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How many times does the phrase “what are we going to have for dinner,” escape your lips?  It is a common dilemma among busy American households.  To resolve the plate serving conundrum I have a simple tip.  Store 5 uncomplicated recipes on your phone, computer, or recipe cards in your house or car when short on time, will and brain power.  Not only time-saving, but prevents most cars defaulting through the drive through fast food lane – nutritional bonus.

My weeknight pasta is one of those trouble-free dishes to add to your arsenal of speedy meals.  Good, bottled tomato basil marinara is packed with flavorful Italian chicken sausages and healthy sautéed zucchini, all served over steaming hot multi grain pasta.  Hearty enough on its own, or add a big green salad to round out your dinner spread. 

SAUSAGE PARMESAN ZUCCHINI SPAGHETTI

serves 4

  • 1lb LEAN, ITALIAN CHICKEN SAUSAGE LINKS, casings removed*
  • 2 tsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN
  • 2-3 GARLIC CLOVES, minced
  • 2 small ZUCCHINI W/SKIN, chopped
  • 25 oz TOMATO BASIL MARINARA SAUCE (1 jar)
  • SEA SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
  • 1/4 cup PARMESAN CHEESE, fresh grated
  • 1/3-1/2 cup RESERVED PASTA WATER
  • 8 oz WHOLE GRAIN THIN SPAGHETTI PASTA

*Look for chicken sausages with around 90 calories per link.  I used five links in this recipe.

  1. In a large skillet, cook crumbled chicken sausage meat in olive oil over medium-high heat, about 5-6 minutes.

Chop zucchini into bite size pieces.Remove ends and quarter vertically.

Line up and rough chop across.

Just before sausage is completely cooked through add garlic and zucchini, continue cooking 3-4 minutes, until zucchini is tender and starting to brown.

Reduce heat to low and stir in marinara (any favorite kind will do), salt and pepper if needed and parmesan cheese, simmer until pasta is ready.

2. Cook pasta in salted boiling water to al dente.

Before straining, reserve 1/3-1/2 cup pasta water; add to the sauce. Serve zucchini sauce over hot, cooked pasta, garnished with extra parmesan cheese if desired. Serves 4. Serving size: about 1 heaping cup pasta and 1/4 of sauce.

VARIATIONS: For a little kick to your sauce, add crushed red pepper flakes.  Try adding 1 green or red pepper for 1 zucchini.

NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING: 440 calories, 14g fat, 50mg cholesterol, 58g carb, 10g fiber, 11g sugar, 24g protein

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