Monday, February 6, 2012

Easy Trader Joe's dinner


We all love Trader Joe's. Here are some of my must-haves of late: whole grain tortillas, fage yogurt, lots of fresh berries, brown rice cakes, avocados, and unsalted creamy peanut butter. They sure do have a lot of things that I really feel like I can't live without! What are your favorite TJ's items?

Anyways, oftentimes when I'm doing my weekly shopping, I might have a notation on my list that says "need 3 dinners." Sometimes, I just pick up fish and veggies to fulfill that requirement, but sometimes I feel creative and combine several items to create a new dish. This week I made an easy and nutritious pasta dish that I'm excited to share. I've made impromptu pasta dishes before, but the combination of ingredients in this one is really good.

First of all, just know that I don't do the whole wheat pasta thing. As healthy as I like to eat, my family and I just don't like it. We don't eat pasta much, but when we do, we eat the regular kind. I do look for ones that contain semolina flour, which is the next best thing to whole grain.

So, any pasta will work for this, as long as it's a short shape vs. strands. I used the following ingredients:

1 package TJ's chicken pesto sausage
8 oz. penne rigate pasta
1/2 bag fresh organic baby spinach
1 bag frozen fire roasted bell peppers and onions
fresh pesto sauce


I just noticed the fire roasted peppers and onions in the freezer section, and boy are they convenient!

The dish is super easy and fast and will easily serve 4-5. It's really a one dish meal too, just add some crusty bread if you like and you've got dinner.

First, put on a pot of water to boil. Slice the sausage into bite sized pieces. In a large skillet sprayed with non-stick spray, saute the sausage for a few minutes (they're pre-cooked, so just to brown them a bit). Next, add in the frozen peppers and onions. Drizzle on a little EVOO to moisten. Keep on low, stirring occasionally. No need to season, there is already a lot of flavor going on here.

When the water boils, cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and dump in the skillet with the veggies and sausage mixture. Turn off the heat. At this point, you can add the spinach and toss a bit to wilt it. Finish the dish by stirring in a few tablespoons of pesto sauce. Voila! It's yummy!

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Mommy Roth said...

Yum! And add some feta or parmesan, or both :).

Laurie said...

Tried it, and loved it, and also added feta! Healthy, tasty and stayed well within my weight watchers points. Thanks for inspiring me.