Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Penne Pasta in a Zesty Tomato Cheese Sauce

Here are the ingredients in Hamburger Helper Zesty Italian Dinner:

Enriched Pasta (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Corn Starch, Dried Tomato, Sugar, Salt, Maltodextrin, Paprika, Dried Onion, Spice, Dextrose, Citric Acid, Dried Garlic, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Beet Powder Color, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Soy Flour, Egg, Nonfat Milk

The nutrition label states that each  ⅓ cup serving has 710 mg of sodium which is 30% of the recommended intake for a day. That is just for ⅓ cup.

This is my recipe for Penne Pasta in a Zesty Tomato Cheese Sauce.  My recipe has less sodium and no dextrose, maltodextrin, or partially hydrogentated soybean oil.  You can control the amount of fat in my recipe by replacing the Italian sausage with low fat hamburger.  You can also use whole wheat pasta and low fat cheese.  I threw in a chopped up fresh tomato with the pasta.  You could also add some cooked broccoli with the cheese.   If you aren't into spicy food, just eliminate the pepper flakes.  This recipe is just as easy to make as hamburger helper, but much healthier and tastier.

Servings: 6-8
Hardware:  A cutting board and knives, measuring spoons and cups, a can opener, a large pot or skillet with a lid, a wooden spoon,
Time:  Prep time: 5 minutes, cook time: 20 minutes, rest: 5 minutes

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1-14 ounce can low sodium tomatoes
  • 2 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth (or water)
  • 1 cup fat free milk
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 8 ounces penne pasta
  • 2 cups shredded provolone cheese
  1. Chop the onion and garlic.
  2. Heat the olive oil on medium high.
  3. Remove the sausage from its casing.  Cook and crumble the sausage with the onion and garlic.  This should take about 7 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes, broth, milk, Italian seasoning, cornstarch, and pepper flakes to the pot.  Stir and allow the mixture to come to a boil.
  5. Add the pasta and allow it to return to a boil.  Turn the heat down to simmer and cover.  Cook for 11-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  6. Stir in the cheese and remove from the heat.  Allow the pasta to rest for 5-7 minutes, uncovered.  The sauce should thicken while standing.

Serve with a Caesar salad. 

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