan and stir to combine.

Spinach and sun dried tomatoes added to the skillet

If you’re adding spinach and sun dried tomatoes, like I did, add them once the sauce is finished and stir just until the spinach has wilted, then remove the skillet from the heat.

Finished creamy pesto chicken pasta in the skillet topped with black pepper and crushed red pepper

Whether you are using spinach and sun dried tomatoes or not, finish the creamy pesto chicken pasta off with some freshly cracked pepper and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. The little pops of flavor that these two bring to the dish really take it to the next level!

Close up of One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta in the skillet with a wooden spoon

Dive in! :)

The post One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Pesto Grilled Cheese with Sun Dried Tomatoes

I went all Splurgy McSpurgison on this Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich, but you know what? It was so worth it. And still a fraction of what it would cost to buy a fancy schmancy sandwich like this at a deli. So here it is. When you need a little splurge in your life, or you […]

The post Pesto Grilled Cheese with Sun Dried Tomatoes appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I went all Splurgy McSpurgison on this Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich, but you know what? It was so worth it. And still a fraction of what it would cost to buy a fancy schmancy sandwich like this at a deli. So here it is. When you need a little splurge in your life, or you just have some leftover pesto that needs to be used up, make this Pesto Grilled Cheese with Sun Dried Tomatoes. You won’t regret it.

Two halves of a Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich stacked with cut sides facing the camera. Blue background.

What Kind of Pesto Should I Use?

I used my homemade Kale Pesto for this sandwich, but it works just as well with store-bought pesto, of any flavor. 

What Kind of Cheese Should I Use?

I used fresh mozzarella because I love the way it melts, but you can use block or grated mozzarella in its place (that’s usually more affordable as well). Other types of cheese that would work great with pesto are: smoked mozzarella, gruyere, swiss, brie, or white cheddar. 

What Kind of Bread Should I Use?

You definitely want to get some sort of sturdy, crusty bread for this sandwich. Pesto is fairly oily in nature, so it will soak right through a delicate sandwich bread. Go for something thick, robust, and sturdy. If you want to make your own, try my No Knead Bread.

Add-Ins for Your Pesto Grilled Cheese

I added some sun dried tomatoes to my Pesto Grilled Cheese, which added a nice sweet-tart pop of flavor against the creamy cheese and salty pesto. The sun dried tomatoes are totally optional, but they do take things to the next level. Some other add-in ideas are: fresh spinach, fresh tomatoes, avocado, roasted red peppers, olives, or ham. OMG, I’m totally drooling right now.

Two hands pulling the pesto grilled cheese sandwich in half, with the cheese pulling between and sun dried tomato pieces exposed.

 

Pesto Grilled Cheese

Whether you're using up leftover pesto or just want to treat yourself to something special, this Pesto Grilled Cheese is next level!

  • 2 slices hearty bread ($0.75)
  • 1 Tbsp butter ($0.13)
  • 2 Tbsp pesto ($0.42)
  • 2 sun dried tomato pieces ($0.55)
  • 2 oz. mozzarella ($0.60)
  1. Spread 1/2 Tbsp butter over one side of each piece of bread. Spread 1 Tbsp pesto over the opposite side of each piece of bread. The butter sides will be facing out on the sandwich and the pesto sides facing in.

  2. Cut the sun dried tomatoes into small pieces. Sprinkle them over one of the pesto coated surface of bread. Add the mozzarella on top of the sun dried tomatoes (shred or break the mozzarella into small pieces to facilitate fast melting). Place the other piece of bread on top, pesto side facing in.

  3. Place the sandwich in a small skillet and heat over medium-low until golden brown on one side. Flip and cook until golden brown on the other side, and the cheese is melted on the inside (about 3-5 minutes each side). Serve hot.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!
Two stacked pieces of pesto grilled cheese next to a bowl and small knife with pesto on it.

Step by Step Photos

Pesto being spread onto two slices of bread, a bowl of pesto on the side.

Smear 1/2 Tbsp of butter over one side of two pieces of bread. Flip the bread over and spread 1 Tbsp pesto on the opposite sides. The butter sides will be facing out on the sandwich, and the pesto sides facing in.

Sun dried tomato pieces added to pesto on bread.

Cut two pieces of sun dried tomato into small pieces, then sprinkle them over one half of the sandwich.

Add mozzarella to sandwich, in small pieces.

Add 2 oz. mozzarella on top of the sun dried tomatoes. If you’re using shredded mozzarella, add as-is. If you are using slices, break them into small pieces so they’ll melt faster.

Cooked Pesto Grilled Cheese in the skillet

Close the sandwich by placing the second piece of bread on top, pesto side facing in. Place the sandwich in a skillet and cook over medium-low until the bread is golden brown. Flip the sandwich and cook on the second side until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted on the inside. I find that cooking on a slightly lower heat (medium-low instead of medium) gives the inside time to heat and melt the cheese before the outside burns.

Hands holding a stacked pesto grilled cheese facing the camera.

Serve while the pesto grilled cheese is still hot and melty!! (And no, I didn’t plan my nail color to match the toothpick! Happy accident!)

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