real food. real life.
Okay, this one is easy. Really easy. It was one of those nights where what I had planned for supper wasn't going to work, for whatever reason. I am such a planner that, well for anyone who knows me, knows that when my plans don't work out, it's pretty much the end of the world. I can't think outside my little box of plans that I had made. It's drama-city. It's bad. Lee normally escapes. Poor Hannah, it's in her genes.
But, if I've learned anything so far in being a parent, and also as a teacher for that matter, I've learned that it is often best to have back up plans, or honestly, this sounds crazy as I admit it, but having no plan at all! Aah! Crazy!!! Haha, that's hard for me to say, but as hard as it was for me to admit, I know that the best memories, lessons, experiences were often not planned. As difficult as it is for my type-A personality to admit, not planning is often my plan when it comes to many things now. I have changed!
However, meal plans are a huge part of our household. Mainly to save money. And therefore, planning is still very much a part of my life. And are the meltdowns that follow when they don't work. But, in the kitchen, whilst learning to cook all these recipes, I've learned to always have back up ingredients. Well, this meal comes from those back up ingredients.
Here is my on the fly, last minute meal that turned out to taste great! So, I'm sharing it with you, it will definitely make another appearance here in our kitchen. It was yummy. And, best of all, it will be one of those meals that we always have the ingredients for.
Total Time: 20 minutes
Pasta of choice, cooked to al dente
drizzle of olive oil for cooking
1-2 chicken breast(s), depending on how many you're feeding! We always just use one for the 2 of us (Hannah eats 2 bites of chicken at this age...)
OR for vegetarian option - omit chicken, use beans instead!
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 pint of grape tomatoes or 1 tomato, chopped
1/2 cup frozen corn
any other add-ins: spinach, hot peppers, olives, etc. we added some chopped dandelion greens (yes, I know, totally weird but they are yummy and we get so many of them in our CSA this time of year)
Spices: I'm guesstimating I added about 1/2 tsp chilli powder, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp pepper flakes, 1/4 tsp cilantro flakes
juice of 1/2 a lime
1/2 (or more) of salsa of choice! We used Tostitos medium. Honestly, because it's the kind Costco sells for a great price and the list of ingredients doesn't include sugar. Best would be to use your own homemade version - if you have it!
*Fresh crunchy lettuce, roughly chopped (optional)
*Grated cheddar (optional)
What to do:
1) Use leftover cooked pasta - just set aside until ready to use, maybe heat up in the microwave - or start the pasta cooking process by boiling water, etc. You know what to do here... I hope. ***If you are making your pasta, do remember to save a cup of the hot starchy water that the pasta cooked in before you drain your pasta. It is a great tool to get your sauce to stick to the noodles.
2) Heat oil over medium heat in a cast iron pan, or any kind of pan, it really doesn't matter. (I've been really into our new cast iron pan lately. Sorry, I'm becoming a cast iron snob.) Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and place into pan. Cook, stirring around, until no longer pink. Add onion and garlic and continue cooking, stirring, for another 3-4 minutes until things smell awesome. Or, if not using chicken, just heat oil and go to the next step.
3) Add in your crunchier veggies, like peppers and frozen corn. Cook, stirring, for another 3 minutes or so. Add in your softer veggies, like tomatoes and greens. Add beans now, if using pre-cooked beans. Stir.
4) Add in spices and lime juice. You should get a super awesome sizzle here. Make sure you stir and scrap from the bottom of the pan to lift off that flavour. Add a bit of water here if it seems too dry. Not too much, I'm talking like a tbsp, just to move things around easier.
5) Turn heat to low. Add in your pasta and toss to combine everything. Then, the final touch, add your salsa! And, if you remembered, add in a bit of your hot starchy water you saved before you drained your pasta. Stir everything until evenly combined. Then, serve up and eat! Yum! *Add cheddar to top if you can do the dairy thing. Also, a great idea I thought of only now after I've already eaten it all.... place atop some fresh chopped lettuce! Oh, that would be good. Very taco/fajita-ish as well.
We really cooked these things. From scratch. On weeknights. And we even had time to do the dishes.
They have real, simple ingredients that you'll find in your cupboards. They're healthy and delicious. No lies.
Thanks for reading. Leave a comment below!
Here's a pic of me and my babies. Just because.
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