This easy, one-pot pasta dish is the perfect weeknight dinner solution. You can even change it up based upon what meat, pasta, and produce you have on hand.
September is Hunger Action Month and in order to increase awareness of this issue I mock shopped at the LSS Food Pantry which provides food to hungry individuals in 14 Ohio counties, totaling in 2.1 million meals distributed to over 81,000 people last year. The cool thing about this pantry is that those in need are able to choose what they’d like to serve their family and fresh produce is always offered. During my visit to the pantry, I got to experience the challenges and surprises that the patrons encounter when picking out their food items. While I only mock shopped (as the food is meant for those in need) and ended up actually buying the items at my regular grocery store, I challenged myself to make a meal using only the products that could be found on the particular day that I visited the pantry.
Within each food group, how many items you are allowed to pick is determined by your family size. So for example in the photo below, my household would be allotted 4 grain items such as pasta, egg noddles, bread, and rice. Other items I added to my mock shopping list included pinto beans, beef ravioli, tomato sauce, canned green beans, vodka sauce, milk, beef broth, chipotles in adobo sauce (which was a fun find), boxed brownie mix, walnuts, spinach and feta chicken sausage, corn on the cob, rainbow Swiss chard, fresh parsley and sage, red onion, and cherry tomatoes. I’m fairly certain I could feed Bob and I 3 meals out of all of that! Some other notable options were pizza donated by Little Caeser’s, an extensive variety of meats which were mostly donated by area grocery stores, salad dressing, dried cranberries, fresh okra and even pet food and personal items such as toilet paper.
From those items, the meal I decided to make was an easy one-pot dish utilizing the egg noodles, vodka sauce, chicken sausage, corn on the cob, Swiss chard, parsley, red onion, and cherry tomatoes. Beyond that, the only things I used out of my pantry were olive oil, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. But I think I had some pretty awesome ingredients to work with. While the items available at the pantry may differ from time to time, making it difficult to plan specific meals, it obviously didn’t stop me from making on heck of a meal.
However, by no means was this what I thought I would make when I first arrived. I walked in there with 2 or 3 ideas in mind for which to shop and they drastically changed as I browsed the shelves of the pantry. The thing I love most about one-pot meals like this, other than the easy clean up, is the adaptability. You could use any grain, sauce, meat, and vegetable that you have access to and create something great for dinner. I probably went a little overboard adding the corn but at the same time I loved it so why hold back?
Two years ago: Single Serving Cake Batter Popcorn
Three years ago: Vegan Buckeye Pancakes with Peanut Butter Syrup
Four years ago: Bacon and Broccoli Mac and Cheese
Five years ago: Peanut Butter Hummus
ONE-POT SAUSAGE & SWISS CHARD PASTA
2 ears of corn
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
12 oz. chicken sausage, sliced (I used a tomato basil variety)
12 oz. egg noodles
24 oz. vodka cream sauce
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and roughly chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place corn, with the husks on, in the preheated oven and cook for 30 minutes. Once cooked allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before removing the husks and cutting the kernels from the cob.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan (or skillet with deep sides) over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add onion and saute for 5-8 minutes, or until softened.
- Add sausage to the pan and saute until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes.
- Add the noodles, sauce, plus 2 jars (24 oz.) of water, and crushed red pepper (if using) to the pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 15-18 minutes, stirring frequently, until the noodles are al dente and most of the liquid is absorbed.
- Add the chard, tomatoes, and corn. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
- Serve topped with freshly chopped parsley.
Source: Adapted slightly from One-Pot Tortellini with Sausage, Kale & Peas.
Disclosure: I was provided with a Kroger gift card by LSS Food Pantries to purchase items for this meal. I was not otherwise compensated for this post. All thoughts and opinions remain my own.