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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dinner Decisions: Cheese tortellini in an Improvised Sauce

Yeah, it was sort of unofficially Italian week here at Chez Lost. Spaghetti, pizza, and now tortelloni. This past weekend I went to Costco, or as my kids call it, the Snack Store. We loaded up on necessities as well as a few splurges. For me getting a huge bag of asparagus, bright green stalks of asparagus, counts as a splurge. Normally I am very good about getting everything unpacked and parceled out and planned for, but I due to illness I really dropped the ball this week. I have been very good about using up the lettuce and spinach, since they are the most prone to spoilage, but I only managed to use the asparagus once (and there is plenty more where that came from) and the brussels sprouts remain untouched.

Tonight I used up one package of fresh cheese tortelloni and still have one package left over, I used up just under a pound of ground beef and managed to pack up the rest of it into one pound chunks. I have plans in place for the brussels sprouts for dinner tomorrow and over the weekend and the last of the spinach and lovely fresh mushrooms are going into some fabulous omelets tomorrow.

One of the reasons it was so hard for me to get everything squared away is that my freezer is really tiny. I have a small side by side refrigerator and just ran out of space. Fortunately, a good friend of mine has a spare freezer in her garage and let me bring over the extra package of tortelloni, some bread, and 6 pounds of ground beef over to her house to freeze.

My sauce tonight consisted of onions, mushrooms, chopped spinach, garlic and ground beef with a can of plain tomato sauce. I added Italian Spices to it and let it simmer while I cooked the packaged pasta for 6 minutes. I drained the pasta and added them into the pan with the sauce. Everyone loved it of course and since I chopped the spinach up really finely the kids got a whopping good amount of fiber and Vitamin A plus some iron and calcium. My kids are hit or miss about spinach, sometimes they love it and other times it's like I offered them a plate of raw worms. But anyhow they ate it up without complaint. Other veggies I "hide" in a red sauce include grated zucchini, carrots, summer squash, pureed pumpkin or sweet potato, leeks, or broccoli. Not all at the same time mind you! Just what I have on hand that needs using up quickly. I wouldn't say I'm a "sneaky chef" but I do know that a robust sauce can make a whole bunch of veggies more palatable to kids.

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