Quick, Cheap, and Easy Weeknight Meal: Tortellini and Cutlets
This is one of those meals you can turn to when you don't want to cook. It uses convenience items--jarred pasta sauce and dried tortellini--and you can get the meal on the table in minutes. When I say "cutlets," I mean either thin-sliced pork cutlets or chicken cutlets. You choose. Either work fine. I usually cook extra cutlets when I have them for another recipe and then freeze the extra to have on hand for "don't want to cook" nights. If you want to cook the cutlets fresh, just dust the cutlets with a little flour, salt, and pepper, and cook them in a tablespoon or so of oil for two or three minutes on each side. Remove them from the pan, reserve them to add back to the pan later, and proceed with the rest of the recipe (no need to wash the pan!). The meal is one that pretty much everyone likes, as it includes tomato sauce, pasta, and cheese. You won't have a lot of leftovers, but they'll be good if you do! Enjoy!
Tortellini and Cutlets -- Serves 4
24-ounce jar of pasta sauce (I use tomato, onion, and garlic)
8 ounces of dried cheese tortellini
12 ounces (half a pasta jar) of water
1-2 teaspoons of dried Italian herbs
1/2 teaspoon of dried basil
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
16 ounces (or so) of cooked thin sliced pork or chicken cutlets
1 cup of shredded Italian-style cheese
Fresh basil leaves (optional)
Add the pasta sauce to a large skillet or chef's pan and heat it on medium high. Stir in the tortellini, water, herbs, and garlic powder and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir it well, turn down the heat to medium-low, and partially cover the pan. Let the mixture cook for 15-20 minutes or until the tortellini has cooked and softened and absorbed most of the sauce (you still want some in the pan!). Add the cutlets to the pan, placing them on top of the tortellini and spooning a little sauce over them. Sprinkle on the Italian cheese. Cover the pot again and turn off the heat. Let the mixture sit a few minutes until the cutlets are hot and the cheese has melted. Sprinkle on some fresh basil leaves, if you like, and serve the cutlets with the tortellini.