I laugh these days when I think of Rachel Ray and her so-called 30 Minute Meals.
As someone who has made several of them, I tell you this: while her recipes are generally easy and delicious, they only take 30 minutes if you are fast at chopping, own at least a 12″ skillet, and generally know how to cook.
But mostly, I laugh because these days, I think 30 minutes is a very, very long time to wait for dinner.
I prefer 15 minutes.
Which leads me to tonight’s weeknight bonanza: Apple Chicken Sausage and Peas in a Chicken Fettucini Sauce.
In cooking for my family, I have a few criteria I (mostly) follow:
2. Healthy (veggies!)
3. Appropriate for a toddler
It is #3 that has really been influencing the way I cook as of late. Not because my child is picky-at this point she eats almost anything-but because I am picky about what goes in her body. While I fill myself with leftover Halloween candy, my child has yet to experience a chocolate bar. I freak out at filling her with sodium, white flour, sugar, red #5 (or whatever).
Yet, I do want to eat more healthfully. Like most people, i go through phases of eating well vs. eating whatever is grabable, and watching what i eat vs. eating while i watch tv. Each day, i become more aware of myself as a role model, as my little one reaches for whatever I am eating and says, “More, Mamma?” At some point, my toddler will notice she is eating fruit while I eat Tootsie Rolls.
That time is coming ever closer. And moderation is the key to all things in life, at the end of the day. I can’t control everything she eats forever-or even now. And I think my husband and I benefit from well balanced meals as opposed to The Deadliest Catch Sausage Sandwich (fry sausages. Toast white bread. sandwich sausages in bread. Mmmm).
Tonight was an excellent compromise meal. It is also incredibly easy. By using gluten free sausage and organic frozen peas, and a cheapo bag of Supermarket Brand Noodle Chicken Flavored side dish (so I guess we are traveling food network prime time with semi-homemade) I made a delicioso meal we all shared and ate together. In 15 minutes.
I mean, eating as a family is what it’s all about, right?
Apple Chicken Sausage and Peas in a Chicken Fettucini Sauce
1 package of 4 chicken apple sausages (I like these)
1+ cups frozen peas (I buy a huge 6 lb organic bag at BJs! $6.99! Amazing deal!)
I package noodles, chicken flavor (like this one
1 tablespoon of butter
1. Fry sausages in a non-stick skillet to get some browning on each side. Remove them from the pan.
2. Throw in 2 cups water, tablespoon of butter, and the peas. This will deglaze your pan and give the often not so hot bagged noodles some extra flavor.
3. Slice the sausage into rounds and return to the pan.
4. Allow water to come to a boil, and add noodles. Cook according to directions on bag.
5. Season with pepper and Italian seasonings to taste.