Tonight was one of those nights that screamed for take-out. Nick had soccer practice after work, and then I had a meeting at school fifteen minutes after soccer practice ended. Madeline slept right up until we headed out the door, so you know it would have been the perfect night for take-out. I find I rely on take-out more when I don’t plan ahead. When you don’t have a plan, it’s too tempting to take the easy way out, you know? But knowing the schedule was a little challenging tonight, I tried to plan ahead.
First, dinner had to be simple. And something I could take on the road. Nick and I ate while Madeline was finishing her nap. As soon as she woke up, we headed out the door, with a container of dinner for her in tow. Once we got there, I pulled my favorite picnic blanket out of the car, and Madeline and I set up camp near the edge of the field. Because dinner was a no-mess, easy to eat meal, it was perfect for her to eat while there.
So what was dinner? Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli, a new recipe I found in the September issue of Real Simple magazine. Both kids love pasta, and Madeline loves sausages of any kind and broccoli, so with the protein, carb and vegetable in an all-encompassing meal, it was well-rounded and kid-approved. The only “sauce” for the pasta is the water that the broccoli cooks in, so even though Nick carefully ate around the broccoli, I’ve got to think that there was a little bit of extra goodness in the sauce he was eating.
Is it a wow? No. But it is a filling, tasty, perfect meal for when your weeknights are crazy and you’re grabbing a bite to eat on the run. It will definitely go into rotation here. You’ll avoid the drive-thru lane and serve up something you can feel good about. And just as important, you can eat while watching your brother play soccer.
Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli
Recipe courtesy of Real Simple, September 2009
- 12 ounces rigatoni (about 4-1/2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, sliced
- 6 ounces fully cooked chicken sausage links, sliced
- 1 small head broccoli, cut into florets and stems sliced
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce)
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the onion, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, stirring, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the broccoli and 1¼ cups water and simmer, covered, until the broccoli is tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Toss the pasta with the sausage mixture and any remaining liquid and the Parmesan.