One of my favorite things to make for dinner for my family is a pasta or rice bowl. You can create so many different all-in-one suppers with just 3 or 4 ingredients. It is fun to be creative and watch your family enjoy a nutritious and filling meal. It also makes life easier for people with food sensitivities, because rice is one of the least allergenic foods, and there are several good gluten-free pastas available like Tinkyada brown rice Pene pasta and Ancient Harvest Quinoa spaghetti (available at Whole Foods most specialty health-food stores, and some Wal-marts) and Heartland Gluten Free Fusilli,(available now at many Wal-Mart Stores) so I can make the same thing for everyone in the family. Our personal favorites are the Tinkyada rice pastas and the Quinoa Spaghetti. Anyone with gluten or wheat intolerance will admit that finding things that everyone likes and can eat is a challenge.
I like to use the deep cereal/soup bowls in bright colors or patterns. Everyone is excited to eat when their food comes out in bright bowls or plates. I will usually cook enough for 6 servings, even though we are only a family of four, of brown rice, Pene, Farfalle (bow-tie pasta,) or spaghetti in a big 3 quart Dutch oven. The great thing is that you can cook just enough for 2, 3 or 4 people, or you can make enough to have a couple of servings left for the freezer. These are great reheated and make a good lunch for the hubby to reheat in the microwave or a good hearty snack for growing children. In the morning, I pick a topping like chicken, shrimp, or mild Italian sausage, thaw it out and create a meal from there. The kids love these cool variations on ho-hum spaghetti and meatballs. Pair it with a green salad or carrot sticks and cucumbers for dipping, and the meal is done.
Sausage with Spinach Alfredo over Bow-Tie Pasta or Gluten-Free Pene
- Bring water to a boil, add a pinch of salt and add Farfalle pasta. Cook pasta according to pkg. directions. Drain and return to the pot.
- While the pasta is cooking, brown 1 link of mild Italian sausage per person in a large non-stick skillet. Chicken sausage is delicious in this recipe. When the sausage is cooked, slice the links into bite-sized rounds.
- Cook 10 oz. pkg. of frozen spinach in a microwave safe glass bowl with lid for 4 to6 minutes. Drain the spinach by squeezing it in a mesh strainer.
- Pour the contents of one jar of Alfredo sauce (use less if you are only making a couple of servings) into a small sauce pan to heat.
- Add the spinach, Alfredo sauce, and sausage rounds back to the pasta.
- Stir gently and spoon servings into large deep soup or cereal bowls.
- Top with grated Parmesan or Romano cheese and serve immediately.