• Leigh

Impact of Coronavirus on Eating Out, Make a Simple Supper

According to recent Zagat survey, most Americans dined out--breakfast, lunch, or dinner--in a restaurant of some sort an average of about six times a week before the Coronavirus pandemic. Now, according to the Pew Research Center, "more than three-quarters of Americans say they are not comfortable eating out in a restaurant given the current situation with coronavirus." I'm not surprised that many Americans don't feel comfortable eating out now, particularly as virus cases increase across the country. What I am surprised about is the number of times Americans used to eat out during a week. Wow!! Six times a week? That's expensive in terms of cash, calories, cardiac impact (lots of fat, salt, and sugar), and time. And, yes, going out to eat does take time! Interestingly enough, another Zagat study just published indicates that, although Americans miss the experience of dining out, "they've also learned some new behaviors thanks to the shutdowns.  More people are cooking at home - and most are saying they plan on cooking more after the pandemic ends than they did before the shutdowns." That's good news in my view, as cooking at home is generally less expensive and, depending on what you cook, more nutritious. What about the experience, though? Well, experimenting now with various cooking projects should help us build the knowledge and confidence in the future to create in our homes incredible taste "experiences" for our friends and loved ones--whether we pull out the fine china or host our "experience" at the backyard picnic table or on a tiny balcony. So cook away!


Here's a favorite simple supper recipe, Pasta with Sausage, Pears, and Goat Cheese, to get you started with your home "experience" cooking on a steamy Friday in July!


Pasta with Sausage, Pears, and Goat Cheese -- Serves 6

1 teaspoon of canola oil

16 ounces of sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed

1 large onion, chopped

4 cups of reduced sodium chicken broth (or use chicken reduced sodium "Better

Than Bullion" reconstituted)

16 ounces of large tubular pasta

4 ripe pears, cored and sliced into 1/4-12 inch pieces

6 cups of spinach, washed well

1 cup of light sour cream

1/2 teaspoon of lemon pepper

1/2 cup of goat cheese crumbles

1 cup of toasted, chopped walnuts

Heat a large skillet or chef's pan over medium high heat and add the oil, swirling it in the pan. Add the turkey sausage and break it up with a spatula. Brown the sausage for about 5 minutes and add the chopped onion. Let the onion cook for about 5 minutes and add the broth. Bring the mixture in the skillet to a boil and stir in the pasta. Let the mixture in the pan cook, stirring it periodically and turning down the heat if necessary, until the pasta is barely soft--about 7 minutes--and the pasta has absorbed most of the broth. Add the pears. Stir in the spinach, a handful at a time, until the spinach wilts down. Stir in the sour cream and add the lemon pepper. Stir in the goat cheese crumbles, letting them melt into the sauce a bit. When ready to serve the pasta, sprinkle on the toasted walnuts.

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