Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Pasta

I'm a big advocate of cooking most dishes from scratch but right now, with the holidays, working full-time, traveling, I end up taking short cuts here and there just to get dinner on the table.  It can still be really good food but just easier to make.  When I don't have a lot of time but want something good and comforting, I always reach for pasta.  It is fast and you can mix just about anything you have on hand with pasta.  It's really hard to ruin.  That's kind of what I did with this easy, flavorful Christmas Pasta dish.

Lately, I have been crazy busy.  I mean so busy that having a nice dinner on the table is becoming rare.  I think my husband was really surprised when he came home last night and smelled something good cooking.  What a treat, huh?  To come home from work and walk into a house that smells so good you could eat the couch.

If you haven't noticed, my postings lately have slowed down.  I have the best intentions of posting each week but with traveling for work, it's been really difficult.  Don't worry though, a new recipe will come, just give me a few more days and I promise to post something good.

For this pasta dish, I used a store bought Alfredo Sauce (Trader Joe's).  I always keep a jar on hand.  I grabbed whatever meat sounded good at the time.  Any veggies I had on hand and threw it all together.  It came out so pretty, looking like Christmas, being all red and green, and tasty, that I had to share it with you.  I know some of you might be saying, well I can't eat that, it's too fattening.  Here is my thought on this, keep your portion size small, add lots of veggies (I served steamed broccoli) and enjoy every bite!  I also added a half a box of pasta rather than a full box just to minimize the carbs.  If you're really concerned about it, save it for a special occasion.  This is a great dish if you need to camouflage veggies from someone.  It works for me every time.  My husbands hates mushrooms but I chop them really fine and he never knows the difference.  Victory is sweet!

Christmas Pasta

1 lb. pork sausage (I used one flavored with sage)
1 16.9 oz (or 1 lb) jar Alfredo Sauce
1/2 lb. pasta (I used Fusilli Col Buco) any kind will work
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons salt
1/2 package frozen spinach, chopped
1/4 cup vegetable broth (can use chicken)
1/2 jar sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped
1 package of mushrooms, chopped fine
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and Pepper

On medium high heat, add ground pork to saute pan.  After about 5 minutes of cooking, add mushrooms and turn the heat up to high.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir occasionally.  In a separate saucepan, cook pasta according to the directions on the box.  When the pork and mushrooms are done, turn down heat to medium high and add add frozen spinach, broth and cover with a lid.  After about 5 minutes check on the pork mixture and stir if needed. Once the spinach is wilted and mixed in with the pork, remove the lid and add the sun-dried tomatoes and the Alfredo sauce.  Stir to combine.  Add more salt and pepper to taste.  Add the drained pasta to the pork mixture and mix well.  Turn off heat.  Add cheese.  Serve!

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