Wednesday, August 3, 2016

3TV Phoenix: Easy Dinners for Busy Nights!

Creamy Pesto and Sausage Penne

Getting the kids ready for back to school can be a struggle with school supply purchases, schedule adjustments and sports activities starting up again.  Dinner sometimes tends to take a back seat to microwaves and take out!  Don't do that!  Keep a few pre-made ingredients on hand and find some good, wholesome brands of pre-cooked items that can help you get through the next few weeks!

I always keep some par-boiled pasta on hand and a BIG bowl of pre-cooked brown rice in the refrigerator. These can be super easy side dishes in a pinch, or they can be the base for a quick and easy recipe!

Creamy Pesto and Sausage Penne

Creamy Pesto and Sausage Penne

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • 16 oz. pre-cooked Penne noodles
  • 1 lb. Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, combine the basil, parsley, pine nuts, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon juice and zest.  Pulse all ingredients until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Pour in the heavy cream and mix until combined.
  3. Heat a large skillet on medium heat.  Add the sausage.  Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up the sausage as it cooks for about 7 minutes, until sausage is browned and cooked through.
  4. In a large casserole dish combine the pre-cooked pasta, cooked sausage, remaining Parmesan cheese and creamy pesto.  Stir with a large spoon until combined.  
  5. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, until the cheese is slightly browned and bubbly.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Spicy Chicken Tacos

Del Real Shredded Chicken is a STAPLE in my house!  We love to go camping, so this stuff REALLY comes in handy while traveling, for dinners in a pinch, or if my kiddo is just craving his FAVORITE meal!  You can find this stuff at any grocery store, and Costco carries it in a double pack.

Optional toppings:
  • Salsa Fresca
  • Avocado Slices
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  1. Combine chicken, rice, taco seasoning and beans in a large skillet.  Stir until combined and heat on medium heat until all ingredients are hot.
  2. Warm the tortillas in the microwave and place them on a serving dish.  Spoon the chicken mixture evenly into the center of the tacos.  Top with any and/or all of the optional toppings and serve immediately.

Garlic Bread Meatball Sliders

I don't know about you, but I am LOVING all the cute little one minute videos that feature delicious and easy looking recipes!  This one is one of my favorites...who doesn't LOVE a good meatball slider?!  To simplify, you can use pre-mixed and shaped, raw meatballs (Kroger stores carry these), or use your favorite frozen meatballs that are just re-heated with the marinara (they can also easily be microwaved).  For the garlic butter, Kerrygold makes a really tasty pre-mixed garlic & herb butter that can be easily melted and brushed on top of the slider buns!

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