Blueprint: One Dish Pasta Meal

The leaves are changing, the nites are cooler and the kids are SUPER hungry, ALL the time. This quick meal that gets everyone what they need! 

When I cook I like to start with a simple recipe and guss it up to be the perfect meal for all of my picky eaters :) 

The basic ingredients are: 

  • Ground Beef
  • Ground Sausage (I never cook ground beef without a sausage mix, another post for another time)
  • Sauce (I'll explain, no worries)
  • Pasta
  • Milk

This meal starts with inspiration, so ask yourself - what do I feel like eating today? Italian, Mexican, Indian.. this is where you spark creativity and make this dish your own.

I used Ground Beef and Chorizo (because it was in my fridge) but, you can easily pair your Ground Beef with Italian Sausage or Sirloin Tips with Mushrooms; Diced Chicken Breast with Bacon, Chicken Thighs and Spinach the combinations are really endless here. You want to cook your meat in the same pan that you will be mixing everything to take advantage of the oil. But this is certainly NOT an oil-based sauce dish so if you have too much oil, feel free to pour most of it off.

The sauce is where the magic happens. I used a can of Italian tomato sauce and chicken broth. If you want a white sauce you can use a bottle of Alfredo sauce. A can of ROTEL would go well if you are going South of the Border with this dish. If you are a bit more advanced a Curry with Coconut milk would make a lovely sauce paying homage to Indian cuisine.

When crafting The Sauce it's important to remember --

1. You will need to have enough liquid to cover the meat AND the noodles you are adding. 

2. This is not a watering hole, so the meat and pasta should be covered, not SWIMMING :)

3. You can add milk later to thicken your sauce, so if the liquid feels too loose, it's not really the end of the world.

Once you have the right amount of sauce, COVER and let it simmer. This is how your pasta is going to get al dente. This is also the time where your meat gets to marry the flavor you've concocted so if you'd like any additional seasonings and taste, taste, taste. 

I simmered in my cast iron for somewhere between 7 and 10 minutes. 

And FIN .... you're done. 

This dish can get as fancy as starting with sauteed onions or shallots or asparagus, or as basic as homemade hamburger helper! It's all on you! 

Try it out! Tell me all about it! Post some pictures of it! 

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