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Monday, April 19, 2021

Quick Pasta Dinner

 You know those recipes that start out like, "This is a great meal to make on those busy weeknights. Low prep and simple ingredients you have around the house." Then you start reading. Once you scroll four pages into the story of how their mom taught them to cook and the dish's inspiration coming from a panda bear they saw as a kid who could juggle turtles, you finally see the instructions.

The simple recipe includes steps like "brine," or "marinade overnight," or "whisk." And the simple ingredients you should have around your house are things like Armadillo paste or Yak hair.

Well good new. This recipe is one of my three go-to's. I keep the ingredients on hand because apart from the sausage, they really are common everyday ingredients. And the sausage usually has an expiration date a month or so out. So I NEVER freeze it. Nothing drives me to order pizza quicker than having to defrost meat when I'm in a hurry.


Sausage. A pack big enough so each family member has roughly 4-5 oz. I love Conecun smoked. The Cajun is good too. But any link sausage works. 

Pasta Noodles. I like Angel Hair, but players choice. Sometimes my kids get bowties or fettuccini. It is just whatever we have.

Butter, Salt, Pepper

Itallian Dressing. If you can, get Olive Garden Italian. They don't pay me to advertise. But that stuff is the crack cocaine of Italian dressings.

Parmesian Cheese. Or some other cheese. Did I mention this recipe is flexible?

Frozen Broccoli (optional). Or any frozen veggie. I've used cauliflower, brussels, squash, or zucchini before.


-1. Slice sausage into small pieces, about 1/4" thick. Spray a pan (or don't, the juices of good sausage will take care of it usually. Definitely spray if using Turkey sausage Aidelle's Apple Chicken sausage or any leaner meat). Bake at 400 degrees 15-18 minutes.

  - You can also grill the sausage or pan fry it. Whatever works.

-2. Put on a pot of water and boil your noodles according to the package directions. Usually 7-8 minutes.

-3. Drain Noodles. Add butter, salt, and pepper to taste. I usually add a tbs of butter, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper per 4 oz of noodles. You won't need as much butter as you might for regular pasta.

-4. Pour in a cup of Italian dressing for 8oz of pasta. Eyeball it. You want it covered but not soupy.

-5. Mix in sausage, top with Pamesian and serve.


    This is a super flexible recipe. I have added shrimp to make it a different version. I buy the precooked for this. Wash in cold water a minute or so to thaw and then cook in a pan with some olive oil or butter and some cajun spice (if you have any). I have added chicken as well if you have any to dice up. Mozzarella over it is great or toss in some fresh spinach.

    When in a rush, I add this simple salad too. I take a head of lettuce and cut it wedge style. I cut a wedge of tomato or sprinkle some cheese and bacon on top of it. 

The one eating has to cut up their salad instead of it being shredded or chopped, but a little work never hurt anyone, especially my kids. 

And for bread? My kids love that cheap garlic french bread you buy frozen. Heats up in under 10 minutes. But I've also been known to throw in some cheese toast (sliced bread with butter and cheese on it) if I'm feeling extra spunky. Or if I can't put my hands on my panda inspired Armadillo paste.

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