Second Meal Sausage Pasta

This is a very simple way to revive leftovers and use up some OHI. I always save plain noodles if I make too many, because I know my kids will eat them plain, for lunch, or I can reuse them by warming them on the stove with sauce. Pasta is one of those dishes in which you can just kind of toss your OHI together and finish with a delicious meal. You don’t have to use anything specific – just whatever veggies you and your family like, and whatever you have on hand. This is a great meal to make when you need something quick, forgot to plan a meal, or your plans ran late and you’re out of time to make something more elaborate. Here’s what I used: image Here are some other veggies I’ve used: broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, eggplant, garlic. You can also substitute chicken or ground beef for the sausage. Or you can just make a pasta primavera and leave the meat out altogether. You’ll also need butter or olive oil, a jar of red pasta sauce, and some Parmesan cheese. I also like to add a very little bit of alfredo sauce or half & half to make a mock-vodka sauce. First, add the sausage to a large saucepan with a lid, over medium heat. Break it up into smaller pieces with a flat wooden spatula, a spoon, or whatever else you have on hand. You will probably need to break it up little by little as it cooks. While that’s finishing, you can prep your veggies (see below). Cook the sausage until brown – probably 5-10 minutes – and drain into a colander in the sink. Let sit while you prepare veggies.

Get rid of all the pink! That's how you know it's finished 'browning'.

Get rid of all the pink! That’s how you know it’s finished ‘browning’.

Add about a tablespoon of butter (or olive oil, if you prefer) to the pan. If you’re using garlic, mince and add that first. Then roughly chop half the onion and add it to the pan. wpid-20131102_170009.jpg (*TIP: Roughly chop the WHOLE onion, and save the other half in the fridge for an omelette or another meal. Save on prep time next time!) Stir a little and cook for a couple minutes until the onion is translucent. Dice the pepper and add it in with the onion. Add tomatoes or other veggies last.
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Now you can add half the sausage back into the pan. Save the other half for another meal. (Our favorites are biscuits and gravy, Southwest sausage & potato skillet, and savory sausage crepes.) Add a quarter of the jarred pasta sauce to the pan and stir. Let simmer for a minute or two so all the flavors can meld together.wpid-20131102_171818.jpg
Then, if you’re using it, add a little bit of alfredo sauce (no more than a 1/4 cup) or a splash of half & half. wpid-20131102_172203.jpg
You can add cheese directly into the sauce or you can save it to garnish at the end. Add the pasta last, and stir to break up any pieces that may have stuck together in the fridge. Serve with cheese over top.
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If it seems rich on its own, you can serve a salad with it as well. This should come together in 30 minutes or less. I love meals like this, that are quick and easy to prepare, healthy, satisfying, and thrifty. You can modify the ingredients to whatever healthy level you like. Use whole wheat pasta to minimize empty carbs. Leave out the alfredo to reduce the fat content. Add extra veggies to up the nutrition. Make your own pasta sauce if you want to eliminate preservatives. Keep those OHI staples in your kitchen, and you’ll never have to order out because you forgot or ran out of time again!

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