The first time I made this for my husband was the summer between my third and fourth year of University. We had reconnected after three years of pre-facebook-era no contact and after a week of talking for hours on the phone he was finally driving the two hours to visit me. So I did what any 20-year-old would do—I went to the market and picked up the ingredients to have a homemade dinner waiting for him. Weird—I know—but 100% the truth.
I was nervous about seeing him for the first time in so many years. I think deep down I knew that this was something special and I absolutely knew that I needed something to distract me when he walked through the apartment door. Dinner was the perfect distraction.
Not only was dinner perfect it was E-A-S-Y! So easy that even now that we've been married ten years (this October!) and we've added three kids to our regular meal rotation, I can still whip this up on a weeknight after work before hubby walks through the door (yes with a baby in my arms and a toddler wrapped around my leg)!
1 500g package of sausage
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 onion, sliced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 can crushed tomatoes
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
2 cups (or handfuls) fresh baby spinach
Optional: 1-2 Tbsp Italian seasoning (use only if sausage is not flavourful enough)
Using sharp kitchen scissors, simply cut the sausage into bite-sized pieces (think meatball-size).
Add olive oil, garlic and onion and sauté until sausage is cooked (approx. 7 minutes). You'll notice I use big slices of onion because my husband loves it but my kids... let's just say I need to pick it out before I put it in front of them.
Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and red wine. Simmer until thickened (approx. 20 minutes).
Boil the rigatoni.
Add the spinach and allow it to wilt.
Seriously don't worry about adding too much because it shrivels up in no time at all! This is what it looks like after only two minutes.
Drain pasta, heap some sausage and sauce onto it and serve. Trust me, you'll have him proposing in no time (at least I did a decade ago!)
Don't forget to top with parmesan cheese because as my ex-step-father's mother aka my lovely Italian grandmother (I'll leave that story for another time) says "you can no make nothing without a parmesan cheese."
I know I’ve said this before but those pre-cooked rotisserie chickens available in the deli section of almost every grocery store are lifesavers for busy working moms like me. Besides being inexpensive, quick, easy and very versatile, as an added bonus my kids love chicken. Personally, I like the versatile part because it lets me get creative in the kitchen without a ton of extra cooking steps. This Asian Chicken Peanut Butter Noodles recipe is no exception and combines my love of peanut butter with my kids’ love of chicken and is packed with an extra hit of whole grains by using whole wheat spaghetti. It can also be served warm as a main dish or made-ahead and served as a cold noodle salad. Either way, all I can say is yum!
Simply cook the spaghetti and add the vegetables (YES TO THE SAME WATER!)
Heat up the sauce.
Coat the chicken.
½ box of whole wheat spaghetti broken in half (approx. 250g), uncooked
1 ½ cups of sugar snap peas
½ red or yellow pepper sliced into thin strips
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup matchstix sliced carrots
½ cup Kraft Asian Sesame Dressing
2 Tbsp. crunchy peanut butter
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
½ pre-cooked rotisserie chicken (white and dark meat) cut into pieces
2 green onions, sliced
Cook spaghetti according to the package directions, adding snap peas, pepper, bean sprouts and carrots to the water for the last 2 min. of cooking time.
While spaghetti is cooking, heat dressing, soya sauce and peanut butter in large sauté pan on medium-high heat. Add chicken and stir until coated. Reduce heat to keep warm.
Drain spaghetti and vegetables, toss with meat mixture until coated. Top with green onions and serve.
Optional: Use more peanut butter, asian dressing, and soy sauce for extra saucy noodles and if you like a little more crunch, top with crushed peanuts.
Bonus: This is one of my favourite leftovers for a yummy mummy work lunch the next day.
Bonus #2: Wondering what to do with the leftover ingredients from this recipe? Check out my Fresh Chicken Rolls.
It's that time of year again! The time of year where you stare at your pantry, then stare at your kids' empty lunchboxes then back at the pantry and wonder what the heck am I going to make my kids for lunch today? On top of that, it's 7am and your kids are demanding breakfast and that constantly running to-do list in your brain is reminding you that you still haven't figured out what's for dinner tonight either.
You can thank me tomorrow morning around 7am!
My Kids' Love Their (Mini) Buns