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One-Dish Dinners Take a Bite Out of Daily Dinner Prep Stress

November 01, 2011 | Comments: 0 | Views: 125

For many of us, this is the busiest, most hectic, and stressful time of year. Halloween is over, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas are on the horizon. We have gifts to purchase and wrap, parties to host and attend, travel plans, work deadlines, and church activities on top of our normal everyday activities and duties.

In order to make the season enjoyable and reduce the amount of stress that I feel as a mother of two young children, I always look for quick and easy dinner time meals that will taste good and satisfy my family, while keeping my workload to a minimum. One of the best solutions that I have found is to look for recipes that have only a few easy- to-find ingredients, that can be made hours (or days ahead of time.) One dish meals (not necessarily traditional casserole recipes) are easy and have been my saving grace in that they are less complicated to make and serve. Not only is preparation more simplified, but getting a one dish meal from the oven to the table is much easier, as well. A delicious meat and pasta dish served with a lovely green salad is all everyone needs on a busy weeknight.

This pasta pronto, one-dish wonder, that I found in the December 2011 edition of Cuisine at Home is sure to delight children and adults, alike. The pasta cooks right in the sauce, so the pasta takes on additional deep rich flavors while the sauce thickens from the starchiness of the pasta. In this type of dish, Cuisine at Home recommends using short-shaped pasta like penne, because they cook more evenly, and starting with a bold-flavored sauce. A richer more flavorful sauce can stand up to the additional liquid that needs to be added to cook the pasta.

One Dish Sausage & Penne Ragu

12 oz. bulk Italian sausage1 Tbs. olive oil1 cup diced yellow bell pepper3/4 cup diced onion2 Tbs. each minced garlic and tomato paste2 tsp. each dried oregano and dried basil1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes1 cup dry red wine, divided1- 28oz. can crushed tomatoes1tsp. sugar1 cup water8 oz. dry penne pastasalt and black pepper to taste1 lb. fresh mozzarella, slicedchopped fresh basil

Brown sausage in a large saute pan in oil over medium-high heat, 5 minutes. Add bell pepper and onion, cooking until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, oregano, dried basil, and pepper flakes; saute until fragrant, 1 minute.

Deglaze pan with 1/4 cup wine, increase heat to high and cook until liquid nearly evaporates. Stir in tomatoes and sugar, simmer until thickened, 5-8 minutes. Stir in water and remaining 3/4 cup wine, then add pasta. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender and sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat broiler with rack 6" from the element.

Divide pasta among 6 individual oven safe dishes, like the Fiestaware 4 1/2" diameter ramekins and arrange on a baking sheet. Top each dish with cheese; broil until cheese is bubbly, 2-3 minutes. Garnish each serving with fresh basil and enjoy!

Sarah is the modern day renaissance woman. Living and teaching in Japan and also fluent in Spanish, Sarah has been exposed to cultures across the globe. She has a degree in Marketing, but most of all, Sarah is a mom to a growing family and uses the kitchen as the central hub of gatherings with family and friends. She's a writer for and frequently writes a daily blog.

For free recipes, organizing tips, craft ideas, and much more, visit Sarah's blog by going to

Source: EzineArticles
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