How to Make a Cheap, Quick, and Good Skillet Dinner: Try Denver Pasta With Ham
There are days when I really wonder what I'm going to make for dinner. If I've got ham, or turkey ham, a pasta meal in a skillet is usually a good option. In the recipe I'm offering you today, ham, onions, sweet bell peppers, tomatoes, and cheddar cheese all go into the mix--think of the tastes of a Denver omelet with pasta rather than eggs. Everything--vegetables, meat, pasta, and sauce--cooks in one pan for easy cleanup, and the dish is full of flavor. The addition of the tomatoes with chiles gives the dish some heat (how much depends on the brand you buy--some are spicier than others), so, if you'd like a milder pasta skillet, use plain canned tomatoes rather than the kind with the chiles. Sour cream helps tame some of the heat, and barbecue sauce adds a sweet, smokey flavor. You won't need much to round out the meal. A green salad and bread or cornbread would go well with the pasta. Enjoy!
Denver Pasta With Ham -- Serves 4+
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup of chopped sweet bell pepper (red, yellow, orange, or a mixture)
1/4 cup of chopped celery
2 cups of chopped lean ham or turkey ham
1 tablespoon of dried parsley flakes
3 1/2 cups of very hot/boiling water
1 can (about 10.5 ounces) of chopped tomatoes with green chiles
8 ounces of fusilli or other round, squiggly tube pasta (or even macaroni)
1 cup of light sour cream
1/2 cup of barbecue sauce
1 cup of cheddar cheese, divided
Heat a large skillet or chef's pan over medium heat, coat it with olive or canola oil spray, and, when the pan is hot, add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and ham. Saute the vegetables and ham for 5-8 minutes or until the ham has browned a bit and vegetables are softening. Add the parsley flakes, hot water, and canned tomatoes and stir everything well. Stir in the pasta and bring the mixture to a boil. Partially cover the pan, turn down the heat to a simmer, and let the pasta mixture cook for about 10 minutes or until the pasta is mostly done. Uncover the pan and cook the pasta a few more minutes to thicken the sauce. Stir in the barbecue sauce, the light sour cream, and half of the cheese. Stir the mixture until everything is incorporated. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese and serve the pasta after the cheese melts a bit.