"What are we doing for dinner?"
There is no more common phrase uttered between my husband and I. Working full time and being full time parents means dinner is not going to be a culinary explosion of taste and texture all the time. We have however become masters of doing a lot with a little while we learn how to live on a budget. Having two kids is not cheap. Living in New Jersey is not cheap (actually, it's ridiculously expensive). Because I know there are lots of other moms and dads out there doing the best they can with what they have and making it work, I wanted to highlight some of the meals we make in our house during the week. Some are really very simple. Almost stupidly simple. But they all taste good, they can all be modified to include what you like, and nothing here is at all complicated.
So here are the questions we ask when we meal plan:
1. Is it going to be filling?
Yes. We all work hard. Be it at work or school (or both, in my case) and the brain needs food as much as the body. I am a skimpy eater with all my other meals so by the time dinner comes, I want to eat every food everywhere.
2. Is it going to be healthy?
Well, we don't exactly keep things like kale in the house, but we do try to represent all the food groups one way or another. We have nights where we fall off the healthy train and have pizza, but we honestly would rather make our pizza anyway. Our one splurge is usually Chinese food.
3. Is it going to be cheap.
YES. I am a rabid couponer so the meals for each week are usually based in what is on sale. We eat a lot of chicken.
4. Is it going to taste good?
So where to begin???
Lets do pasta. You will see when I post recipes that clearly I am not on a diet. I hate diets. They fail. Eat to feel good. If pasta makes you feel good, eat that shit. If salad makes you feel good, eat that shit. If tofu makes you feel good, I think you might be an alien, but eat that shit!
Mom's Chunky Pasta
What you need:
- One box of whatever pasta is on sale
(brand and shape is up to you...we like bowties best)
- One pound of ground sweet Italian sausage
- One jar of Garden Vegetable sauce
(brand is up to you..the chunkier, the better)
- One clove garlic
(unless you are like me...then multiply that with however anti-vampire you choose to be the next day)
- One yellow onion
- Two tablespoons Olive Oil
- One tablespoon Onion Powder
- One tablespoon Garlic Powder
- One teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- One quarter cup shredded Parisian or Romano cheese
- One half cup white wine
- salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, heat olive oil.
Add chopped garlic and onion
Cook until translucent
Add ground sausage and brown DON'T DRAIN! (it's fat, but its FLAVOR!)
Add onion powder, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.
Add wine and simmer for about 10 minutes
Add jar of sauce and stir
Stir in cheese
Let simmer for 10-20 minutes
While simmering, salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta as instructed or preferred.
Stir cooked pasta into chunky sauce
Serve with buttered Italian bread and shredded cheese.