Monday, January 12, 2015

Italian One Pot Wonder

As a busy mom, I'm always on the look out for quick, easy, healthy meals that my family will love.  When I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it.  Like most of you, dinner time is the busiest time of the day at our house.  The big kids need help with homework, the little ones are getting tired and cranky and I'm trying to divide myself between meeting all their needs, cooking dinner and trying to make the house look a little less like a tornado just hit.  Sound familiar?  Well, this meal right here is the perfect dinner solution for nights like that.  Just chop up the vegetables (which I like to do earlier in the day before the crazy hour starts) and dump everything in a pot.  Other than stirring occasionally, dinner is taken care of.  Less than 30 minutes and you'll have a delicious, healthy meal ready to serve.  It can't get much easier than that!  As a variation, you can add in some chicken.  If you choose to add chicken, cook the chicken in a crockpot with a little broth, then shred, or grill and slice then serve on top. 

4 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp olive oil
12 oz. linguini (broken in half)
2 C baby spinach leaves (stems removed)
2 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes
½ medium onion, chopped
1 Carrot, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ Tbsp dried basil
½ Tbsp dried oregano
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
freshly cracked pepper to taste

1-2 chicken breasts, cooked (optional)
½ C fresh parmesan cheese (or feta cheese)

In a large pot add the broth, olive oil and linguini (broken in half). Make sure the linguini is submerged in the liquid then add the remaining ingredients. Place a lid on top of the pot, and then turn the heat on to high. Allow the pot to come up to a full, rolling boil over high heat then remove the lid and turn the heat down to medium. Allow the pot to continue to boil over medium heat, without a lid, for 10-15 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir the pot every few minutes as it cooks to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom, but avoid over stirring which can cause the pasta to become sticky and mushy. The pot must be boiling the entire time. Top each serving with shredded parmesan or feta.

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