Cheap, Cheerful, Quick Comfort Dinner: One-Pan Italian Chicken Sausage
Okay, sometimes you just need something inexpensive, fast, and easy for supper--and preferably something that doesn't require much cleanup. This One-Pan Italian Chicken Sausage meal is a good solution. The dinner includes lots of veggies, pasta, and cheap chicken sausage and can be on the table sooner than many take-out meals. Yes, you'll have to chop some vegetables, but I often do that in advance and leave them stashed in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can use prepackaged vegetable mixes--fresh or frozen. The chicken sausage are lean and precooked. I get mine at Aldi for under three dollars. You also can vary the pasta in the dish. Again, I usually opt for whatever "Italian" pasta Aldi or Lidl is promoting. This dish has all the classic Italian flavors with little work, and it's great for a weeknight when you really don't feel much like cooking. A light dusting of Italian cheeses on top, and you've got a cheap, cheerful, quick dinner that's comforting, filling, and good!
One-Pan Italian Chicken Sausage Dinner -- Serves 4
2-3 teaspoons of canola oil
1 medium chopped onion
1 large stalk of celery, chopped
1-2 carrots, chopped
4 ounces of sliced mushrooms (button or baby bella)
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning
2 cups of water
1 14-16-ounce can of diced tomatoes (preferably with Italian herbs, etc.)
1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce
8 ounces of dried pasta (I use a long, tubular, rolled pasta but use what you have)
1 12-ounce package of Italian chicken sausage (I use mild, but use what you like)
1/2-1 cup of light sour cream
Salt and pepper if you want
1/2-3/4 cup of shredded Italian cheese blend
Chopped fresh basil, optional but good if you have it
In a large skillet or chef's pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic and saute them until they have softened, about eight minutes. Add the garlic and Italian seasoning and stir them into the vegetables for a minute of so. Add the water, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir in the pasta and chicken sausage, reduce the heat to a low boil/simmer, and partially cover the pot. Let the mixture cook just until the pasta is almost done and most, but not all, of the water has been absorbed--about 10 minutes, depending on the type of pasta you're using. You want to leave some water, as the pasta will continue to absorb it as the dish sits. Turn off the heat and stir in the sour cream and salt and pepper if you want (taste the sauce first, as the chicken sausage is salty, and you may not need more). Sprinkle on the basil, if you're using it and the shredded Italian cheese. Let the dinner sit a few minutes before serving it. Yum, yum, yum!
Don't forget the cheese!!!