After being away from home over a week, I always look forward to a simple homemade meal. It can be a challenge if I happen to return home late in the day and not have time to stop at the grocery store. Before leaving home for any extended period I try to make it a point to finish off any perishables so they won’e go to waste. I hate to waste food.
Upon return from my last international trip, I was dreaming of a delicious, tasty meal that would not cost me an arm and a leg. After paying for meals overseas, you realize how lucky we are to have such a wonderful food, transportation and distribution system. There are some standard long shelf life foods I keep on hand for times like these. Then I can put together a complete meal in about 30 minutes.
Here are the convenience products I keep on hand: lentil pasta and jar of tomato sauce. There is a new line of lentil pasta which makes pasta from green lentils, adzuki beans and edemame. A serving of 1 cup cooked pasta typically has a little over 200 calories and 13-20 grams of protein.
Follow the directions to cook the pasta, it takes about 10-11 minutes. The texture is definitely al dente. While the water is boiling for the pasta and then pasta is cooking I look for additions to the sauce that will make my meal a one dish meal.
I look through the refrigerator and find some colorful vegetables. The peppers look like they need to be used up.So it would be best to cook it. I decided to slice the peppers and slice a red onion for some more flavor and texture.
I also find some chicken sausage. The sausages are actually completely cooked and just need to be heated through. It will add some more protein to the meal without too much saturated fat. Each link of the sausage has only 120 calories and 5 grams of fat (1.5 g saturated fat). Plus the variety of flavors available are wonderful. Today it will be the Aloha style.
The sausages are sliced lengthwise first and then diagonally to have similar shape and size as the onions and peppers. Once the onions and peppers are sautéed in a little olive oil, add the sausage and lightly brown. The pasta is also almost cooked by this time.
Time put together my meal. The pasta is strained and divided onto dinner plates directly. I pour about 1/2 cup of the sauce straight from the jar onto the pasta and top it with the sausage, onion, pepper mix.Voila!
A one dish meal using some convenience foods without trashing the nutritiousness. It is colorful, quick and delicious! You can easily substitute the veggies for what is on hand and choose a different flavor of tomato sauce and sausage to make it your own. Who needs take out?You can buy a box and still make a nutritious meal. Enjoy!